With the growing awareness of gay rights campaigns in recent years, cities throughout the United States also have started to incorporate "gay-friendliness" as a goal to achieve. However, cities are still competing for the title — the most gay-friendly city in the United States — furiously. NerdWallet, a personal finance blog, released research about the most gay-friendly cities in the United States to celebrate LGBT Pride Month.
The research, conducted by Divya Raghavan, analyzes cities' "gay-friendliness" based on municipal law, LGBT community and peer support and community tolerance and safety for LGBT individuals. Raghavan ranks out the 10 most gay-friendly cities and lists out specific reasons for each city. Interestingly, five out of ten cities are in California, including Long Beach, Los Angels, San Diego, Palm Springs and LGBT culture's hometown — San Francisco. Four out of the five California cities are right next to a beach, which makes people easily link it to the popularity of gay tourism in those cities. Other cities are Seattle, Philadelphia, New York City, Portland and Cambridge. While each has its unique reason for being nominated, the common features are long history of LGBT movements and popular tourism spots.
According to Raghavan, Gay Pride Month and the upcoming DOMA ruling inspire the study. She specifically emphasizes the growing sentiments toward gay rights and the continuous triumph of gay rights legislation in the last few months. As a consumer driven blog, Raghavan examines the factors that contribute to high quality LGBT life and she wants those nominated cities to be proud of being inclusive for gay residents. The ultimate goal of the study is to help people recognize the factors that contribute to their own happiness.
"Like the 'It Gets Better Campaign,' we want to emphasize that your comfort and happiness can be partially dependent on the time, the place and your own experience," said Raghavan. "While life can be harder in cities with strong anti-gay sentiment or a low population of gay residents, there are cities where LGBT residents can exercise more rights, can interact with other gay people on a daily basis and can rarely hear of a hate crime in their area."
While New York City is still listed as one of the 10 most gay-friendly cities in this research, the recent anti-gay hate crimes remind us of the fact that what used to be a safe haven can easily become a horror state. Studies like this definitely inserts more positive and useful insights to generate momentum in society.