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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Napa Valley businesses and hospitality want you to know they love the gays

Since the SF Gate/Chronicle article spread the news last weekend of Napa City's failure at even passing a purely symbolic measure of acceptance and welcome (and the additional gaffe of having Vice Mayor Inman explain basically that gay couples should take their cash and look elsewhere to find such a place), I've been hearing faint echoes of a call for a boycott of Napa until we get our "Equality Resolution" act together.

Local businesses are scrambling to make sure that the gay and gay-friendly from around the world know that we indeed are welcoming and we indeed would love them to come visit and spend their hard earned money here in our valley.

I've been contacted by a few people from the business community looking to get ideas on how to do something about this situation. Namely, that we'd love gays to visit, live and feel welcome here in spite of City and other leaders that, for purely political reasons, failed to embrace equality.

Plans are in the works for a website/directory featuring gay-owned and gay-friendly Napa Valley businesses that would launch this week. I think that's a start and a great beginning step, but--and I'm not trying to be pessimistic--I think that the issues go much deeper than the City Council's failure at adopting the resolution, and that we gays are just tired of being marginalized period. It's the symbolism that counts in this one, though.

Either way, it seems that Calistoga's got a head start on the gay-positive PR (and St. Helena might not be too far behind in taking advantage of the City of Napa's failure). They've got a prominent GLBT travel section on their visitor's page featuring a video interview with the gay couple that own The Chanric Inn and even a clever slogan to make sure visitors know how the north end of the Valley approaches potential gay visitors. It seems it's long overdue that Napa and the Valley step it up and keep in mind that what really matters, resolutions or not, is how we are treated.

In your experience, is Napa a gay-friendly place? Other ideas on what could help spread the gay-friendly word about the Valley?

I'll be in touch with the folks from the City and also share the website as soon as I get the URL.

1 comment:

  1. "Gay friendly" is not a term I would use to describe Napa as a whole, though it is getting better. There are still a lot of homophobes running around, but that can be said of anywhere, unfortunately and there are certainly places that are worse, even in the bay area. On the other hand, there are gay friendly people and businesses, and of course actual gay people who are trying to make a living.

    I like the idea of being able to know which business are gay owned or at least gay friendly so that we can support those people, and avoid giving our money to people who would then turn around and use it to take away our rights or to marginalize us in any way. One of my main complaints about DADT is that they are using our tax dollars to teach discrimination against us to the entire country as well as to new recruits, and also to persecute gay service members. While that may seem off topic, it is the idea of our dollars being used to marginalize us, as opposed to being used to support us. So any way that helps us and those who support us to channel our expendable income towards those who are supportive and away from those who would hurt us would be a big help. The risk for gay business owners who are trying to make a living is being boycotted by the homophobes.