It’s a well-known and unfortunate fact that there are just some places where being LGBTI+ can make life more of a challenge than it should be. There are other places around the country that are better and safer for those who identify as LGBTI+.
Though it may seem like we’re progressing as a country (don’t get me wrong — in some ways, we are), baffling recent studies have shown that we are still not as far as many of us would like to be. Additionally, in light of the current state of America’s political culture, it is more important than ever that targeted groups in the U.S. stay safe. North, south, east or west, this post compiles a list of the top 3 friendliest places to travel or live if you’re a part of the LGBTI+ community.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is, by far, the friendliest and most respectful of the cities that embrace the LGBTI+ community. San Francisco was the first city to elect an openly gay official, Harvey Milk — in 1977, a move that was way ahead of the rest of the country at the time. It continues in the same tradition of staying ahead of the country for LGBTI+ issues.
The embrace of the LGBTI+ community is a cultural and historical marker for the city. One fantastic place to go to learn more is the GLBT History Museum. There are other ways the town celebrates diversity, from the Twin Peaks Tavern, a famous gay bar to Pink Saturday Street Fair and the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. They also have the LGBT Walk of Fame. San Francisco has earned its name as the mecca of the LGBTI+ community.
Providence, Rhode Island
Any area concerned with promoting equal rights will be a good place for those on the LGBTI+ spectrum, and Providence has a history of encouraging equality. What separates Providence from other LGBTI+-positive areas is the family dynamic — it isn’t an area just for adults. There are community support systems for youth LBGTQ and their families, partly due to the many LGBTI+ families who call it home.
Of all the cities in the U.S., Providence ranks as the fourth most friendly for those who are LGBTI+. The city has a bevy of organizations, including Youth Pride Inc. and Pride RI. In addition to these groups, the city holds the RI PrideFest, whose aim it is to promote opportunities and visibility for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer community.
Portland is an excellent place to live if you’re a part of the LGBTI+ community. With a thriving and caring community of people who love you, why wouldn’t this be a place you’d want to live in? Knowing a supportive community is in place matters, and, in this city, it’s already established — 5.4% of the population identifies as part of the LGBTI+ community — that’s a pretty high number.
Portland offers a lot of entertainment options, like one of the longest running drag clubs in the United States and the Portland Queer Film Festival. The city is home to the Portland Pride Festival, which features over 150 floats and contingents.
The Not So Friendly Places
Outside of the U.S., some places aren’t friendly to the LGBTI+ community, and, in some countries, simply being who you are is a crime. If you are planning international travel, do some research and plan ahead.
There are even some places in the U.S. that aren’t the safest areas for those on the LGBTI+ spectrum. Some states that have garnered a bad reputation, either by laws or the prevalence of hate crimes, include:
Even within these states, you can find LGBTI+-friendly areas. Austin is a welcoming community in Texas, and New Orleans has a very positive and open LGBTI+ community. Those on the LGBTI+ spectrum don’t have to change states to live in a safe neighborhood, just do a bit of research, and ask others in the community. If the entire LGBTI+ world moves to San Francisco, the rest of the country will surely suffer. Stay safe, protect your loved ones and remain strong together as we continue to progress and work toward an America in which everyone can feel safe and respected in their communities.