Michael Hamar

Richmond, Virginia Launches Gay Tourism Site

Filed By Michael Hamar | August 31, 2010 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Bob McDonnell, business, gay tourism, Ken Cuccinelli, Richmond

In a move that one would think has Virginia's uber-Christian RainbowLogoblack.jpgand decidedly anti-gay attorney general Ken Cuccinelli having convulsions, the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a tourism page aimed at the LGBT tourism dollar. The site, called Rainbow Over Richmond, covers everything from restaurants and accommodation, gay friendly areas of the city, shopping to historic attractions.

To add insult to injury from the Christianist perspective, the Visitors Bureau is also partnering with gay organizations to promote the Richmond Business Alliance which is comprised of gay and gay friendly businesses and professionals.

The move makes good business sense inasmuch as during the ongoing recession, the LGBT travel market has been one of the few to avoid a significant downturn. This forward thinking action ought to be emulated by cities in the Hampton Roads area Virginia - or better yet done as a regional effort. With the Hampton Roads area containing Jamestown, Yorktown, Williamsburg, historic Fort Monroe, NASA Langley, the Mariners Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Fine Arts, the Air and Space Museum, the Williamsburg Winery, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA, there are an abundance of attractions to lure LGBT tourists to the area if 1) the region would market to them and 2) more B&B's and hotels would likewise advertise to the LGBT community.

Sadly, Virginia Beach long ago made the decision to market to the "family vacationer" - which translates to blue collar straight couples with children from inland areas - and has no gay clubs in the resort area, but there is no need for the rest of the region not to get on board with smart marketing and pursue a market segment long ignored. The Richmond tourism site also links to GayRVA, a local LGBT news and entertainment website. The Richmond tourism site is currently running the following promotion:

Join us for Rainbow Over Richmond: 30 events in 60 days, an eclectic and engaging series of events from late August through October, exploring and celebrating LGBT and LGBT-friendly culture and community.

Again, what makes this new approach by the Richmond Tourism office all the more fun is that it's happening right under the noses of Virginia's anti-gay governor, Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell, and the hysterically anti-gay attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli. Obviously once the business community in the state's capital city catches on to the fact that courting the LGBT community makes good business sense, it's a pretty good sign that the Christo-fascists are losing the culture wars even in places like Virginia. Obviously, some folks in Virginia don't believe that Virginia is only for straight lovers anymore. Would that Hampton Roads would wake up to this reality as well.

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It's kind of ironic this is posted today. My husband and I are driving down to Atlanta in September for vacation and then working our way back to MD. We were talking about places to stop and he said well on the way back we could stop at Richmond. I started to try to do some research and really couldn't find much in the way of gay life etc. in Richmond. I think we have decided our final stop will be the Virginia Beach area but may need to check this out now.

Don't let this fool anyone. The people of Virginia hate the LGBT community. I was living in Alexandria when they passed the anti-gay state Constitutional Amendment to ban my marriage. I sold my condo and moved to Maryland. I wouldn't let the state persecute me with my own taxes, thank you very much. DO NOT STOP IN VIRGINIA, KEEP DRIVING TO DC where your gay dollars can be spent in a tolerant city.

While VA may have a backwards political climate, there are plenty of businesses that are reaching out to the community. This campaign and the city's new directory at http://richmondbusinessalliance.com are meant to showcase those that are making the effort.

I understand your frustration, but that mentality is not going to move the state forward.

Until those business owners force their legislative representatives to enact LGBT protections they are only in it for the money, just like the legislators.

Repeal_The_Va_Radar_Detector_Ban | August 31, 2010 3:52 PM

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While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising.

The only thing scarier than being gay in Richmond, VA is that banner advertising tourism in the bloody land of genocide and occupation now known as Israel.

All I'm getting is Spain, which, if we read Michael Lucas regularly, we know caused the Holocaust. :)

I lived there for 30 years as a city employee. I was openly genderqueer with the appearant (look-the-other-way) approach by management as long as I did my job. We had openly Gay and Lesbian city officials as high as department head. We had openly GLBT service recipients who received the same level of service as any city resident. i helped found the Diversity Thrift Store. They had an MCC way back in the day. I am not surprised. "Taliban Bob and "Da Cucc" may speak for parts of Virginia, but not the Richmond I knew.

I used to work for Diversity Thrift and I think the GCCR seems to doing okay despite the economy. While some may complain about the political climate of VA, the flippant disregard that some people (who also live within the state) have toward the importance of political-organizing directly contributed the sad lot of queers in this state. One's own apathy will always be the major weapon of one's political enemies. That rule was been proved here in VA, sad to say...

I don't think anyone could have an objection to shopping at LGBT businesses with union employees, wages and benefits but their financial success is not our goal, not why we built a movement and not what we're fighting for.

On the other hand teaming up with some government or Chamber of Commerce parasites to push tourism is as phony as it gets. Tourist dollars won't 'incrementally' improve things in Virginia or anywhere. Only a continuous campaign of mass actions and direct actions for our agenda will improve things.

There is something offensive in a state that won't treat LGBT people fairly holding out their hand for our money. We're not good enough people but they want us to spend, spend, spend on them? Seriously?

Although I completed my gender transition in another state, the reason I moved from Virginia was family, not politics. For 30 years I worked for this city and essentially cross-dressed on the job. At the time, I was amazed at the latitude and I received. I was in public contact work too. In a suit and tie preppy city, I looked like David Bowie and collected a paycheck for 30 years. I had openly GL supervisors, co-workers,and clients. I don't know--was this going on everywhere and could I have done this everywhere? In 1970, somebody wrote a letter to the Richmond Times-Dispatch complaining about CD's gathering on a particular corner. The then city manager personally responded that Richmond had no law against cross-dressing in public. Compare that to Phyllis Frye's Houston of that era or the situation in 1969 NYC that led to Stonewall. I felt lucky to have lived there cause I was never harrassed by anyone. The suburban counties were different from the city proper as expected.

We are two elderly, happily married gay men living in Massachusetts. We couldn't risk being in Virginia and one/both of us having a health emergency. (A very real possibility).