Phoenix, Tempe, and Bisbee, which has the highest ratio of gay couples anywhere in the Southwest.
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A mountain hippie hamlet famous for radical inclusion Population: Nearby Fayetteville was the first town in the state to pass an LGBTQ-focused anti-discrimination civil rights ordinance later nullified by state lawmakers , but Eureka, in , wasn't far behind. This town in Northwest Arkansas probably has the highest concentration of publicly displayed rainbow flags within a mile radius.
No one would expect less from a touristy liberal enclave with openly gay municipal employees, where same-sex couples feel comfortable walking hand-in-hand, and which three times a year -- spring, summer, and fall -- celebrates diversity weekends that include parades, drag shows, and dance parties. Johnson, the state director for Human Rights Campaign Arkansas. Fayetteville, Little Rock, Conway. Gay life powers this suburb of Fort Lauderdale.
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Four of five city commissioners are gay. Scientists are still parsing through data to determine the gayest strip mall in America, but we're going to go ahead and call it: Sadly, Humpy's Pizza closed. The double entendres are part of the fun in this small, subtropical city where gay households make up 9. Every night it's packed. For the ladies, a new lesbian bar, G Spot, opened in February It has a physical address, and yet men don't believe it exists.
Honorable mentions: Orlando, St. A welcoming burg smack in the middle of the Bible Belt Population: Though it lacks the robust legal protections of a metropolis like Atlanta, this tourist town in the Appalachian foothills has an active LGBTQ community. With one of the highest concentrations of same-sex households in the state, tiny Blue Ridge has its own PFLAG chapter, an Independence Day parade complete with a marching band in drag, and a handful of churches that buck Bible Belt orthodoxy by embracing faithful of all orientations and gender identities.
Atlanta, Savannah, Columbus. A mix of safety and entertainment in the middle of red country Population: A pro-gay movement has been active here for nearly a century. Despite its majority Republican legislature and a heavy Mormon population, Idaho boasts 13 cities with non-discrimination ordinances in place.
The state capital harbors the most progressive enclave; its gay community center dates to , and influxes of Cascadians getting priced out of the West Coast has only fed the momentum. Steve Martin, the regional development organizer for Idaho's Pride Foundation , fills in the rest: Most high schools here, and even at least one junior high, have a gay-straight alliance club. Coeur d'Alene. The capital of Mike Pence's home state calls BS on "religious freedom. A business community vocal in its support for civil rights.
When then-Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act RFRA into law in , giving bigoted business owners legal cover to discriminate against anyone they perceived might be gay, the Indy community pushed back. All along Massachusetts Ave -- the heart of the "gayborhood" -- and throughout the city, shops display stickers that promise "This Business Serves Everyone," thanks to an initiative called Open for Service , a nationwide directory of inclusive stores, churches, and schools.
About three-quarters of the businesses along Mass Ave are gay-owned, says Freedom Indiana's Chris Paulsen, and each year Indy Pride draws some 50, marchers down the formerly depressed thoroughfare, where condos now sell for millions. The most progressive town in a surprisingly progressive state Population: Its anti-discrimination measures go back to Here's trivia that'll win you a bar bet: The first Midwestern state to legalize gay marriage? Iowa, via a state court decision. And out in front of this pioneering state is Iowa City.
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It's just got a good legacy of advancement and it's been ahead of the curve for the LGBT movement. The town's progressive nature is intertwined with its largest employer, the University of Iowa.
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The college was among the first to offer benefits to its staffers' partners. Incoming freshmen can choose both their preferred name and gender for their student record, and transgender students are housed according to their preferred gender. And while the town only has one gay bar in Studio 13, it has bragging rights as the launch stage for RuPaul's Drag Race alumna Sasha Belle.
Says Hoffman-Zinnel: A conservative metropolis gets a more progressive police presence. Wichita lacks the non-discrimination ordinances that smaller, more liberal counterparts around the state have passed. At least Kansas' biggest city may be the next best thing. Kim Davis' hometown fights back. Though liberal Louisville was one of the first Southern cities to pass an inclusive non-discrimination fairness ordinance, tiny Morehead earns its spot for opposing Davis' headline-making bigotry.
In , county clerk Kim Davis put Morehead on the map by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide. In response, a few hundred residents in the little town took to the streets , chanting, "Gay or straight, black or white, marriage is an equal right. It shouldn't be so shocking; a few years prior, the town quietly became the sixth city in Kentucky to pass a fairness ordinance.
Louisville, Lexington, Vicco, Midway. A shining star in the South Population: Though there are a handful of gay Mardi Gras krewes, Southern Decadence is arguably the bigger party, attracting up to , revelers every Labor Day weekend. Shreveport, Lafayette, Baton Rouge.taylor.evolt.org/nebyv-tuineje-del-dating.php
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The Midwest's best, brightest gay vacation destination Population: Michigan has plenty of pockets of liberal progressivism, but these tiny Lake Michigan towns have the Midwest's largest gay and lesbian resort. While that might be a stretch, the charming lakeside villages have a welcoming vibe that dates back almost a century, when the Art Institute of Chicago ushered in a bohemian air by establishing its summer school of painting on the Ox-Bow Lagoon. Today, vacationers make the two-hour trek from Chicago to spend a weekend at the Dunes Resort , which claims to be the Midwest's largest LGBTQ getaway, catering primarily to men, aside from three women's weekends each year.
Those who make their home here year-round are also protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation by a municipal fairness ordinance.
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A welcoming oasis in a gay-unfriendly state Population: If Mississippi legislators had their way, gay sex, gay adoption, and gay marriage would all be illegal. They're not -- only because federal court decisions have superseded the discrimination that locals officials sought to codify. Jackson, though, is a bright spot. There is charm here, even if it has limits.
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Magnolia, which just passed its own anti-discrimination measures. Simultaneously dead center on the map of America and the battle for transgender rights Population: Strong city anti-discrimination laws and a wealth of resources for transgender people. This January, 9-year-old Avery Jackson became the first transgender subject to grace the cover of National Geographic.
Because of Avery, her mother, Debi, founded Kansas City-based trans-parenting. Locally, with resources like TransasCity. A supportive LGBTQ environment has been fostered over the last 20 years by a mix of local politicians and business leaders reaching out to the queer community. Louis, Columbia. Ground zero for organizers in a state with a middling civil rights record Population: David Herrera will be the first one to tell you Missoula's nightlife could improve. But like so many of these entries, what Missoula does have is the bedrock of a progressive liberal arts school like the University of Montana that gives the mid-sized town a permanent, if shifting community of civic-minded folk.
They elected leaders to make Missoula the first city in Montana to pass municipal anti-discrimination laws as protections at the state level continue to flounder, and who founded the Western Montana LGTB Community Center as a local hub for LGTB groups a full 15 years before Great Falls opened its own last year. Great Falls, Billings. A well-educated and livable small city Population: Even the Baptist church is gay-friendly.
You mess with trans people, you mess with everyone. Of the Carolina cities Human Rights Campaign rated last year, this one ranked highest for gay-friendliness though for some reason, they didn't rate Asheville. A University of North Carolina campus gives the place life, plus happening bars like Chemistry Nightclub and The Q , a hang with the feel of a neighborhood bar. Chapel Hill, Charlotte. A post shared by Jeremy jeremyinomaha.