As Amazon debates an HQ2 location, the national gays are selling us out

The online retailer and tech company announced last year its intention to open a second headquarters campus somewhere in North America. According to its own promotional website, the new location will be a "full equal" to the Seattle campus. Y'all, this a big deal:

We expect to invest over $5 billion in construction and grow this second headquarters to include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs – it will be a full equal to our current campus in Seattle. In addition to Amazon’s direct hiring and investment, construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.

From that call, 238 bids arrived from all but 8 states and all but 3 Canadian provinces. In late January, the corporation publicly identified its shortlist: 20 cities.

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston/Somerville, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • New York City, New York
  • Northern Virginia, Virginia
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Washington, D.C.

Very soon thereafter, a self-selected group of LGBT activists decided it was in Amazon's best interest to avoid 11 of those options: Atlanta, Austin, Columbus, Dallas, Indianapolis, Miami, Nashville, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Raleigh. 

The reason: in each of these states, there are no comprehensive legal protections against firing someone, denying them housing, or refusing them service because they are LGBT.

If you—as an LGBT-identified person (or not)—figure this world revolves around just you and the people you know (and clearly you don't know ANY gay people in any of these cities), then yeah, you're justified in propping up a big No Gay No Way website and media campaign, inadvertently letting everyone of your potential supporters know that you care nothing about the LGBT-identified people who live and work and are housed in those states.

The thing is: there's a very constructive way to lead an initiative like this one. It actually engages the people you're supposed to be aligned with, the ones who you're completely ignoring in your attempt to be... altruistic?

I asked Lisa Howe, the CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the one organization (if any!) that the organizers of No Gay No Way should've consulted before selling us out, for her take on this situation. "It is frustrating to be targeted by our own LGBT community," she said. "Most LGBT advocates and our allies understand that getting a progressive business like Amazon to open a headquarters in Nashville will help bring about equality for LGBT people and their families, across Tennessee, faster and more effectively than the government and courts can do. I believe the campaign is hurting our community and making us work twice as hard to acquire LGBT equality in our state."

Chris Sanders, the executive director at the Tennessee Equality Project, put it succinctly: "If activists outside Tennessee want to help us get inclusive employment laws, then I'd say we could have a productive conversation."

I reached out to the No Gay No Way people but have yet to hear back.

Outside the LGBT world, the debate around which city Amazon will ultimately choose is quite fascinating. Forbes sees the circling around Washington, DC with three finalists remaining (Washington, Montgomery County, and "Northern Virginia") a major indicator of the region's likelihood to win the prize. Investor Place deemed six small-to-medium sized cities (plus Toronto, Canada) unlikely to be chosen; in Nashville's case, because it's actually more affordable to buy a house in Atlanta.

The New York Times uncovered some of the juicier offers from cities that did not become finalists—Detroit was pretty much willing to give away the entire city—and also speculates that Amazon found the perfect way to identify in future how flexible some cities will be when it comes time to open new warehouses and smaller offices.

Locals in Nashville seem reluctant to fully climb on board but only for one reason: do we want 50,000 more vehicles on these roads?

Nobody really seems to be betting on Nashville regarding this, and maybe that's okay. We can't win 'em all.

What we certainly don't want, though, as LGBT Tennesseans (and Ohioans, and Floridians, and Georgians, et al), are national LGBT activists looking out for "our" collective best interest by pretending we don't exist. 





WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less