July 2021


Gay Bloomington, Revisited

Yesterday’s Gay Bloomington posting might have accidentally given the wrong impression about Bloomington, Indiana.

The problem with the article in outTraveler isn’t that its information is wrong, but rather the information it provides is more geared to the question, “Would a gay/ bisexual/ queer/ lesbian/ transgendered person want to live in Bloomington?” This is a perfectly legitimate question, and happily the answer is yes.

Without a doubt Bloomington is a great city for GLBTQ to live in, and the author comes up with a pretty decent list, which as a whole could convince me to move to Bloomington:

  • Sexual Orientation in Human Rights Ordinance
  • IU and Bloomington extending domestic partner benefits
  • Liberal Politics
  • Bicycle Friendly Community
  • BloomingOut Radio Show
  • Miss Gay IU Pageant
  • Pride Film Festival
  • Sexual Minority Youth in the Heartland Conference (thanks to Mike)
  • Lake Monroe
  • Shirtless beer-drinking boys (aka fratboys)
  • Three Gay Bars (Bullwinkles, The Other Bar, Uncle Elizabeth’s)

However, these items are not the same things that I look for when deciding to visit “Gay Wherever.” The fact that there is a weekly gay radio program doesn’t encourage me to visit anywhere, rather if I am looking for “Gay Wherever” I want to know that the gay scene is vibrant and interesting, and the above list doesn’t really cut it.

The first five in my list above are completely irrelevant to my travel planning. Certainly the presence of these items probably enhances the quality of gay life that I, as a tourist, see when making plans. The second grouping of items are annual, or less frequent, events, and I would only attend these items if I happened to be in town whilst they were going on. Finally, the last group of items are things that might attract me to visit someplace, but given my personal tastes, not one of these three items will attract me to any given city.

Now, for my second point about the “Visit Gay Bloomington” website: it sucks.

It seems to be the regular “Visit Bloomington” homepage with a different, but gay, flash animation. I just compared the two “different” homepages. Both feature the same six horizontal boxes, both feature promotional banners for the Lotus Music Festival, the Fourth Street Festival, Hoosier Football, Summer Music Festival, and, ironically, “www.visitgaybloomington.com” — the URL I’d just typed in to get to the gay page!

As I noted yesterday, clicking through to the “going out” page and then “party central” yields no information about gay bars in Bloomington. How is that supposed to attract anybody because as far as I can think, that’s probably pretty much the only thing that’s exclusively gay in Bloomington. There’s no gay bed and breakfast or gay bookstore that I’m aware of.

If you’re going to try and promote Bloomington as a gay tourist destination, you need to at least have some gay-specific content.

2 comments to Gay Bloomington, Revisited

  • Adam, I concur that more *gay specific* information would be a draw for gay & lesbian travellers. I also think that it would be a good idea to market outdoor amenities like Griffy Lake & the state forests- many gay-friendly destinations (like Chicago) are quite removed from nature, so I would think that proximity to parks could be a big plus for Bloomington (esp. considering the fact that certain Western US municipalities that have “access to nature”- Salt Lake City, Bozeman, Spokane, Boise- aren’t as gay-friendly).

  • mateo

    Lake Griffy and Hoosier National Forest are suggested places to visit for the gay/lesbian traveller on the site. Perhaps the site could have been designed a little bit more clearly since it seems that it’s not so easy to find the right information.