Move to America's Most Gay-Friendly Communities
BOSTON ( MainStreet) June is LGBT Pride Month, and whether you're gay or just "straight but not narrow," here's a look at the five U.S. communities that The Advocate magazine recently named as America's Gayest Cities .
"These places are welcoming, open, friendly and just have a great quality-of-life component to them," says Matthew Breen of The Advocate , which bills itself as America's oldest publication for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.
The magazine has compiled its annual list of America's gayest cities for nearly a decade, but doesn't focus on obvious metrics such as local LGBT population size or antidiscrimination laws.
Instead, editors look at offbeat measures such as which cities have roller-derby teams or host concerts by the cast of Glee. "We try to shake it up each year and be a bit cheeky," says Breen, who serves as the magazine's editor in chief.
This year, The Advocate analyzed major U.S. cities for 10 gay-friendly factors that ranged from the per-capita number of local LGBT elected officials to whether a community hosts a gay rodeo association. (Yes, there are such groups.)
Communities got extra points for local nightclubs that made Out magazine's annual list of the world's 200 best gay bars, as well as for how often Lady Gaga or other LGBT-friendly singers performed in town last year.
Breen says gays aren't the only people who might like living in a city that scores well on The Advocate's annual rundown. "Many of the criteria that we use are not literally 'gay,'" he says. "Concerts or roller-derby teams are all things that lots of straight people would be interested in too."
Read on to check out the five cities that topped this year's annual rankings, along with some information about each community's housing market. Median list prices refer to asking prices for all residences listed as of April (the latest month with data available) on Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors' official property-listing site.
America's Fifth-Gayest City: Atlanta
Even though it's deep in the heart of conservative Dixie, Atlanta has long had a reputation as one of America's most gay-friendly cities.
Famously gay musician Elton John lives there part time, while Breen says "Hotlanta" hosts some of America's largest annual gay pride and black gay pride celebrations. "Atlanta is a great contrast to a lot of the conservative areas that surround it," he says.
The city also has several openly gay local elected officials, as well as five of Out magazine's 200 Best Gay Bars in the World . The Advocate also gives Georgia's most-populous city extra credit for hosting one all-women's college (Spelman) and a concert last year by gay-friendly singer Pink.