The Advocate today unveiled its seventh annual “Queerest Cities in America” list and once again, Salt Lake City takes among the top honors. While locales such as New York and West Hollywood are widely known to be LGBT-friendly, this list spotlights some unexpected cities not afraid to fly their LGBT-friendly flags.
“There are only a few true LGBT megalopolises in America — and that’s often by virtue of their sheer size,” says Matthew Breen, editor-in-chief of The Advocate. “What’s more fun, and more illuminating, is to look at the queer quotient of some less-expected locales, using criteria that don’t focus on more expected factors. The results are always unanticipated, and this year’s list delivers some absolutely surprising cities. We love sparking conversation in those places about what makes a city LGBT-friendly—and whether that city’s spot on the list is honestly earned.”
Using its own unique and irreverent criteria, The Advocate found a surprisingly diverse group of cities. While the criteria does include important elements such as non-discrimination protections and LGBT sites on the National Register, it also includes more light-hearted factors such as LGBT film festivals and tours of Janet Jackson, Ariana Grande, Carly Rae Jepson, and Madonna that have passed through the city.
The full list of criteria:
- LGBT film festivals
- Non-discrimination protections in adoption
- Muscial Tours: 1 point for each tour of Janet Jackson, Ariana Grande, Carly Rae Jepson, Madonna
- Chapter of the national LGBT Chamber of Commerce
- Openly queer mayor
- Workout: 1 point for each SoulCycle studio, Barry’s Bootcamp studio, Shaun T Beachbody event
- LGBT sites on the national register: 1 point for each
- Gay bookstores
- Places with landmarks that went rainbow for marriage equality: 1 point for each location
- Scream Queens/American HorrorStory viewing parties
The Advocate noted last year’s election of the city’s first openly gay mayor, Jackie Biskupski, Janet Jackson stopping by the city on her Unbreakable tour, LGBT film available through the Utah Film Center, the Damn These Heels film festival, and Utah’s annual transgender conference, Genderevolution.
The raw score is then divided by the population to provide a ranking based on a per capita LGBT quotient.
The 2016 “Queerest Cities in America” are:
15. Berkeley, CA
14. Manchester, NH
13. Waterbury, CT
12. Eugene, OR
11. Rochester, NY
10. Boulder, CO
9. Edison, NJ
8. Salt Lake City, UT
7. San Francisco, CA
6. Washington, D.C.
5. New Haven, CT
4. St. Louis, MO
3. Cambridge, MA
2. Inglewood, CA
1. HARTFORD, CT
Photo: Hartford, Conn. skyline by Elias Friedman