4/12/2009

We're Not All Shallow Jet-Setting Gays

seeking disco gear!!!Image by skampy via Flickr

This story at the LA Times and the people in it disgust me to no end. Not all of us burn cash like Caligula at an orgy, not all of us are rich, not all of us think we have nothing better to talk about than our latest vacation. I can't figure out who makes me sicker, the obviously biased and shallow reporter or the even more vapid and shallow subjects. In light of the recent study that shows LGBT people are more likely to find themselves in economic hard times because of a lack of traditional social net, this article and Hedonists quoted in it makes my stomach turn.

According to the LA Times, while "Americans" (note: it gives the impression we are not Americans) cut back their budgets the Gays are hot-trotting it all over the globe without a second thought:

"As Americans rejigger their budgets to abide the nation's economic gloom, travel plans are being routinely cast aside, leading to plummeting airline traffic and a tourism downturn around the globe.

But at least one demographic has refused to relinquish its passion for travel. Chicagoan Tim Engdahl is part of that group: gay, gainfully employed, with no kids and a lifelong wanderlust."

Yes, because, don't we all know that the economic crisis doesn't have any effect at all on LGBT people. No, we're magically insulated by our fairy dust!

I'm fairly sure you can find pockets within all groups that haven't had their lives disrupted by the economic meltdown (the CEO's of the banks come to mind), but characterizing all LGBT people as somehow not only immune to the downturn but raucously oblivious to it is offensive.

Of course, as is usual, that class of Evil Queen whose lives revolve around cocktails and cruises is more than happy to help along this stereotype:

"I might cut back on other things throughout the year," said Engdahl, a 46-year-old nurse who took a Caribbean cruise in February and plans another later this year. "But I have to see what's worth it to me in life, and traveling is worth it."

Bryan Herb co-owns Zoom Vacations, a Chicago company that caters specifically to the gay and lesbian community. He has seen no drop in business; in fact, it's up.

"If I'm at a cocktail party with a bunch of gay people, we're talking about travel--a lot," Herb said. "Gay people will give up a lot of things, but we won't give up our vacations. What else are we going to talk about?"

Gee whiz, not one but two cruises this year for that queen. How fabulous for her. I suppose I'm not a good gay because, well I've never taken a cruise, have no plans to take a cruise and actually have not really taken a vacation in years. Uh, oh, once again I fail to live up to the current stereotype.

But what's really galling is this Bryan Herb. Maybe I could give him a list of things to talk about:

  1. Marriage Equality and what he could do to help that along.
  2. Employment Non-Discrimination - maybe discuss ways to pressure Congress to pass that.
  3. The disproportionate percentage of homeless LGBT youth and particularly transgender youth who are prone to be victims of violence. Maybe you could even give up your third vacation of the year and donate that money to an LGBT shelter... nah, Jamaica and it's anti-gay government calls for your dollars.
That's just a start, I'm sure with a little work he could probably come up with at least a couple more subjects to fill up his time at that cocktail party. Then again, discussing those subjects requires a conscience, so it might be difficult.

Let's end this rant with Mr. Herb again:

Herb, of Zoom Vacations, said he has only one gay friend who doesn't have a passport. Gays and lesbians, he believes, may be more eager travelers because of the social circumstances they've endured throughout their lives.

"I think the idea of newness and differences in general, it makes us even more curious than other people," Herb said. "A lot of gay people have felt so different their whole life. After you come out, you almost feel like you can do anything."

Maybe this guy needs a new set of friends and new philosopy of life. Maybe people need to realize that rich people are just rich people whether they're straight or gay and stop trying to make these queens the poster kids for the LGBT community.

The last time I checked taking a cruise or a trip to Australia was not a political act related to coming out. As for knowing only one person without a passport, I can introduce him to many LGBT people without passports. Then again, I'm sure socially responsible, serious, and thoughtful LGBT people would just wreck his next Marie Antoinette costume ball which I'm sure will be held on a private cruise to Tahiti or something. (sigh)

OK... I'm done and feel much better. Thank you for putting up with my vent.


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