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20 Most Gay Friendly Cities in the US

Ty Haqqi
·8 min read

In this article we will list the 20 most gay friendly cities in the world. Click to skip ahead and see the 10 most gay friendly cities in the world.

The world has never been easy for homosexuals or rather anyone in the LGBTQ spectrum. Human beings generally don't seem to be very comfortable with change, or anything outside the norm, which is perhaps one of the reasons why we have always been quick to judge and ostracize anyone who doesn't meet the threshold of normalcy as arbitrarily determined by us.

Perhaps the biggest reason why gay people have throughout history been so denounced and even subject to exile and legal repercussions is due to religion. Most major religions have declared homosexuality to be illegal and contrary to the teachings of the religion as exemplified by the two biggest religions out there, Christianity and Islam. In fact, this is primarily why in most Muslim countries across the world, especially those governed according to Shariah (Islamic Law), homosexuality is illegal, and can lead to long sentences in prison, while in some countries you can even be executed for the same.

Best Countries for One Night Stands
Best Countries for One Night Stands

Mybona/Shutterstock.com

On the other hand, LGBT dynamics in the United States have changed significantly across the years. A few decades ago, coming out was considered career suicide and could have personal repercussions as well. The 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City are considered the starting point for rights and activism for gay civil rights, in response to a police raid on what was a known area for homosexuals to gather safely. In the 80s, when the Aids pandemic disproportionately affected the gay population. Sexual acts between people belonging to the same sex were illegal before 2003, but as time went and people became more progressive, homosexuals started getting the rights they should have had all along. Same sex was legalized by various states over the past 2 decades, finally culminating in the Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage across the country. In 2011, the armed forces of the country allowed LGB people to be able to serve openly in the military, rather than the official 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy, where homosexuals could serve as long as they hid their sexuality. This wasn't anything unofficial; it was an official policy initiated by the Department of Defense under the Clinton administration in the early 1990s. Imagine that to carry out a job, and that too not any job but defending the interests and safety of your company, and yet not be allowed to serve because of your personal sexual preferences which don't even have any impact on the job you're supposed to be carrying out. The fact that it took till 2011 to actually end this inane and archaic policy speaks volumes about how much more the US needs to do and how much damage it has caused to people where there was actually no need.

However, as people have started to become more woke and aware of the injustices permeating this world, especially with minorities including discrimination against races and sexual orientations as well, companies have to be more careful about what they say, or they could end up with egg on their faces. This brings us to the famous, or rather infamous case of Chick-Fil-A. Chick-Fil-A is one of the largest fast food restaurant chains in the United States of America and earned the ire of the American people when its CEO claimed that gay marriage was ruining the sanctity of marriage and expressed his disagreement with gay marriages. This led to an intense backlash by city governments and people, especially of course the LGBT community, who expressed their disappointment with the comments. Some cities even tried to ban the opening of new restaurant until they would revoke this stance they had adopted, though this saw further controversy as well. On the other hand, Chick-Fil-A earned appreciation from the more conservative population over their stance, which even saw events such as Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, which drew record crowds and saw record sales being earned. In fact, when all was said and done, at the end of the day, the sales of the restaurant chain actually increased, showing that there had been little effect of the proposed boycott. However, it did damage the chain's standing in the community, which in 2012 led to the company finally deciding to not donating or contributing to organizations which were anti-gay, which is at least a small win for the LGBT community. On the other hand, there are several companies supporting LGBT rights including Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG), Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Even with all the aforementioned progress having been made, there is still a lot of backlash that homosexuals can face, which is why many still refuse to come out, especially if they belong to conservative and / or religious families. Hence, it can be hard to ascertain the most gay friendly cities in the US. There are multiple metrics to consider, but we went with the one that seemed the most logical, which is the percentage of gay people in the city. This means that the people in the city are not afraid of expressing their sexuality, and hence those cities are more gay friendly. On the other hand, gay people will obviously be more tempted to more accepting cities, which is why gay friendly cities will have higher percentages of gay people. Thus, we went over to the Public Religion Research Institute, which has data for gay populations of cities for both 2019 and 2018. We assigned 70% weightage to the 2019 rankings as they are the most recent and relevant data. If you want to look internationally, you might want to take a look at the 13 top countries with biggest gay populations. But till then, let's take a look at the cities comfortable with your sexuality, whatever it might be:

19. Cincinnati

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2018: 6

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2019: 6

Cincinnati has an anti-discrimination ordinance, while also hosting gay pride events and parades, hence scoring highly for gay friendliness.

Pixabay/Public domain

19. Boston

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2018: 6

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2019: 6

Boston is considered to be one of the most historic and cultured cities in the US, and belongs to a state with a really high relative gay population, so it's not surprising Boston is also quite gay friendly.

Pixabay/Public domain

18. Buffalo

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2018: 4

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2019: 7

The state of New York is generally left leaning and Buffalo, it's second biggest city follows the trend. In fact, the percentage of gay people has nearly double from just 2018 to 2019, which makes it seem like more people are ready to embrace their identity.

Pixabay/Public domain

16. Rochester

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2018: 2

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2019: 8

The city of Rochester is home to a very large gay population and in fact, the percentage has quadrupled from just 2018 - 2019. The city also has a history of LGBT activism and hosts a major Pride parade as well.

Pixabay/Public Domain

15. Oklahoma City

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2018: 9

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2019: 5

The NW 39th Street Enclave in Oklahoma City is considered to be the largest gay district in not just the Great Plains, but also among the central regions of the entire country, cementing its place as one of the most gay friendly cities in the US.

Pixabay/Public domain

13. San Jose

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2018: 7

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2019: 6

California has always been a left leaning state, and its biggest cities are no exception, and San Jose, one of the most expensive places to live in, is also home to a large gay population, which has more or less remained steady from 2018 to 2019.

Pixabay / Public Domain

13. Salt Lake City

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2018: 7

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2019: 6

While you might not expect to see a city from the conservative state of Utah in this list, Salt Lake City does buck the trend to an extent, with left leaning views and acceptance of all cultures and sexualities, making it a prime location for gay people to move to.

Gayest Cities in America Per Capita in 2018
Gayest Cities in America Per Capita in 2018

Brendan van Son/Shutterstock.com

12. Omaha

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2018: 3

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2019: 8

The city of Omaha has enacted protections for LGBT people, to ensure they are not discriminated against in both the private as well as the public sectors, an ordinance which has been in effect for 8 years. However, more still needs to be done to allow gay people to prosper in the city.

Pixabay/Public domain

10. Sacramento

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2018: 8

Percentage of population identifying as LGBT in 2019: 6

Another Californian city makes the list, as even though the city's population is increasing steadily year on year, it is actually quite gay friendly.

Click to continue reading and see the 10 Most Gay Friendly Cities in the US Disclosure: No positions. 20 Most Gay Friendly Cities in the US is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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