A few pages into it is a full page ad for the city of Atlanta, with the headline "we're out to show you a good time." The text of the ad, which was placed by the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, invites travelers to "visit a city that embraces diversity - where openly gay and lesbian elected officials serve as leaders, where corporations offer domestic partner benefits and where couples walk hand-in-hand in gay friendly neighborhoods."
I couldn't help but think about ice skating in hell on the day the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau (who actually are very cool people) placed such an ad.
So, with we GLBT advocates claiming that gay-friendliness is good for the economy ( and vice versa; that is GLBT antipathy is bad for the economy), I wondered what the economic situation was in an obviously gay-friendly city.
I did a little Google research and came up with some interesting facts and statistics about Atlanta:
- The greater Atlanta area, which recorded 53,750 single-family housing permits in 2004, led the nation in housing activity for the 13th consecutive year beginning in 1991.
- In a March 2004 Inc Magazine article by Joel Kotkin entitled "Top 25 Cities for Doing Business in America", Atlanta was ranked #1 in the nation among large metro areas as a place to do business.
- Atlanta was rated #1 by Black Enterprise magazine in their June, 2004 "Top Cities for Black Americans" ranking.
- Inc. Magazine in 2004 declared Atlanta the #1 city of the top 25 major metros for growing your business.
- Atlanta was named the "nation's hottest city" by Expansion Management Magazine.
- Of 361 metropolitan areas studied by POLICOM, a company that specializes in analyzing local and state economies, Atlanta was ranked #2.
Is it possible to prove a connection between an ad in a gay magazine and Atlanta's economic strength? Of course not. Is it possible to absolutely prove that recent backwards trends in Indianapolis' and Indiana's treatment of GLBT folks have contributed to "brain drain" and some of the other negative economic factors that have plagued us? No.
But it makes for a pretty compelling argument if you ask me, and the facts are what they are.