The Vocativ Queer Index

The 35 Most LGBT-Friendly Cities in America

Over the past few years, the momentum of Pride has changed. Radically. Opposition to marriage equality at state and federal levels has been crumbling in the courts and the court of public opinion. Anti-discrimination laws are being revised to include LGBT individuals. And for the generation of people in their 20s and 30s, coming out is legitimately getting better.

Still, for all the gains in rights and acceptance, it ain’t all rainbows. Let’s face it: A great many places across America are still not that welcoming of the LGBT community. But there are beacons of hope—as well as cities quietly changing—and hence, the Queer Index was born.

Coinciding with national LGBT Pride Month, we used a unique combination of data sets to provide a picture of LGBT life, real life, across the country. To determine the top 35 queer-friendly cities in the U.S., Vocativ started with the 100 most populous metropolitan areas, according to 2013 census data, and analyzed a trove of state-and city-level information, as well as open Internet sources such as Facebook, Craigslist, GayCities and Gayborhood.

In total, our Queer Index used 32 data sets to measure 16 different factors, from livability indicators like same-sex marriage laws and the rate of hate crimes, to lifestyle metrics like the concentration of out singles and the availability of hookup opportunities. (While we tried to be fully inclusive, we were limited by available numbers on bisexual and trans folks for some of our categories.)

Tied together, the Queer Index paints a rich picture of modern LGBT life across America. And the results are a surprising—and fun—look at which U.S. cities are striding with pride. Des Moines, anyone?

Queer Index Top 35 City-by-city Breakdown


Queer Index Category Leaders

Special thanks to: Jenn Holmes, Matan Gilat, Dustin Drankoski, Leury Hidalgo, Julia Kastner, Rebecca Steinberg and Ryan J. Davis

Wondering where your city ranked, if it didn’t place in the top 35? Have a question about our methodology?

Leave us a question below or on Facebook. We’ll be hosting a live chat with the data scientists and journalists who worked on the Index, so follow us on Facebook where we’ll be posting updates.

Respond Now
DRUGS

Cop Shoots Unarmed Man In Face, Kills Him Over Half A Pound Of Weed

Shane Dixon Kavanaugh
TRAVEL

When's The Best Time To Go To The DMV?

Ross Keith
INDIA

Rapist Lynched After BBC Rape Documentary Aired

Sarah Kaufman
INTERNET

Driverless Cars Will Be The New Shopping Malls

Eric Markowitz
JUSTICE

Check Out All The Police Departments That The Feds Are Investigating

Abigail Tracy
MUSIC

Grateful Dead Tickets Are Cheaper Than You Thought

Abigail Tracy
ART

What If Women Took Over Wikipedia For A Day

Luke Malone
SOCIETY

Even The Populations Are Bigger In Texas

Abigail Tracy