Instead of boycotting Utah, here’s an opposite idea. If you’re gay, head there in droves

Although the boycott of Utah could cost the state a bundle in tourism dollars if it’s a success–and if it’s happening–here’s another idea to make an impact. Scott McCoy, an openly gay senator in Utah, has suggested that people who are gay should head to Utah in droves. I read about McCoy’s views in this Seattle Times article.

The idea McCoy had when he heard about the ban is to show folks in Utah that gay people and gay families are genuine and wonderful people. By showing up in Utah and doing vacation like things, these families would in essence be educating people about the need gay families have for equal rights under the law just like other families.

Reading McCoy’s take on the boycott reminded me about my experience at Kings Island this past August during Gay Pride Night. I went with my brother, his friend and my daughter. As I stood in line to ride the Firehawk, the roller coaster you ride mostly on your stomach, and looked at the other people in line, I thought how utterly common a scene it was. Shorts, T-shirts, sneakers, middle-aged paunches on some, better haircuts on others, talking, laughing, smiling, and visiting. When it stopped raining and all the rides were a go, the joy felt exactly the same on any other day when I’ve been to an amusement park in the rain. For some reason, give me a summer and I’ll go on the rainy day. It’s not planned that way, it just happens.

If I hadn’t known we were there on Gay Pride Night, I really wouldn’t have been able to tell. Maybe McCoy has a point. On the other hand, Colorado lost millions of dollars in the 80s when there was a similar boycott.

Peter Greenburg , the Today show’s travel guru, pointed out earlier this year before Prop 8 passed [see article] that with gay people being allowed to tie the knot in California, that state was going to be able to pull in serious bucks. I imagine these days, it’s good-bye dough to some extent.

Regardless of ones political or religious opinions, tourism is a powerful playmate when it comes to a state’s financial health.

Record turnout for San Francisco Gay Pride this year

I happened to be in San Francisco for this year’s Gay Pride weekend. So did an estimated 1,2 million other tourists, including men, women and the currently undecided.

Lots of people came here this year to get married since it is now legal in California. Lots of people came to make political statements: “I am thirteen and I understand equality. Why doesn’t McCain?” Others came to criticize Boy Scouts of America for raising kids into homophobic adults. Yet another poster said “Christian + Gay = OK.”

It was especially entertaining to watch the unsuspecting tourists stumbling upon the parade on their way fromSan Francisco’s main tourist trap, Fisherman’s Wharf. Different city completely! Yeah, they sell cheesy T-shirts here, too, but they are more original. I mean, what little kid wouldn’t love a T-shirt that says: “I [heart] my mommies.”

One of my favorite people was the guy in the picture. Part backpacker, part nudist. I could only aspire to that kind of liberation.

Air New Zealand to Offer Gay-Themed Flight

Bring on the feather boas, shimmery eye makeup, and stiletto heels. And if you want to sleep, maybe some sleeping pills, because Air New Zealand’s gay-themed flight from San Francisco to Sydney promises to be 14 hours of nonstop fun.

The flight is scheduled to depart February 25 for the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia, which is one of the world’s most well-attended gay events. Passengers can expect drag queens, pink cocktails, and a cabaret, as well as gay-friendly movies and a “Get-Onboard Girlfriend” going away party.

Air New Zealand flight-tested a similar theme for Sydney’s Mardi Gras in 2007, when flight attendants wore pink feather boas and the pilot donned fairy wings. American Airlines, Air Canada, and other airline companies have become visible sponsors of gay pride events, but none so far have used “campy” programming to appeal to gay and lesbian travelers.

I’m a married, heterosexual woman, but this is one 14-hour flight I just might actually enjoy.