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You’d expect it from Boston, Provincetown, Key West, and Palm Springs, to name a few gay hot spots. But who would have ever thought that Bloomington, Ind., or Minneapolis, Minn. would get into the act?
What’s the act? Marketing to gay and lesbian tourists. With the U.S. LGBT travel and tourism market worth $65 billion a year, even middle America wants to get into the act.
The folks at the Tempe, Ariz., Convention and Visitors Bureau have been marketing to the community for the past three years. Phoenix is getting ready to launch a campaign it has developed with the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Many of the cities jumping on the LGBT tourism bandwagon may be taking their cues from Philadelphia, which proved itself the City of Brotherly Love with not just a gay-friendly, but a gay-positive marketing campaign.
Entitled “Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay,” the marketing campaign is estimated to have brought millions of dollars to Philly’s local economy. According to the research department of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), we spend more money than our straight counterparts -$233 per overnight visit compared to their “general” overnighters, who only spend $101.
GPTMC spent $1 million - of taxpayer and hotel tax money - placing ads in LGBT publications and websites to lure us to Philly. Clearly, it worked, but not everyone’s happy about it. State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R) wants the funding to stop.
In a memo to his colleagues he wrote, “We should not ask constituents to fund behavior that is against their religious and moral beliefs.” Well, if we all could only pick and choose where and how our tax dollars are used, we might not be in Iraq, there might be a cure for HIV, and all LGBT centers across the country would receive federal funding.
Unfortunately, we don’t choose - that’s something we leave up to our elected officials. Perhaps some things will change for the better given the new Congress.
Rep. Metcalfe threatened to wage a budget battle during the 2006 legislative session. The session ended with the campaign’s funding intact. While Metcalfe’s diatribes didn’t gain any traction in Pennsylvania - whose voters also tossed out U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R) last year - there is fear in some cities across the country that anti-LGBT rhetoric and political action could hurt their local economies.
Wisconsin’s tourism industry - one of the state’s biggest businesses - is concerned about a boycott, because the state that brought us Senator Joseph McCarthy also brought us a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In August, before the vote, Doug Neilson, president of Visit Milwaukee, said that anything that discourages gays from visiting the state is a “concern.”
And concerned he should be. U.S. foreign and domestic policies may very well impact LGBT travel to this country from abroad. A recent survey by Community Marketing, a consulting firm that specializes in LGBT tourism, found that 68 percent of gays and lesbians from outside the country said the Iraq war and the gay marriage bans were a deterrent to traveling here.
The same-sex marriage debate is also causing LGBT Canadians to think twice before crossing the border. With Canadians comprising the largest segment of foreign travelers to this country, our state-sanctioned homophobia is costing us foreign travel dollars.
It may also be costing us domestic tourism income, too, since 74 percent of U.S. lesbians and gay men polled by Community Marketing say they are more apt to visit a foreign country with a progressive political profile than to travel within our 50 states. For those of us who do stay stateside, a recent LGBT travel study conducted by the Travel Industry Association, Harris Interactive, and Witeck-Combs found that 48 percent of gay men and 47 percent of lesbians consider whether a destination within the U.S. is “gay-friendly” when making their travel decisions.
The study also found that the most important criterion is going to a destination that supports diversity and LGBT civil rights, and where visitors will be free from harassment. However, gay men are more likely to cite gay nightlife as an important factor in travel, whereas lesbians are much more concerned with personal safety, wanting a place “where I can hold my partner’s hand in public.”
“Gay-friendliness is frequently mentioned as a litmus test for how LGBT travelers and consumers favor destinations, travel brands, and services,” said Bob Witeck at the National Press Club event that unveiled the study. “We find they are not looking for special treatment, but instead, expecting consideration and equal respect given all customers.”
Witeck’s right - we don’t want special treatment. Just like straight people, we want to be marketed to, feel safe, and be respected. If more cities across the country go with the program regarding LGBT travel, they would not only see how green the rainbow flag can be, but they’d also see what wonderful people we really are.
Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a political commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media. She can be reached at LesbianNotions@qsyndicate.com.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at email@example.com.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
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Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
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Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at firstname.lastname@example.org.