You know who's not trying to pray the gay away? The city of Dallas.

Gay for Dallas

For weeks there have been little pieces popping up about how "Dallas tourism officials [are] attempting to lure gay and lesbian visitors" (so said The Advocate on November 4) and "dozens of cities that didn't cater to gay travelers decades ago — including Miami, Dallas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, even Bloomington, Ind. — are wooing gays to their hotels, restaurants and nightclubs," as USA Today put it November 2. It's an old story, to say the least: The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau has, since at least January, been operating a separate Web site wooing gay and lesbian and bi and transgender visitors to the city with promises of a city that has "left behind stereotypes of big-haired women and rowdy cowboys — that is, unless you count sassy drag queens and strapping gay rodeo champs."

As Dallas' Only Daily pointed out on November 4, the DCVB has been actively marketing to gay tourists for two years. But only now is it paying off, seems like: Just yesterday there was an Associated Press story in the San Francisco Chronicle headlined "Gay tourism on Dallas wish list," which said, "Dallas is rolling out the welcome mat for gay and lesbian visitors. Yes, that Dallas." According to DCVB's president and CEO Phillip Jones, gay tourists spend "an average of $100 more per day than other travelers and plan four to six trips a year."

Of course, it isn't sitting well with some--like, surprise, the folks at the Dallas-based Texas Eagle Forum, whose president is quoted in the AP story. The Texas Eagle Forum's the same group that, in 2001, insisted the passage of hate crime legislation would mean "a homosexual male would receive greater protection from assault than a white eight-year old girl." Does ya Texas-proud. Gawrsh, who wouldn't wanna come here? --Robert Wilonsky

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