Steers and queers

This actually surprised me: Dallas is courting gay and lesbian tourists.

"Big D" is a diverse metropolitan area 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," according to a Web site operated by the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"Our Secret is Out" proclaims the site, which features images of same-sex couples enjoying the local sights.

"It's not about being politically correct, it's about being economically correct," said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the tourism bureau. He said gay travelers spend an average of $100 more per day than other travelers and plan four to six trips a year.

Homophobes and other dedicated traditionalists will tear their hair out over this, but they don't have a cash-strapped municipality to run. Gays and lesbians represent a desirable demographic for savvy marketers. The 2006 LGBT population was projected to have a aggregate purchasing power of $641 billion. That kind of figure can do more to open some doors than a raft of legislation. It's all about the money, honey, and Dallas is officially laying out the welcome mat. It will interesting to see how long it takes other major metros to figure it out (I'm looking at you, St. Louis).

Hey - it's not exactly the Voting Rights Act. But it's a step in the right direction.


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