SAN DIEGO — Over the last few years, state legislatures across the U.S. have enacted an unprecedented number of laws that target LGBTQ+ people and their rights.
These measures, underscored by increasing hostility towards people in the community, have caused many to pack up and move out of their home, seeking a new one in place that offers greater LGBTQ+ protections.
“The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived — they are real, tangible and dangerous,” Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said in a June release that declared a “State of Emergency” for LGBTQ+ Americans.
“In many cases they are resulting in violence against LGBTQ+ people, forcing families to uproot their lives and flee their homes in search of safer states,” she added.
Amid these challenges, many cities have made strides towards bolstering the rights of its LGBTQ+ residents, passing measures aimed at protecting the community within its boundaries.
To compile the list, researchers with Clever said they analyzed criteria that encompasses both the “fun aspects of the … community” — like the number of Pride events held and gay bars per capita — and the political atmosphere needed to allow LGBTQ+ Americans to thrive.
According to Clever, this included looking at the number of anti-trans legislation passed at the state level, the number of designated LGBTQ-affirming health care providers for every 100,000 residents in the area and the percentage of residents that oppose anti-discriminations laws.
Based on all of these categories, the real estate company said that the pride in America’s Finest City “truly shines through.”
According to the study, the city hosts 0.12 pride events per 100,000 residents annually — a ratio that is about 71% above the national average.
On topics related to equality, the city also boasts numbers indicative of support for its LGBTQ+ neighbors.
Only about 14% of San Diego residents oppose non-discrimination laws, the study found — nearly 26% below the national response of 19%. Meanwhile, only 18% of people in the city are opposed to same-sex marriage, compared to 27% nationwide — a difference of about 33%.
This present day progressive mindset on LGBTQ+ rights, paired with a history of being a coveted destination for visitors looking to experience its vibrant and inclusive culture that dates back to the 1950s with bars like Bradley’s and Blue Jacket.
These days, however, Clever said that LGBTQ+ bar Gossip Grill serves as one of the standout hotspots in the region. It is the sole dive in San Diego — and one of only 27 left in the entire country — that puts queer and transgender women at the forefront of its business.
San Diego was one of five California cities that made the top 15 list of most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the country, coming in between Los Angeles at No. 6 and Sacramento in the No. 8 spot. Unsurprisingly, San Francisco took the top slot in Clever’s ranking.
A full list of the top 15 overall most-friendly cities for LGBTQ+ Americans can be found below:
- San Francisco, CA
- Hartford, CT
- Las Vegas, NV
- Portland, OR
- Denver, CO
- Los Angles, CA
- San Diego, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- Chicago, IL
- New Orleans, LA
- San Jose, CA
- Richmond, VA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Baltimore, MD
- Milwaukee, WI
All of the cities in the top 15 earned a near perfect average city municipal equality score of 99 out of 100, Clever said. That includes New Orleans, who has taken steps to protect its LGBTQ+ residents despite the state enacting laws that restrict the rights of those in the community.
According to Clever, the company compared the 50 most-populous U.S. metro areas across 14 metrics to determine its ranking. Each metric was normalized and graded on a 100-point scale. The combined weighted average of each score determined the overall “most-friendly LGBTQ+ city” score upon which the final list was based.