Spending our gay dollars

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Let me offer a humble suggestion, if I may. As the saying goes, charity begins at home. Our home is what we call the Gayborhood. In the financial condition that the city, state and country are in, many people are cutting back on their spending. This is having an impact on our own gay and gay-friendly businesses.

A local business owner wrote me recently to tell me about the cuts he had to make in his business: laying off employees, cutting staff hours and ending employee benefits. All this to keep the business’ doors open. This is a business that we all know, one that has been around for some time now, and one in the middle of our Gayborhood. We all know it’s there, but how many times do we just walk by and spend our dollars in a place that has no connection or care for the LGBT community?

Well, we just might be able to help our own community, and it comes from a slogan we’ve heard before: Buy gay. Our community businesses can meet almost all your needs. We have doctors, lawyers, real-estate agents, pets, furniture, cars, a fun night out on the town, a great dinner, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, candy, groceries, all forms of entertainment, books and magazines. I think you get my point. Spend money where it can help employ members of your community, your friends and the people who help make us a community.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you only spend money in the community; just make an effort to do so when you have a choice. We are not isolationist, but we must make an effort to help our own when we can.

Many years ago, the gay-rights activists wanted to show the impact of LGBT people on America’s financial structure. The suggestion was made that each time you got a dollar bill, you write “gay” on it. At the time, there were two problems with that idea. For one, most people in our community were in the closet and would be wary of passing a dollar that had the word “gay” on it. Second, it was a time when there was little organization in the community, so the true impact of gay dollars couldn’t be felt. Of course there is the third reason: Defacing U.S. currency is illegal. But overall, it’s a great idea to come back to when the economy makes its way back. And it will. The economy is very much like a roller coaster — there are ups and downs. In the entire history of civilization, it has been up and down. We’re down now, so have no doubt about it, we will go up again. Until then, let’s try to help out those in our community. Buy gay.

Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected].