Mexico City tourism minister Alejandro Rojas is planning for the increase in gay tourism that he says will result from the city’s recent decision to legalize same-sex marriage. Last Wednesday La Jornada reported that Rojas is looking forward to the influx of capital that will result from gay-marriage-related tourism and calls for greater tolerance from the city’s religious communities, suggesting that the Catholic Church has its own problems to deal with. Rojas says that the city will be investing 100 million pesos into a new gay-friendly hotel in the Zona Rosa and will support the development of other businesses that cater to the GLBT market.
The article makes no bones about the economic motives involved, mentioning that increases in gay-tourism have been the natural result of legal gay marriage in other cities in the world, spawning gay-friendly “bridal” boutiques, wedding venues, beauty salons, and hotels. The author cites statistics claiming that 15% of global tourism is gay tourism. What do they call us again? D.I.N.K.’s: Dual Income, No Kids. So that‘s why we’re such a profitable subset of the population to tap into…
This all makes me wonder about the effectiveness, the limits, and the ethics of using gay spending power to open people’s minds about gay people and gay marriage, especially in the context of tourism from the “First World” to Mexico. Does politely taking the money of a white gay couple from north of the border translate into politely receiving your gay son’s boyfriend at a family dinner? And, as Anahí pointed out to me, the only gay people benefitting from this 100 million peso investment are those that can afford to stay at a luxury hotel in the Zona Rosa. I have always found Mexico City to be a very gay friendly city, but I say that as a white American who has never had to go to a local junior high school, hospital, or police precinct.
I hope that the passage of this same-sex marriage bill means that Rojas is correct, that Mexico City will become a truly “gay friendly” city, one in which all GLBT people can live and visit with safety, dignity, and joy.