In celebration of Pride Month, I’m taking a little excursion around the U.S., breezing through some old and new gay friendly places. This week, a general look-see at the country as a whole and then next, a close-up on our fair state of California. Let’s start with the criteria. What does it mean, exactly, to be gay-friendly?
Good old Wikipedia defines gay-friendly as a term describing places, people or institutions that are open and welcoming to gay people, including all members of the LGBTQ community. Ideally, a gay-friendly place is one that is “supportive of gay people and their relationships, respectful of all, treats all people equally and is non-judgmental.” Who doesn’t love that definition, and the fact it isn’t a universal standard is most perplexing, to say the least.
Anyway, several publications and Web sites have created their own criteria to rate the most gay-friendly places to live in the U.S. and a trip around the Web reveals some interesting measuring tools. Nerd Wallet, for instance, rating the 10 most gay-friendly cities uses three standards: 1) The Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index to assess laws affecting LGBT residents vis-a-vis non-discrimination, employment practices, city services etc.; 2) Sheer numbers, i.e. the percentage of same-sex households according to the U.S. Census; 3) Safety criteria evaluated as the number of hate crimes for sexual orientation. Their results utilizing these three criteria are as follows. The most gay-friendly cities in the U.S. are: Palm Springs, San Francisco, Seattle, Long Beach, Cambridge, Mass., Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., Philadelphia, San Diego and finally, New York.
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