Can Philly Get Any Gayer?
In keeping with Philadelphia magazine’s feature about making our town “the best damn city in America,” G Philly wanted to share a few ideas about how to make gay-friendly Philly even, well, gayer. But what makes a city gay exactly? Is it the politics, the culture or the people? We have five ideas.
Elect an openly gay mayor: Nothing speaks to the gayness of a city than electing someone LGBT to lead it. While Philadelphia has a recent history of voting fairly gay-friendly candidates into the post, Philly would be viewed as one of the most progressive cities in the country if we supported openly gay candidates for higher political office.
Host a better Pride parade: Cities like Chicago and Atlanta host gay pride events each summer that are off the gay charts when it comes to courting well-known celebrities and attracting huge crowds onto the streets along the parade route. But anyone who’s visited Philadelphia’s Pride parade knows that turnout can sometimes be low as the celebration weaves its way to Penn’s Landing. How much better to boost Philly’s gay cred than to compete on a national level when it comes to pride? This means moving the event into the 21st century with bigger and better entertainment, even if it means creating fundraisers throughout the year (parties!) to pay for the first-class bash.
We have waterfronts, let’s use them: There’s nothing the gays love more (besides maybe a super sale at Barney’s) than sunning along the waterfront. And while Kelly Drive offers a beautiful vista along the Schuylkill River, the same can’t be said for the Delaware. Let’s take a cue from a city like Seattle that’s created a vibrant waterfront ripe for sunning, biking, sailing and shopping. Not only would this be a boon for the city at large (and a great eco-friendly move), but it would most definitely attract LGBT tourists looking to take advantage of Philly from the outside in.
Support gay business owners: Independent business helps shape the character of a city. And Philly already has a good start when it comes to nurturing small business owners who happen to be gay (13th Street in Midtown Village has no less than 10 different storefronts owned by LGBT locals). By giving other small, LGBT business owners the support they need to flourish, Philadelphia could easily develop the reputation that cities like Montreal already have for being gay commercial capitals for fashion, food, nightlife and fun.
Get famous already: Gay-friendly cities around the country all seem to have one thing in common: celebrities. Philly could use a dose of the fame monster (and we’re not talking about newscasters either, who tend to dominate the gossip pages). Sure, when films shoot in town, celebrity sightings are plentiful. But we could use some built-in sophisticated star power around the clock to show that Philly is a destination where even Hollywood likes to honeymoon.