After my first year as a “Gay Matchmaker” I know I should slow down long enough to share my observations in possible trends and current behaviors of the local LGBT community, the exclusive community in which I choose to serve individuals through my company designed by a straight ally aligning with the pro-equality movement.
But I guess one would first have to define “local.” Especially when the Austin Real Estate market repeatedly reports that approximately 150 people move to Austin daily. And when you consider that the Williams Institute estimates that 3.5% identify themselves as LGBT, can we assume that more than 5 a day, or 150 a month, or 1800 a year are choosing our fine city? Come on, is that not just exciting to think about, my friend?
Because I’m proud to be the first of now three, and what we hope to be many sponsors of the GayinAustinTexas.com monthly happy hour, I am often am one of the first to talk to the gay men moving to Austin. And what do I hear from them, during a casual telephone conversation, in public, or even during our 2-hour personal matchmaking interview?
– “I researched for two years to find the community that was as gay friendly as Palm Springs (or San Francisco, Seattle, etc.), but more vibrant, youthful, and progressive.”
– “After visiting during South By South West (SXSW, or ACL Fest, or Pride) last year, I couldn’t believe how much Austin had to offer. I came back home (to a northern state) and started planning my move to Austin.”
– “As a triathlete, I’ve visited for competitions, and as I’ve traveled all over the world, I’m choosing Austin as my full-time training location and new home.”
– “I lived in Houston (or Dallas) and would always come to Austin for weekends or events, and finally decided to move here. Now I simply visit Houston (or Dallas) on occasion to visit family or friends. But most would rather visit me here.”
– “I have had to hide from living an authentic life and be who I am (from family, or professionally) and I finally decided to move to Austin, and live how I want to live, and be who I am. I feel like I can do that in Austin, finally.”
At gay-centric social, networking, advocacy, or nonprofit fundraising events, I love when men feel comfortable approaching me to learn more about matchmaking, dating in Austin, or to talk about finding the perfect man for them. I love when I can say, “Oh, I need to keep you in mind for a guy that just moved here.” Equally as exciting is when I can help men newly living his authentic life by introducing him around at our monthly gatherings.
When I moved here 12 years ago, there wasn’t the luxury of meet ups, or new-to-Austin events. But there were social events for singles to meet, and I braved the challenge to force myself to show up, introduce myself, and be proud that I had a lot to offer a potential boyfriend, a potential casual friend, or fellow professional. And you can too.
Whether this speaks to the man considering a move to the Austin area, or to those that have relocated here in the last couple of years, but haven’t ventured out to introduce yourself, or simply that busy Austin professional who never makes your personal life a priority – now is the time. If nervous about being a “newby” – good news – we matchmakers lovingly volunteer to work the registration or nametag table. Tell us it’s your first visit, and we’ll introduce your around as though the new “Bachelor” is ready to meet his cast of potential true loves.
If we can help, we’d love to be a small part of the many factors that encourage you to move, or be glad that YOU moved to Austin.