From air stewards to the army, we're everywhere now. But Adrian Gillan explores
which jobs still grab gay men most and why. We unveil the Top 10 Gayest Jobs
and ask how gay is yours?
Despite a lack of explicit legislation until now and a lingering haze of occupational homophobia,
gay men are increasingly free to enjoy whatever job they want - why, you can even
join the army if that's your thing! However, you cannot deny that certain jobs
still attract more than their fair queer quota.
And we're not talking about the many thousands directly employed out on the sizeable
gay scenes across the UK, serving fellow homos face-to-face, earning a crust from
the culture they know best: the barmen, club managers, sauna attendants, masseurs,
gay journalists, escorts and such.
We're talking about areas of the wider job market out beyond the scene: the travel
industry, notably air stewards; health and grooming, from hair dressers to gym
instructors; performing, from actors to kids' TV presenters; designing, catering
and nursing - to name a few.
A load of gay baloney? Or clichés based on truth? Just what is it about these jobs
that seemingly draws us in our droves?
The two gayest mainstream non-scene jobs are undoubtedly air steward and
hairdresser. Both are often perceived as homo-onslaughts on essentially female
worlds. Both are coated in kitsch glamour and theatre, though essentially mundane.
Not far behind are the designer professions, whether graphic, interior, fashion
or window dressing, and the performing arts - most notably musical theatre and
dance. These jobs fuse a certain sensitivity with a gift for expression - having
something to say and being able to say it.
Top 10 Gayest Non-scene Jobs
1. Air Steward|
2. Hair Dresser
3. Beauty Technician
4. Gym Instructor
5. Children's TV Presenter
6. Designer (Fashion, Interior, Graphic)
10. Media (PR, marketing, advertising)
So glamour, escapism, sociability, extrovertism, tactility and creativity: these
motifs recur, in various gay guises, time and time again on the queer job front.
It's an intriguing concoction: creative and introvert paired with outgoing and
expressive. Two sides of the same gay coin?
Perhaps it's something to do with the peculiar self-examination that being gay
usually necessitates: the empathy and breadth of viewpoint thereby engendered
combined with a highly individual streak, plus that all too commonly associated
felt need to act, pretend, bemuse or simply escape.
Of course, there are lots of insensitive or unimaginative gay men out there too
and I dare say you'll find a fair smattering of straight dancers if you try hard
enough. It would be pretty heterophobic to deny that many - the vast majority in
fact - of the world's great artists were not exactly gay. But there is demonstrably
some kind of correlation between being queer and the above traits.
Additionally, throughout the world of work, many gay men find themselves particularly
well suited to self-employment, as evidenced by the numerous gay entrepreneurs minding
their own small businesses either out on the scene or in the creative industries. Perhaps
it's partly a reaction to discrimination by employers and partly stemming from an
almost innate independence and drive to go it alone. OK so European anti-discrimination laws
are being forced on the government, but I know many gay men still start their own business,
because they think there's a so-called pink ceiling, which discriminates against them when it
comes to promotion.
So to all you self-employed hair-dresser cum part-time gym instructors who used
to be nurses out there: we could have told you so!