The Advocate ran an article today entitled “Lesbian Mayor Helps Turn Houston Into a Gay Hot Spot.”
While the election of Annise Parker gave Houston some very positive publicity, I doubt she has helped turn Houston into a gay hot spot.
Ask Parker about getting partnership benefits passed and she will say that at some point that needs to done, but she needs to balance the budget and do something about flood control in the city. Few people will visit Houston because of a balanced budget and improved flood control.
But visitors want things to do and if you’re visiting Texas you want to go where there are things to do. For most people that’s Austin and San Antonio. Liberal Austin is known for its 6th Street music scene and San Antonio for the Alamo and Riverwalk.
Dallas and Houston? Museums and theaters. That will attract visitors regionally, but really aren’t interesting enough or important enough to attract LGBT visitors from around the country. Houston’s got NASA. Definitely worth a visit. Dallas has Dealey Plaza and Southfork. Not so much. Most gay travelers who want theater will still go to New York and will visit our museums only after thoroughly exploring Washington’s and New York’s.
On the other hand, visitors won’t be less likely to visit Houston because of Annise Parker’s election. Her election is certainly something positive. But as much as I like her — and I really do — she hasn’t turned Houston gay.