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    January 16, 2007

    Another gay poll gone wrong

    Posted by: Chris

    Londonouttraveler Everyone knows the gays have a reputation for fabulous taste in all sorts of things, including travel destinations.  As with fashion, urban neighborhoods and any given aesthetic trend, as go the gays, so goes everyone — eventually.

    But apparently those of you (er, us) who subscribe to Out Traveler magazine didn't get the memo.  In the magazine's 2006 "Readers' Choice" awards, the selections weren't fashion forward or even mildly creative.  They were, in fact, the same choices the average joe schmo non-homo might make:

    Favorite U.S. destination:  New York City
    Favorite foreign destination:  London
    Favorite island:  Hawaiian Islands
    Favorite gay resort: Key West

    Remember, these aren't your run-of-the-mill 'mos making these choices.  They're gays interested enough in travel to read a gay travel magazine chock full of new and different vacation ideas, along with the old stand-bys.  So c'mon people, we're better than this!

    Key West as "Favorite Gay Resort"?  Maybe 10 years ago (or longer).  It retains a modicum of charm amidst a sea of aging hetero cruise passengers, decked out in fanny packs and matching T-shirts.  These days, Key West doesn't even qualify as the best (or most popular) gay resort in South Florida.  That prize goes to trés-gay Fort Lauderdale.

    The Hawaiian Islands?  What is this — a prize package on "The Newlywed Game"?  Yes, they're gorgeous (OK, I've actually never been.)  But at least go with Ibiza or some place with a little spice.  Mykonos, anyone?  Lesbos?  (The island, not the pejorative.)

    New York as favorite U.S. destination?  Of course the city is amazing, but can't we be a tad more adventurous, Out Traveler readers?  Venture a bit more afield?  At least you didn't pick San Francisco.  (Oh wait a minute, you did — San Francisco Gay Pride as favorite gay event.  At least Gay Days in Orlando came in second, though even it has seen hipper days.)

    Then there's London as favorite foreign destination.  Now don't get me wrong; I love London.  It's the most truly international city I've ever visited.  Give me London over New York any ole day.  But again, can we be a bit more daring?  Next to Tijuana and Toronto, London is probably the most commonly visited foreign city by Americans.  Aren't we gays supposed to lead the crowd, not follow?

    So we come to a new survey question (since Madonna eviscerated all competition — including U.K. fave Kylie Minogue — for greatest gay icon of all time.  Besides, I knew you guys picked well when this weekend I saw, by complete coincidence, a VH-1 special dubbed into Portuguese that named Madonna the "No. 1 gay music icon."  Note to Jimbo: Kylie didn't even make their Top 20.)

    What ought to be the favorite non-U.S. gay travel destination?  I've come up with 10 options, including London and staying with popular places including some that are a bit more off the beaten trail.  Fully half of them are in Europe, and yes, I included my current address.  I offer no apologies for that bit of complete objectivity.

    So cast your vote!  (Doing so won't take you off the site or stick you with spam, I promise.)  And if you don't like my choices, don't hesitate to add a comment with alternatives.



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    1. jimbo on Jan 17, 2007 12:32:10 AM:

      Kylie lost? Dammit.

      I nominate Costa Rica.

    1. Tim C on Jan 17, 2007 8:33:05 AM:

      I disagree about Key West. It's still good. The fanny pack-wearing cruise ship passengers never go above Caroline Street and never stray far from either side of Duval Street. And they're gone by 4:30 back to the ships which have to be away from the wharf by 5. Ft. Lauderdale? Atlanta by the Sea. Ho hum.

    1. Andoni on Jan 17, 2007 10:50:15 AM:

      I'm truly impressed with your list! As I was reading the blog, I missed the sidebar with the list of cities, so as I was reading, I was thinking of great gay cities and you nailed them.

      If I absolutely had to add any, I would suggest Bali and Phuckett knowing these are great places, but not visited enough by our community to win the contest.

      "Our Traveler" would like to think it has sophisticated travelers reading its rag, but what it really has is a majority that is not comfortable visiting non English speaking destinations. That is truly UNSOPHISTICATED.

    1. Alan on Jan 17, 2007 4:02:00 PM:

      It would be interesting to know the demographic and geographic breakdown of Out Traveler's readers. Perhaps they are more from the heartland than the big cities with their gay ghettoes and maybe they can't afford some of the more exotic destinations. I get brochures for trips and cruises all the time and even the dullest of them are out of my price range as a single traveller.

