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. It's just got a good legacy of advancement and it's been ahead of the curve for the LGBT movement. Amongst other things -- like its robust and supportive Pride Alliance Center -- 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.
Says Hoffman-Zinnel: "We surprise folks. A conservative metropolis gets a more progressive police presence.
To wit: In , for the first time, a mounted police unit marched in the Pride parade. At least Kansas' biggest city may be the next best thing. Kim Davis' hometown fights back. Population: 7, Bona fides: 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.
Honorable mentions : Louisville, Lexington, Vicco, Midway. 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. Honorable mentions: Shreveport, Lafayette, Baton Rouge. The Midwest's best, brightest gay vacation destination Population: and 1,, respectively Bona fides: 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. 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.
A welcoming oasis in a gay-unfriendly state Population: , Bona fides: In , Unite Mississippi started a Pride parade here that Kit Williamson, a Jackson native and actor on Mad Men , came home to emcee in 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.
Honorable mention: Magnolia, which just passed its own anti-discrimination measures. Simultaneously dead center on the map of America and the battle for transgender rights Population: , Bona fides: Strong city anti-discrimination laws and a wealth of resources for transgender people. In , fourth-grader Avery Jackson became t he first openly transgender subject to grace the cover of National Geographic , sparking national conversation.
And locally, with resources like TransasCity. Louis, Columbia. 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. Honorable mentions: Bozeman, Helena, Whitefish. A well-educated and livable small city Population: , Bona fides: Even the local Baptist church is gay-friendly. Daytime best for me. Mature Men are welcome. Do get in touch. Eager n Willin.
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Live fabulously in affordable gay cities Acceptance has improved in many parts of the country, and some still yearn to escape the phobia of smaller and rural towns. Many seeking personal safety and acceptance now struggle with financial insecurity. These are the tops of the top. The Sazerac.
That, alone, might make us move there. Cheesy in a good way , Madison WI MW This isthmus capital just west of Milwaukee boasts a growing tech, biotech and health systems tech economy for those interested or trained in such fields. Gay cities of the Northeast USA As the most economically developed, populated and diverse region in the US, the Northeast is nestled between our cold Canadian neighbor and the Atlantic. Here are the gay cities of the Northeast. Cost of Living — For the cost of living, it comes in on the lower end. Include the North Market for a variety of food vendors — a snack or full-on lunch is a great way to sample the local fare.
More to Know — Columbus is so gay-friendly its tourist office has a free, bi-monthly LGBTQ-themed e-newsletter with events, activities, special offers and — our favorite — discounts. Gayborhoods — Shadyside, Strip District and the revitalized riverfront.
More to Know — Advocate named it the 8 th gayest city in the US in Gayborhoods — Fells Point near the water is great for dinner and walks near the water. Much of the South Harbor neighborhoods are great for museums and the arts. Many of the queer bars and restaurants are found in the Mount Vernon and Old Groucher neighborhoods to the north.
That income leaves room for a nicer lifestyle and some travel. Cost of Living —Rochester wins big with cost of living, making it our topmost affordable gay city of the North East. More to Know — Advocate named it the 12 th gayest city in the US in Gay cities of the Southeast USA 1. Gayborhood — Ybor City is the most well-known gayborhood with an eclectic mix of shops, bars and clubs with the hottie disco boyz if we do say so ourselves.
More to Know — Advocate named it the 19 th gayest city in the US in , Business Insider ranked it the 3 rd gayest city for queer singles. Baywater, home to many artists and creatives, is another gay enclave. Need we say more? Gayborhoods — Montrose and the Downton Theatre Districts are the most popular gay neighborhoods, and more are cropping up in the Southwest parts of the city where older mid-century modern homes exist.
More to Know — Houston boasts the 4 th largest Pride in the nation. Gayborhoods — East Nashville and the midtown areas are the most LGBGT-friendly hoods, though other neighborhoods like Germantown and Hillsboro attract young and hip gay folks. Gay cities of the Midwest USA 1. The two main areas of town for queer businesses and homes are Lyn-Lake and downtown Minneapolis. Both are a bit pricey for housing.
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In addition, East Lowry Hill is the hot spot for those looking for mid-century style. More to Know — In , Minneapolis was the first city in the nation to pass a non-discrimination ordinance. Minnesota was, then, the first state by popular vote to reject a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Last but not least, Advocate named Minneapolis the 22 nd gayest city in the US in Gayborhood — The Plaza is a great area of town to live and work because of its pedestrian, mall-like feel and its high-end, eclectic shops.
Old Briarcliff is also an area of interest because of its cheaper homes and shopping.
Downtown Indy has revitalized like many other city centers over the past few years, making it more welcoming and diverse. Cost of Living — The cost of living in St. Gayborhoods — If you want to be in the center of gay nightlife in St. Louis, check out the Grove Neighborhood filled with bars and restaurants.
For something more chill but just as hip, the Central West End is full of restaurants, galleries and pubs. If you thrive in historic neighborhoods, visit Lafayette Square with its old mansions, row homes, craft beer and liquor bars and great restaurants. This means your dollar goes about as far in Boise for purchases as it would in NYC.
More to Know — Boise offers affordable mid-century modern homes and is ripe for a tech boom. Gayborhoods — Portland has one of the densest LGBTQ populations in America, which means many parts of the city are accustomed to seeing same-sex couples hand-in-hand walking down the street. So, new queers may find it takes a while and a little extra effort to make friends.