by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
The Advocate has compiled its fourth annual list of the 'Gayest Cities in America.' Outside of fabulous soirees and mimosa brunches, there is much more to LGBT life in America. This year the totally accurate (albeit totally subjective and constantly changing) criteria for a great Gay city included two of the biggest legislative and political developments for LGBTs: marriage equality votes in four states and the election that swept a ton of Queers into high office, including seven members of Congress.
'Although we shake up the criteria each year - a mix of more predictable, well-reasoned, and off-the-wall - we never know which cities will make the list until we start tallying the points,' says Matthew Breen, editor-in-chief of The Advocate. 'So it's a nice surprise to us as well when an unexpected place delivers Gayer cred than we expected. But the dialogue this list sparks is the ultimate goal.'
Once again, The Advocate has created a diverse and surprising list of the metropolitan areas that are home to a bevy of LGBTs. In addition to marriage equality and LGBT elected officials, the magazine's equation for selecting the 'Gayest Cities in America' took into account factors such as Transgender protections, Bisexual resource groups, and HRC's Corporate Equality Index. Those factors were each assigned a point value, the points were tallied, and the raw scores were divided by the population (only cities with at least 150,000 people were considered) to calculate each city's per-capita fabulousness.
Three Washington cities made the cut for 2013 - Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. Here is what The Advocate had to say about each one:
'The fun, funky folks in Seattle don't wait for sunny skies for a good time. Though the whole city is Gay-friendly, Capitol Hill is the epicenter of LGBT life, and it features lots of small and large clubs (for men and women), B&Bs, and great dining, both high-end and low. While heteros can feel comfy in most modern Gay bars, the delightfully small, speedy dive bar Pony is just for the Gay guys. Don't plan your wedding reception there.'
'Most of eastern Washington is somewhat conservative, but like many Western cities, Spokane is becoming steadily more diverse, boosted by an energetic LGBT populace. This rugged, hilly city near the Idaho border hosts the Spokane Pride Parade and Rainbow Festival each year.'
TACOMA (NAMED NO. 1!)
'Book a charming B&B, dine at the Gay-owned Pacific Grill, and dance the night away at The Mix, and you've got a great recipe for a Northwest honeymoon. The center of LGBT life in Tacoma is the St. Helens District, where the nightlife is plentiful, with some venues rivaling nearby Seattle's. When the indoor fun is done, the environs offer stunning forests and oceans in fairy-tale settings. Consider visiting in July, when the weather is great and Tacoma celebrates Pride at Out in the Park.'
Other cities that made the list include St. Louis, Missouri; Salem, Oregon; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Providence, Rhode Island; Oakland, California; Twin Cities, Minnesota; Atlanta, Georgia; Madison, Wisconsin; Eugene, Oregon; Salt Lake City, Utah; Washington, D.C.; and Springfield, Massachusetts.
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