      As for Bali and Phuket - one had a terrorist bombing and the other was destroyed by a tsunami. Sure the likelihood is that it will never happen again but hey, I'm Jewish and you couldn't pay me to travel to Israel either.

    1. Charlie on Jan 17, 2007 4:25:33 PM:

      I'm afraid the world is getting more homo...geneous.

      What's the difference between New York or London or Rio or Sydney?

      All the stores sell the same clothes, the restaurants serve the same cuisine and, worst of all, you see the same faces - and bodies - everywhere.

      Why leave home?

    1. Andoni on Jan 17, 2007 5:07:32 PM:

      I guess it all depends on how “Out Traveler” asked the question about favorite destinations. Favorite could imply a place you like and go to frequently. If readers interpret it this way, this means selections will more likely be shorter plane rides rather than longer ones and more likely will be reasonably priced tickets than expensive ones. This interpretation would skew the results to the places we see on their list of winners.

      Even for the two seemingly distant places “Out Traveler” readers chose, London is not that far or expensive to get to from the East Coast and Hawaii is not that long a plane ride or expensive from the West Coast.

      For me, I would rather define favorite very narrowly --- purely as the PLACE I like best without the contaminating factors of how long it takes to get there or how expensive the ticket is. So Chris’s list suits me fine and the “Out Traveler” results are probably simply a tally of the destinations their readers have been to on a frequency basis.

      As for Bali and Phuket, I was in Bali during the first bombing (and helped them in the E.R.) and I was near Phuket on the day of the tsunami. I still think both these places are great destinations and have been back to both.

      P.S. I was also a mile from the Pentagon on 9-11. Anyone wanna travel with me?

    1. John Whiteside on Jan 17, 2007 8:41:54 PM:

      I think it's important to remember the difference between "favorite" and "most interesting." London is one of my favorite cities, but it's obviously not an adventurous kind of destination.

      Having only been to 4 of the 10 cities on your list, I'm not voting. (I'm not sure how I'd choose between Paris and Amsterdam - it depends on what you want to do. Get stoned? Amsterdam. Eat amazing food? Paris. Sex clubs? Either.)

      Mostly, I surprised at your surprise at finding that we're not as trendy as rumor had it. I lost that illusion the summer than every gay man in P-town was reading an Anne Rice book.

    1. Nerva on Jan 17, 2007 8:56:17 PM:

      Key West? This is to American what Gran Canaria is to Europe - so "last century"!

      Portland, Oregon, is my favourite in USA - and perhaps my current favourite in the world. In Canada, it's Vancouver

      As for Europe, Krakow in Poland is, perhaps suprisingly, a good desitnation. Like London, Paris seems to have "lost it" for the gay traveller who doesn't want to be ripped-off - that is unless one wants to see the tourist attractions.

    1. RIONYC on Jan 17, 2007 10:51:27 PM:

      Where is Buenos Aires on the list? Didn't you read the article in O Globo recently: http://oglobo.globo.com/viagem/mat/2007/01/15/287422347.asp

      It appears that not only is BA the new 1920's Paris, but it's also cheap and very gay-friendly.

      Btw, how is the immigration procedure to Brazil going for you? Is it a straightforward procedure to get a permanent visa based on your relationship with your boyfriend? I also have a Brazilian boyfriend, so any news on this would be appreciated.

    1. raj on Jan 18, 2007 9:25:11 AM:

      I'm not sure what the surprise or the complaint is here. It has been obvious for a number of years that the editorial content of magazines is pushed by and largely in support of the magazines' advertisers. Out Traveler's "poll" would be no exception. Compare the poll choices to the locations of the advertisers, and I suspect that you'd get pretty close to a match.

      One of the reasons why we dropped our subscriptions to Bon Apetit and Gourmet Magazine a few years ago (after subscribing for over two decades) was that it had become clear that their editorial content had become nothing more than further advertising for their advertisers.

      BTW, our gay destination is Munich (Germany, not North Dakota) because we have a house there.

    1. KJ on Jan 19, 2007 12:21:12 PM:

      I don't get out much, and the foreign cities to which I've traveled (Osaka, Krakow) have oddly not made the list. Of course, there's always Vancouver BC.

    1. JV Del Rosario on Feb 4, 2007 8:40:47 AM:

      Im really thankful to have come across your profile at friendster, Im a bisexual from the Philippines, but Im very discreet because tradition and culture here is very different, if your a gay. lesbian or bi, they'll treat you like a cancer patient, like a disease.

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