It's becoming more and more obvious that the U.S. is on the cusp of wide-scale change when it comes to gay rights. Across the country, state after state is joining the equality party, and soon, the Supreme Court itself will have to make a definite ruling. That being said, we know there are some places that are worse than others (I'm looking at you, Alabama), and some that are significantly better. So, which U.S. cities are the most LGBT-friendly? According to the Human Rights Campaign's annual report, a whopping 38 cities are awesome for the LGBT community. And some of these may surprise you.
If you're thinking of moving somewhere new, there are certain things to keep in mind. Property prices, commuter links, the number of places that will serve you an excellent Chai latte. It's also pretty important to know whether the city has good stance when it comes to LGBT issues — like, for example, whether it bans discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, and has a civil rights council to deal especially with LGBT discrimination. Things that you might take for granted, if you're a relatively progressive person who cares generally about other people.
But not every city has these standards. Not every city offers domestic partner benefits, or protects kids from homophobic school bullying, or has transgender-inclusive health care benefits.Certainly not every city has all of these combined.
Some do, though. According to Human Rights Campaign's annual Municipal Equality Index report — which ranks cities' LGBT-friendliness exactly on these standards, among others — 38 cities in the U.S. scored a perfect 100 points, meaning they're super awesome places to be queer. Some of these cities you might expect; like New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Others are more surprising — take Iowa City, say, or Tempe, Arizona or Missoula, Montana. (I know, right?).
What's really encouraging? A lot of the top-scorers are in states that don't have non-discrimination laws, and aren't so LGBT-friendly. Which means that in many cases, the cities are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the state. As Chuck Smith, executive director at Equality Texas, told USA Today:
Municipalities do it on their own because the state isn't taking care of it.If they want their city to be vibrant and a welcoming environment, they need to do something locally.
Incidentally, Texas — which has no LGBT anti-discrimination law— was a mixed bag, when it came to its cities' rankings. Austin scored a perfect 100, and Dallas came in a close second with 91, but four of its other cities (Mesquite, Irving, Laredo and Lubboc) scored a dismal zero (note to self: never visit Irving). The only other city to score a zero was the city of Southaven, Mississippi, and none of its other cities were top scorers.
Another state to avoid entirely? Unsurprisingly, Alabama. Literally, none of its cities scored over 10. But (that depressing part of America aside) I'd say it's a good day when places are competing to be the most queer-friendly. Here's a list of all 38 winners — see if your hometown is on there!
Cities: Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson
Cities: Long Beach, Los Angeles, Palm Springs,San Diego,San Francisco,West Hollywood
City: New Haven
Cities: Orlando, St. Petersburg, Wilton Manors
Cities: Boston,Cambridge, Worcester
City: East Lansing
Cities: Minneapolis, Saint Paul
Cities: Kansas City,St. Louis
City: Jersey City
Cities: New York, Rochester
Cities: Olympia, Seattle
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