Gayest Cities In The USA

January 11, 2012 by staff 

Gayest Cities In The USA, The Advocate, a prominent publication for the gay, lsbn, bisexual and transgender communities, has come out with its third annual list of the “Gayest Cities in America.” And the list has critics buzzing.

An intro to the article says The Advocate is ignoring well-known gay havens such as San Francisco, Provincetown, West Hollywood and Northampton, Mass., and focusing on “the per capita queerness of some less expected locales.”

The winners, some very surprising:

1. Salt Lake City

2. Orlando

3. Cambridge, Mass.

4. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

5. Seattle

6. Ann Arbor, Mich.

7. St. Paul and Minneapolis

8. Knoxville, Tenn.

9. Atlanta

10. Grand Rapids, Mich.

11. Little Rock, Ark.

12. Portland, Ore.

13. Austin, Texas

14. Long Beach, Calif.

15. Denver

Those who take issue with the list are legion. Comments on The Advocate site include: “Grand Rapids, Michigan? LOL!” … “How Palm Springs and Miami are not on the list SHOCKS me. Salt Lake — really?”

“Strange but True … Denver named 15th Gayest City — based on pretty much nothing,” opined that city’s Westword blog.

Actually, the rankings were based on clear criteria, but they fuel speculation that the article may have been written tongue-in-cheek. Ratings incorporated such stats as how many GLBT bookstores are in a city, how many nde yoga classes are offered, how many city softball teams compete in the Gay Softball World Series, even how many “Mr. Leather Competition” semifinalists hail from the area. There are some more serious criteria, such as number of gay/lsbn/bi/transgender elected officials and the existence of laws prohibiting discrimination. Article writer Matthew Breen calls the criteria “totally accurate if decidedly subjective.”

“If we were having a more scientific survey, I don’t know that we would choose these as indicators,” Valerie Larabee, director of the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City, told The Salt Lake Tribune. She added: “All humor aside, I think that our city has come a long way. If we were to rate the cities that have made the greatest amount of progress over the last 10 years, I think we certainly would rank among the top.”

Here’s an excerpt from The Advocate Salt Lake City write-up: “While those unfamiliar with the Beehive State are likely to conjure images of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, far-less-oppressive-than-it-used-to-be Salt Lake City has earned its queer cred. There are more than a half-dozen hot spots for men and women … yes, you can get a drink in this town.”

The Tribune said that in 2009, Salt Lake City was the first city in Utah to pass ordinances housing and employment discrimination “based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The city scored a landmark endorsement from the LDS Church, which opposes same-sex marriage. … Salt Lake City also has Utah’s only mutual-commitment registry to recognize the partnerships of same-sex couples.”

City Councilman Stan Penfold, who is gay, told the Tribune topping the Advocate list is a plus: “Nationally, people just can’t imagine that we’re an LGBT-friendly community, and I think this really breaks that stereotype of what people think Salt Lake is like.”

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