Let’s demolish Gary Gates’s gay number study.

I had nothing to do for an hour this afternoon, so I thought I’d do some figuring. And demolish Gary Gates’s gay number study.

OK, www.clubfly.com lists some 455 cities and towns in this country with gay bars. 90% of these are gay guy bars. There are roughly 2,000 bars and about 500 clubs of some kind listed, and well mapped out. You can find each and every one in a flash. It’s a gaygle indeed. So Gates knows where to go if he really wants to count us. Let me help him. I’ve been to enough everywhere to hazard a better guess than his.

So, let’s say Friday night, from 5 PM to 2 AM – happy hour to closing, there’s an average of 300 people passing through the doors of each of these 2,500 establishments. That’s 750,000 people. On Friday.

Now there’s also another 2,500 gay places, like gyms, AA meetings, restaurants, theaters, coffee shops, etc, and they too are scattered all over the nation. And say each has 200 people pass through on a Friday. Now these are different people of course. And so that’s 500,000 people. On Friday.

So that’s 1,250,000 people. And 90% are men. And for a “best guess” equivalent to Gary Gates’s I’ll say it’s 1,500,000 folks, because I always like to underestimate. So, 250,000 Lesbians, and 1,250,000 gay men out on Friday night. Now, they spend their money, and have a fine time. And they don’t go out on Saturday. When another 1,250,000 gay men go out. So that’s 2,500,000 gay men. And next weekend, let’s say half who went out last Friday go out next Friday, and half are newbies to the Friday scene this month. And so that’s 750,000 different gay men. The ½ who didn’t go out both Fridays stayed home. And Saturday too, and the rest of the days. And I think, my, we are busy people. We must be spending half our lives in bars, for there sure is a lot of people out every night.

Gates guesses that there’s 2,491,000 gay men in the nation. And so in just two nights, in one week, every single gay man goes out to a gay establishment. And on the other nights the other uncounted 2,491,000 gay men go out, I guess. And during the course of a month, if you do the calculations as I did, with a new ½ each succeeding night, some 10,000,000 gay men go out to clubs. But there’s only 2,490,000 and 1,034 to be exact, and Gates is. And so whom is in these places Sunday through Thursday? The bisexuals? Hahahaha. Bisexuals don’t go to bars. They use the internet and cruise parks or something. They have wives and girlfriends, they can’t go to gay bars.

Weirdly, how could one be so exact? Down to …,034? And I was not called. And the 89 year old guy I take care of wouldn’t admit it to any stranger. And the 20 year old living at home ain’t gonna’ say it while his mother answers the phone and gives her response, “Nope, no gay people in this house.”

And too, how can all the gay guys be out, when so many waiters in so many restaurants are gay? And they work both Friday and Saturday nights, and go out on Sunday and Monday. How many Applebees and Macaroni Grills are there? What, 100,000 restaurants across the nation open on a Friday night? All with a gay waiter, or two or three. And the hotels. How many hotels with gay clerks? What, 40,000 hotels? I have no clue. Gates is the demographer, count ’em up dude, find the gay people. We’re not on the phone. We’re at the bars, the gym, or working. Or visiting our parents houses. No wonder why a phone survey can’t find us.

And Gates doesn’t even best guess for the kids. He’s probably either afraid to guess, though the percentage must be the same. That is, if 2 or 5 or 7% of the adults are, so 2, 5, 7% of the kids are. Which is of course, one of the most over-denied realities this nation freaks to grapple with.

Could the man have an agenda to low ball the number?

Or could he just not have an earthly clue as to how to truly attempt an account, and merely relies on a few phone calls and an algorithm?

I find it funny too that the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has 1,400,000 members. And I’d say 400,000 are straight but gay friendly. Leaving 1,000,000 gay business. Which is thus 40% or so of the 2,490,000 gay men, and I think, are we really this entrepreneurial? Or are there really just more gay people that Gates could conceivably guess?



  1. ted

    Wonderful insightful analysis. this is getting us back to the ten percent to fifteen percent number, which is my take. Because only 1 in 10 gay people will go out to a bar according to statistics from long ago. Non smokers won’t go out. married men won’t go out, nor other closeted types. So, in active sex with men, up to 15%, desiring and having at least occasional sex with men, up to 40% to 50%. Desiring but no contact, another ten to twenty percent.

    Why low ball the figure? TO ELIMINATE US AS A SERIOUS POLITICAL FORCE. If we don’t exist, no one counts our votes. Gay voters turned on Jindal after he refused to meet with us, but only after Blanco agreed to meet. he would have been governor four years earlier if he had listened to his gay constituents. The religious right wants us tho think we are alone, that we might as well be straight. When you count real numbers of us, you get the picture. We are everywhere, and ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. WE ARE NATURAL. Like being left handed. We are not defective right handed people, we are left handed. We are oranges, not unnatural apples. We run the entertainment, food and lodging industries. We are numerous and varied. And a lot of fun. Thanks, Jim!

  2. Bob

    You call that a count, a scientific one?

    The 1.7% figure is likely generous.

  3. Dennis

    Gates is a scholar. His research is peer-reviewed. He’s allegedly a happily married, gay man (anecdotal data point from friends). Jim, he’s on our side. His research methods are proven. He has NO agenda to set back the LGBT cause. He’s simply reporting the facts. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    If anything’s anecdotal here (other than my data about Gates’s marriage), it’s your analytical methodology.

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