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)
7. Performer
8. Waiter
9. Nurse
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!

 

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