Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Enthusiast coaster & amusement park chatter about whatever. If it's not about coasters & parks, it'll go to the garbage file. Keep it on-topic and flame-retardant, please.

Moderator: illinois

User avatar
CptBeeble
Ride Operator
Posts: 710
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:02 pm
Custom Title: My body isn't a temple, it's an amusement park.

Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by CptBeeble » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:03 am

If you've ever been to an enthusiast event, you've probably noticed: a disproportionate percentage of the attendees are gay. If the generally-accepted statistics of 1 in 10 people being gay is true, then avid coaster enthusiasts are probably double or even triple that percentage. Perhaps more!

The question is: WHY? What draws such a large percentage of gays into this hobby? I have my own theory, but I'll let some other folks bounce theirs off the sounding board in here first.

Secondary question: as a general rule, the enthusiast organizations tend to be very accepting of gays as members, probably more so than other groups of their size. Yes, I realize that current times are, as a rule, far more accepting than in the past all across the board - but enthusiast groups have been accepting for a long time, even when the general mood in the country was more narrow-minded. Are coaster enthusiasts just generally more open-minded than other single-topic groups, or is there something else going on? Again, I'll wait until some others chime in before giving my theory.

User avatar
johnny.ink
Ride Operator
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:59 pm
Custom Title: Negative G Charity Coordinator & Engine Man

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by johnny.ink » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:21 pm

I noticed when I joined ACE TC, and I have a theory - nice an simple :)

Disposable income.

I have also noticed that a subsection also appears to have autism / aspergers like my son. I think for most - at least what I've learned with my son and others like him, is that the stimulus is relaxing and fun. What makes others antsy relaxes my son Draven and plus, well, we both enjoy roller coasters :)

User avatar
bratman
Park Owner
Posts: 1823
Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:20 pm
Custom Title: Destroyer Of Rides
Location: Milton, ON
Contact:

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by bratman » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:28 pm

I do believe its disposable income as well.

As for autism/aspergers - people who have that seem adept at having hobbies - gives them something to focus on. Clubs nurture that.

Vonni
Hyper Coaster Rider
Posts: 570
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:45 am
Location: Huntsville, MO

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by Vonni » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:03 pm

I have thought about it myself, and I honestly do not have a clue. I myself am gay, and have found it so endearing that everyone I have come across through -G have been so kind and welcoming. I simply cannot establish a theory as to the apparent large number of gay men and lesbians that are enthusiasts. Perhaps it is a release from all the oppression we have experienced? SFStL was kind of my refuge while in High School. It was where I could let all the bullshit from school go, and just geek out, and get high on adrenaline. Then I started going to destination parks. I was blossoming as a young man, while becoming an enthusiast. I dont know if any of this has made sense.

Again, I just want to say thank you to all of you who have allowed me to feel welcome, included, and part of this amazing group. And I'd like to extend and extra special shout out to Paul. I've mentioned to you before I have been visiting your site for over ten years. Once I joined the forums, and you welcomed me with open arms, even after I revealed to you that I am gay, I've never felt more at home. Thank you so much for being the person you are, and sharing this phenominal hobby with all of us! You rock my friend!

User avatar
CptBeeble
Ride Operator
Posts: 710
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:02 pm
Custom Title: My body isn't a temple, it's an amusement park.

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by CptBeeble » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:54 pm

As to the first question, I agree that disposable income likely has something to do with so many being at enthusiast events. It's expensive to take a family to a bunch of theme parks and expensive to take a family to Con or another such event... but also, the lack of children in a lot of gay households makes it easier not only on the wallet, but on the logistics. Let's face it, unless everyone in the family is into coasters, dragging the whole family to Con is kinda silly. There's just not much for the non-enthusiast to do while those who enjoy it are off doing ERT. And going to Con for a week while leaving the one or two non-enthusiast kids at home is usually not feasible, either. So while the logistics and reduced expenses of smaller family units/less kids and greater disposable income can fairly easily explain why events are so full of "festive" folks, it doesn't really explain why those folks are enthusiasts to begin with... sure, lots of people love coasters, but what is it about REALLY loving coasters that appeals to gays? I think the answer might lie in my answer to the second question:

Why do enthusiast communities seem to be more open-minded (and have been for much longer than society in general)? Because to much of society, rabid enthusiasm for something is outside the norm. Sure, lots of folks love a good coaster, but when you admit that you've been on hundreds or that you've been on a particular one hundreds of times, or that you've had ten or more rides on a coaster in a single day or that you can walk through a park and rattle off statistics for every coaster in there... well, THAT kind of fanaticism is outside the normal limits of what society expects. SO... if you're a person who has already been treated as a societal outsider, you're probably less likely to be harsh to those who fall outside of societal "norms" in other ways as well. AND, if you're a gay person who has already been living outside the "norm" then being "abnormal"ly obsessed with coasters isn't a big leap for you at all... whereas someone who's never been outside the norm might shy away from voluntarily entering into a club or hobby that puts them in a fringe group. Some people are very uncomfortable with the idea of being seen as "odd."

User avatar
johnny.ink
Ride Operator
Posts: 601
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:59 pm
Custom Title: Negative G Charity Coordinator & Engine Man

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by johnny.ink » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:38 am

One man's odd is another man's normal ;)

User avatar
Paul Drabek
Park Chain CEO
Posts: 7872
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:07 pm
Custom Title: Chief Coaster Nut!
Location: Third rock from the sun. In the middle of nowhere.
Contact:

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by Paul Drabek » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:42 pm

Interesting thread. I think it might have to do for one with how in general the entire coaster enthusiast community tends to live life in a very fun way a little on the edge. Also in general we're a very close knit community that is also extremely welcoming to others of different backgrounds and lifestyles. Not being say "traditional" as society says I think gays find our close knit on the edge community a fitting place to call home.

