by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Just in time for Pride Month, the financial management website NerdWallet crunched the numbers to put together a list of the nation's most Gay-friendly cities based on municipal laws, community and peer support, and safety and tolerance.
The cities listed fulfill the following three requirements:
o Do the laws support Gay residents? The survey used the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index to assess the municipal laws affecting LGBT residents. This index measures the equality of each city's non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, employment practices, city services, law enforcement and municipality leadership.
o Is there an LGBT community and can you find peer support? The survey included the percentage of same-sex households in the region from the U.S. Census.
o Is the community safe and tolerant toward Gays? The survey included the number of hate crimes for sexual orientation per 100,000 residents in our overall score.
Seattle made number three! Here are the top ten:
1. Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs is known as a hotspot for Gay tourism, but the city has a thriving year-round LGBT culture for residents as well. A whopping 8.6% of households consist of same-sex partners. The city's yearly Pride festival is one of the community's most popular events, and this two-day festival celebrates the Gay rights movement's history of activism.
2. San Francisco, CA
Known for its diversity and tolerance, the Bay Area is home to a large Gay population and a thriving Gay culture. San Francisco's historic Castro District has a strong history in the Gay rights movement, and the area maintains several historic landmarks, such as the Castro Theater and Harvey Milk Square, a tribute to the influential activist and hate-crime victim. San Francisco is the birthplace of many celebrated Gay activists and comedians, including Margaret Cho and B.D. Wong, as well as home to straight ally and former mayor Gavin Newsom.
3. Seattle, WA
Seattle's LGBT hub, Capitol Hill, is the center of the city's Gay culture, housing many Gay bars and businesses. In Seattle, Gay marriage is legal, and the city has experienced rapid growth in the population of LGBT families. Organizations like Families Like Ours help Washington couples adopt and foster children.
4. Long Beach, CA
LGBT businesspeople will find ample support with the Long Beach Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which offers networking events and collaborative communities. Additionally, the Long Beach Pride Parade is an incredibly popular community event, attracting 80,000 participants each year.
5. Cambridge, MA
The "People's Republic of Cambridge" had zero sexual orientation-related hate crimes in 2011, making this a safe and tolerant area for Gay residents. Cambridge is the residence of Gay rights activist and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and the state was the first to legalize same-sex marriage.
6. Los Angeles, CA
West Hollywood is the area's premier Gay neighborhood, with plenty of restaurants and bars. LGBT residents can check out the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center for resources. The L.A. Pride Parade attracts 400,000 attendees every year.
7. Portland, OR
Portland's large Gay population has led to a plethora of annual LGBT festivals, including the Portland Queer Music Festival, the Portland Latino Gay Pride Parade, and the Portland Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Portland has historic significance as well. The city was the first in Oregon to adopt civil rights protections for Gay residents and the first major American city to elect an openly Gay mayor.
8. Philadelphia, PA
The City of Brotherly Love lives up to its name! This tolerant city is supportive of the Gay community. To supplement Philadelphia's Gay tourism industry, Temple University has partnered with the Gay Tourism Caucus to create a Gay Sensitivity Training for professionals in the tourism industry.
9. San Diego, CA
Hillcrest, San Diego's biggest Gay neighborhood, boasts plenty of locally owned cafes, bars, and independent stores. Plus, LGBT residents can find resources and support at the San Diego LGBT Community Center, the nation's second-oldest and third-largest. The Greater San Diego Business Association, aka the "Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce," provides support and community for Gay entrepreneurs and small business owners as well.
10. New York, NY
New York City is a well-known epicenter of Gay culture, with plenty of Gay bars, Gay theater, and a rich and diverse arts culture. Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, and the East Village all have thriving Gay communities. The Center, a LGBT community center, is an incredible resource for LGBT residents as well as an advocacy center. New York City has allowed same-sex marriage since the summer of 2011. New York was the birthplace of Gay actors Cynthia Nixon and Anthony Perkins, as well as singer and Gay rights activist Cyndi Lauper.
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