Fans of Real Housewives of Atlanta and tons of straight women in the Big Peach might disagree with The Advocate, the world’s leading mag on all things LGBT, which recently claimed that A-Town is no longer the gayest city in America. How could this be you ask? The Advocate’s gauge for gay is a “per capita queerness.” LGBT elected officials, transgender protections and LGBT bookstores are all factors that round out the annual list.
I demand a recount! Are the gay-powers-that-be forgetting Miss Lawrence’s pterodactyl eyelashes? What about Derek J.’s masculine feet stuffed into the highest of heels every Sunday night on Bravo? Lest we forget Tyler — never mind! Atlanta is as gay as a YouTube parody of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” dance and that will never change.
Back in 2010, The Advocate honored Atlanta as the gayest city in America. LGBT folks and their allies rejoiced — Bishop Eddie Long more than likely jotted down an anti-gay sermon while gasping and swooning into a pair of big masculine arms — but I digress. Something in the milk ain’t clean because after only two years, Millie Jackson’s old stomping ground (yep, that Millie reference is for the old school queens) plummeted to number nine on the gaymeter. Someone call Little Richard!
The city that rocks the number one spot is Salt Lake City, Utah — otherwise known as the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This might be shocking like a number one hit from a former Destiny’s Child member, but as conservative and religious as Salt Lake is, where there is an oppressive environment there will be an even more vibrant subculture. Shout out to Jamaica!
Salt Lake is on gay steroids with its endless clubs, LGBT friendly neighborhoods and stable economy, supported by the extra disposable income from the LGBT community. That said, not one grain of sand there equals the fabulous-ness of Atlanta — a city that I’ve only been to once because it was just too gay for me. I prefer the original gays of New York City.
Speaking of the City that Never Sleeps: How can The Advocate not have the Big Apple as one of the top ten gayest cities in America? The drag queens rule New York — not the rats, not the mayor, not Jay-Z. If you want to survive a terrorist attack in Gotham, camp out at the nearest drag club because those broads know how to survive any catastrophe. During Hurricane Irene, I saw one drag queen bouncing through Manhattan like the flying nun!
Maybe a reason why Atlanta had its crown snatched, like Vanessa Williams in 1984, is because of the city’s plethora of blackness. There is an unfortunate strife between blacks and gays, both groups pulling punches in the “who has suffered more” ring. Sadly, earlier this week two men were beaten and robbed after leaving a gay bar in Atlanta.
Gay bashing will lower the ranks on the gayest cities in America list. Nonetheless, despite misconceptions and stereotypes, gays are not just white men. The LGBT community is diverse: black, Latino, disabled, poor, rich, male, female and everything else in between.
Hopefully next year Atlanta will rise from the ashes of lacefronts, muscle shirts, arched eyebrows and exploitative reality television to reclaim its crown as gay city number one.
Clay Cane is a journalist and radio host. Follow him on Twitter.