What is also interesting is there are also a large percentage of coaster enthusiasts who have aspergers syndrome like myself. AS used to be called "high functioning autism" but it really means that our brains operate on a different operating system than the majority of people. My theory behind the large number of AS folks is we tend to be into sensory things as we have heightened sensitivity and the intense sensation of riding coasters is refreshing mentally (like rebooting a computer) and the sensory overload feels good to us. Also we tend to be highly intelligent, a little socially awkward so the non traditional close knit community suits us as well.
Life is short....have fun!

Sora
Ride Operator
Posts: 795
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:41 am

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by Sora » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:08 am

First, I'm pleasantly surprised that this thread didn't get locked straight away as it would be on many other forums, as the question is quite interesting. :)

The main reason is probably because coaster enthusiast events are shameless. It is pure geeky, nerdy fun, and once you've got a core of people who are outside the norm, then it's a logical step to welcome others even if they are different in other ways from you. Over time you get a massive group of people who are all outsiders to some degree, with a few more ordinary people mixed in for good measure, either because they're married to unusual spouses or because they themselves just like the experience of riding coasters.
Paul Drabek wrote:What is also interesting is there are also a large percentage of coaster enthusiasts who have aspergers syndrome like myself. AS used to be called "high functioning autism" but it really means that our brains operate on a different operating system than the majority of people. My theory behind the large number of AS folks is we tend to be into sensory things as we have heightened sensitivity and the intense sensation of riding coasters is refreshing mentally (like rebooting a computer) and the sensory overload feels good to us. Also we tend to be highly intelligent, a little socially awkward so the non traditional close knit community suits us as well.
Also people on the spectrum can get quite obsessive about certain things, to the point where most other people in the playground won't want to know. That's not a problem at enthusiast events because there is a high concentration of like-minded individuals who can spend all day talking about coasters in a frightening level of detail without getting bored. Aspie bliss. :D

User avatar
Paul Drabek
Park Chain CEO
Posts: 7872
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:07 pm
Custom Title: Chief Coaster Nut!
Location: Third rock from the sun. In the middle of nowhere.
Contact:

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by Paul Drabek » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:49 pm

Woodpecker wrote:First, I'm pleasantly surprised that this thread didn't get locked straight away as it would be on many other forums, as the question is quite interesting. :)
Why would I lock this...the whole thread is respectful and there's nothing wrong with Jim's question. Besides the more different people can talk about their differences in a friendly way the more all of us understand each other and honestly this is what the world really needs right now.
Life is short....have fun!

Vonni
Hyper Coaster Rider
Posts: 570
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:45 am
Location: Huntsville, MO

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by Vonni » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:09 pm

Paul Drabek wrote:
Woodpecker wrote:First, I'm pleasantly surprised that this thread didn't get locked straight away as it would be on many other forums, as the question is quite interesting. :)
Why would I lock this...the whole thread is respectful and there's nothing wrong with Jim's question. Besides the more different people can talk about their differences in a friendly way the more all of us understand each other and honestly this is what the world really needs right now.

Just another reason why -G is the superior Coaster Enthusiast forums.

User avatar
CptBeeble
Ride Operator
Posts: 710
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:02 pm
Custom Title: My body isn't a temple, it's an amusement park.

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by CptBeeble » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:41 am

but... but... we might have differing opinions! What if I post something that people, especially Paul, disagree with?

Don't ban me, bro!

;-)

Vonni
Hyper Coaster Rider
Posts: 570
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:45 am
Location: Huntsville, MO

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by Vonni » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:43 am

Stop being "obnoxious"! lol ;)

User avatar
Spencerman
Ride Operator
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:24 pm
Location: Des Moines, Iowa

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by Spencerman » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:45 pm

I am so glad to have stumbled upon this site many years ago, and I am so happy to be a part of such an accepting group. It is so nice to know that people don't judge each other for their differences. Thank you Paul for making this site, and thank you all for being friendly to one another. :D

User avatar
Raptor29
Wood Coaster Rider
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:11 pm
Custom Title: Brother of Millennium Force!
Location: Somewhere above, below, or beside the track!

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by Raptor29 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:55 pm

I have no comment on the matter.
Always stay true to your heart.

If your heart is coasters, never stop riding!

User avatar
violakat03
Hyper Coaster Rider
Posts: 511
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:25 pm
Custom Title: dare-to-fly's other half
Location: Dayton, OH
Contact:

Re: Why are so many enthusiasts gay?

Post by violakat03 » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:28 pm

I think you guys have all brought up valid points. I think the higher proportion of gay men and women may have a lot to do with the fact that before sites like this one, it was harder to meet up with like-minded people and so many hetero couples met outside the enthusiast world. I know LOTS of would-be diehard enthusiasts that don't participate in events because their spouse isn't in to coasters or is even afraid of them. There is also the logistical side and disposable income factor. Also, in my personal observation, gay couples tend to "connect" with each other on a much deeper level than most hetero couples. They have significantly more similarities with their partners, and so it is more likely that both partners are enthusiasts rather than just one.

As far as why the enthusiast community is more accepting, I think it's because we have a focus outside of each other to concentrate on. The more you concentrate on other people, the more you look for their flaws and reasons to dislike them - it's human nature. But we are all so focused on the coasters, that our differences become a wash. There are very, very few enthusiasts that I dislike, and all have given me a very specific reason to do so. As a general rule, I like every enthusiast I hang out with - because we have fun doing what we love together. I don't care what political or religious opinions they have, I don't care where they're from, I don't care about anything except whether they like the Voyage or not.
Current coaster count: 304
Check out my blog, all about crazy things I do. www.chasingthrills.com

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests