Over the years, the gay community has managed to demand - and get - a greater degree of acceptance and fair-mindedness from the mainstream society. However even now not all cities are liberal enough to accord them the same rights and privileges as are given to heterosexual communities. So here is a list of ten most gay friendly cities in the United States where people can peacefully exercise their sexual choices.
In January this year, The Advocate came up with a list of ‘The 15 Gayest Cities in America’ and topping the list was Minneapolis. The largest city in the state of Minnesota was ranked number one among the gay-friendly cities not only because of its sizable gay population which is the fourth-largest among all cities in America but also because of various gay-friendly policies which straddle every aspect in the society. Here the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America took a historic leap forward and voted to accept gay and lesbian pastors. And in politics, Senator Al Franken introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act to protect LGBT youth from school bullies. At the same time Minneapolis has a happening gay nightlife with bars like Saloon hosting the hugely popular Bob’s Bear Bash every Wednesday night.
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San Francisco has been at the heart of liberal activism in America for a very long time now which is why perhaps it is opened its arms to the LGBT community earlier than most cities in the country. Apart from hosting gay parades and highlighting the gay neighborhood of, the same sex community in San Francisco has also benefited from the liberal political culture of the city. San Francisco got its very first straight but open supporter of gays in Mayor Gavin Newsom who will now become the lieutenant governor of California. And if all goes well for the gay community in San Francisco, the city might even get its first openly gay mayor for which probable candidates include Bevan Dufty and Tom Ammiano.
Everyone knows Las Vegas as the entertainment capital of the world on account of its grand hotels, dazzling casinos, stylish shopping malls and recreational opportunities galore. At the same time, Las Vegas attracts its share of gay men from across the country and the world. In fact according to a survey by Community Marketing Inc., Sin City was revealed as the second most popular – after New York City - destination for gay men and gay seniors in America. Little wonder then that Las Vegas boasts of 17000 square feet gay clubs like Krave which bills itself the number One gay nightclub in the country.
This cosmopolitan hub is undoubtedly the most gay-friendly city in the Pacific Northwestern part of the country. Seattle has a hugely funky artistic and cultural scene catering to gay sensibilities. For one it is the home of gay spokesman Dan Savage, best known for founding the It Gets Better Project and for another it is where the incredible drag queen Dina Martina is to be found performing to packed houses. Apart from these, Seattle hosts its own Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and has a thriving nightlife in its gay quarters perhaps best symbolized by Pony, one of the coolest gay bars in the country.
The national capital has in recent times emerged as one of the best destinations for the gay community in America. About 8.1% of the city's adult population or an estimated 33,000 adults in the District of Columbia identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, according to the 2000 census. A significant result of the city's sizable LGBT population and liberal political climate was the legitimization of same sex marriages, for which licenses began to be issued since March2010 by D.C. More recently, the gay neighborhood in the city has shrugged off its sleazy image after migrating east to Logan Circle which is a colorful, funky area with hip bars and Whole Foods. Among classy restaurants patronized by the gay community are L’Enfant and Comet Ping Pong.
The American South has found its gay haven in Atlanta, the capital city of the state of Georgia. Here the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in fighting for the rights of same-sex community. Significant gay neighborhoods in Atlanta range from business districts like Candler Park and the posh avenues of Virginia Highland areas to the funkier and more eclectic localities of East Atlantic Village. That the heart of American old-moneyed South is opening up is reflected in the fact that Virginia Highlands recently elected an openly lesbian individual Anne Fauver as an council member.
New York City
New York City figures on the list of gay-friendly cities on account of the sheer strength of the LGBT population. With around 272493 people identifying themselves as LGBT, the community makes up around 4.5% of the city’s population. Consequently NYC has the largest number of LGTBs among all the cities in the country and thus a powerful factor in determining policies for their benefit.
This small city in the state of Washington may not have a high-profile gay-friendly image but there are numerous indicators pointing to its essential and quietly liberal nature. Foremost among them is the fact that this city of 165,000 people has as many as six gay-friendly churches. Moreover one of its most famous schools, Skyview High School has a student-led gay-straight alliance. For that touch of nightlife, Vancouver has bars like Northbank which draws gay clientele with its affordable happy hours and relaxed atmosphere.
The capital city of the state of Pennsylvania is famous for its many colleges and universities and consequently an intellectual atmosphere. Thus is its unsurprising perhaps that many cultural icons of the gay community like Andy Warhol and Gertrude Stein and Willa Cather should belong to Pittsburgh. One of the most important factors which makes Pittsburgh a gay-friendly city is its large student community. Events to watch out for are the well-attended Pittsburgh International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival over ten days in October and the increasingly popular Pride Theater Festival over two weekends in June.
Best known as the home of Disney, Orlando is now fast emerging as a hotbed of liberal social and cultural attitudes. This is reflected in the increasing visibility of its gay community and acceptance from major religious and political institutions. A case in the point is the new sexual orientation protections added to the private-sector antidiscrimination law last November which was overwhelmingly passed by Orange County leaders, 6 to 1. As far as the cultural scene is concerned, the annual Theater Fringe Festival of Orlando continues to be one of the best-attended in the country.