Homosexuals in Las Vegas find few places to mix
J.L. Jordan III moved to Las Vegas after living in such metropolises as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. For most 33-year-old single men, the local singles scene in comparison would have them suffering hunger pains. For Jordan and other gay men, it’s more of a famish.
“I definitely think (the singles scene is) bad here,” says Jordan, who works as a promoter for Krave adjacent to the Shops in Desert Passage at Planet Hollywood Resort.
“I’ve seen all major gay communities, and this isn’t even close to the playing ground.”
Sure, there are outlets that set the stage for casual relationships, but when the goal is something more permanent, the options are as scarce as the rainbow bumper stickers in the Kona Grill parking lot.
Not until recently have groups such as Trendy Tuesdays and Sin City Q Socials opened the door for men who want to meet other men in a context unaccompanied by deafening bass drums and black lights.
Both are networking groups organized for those who have graduated from the club scene.
“Trendy Tuesdays is an alternative to gay clubs and bars,” Jordan says of the group, which meets at a new location each week. “It’s a fun way to meet people.”
Even with who he refers to as “progressive-minded” gay people attempting to change the scene in Las Vegas, there are still some fundamentals missing.
The fact there isn’t a bar or club in town catering to local gay men only perpetuates the short-term relationship, Jordan says.
“It’s hard to meet local gay people. The majority of people going to these clubs are tourists; that’s 85 percent of our audience,” he says. “It’s not a top location to meet a local gay person.”
The transiency issue that plagues the heterosexual community and gays in Las Vegas isn’t the only common denominator between the two. Gay men in town also deal with the buzz-kill that is the “high roller.”
“We tend to have the stereotype of young guys going out looking for more affluent men to take care of them,” Jordan says.
The similarities don’t stop there. Just as straight women find it difficult to compete with the hard-bodied stripper types in town, the gay community has its own attention monger.
“They’re all looking for the young — what we call ‘twink’ — young, skinny white boy,” Jordan says.
Aside from the dynamics within the club, relationships among the gay clubs aren’t helping the cause either.
As Jordan tells it, gay clubs in bigger cities play off and support each other to help their communities thrive, but owners here can’t seem to shake hands, let alone offer a helping hand.
Regardless of the obstacles, it’s all in the way you look at things.
At least that’s the philosophy Dawn Coraci tries to maintain. The 31-year-old lesbian describes the singles scene for her community in Las Vegas as “good” but quickly adds a disclaimer.
“But people have to be outgoing,” she says. “A lot of people aren’t as outgoing as me, and that’s where the trouble lies.”
One such trouble is well-meaning straight friends taking on the role of matchmaker.
“My friends from work know I broke up with someone and they’re like, ‘Oh, so did my friend, and they’re a lesbian, too!'” she mocks. “Some people think because two people are lesbians, they’re automatically a match.”
Coraci insists there isn’t “anyone on the planet” who cannot know she’s gay. Still, she exercises discrimination when deciding on social outlets. The corner PT’s Pub is out of the question.
“I don’t want to be around people who are going to stare, or where I can’t be myself,” she says. “I’m someone who just doesn’t care (about revealing her sexual orientation) but I don’t want that kind of confrontation, either.”
Coraci, an administrative assistant for Cirque du Soleil, hails from Detroit, a city that certainly doesn’t rank up there with San Francisco in its gay-friendliness but still fares better than Las Vegas on her meter. The way she sees it, things were “just easier” in Detroit.
That hasn’t managed to put a damper on Coraci’s extroverted personality.
Preferring a setting where she can talk and get to know more about a person than their drink preference, she serves as vice president for Betty’s Outrageous Adventures, www.bettysout.com.
It’s not exclusive to singles, but the various activities — dinner and a movie, hiking, hockey games, etc. — set up the scene for those looking.
She has been single all of five months. A short time but so far so good.
“People just attach themselves to me because I’m so outgoing,” she says. “They confuse it for something else, so I have to be like, ‘No, I’m just outgoing.'”