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Most LGBTQ Friendly-Cities in the World
The world has many beautiful cities, but not all of them are as hospitable as the five most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the world.
Amsterdam is the international poster child of the LGBTQ movement and is argued to be the birthplace of LGBTQ rights. This city is considered an international LGBTQ safe haven where LGBTQ spirit really thrives, especially for trans individuals.
The city has less than one million residents living within city limits, and yet attracts over 20 million tourists each year. Tourism accounts for almost one-third of Amsterdam’s traffic. Despite 1,574 reported homophobic attacks in 2016, Amsterdam placed second in a 2017 survey asking which LGBTQ cities are the safest. Also, a 2016 survey found that the Netherlands has Europe’s fourth-largest LGBTQ population.
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand is not as laidback as the Netherlands, but Auckland is a prominent area for LGBTQ communities. Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013, but New Zealand’s rural areas still tend to hold conservative views. In these areas, it can be more difficult than usual to find somewhere to live and work. If you’re thinking about moving to Auckland, it’s imperative to take the time to review housing laws and protections for LGBTQ workers in the workplace.
For many, Barcelona is considered the Mediterranean’s LGBTQ capital. City center Eixample, or Gaixample to locals, is a metropolis of culture, entertainment, and cuisine, and after dark, the bars and clubs come to life, holding court with lighthearted fanfare.
The Gaixample is the heartbeat of the town, and many of Barcelona’s LGBTQ residents have found a home here, nestling into its safe and welcoming neighborhoods. Spanish officials and organizations have worked tirelessly to keep discrimination low through pro-LGBTQ legislation, including the Anti-Homophobia Act. This type of legislation has been an enormous factor in bolstering the LGBTQ community. All told, Spain has the second-largest LGBTQ population in the world, according to Statista.
Paris is one of the most open cities for the LGBTQ community. The charming neighborhoods of the Marais district create a welcome respite for LGBTQ residents, with plenty of gay bars, cafes, museums, and galleries. The Gay Pride parade, or Marche des Fiertes LGBTQ, takes place in June each year, featuring parades and concerts on a day of national celebration and activism.
Paris made national headlines with the horrific 2018 attack on a gay couple, but statistically speaking, hate crimes are on the decline. There is no doubt that the LGBTQ scene is alive and well in “Gay Paree.”
Toronto is the world’s third most friendly LGBTQ city and is just one of three Canadian cities that earned a top ranking, leading many LGBTQ wanderers right to its doors. The Village is Toronto’s LGBTQ hotspot, and Queen West, or Queer West as it’s affectionately known, is home base for all things art and culture.
The city elected its first gay mayor back in 1991, and in a 2017 survey, 81% of LGBTQ respondents said they found Canada to be an overall welcoming city that actively works to improve LGBTQ quality of life.
Most LGBTQ Friendly-Cities in the U.S.
The United States has some of the most forward-thinking cities for the LGBTQ community, creating a welcoming new home right here in the U.S. that doesn’t require updating your passport and changing your credit cards.
These are the five most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the U.S:
San Francisco has the largest LGBTQ population in the country. The Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 Municipal Equality Index Scorecard awarded perfect scores for the city’s LGBTQ-friendly factors, such as non-discrimination laws, municipal services, and LGBTQ equality. In November 2019, the FBI reported that San Francisco hate crimes experienced a 58% increase, but the statistics fail to deter many who come to the City by the Bay for its quality of life.
The Castro stands as a beautiful, proud landmark for many a weary traveler, a sign of welcome that here you have the LGBTQ community’s full support. The area around the Castro is a popular neighborhood for the city’s many LGBTQ residents and is a popular gathering spot for Pride Month in June.
Portland has the second-largest population of LGBTQ residents, and its HRC Scorecard shows high scores in all areas of LGBTQ government support. Portland was one the country’s very first cities to have an openly gay mayor, and LGBTQ residents enjoy an enormous amount of support from the city, while also benefitting from resources like the Cascade AIDS Project, Affirmation for LGBTQ Mormons, and the Northwest Gender Alliance.
The Hawthorne District is long-known as Portland’s most concentrated lesbian gayborhood, according to Gay Travel, while neighborhoods like the Pearl District, Chinatown, and Burnside Triangle also serve as popular LGBTQ hangouts. Additionally, Portland happens to be one of America’s most livable cities with its breathtaking mountain skyline and easy, clean living.
Austin is an LGBTQ playground, capturing an international audience with events like the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, Austin International Drag Fest, and of course, Austin Pride. The jam-packed social calendar is made possible in part by the Austin LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce.
Austin received perfect marks on its HRC scorecard, and city government shows much support to the LGBTQ community, which makes up 5.3% of the population. There’s an incredible number of resources, like Out Youth, LGBTQ Coalition on Aging, and Kind Clinic, Austin’s first gender care clinic. You will be hard-pressed to find a more supportive community for the LGBTQ community than Austin.
The city is home to several notable events, with PrideFest, the Rhode Island AIDS Walk for Life, and the Providence LGBTQ Flim Festival, which has been running for over 20 years. Local schools such as Brown, Johnson & Wales, and the Rhode Island School of Art and Design infuse the city with new energy and inspiration from a healthy LGBTQ population. Federal Hill remains one of Providence’s most picturesque communities, and Little Italy on Providence Hill continues to attract visitors to its shops and cafes.
Baltimore is the mid-Atlantic’s LGBTQ cornerstone, with its cozy neighborhoods making for an exciting and supportive haven for America’s LGBTQ community. Baltimore, Maryland is known for LGBTQ pride and proudly stands as a pivotal community within the extended D.C. metropolitan area. The city shows flawless scores on its HRC scorecard in all areas except for employer-provided benefits, which scored 22 out of 28.
The state capital is still a hub of LGBTQ support, with local resources including The Pride Center of Maryland, Free State Justice, and The Bmoreinclusive Project. Annual celebrations include Baltimore Pride and Baltimore Black Pride, held at different times during the year.
There is still room to grow in some cities, but there is no disputing the fact that the world continues to collectively evolve into a more open-minded, embracing, and welcoming place for the LGBTQ community. It’s a relief to know that wherever you may land in your travels, you are still never far from home.
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