15 Best Cities For Gays
For a long time the world was against the idea of homosexuality. Many people who identified themselves as being gay kept it under wraps in fear of being ridiculed and discriminated against. Though that still happens, there has been a lot of progress over the years. Some countries have legalized same sex marriage and passed laws that protect the LGBT community from unfair treatment. So if you are gay and looking for a city to live comfortably, consider these following places.
Sao Paulo The culture of acceptance towards LGBT people in São Paulo has skyrocketed in recent years. This is evident in the participation increase in the city’s annual pride events. The first, held in 1997, had about 2,000 people in attendance. In 2006 São Paulo set the Guinness World Record for the largest gay pride parade in the world with 3 million people attending and it’s getting bigger every year. Especially since gay marriage was legalized in 2013.
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv is a major party city with a booming tech enterprise and it’s easily the most LGBT-accepting country in the Middle East. Located in Israel, many would think that this city would be more conservative. While same-sex marriage isn’t legal in Israel, the state does recognize same-sex marriages performed outside national borders and allows the partners of Israeli citizens to gain permits for residency. Same-sex couples are afforded the same rights and benefits extended to common law married couples.
Stockholm Stockholm isn’t a huge city, but it goes above and beyond as a progressive center for LGBT rights. Every year in July, Stockholm hosts a gay pride festival. Stockholm is a city that spreads over 14 different islands. All of them have gay and gay friendly clubs and bars. In 2012 PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Partnership for New York City ranked Stockholm fifth in its overall rankings for cities with the most opportunities. In the same report, Stockholm ranked first in the categories of “intellectual capital and innovation,” as well as “health, safety and security.”
Amsterdam It shouldn’t be a surprise that Amsterdam is on this list. The city has always been freethinking about sexuality, hence the Red Light District. Amsterdam has always led the pack regarding LGBT activism in both government legislation and social policy. In 2001 the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. Since 1996 Amsterdam has hosted an annual pride festival and the city’s nightlife is notoriously raucous.
Toronto Toronto is a great city for anyone to live, even when Rob Ford was mayor. Canada legalized same sex marriage in 2005, becoming the fourth country in the world to do so. The nation has been at the forefront of progressive change ensuring legal protections against discrimination for the LGBT community, allowing adoption, military service and the right to legally change one’s gender. While there are certainly “gayborhoods” in Toronto, where the LGBT community mostly reside, work and play, the city as a whole is very open-minded and many businesses catering to or owned by LGBT people are integrated throughout the city.
New Orleans One of the best kept American secrets is that NOLA is super queer. It’s filled with young people, it’s affordable and there are no open container laws. New Orleans has one of the largest African-American LGBT community in the U.S. Though Mardis Gras has a big LGBT presence, New Orleans does not have their own pride events yet. Employment wise, New Orleans has a pretty long brag sheet, including taking the No. 2 spot on Forbes’ Best City for a Job list.
Sydney Same sex marriage is still illegal in Australia, but it’s often considered one of the most gay friendly places in the world. Sydney is home to a number of gay friendly beaches and wild nightlife spots that cater to the LGBT community. Its world renowned Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras takes place annually, drawing enormous crowds and big sponsors. In metropolitan areas, the LGBT community is accepted by a wide majority gap, while in many rural areas there’s still a ways to go.
Seattle When most people think of Seattle, Starbucks, rain and The Twilight movie series come to mind. Two of those three things are enjoyed by the LGBT community. Maybe that’s why Seattle is one of the most progressive cities in one of the most progressive states in America. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington in 2012. During the last weekend of June, Seattle holds its annual Pride Parade, which draws well over 50,000 people. Looking at jobs, the city is a win as well. Forbes ranked Seattle fifth on their top 10 list in 2013 for “Best Cities for Good Jobs.” Seattle is also home to last years Super Bowl champs which is a plus.
Mexico City Mexico City, a metropolitan capital home to 20 million people, is more accepting to the LGBT community than you might think. The city legalized same-sex marriage in 2009. The government has granted people the legal right to change their gender on government documents and gay couples can adopt children together. It hosts one of the largest Pride parades in the Americas and the tide of public opinion regarding homosexuality has drastically shifted towards acceptance.
Buenos Aries Buenos Aries, Argentina is often compared to similarly sized European or North American cities with great LGBT scenes, but Buenos Aries is unique. In 2010 Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage and the second country in the Americas to do so. Senators approved the “Gender Identity Law” unanimously in 2012, which requires that hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery is free under both public and private health care plans. However, there is still some progress that needs to be made. There are still no laws forbidding discrimination against LGBT people that have passed on the national level.
Tokyo While same-sex marriage may not be legal in Tokyo, that fact does not accurately reflect the climate of the city’s LGBT culture. In Japan social norms trump legislation. Culturally, homosexuality is neither explicitly forbidden nor encouraged, so the community exists without much hostility. There are, however, some institutional protections in place. People can legally change their gender after reassignment surgery as of 2008. Tokyo is one of the gay capitals of Asia. The eccentric style of the young adults goes well with a booming nightlife, an annual Pride festival and the Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Film Festival that happens every June. For job seekers, this is a famously career-focused culture, ranked high on everyone’s list as a city offering the greatest opportunities to those who live and work there.
Barcelona Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005, anti-discrimination laws are in place to protect the LGBT community in both the workplace and the marketplace and people can legally change their gender. There are seemingly hundreds if not thousands of places to go out for LGBT people in the city, including hundreds dedicated to LGBT nightlife alone, including everything from niche gatherings to foam parties. It is the perfect city for a 20-something gay person who is hard working, and knows how to have fun.
Austin “Keep Austin Weird,” is the unofficially official slogan for Austin, Texas and the LGBT community live by it. Austin is a strange and liberal city at the center of a conservative state. It is home to a young, active and diverse gay community. The city hosts great music festivals, such as SXSW and has top-notch food. Austin ranked first in Forbes for job seekers in 2014. So while same-sex marriage is still not legal in the state, the city is affordable, there’s no state income tax and with its booming economy and vibrant LGBT culture, it’s simply impossible not to have Austin on the list.
New York The Big Apple is considered by some to be the epicenter of gay life and of the gay pride movement. It’s the home of Stonewall which led to all of the gay pride events around the world, and most of Manhattan and now even parts of Brooklyn. New York is one giant “gayborhood”. From Greenwich Village to Chelsea, to Christopher Street and 8th Avenue, there is a multitude of gay bars, clubs, and shops that are open for business at any time of the day.
San Francisco The world’s most gay-friendly city in America is now even more friendly with California allowing same-sex marriage. It’s the countries original gay Mecca, and although New York may have surpassed it in diversity, it’s in San Francisco’s Castro District that you still feel like you’re at the center of the gay world. There are gay events and attractions happening throughout the year. The abundance of gay and gay-friendly bars and restaurants make sure that happens.