You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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Off-the-Radar Gay Friendly Cities
San Francisco and New York: be honest, when you think of gay friendly cities, these are probably the first two that come to mind. But at this point, the Bay Area is overrun by tech millionaires, and New York is feeling a little overplayed (and overpriced). You could try Seattle, Portland or Los Angeles, but maybe you’d be better off with one of these smaller, surprisingly gay friendly cities:
Buffalo has been making major strides to show the world it’s a gay friendly city, and people are finally starting to notice: Buffalo Pride festival breaks attendance records every June, with 10 percent of the city’s population, both gay and straight, attending last year. Buffalo has a widely-read LGBT newspaper, Outcome Buffalo, and its tourism board has even created a website with travel itineraries for gay and lesbian visitors.
You might not expect the home of country music to be a gay friendly city, but Nashville boasts a growing LGBT community. The city is the home of Out Central, an inclusive cultural center that hosts events like the monthly Transgender Drop-In and Fierce Film Wednesdays. The city is also home to several LGBT publications and the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which represents over 100 area businesses.
In a 2014 survey, 2.4 percent of households in Minneapolis were LGBT, with only Seattle and San Francisco ranking higher. It’s not surprising, considering the city’s LGBT cultural offerings and support services, like RECLAIM, a center for LGBT youth, and the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. Not to be outdone, Minneapolis’ sister city, St. Paul, also ranked in the top ten gay friendly cities that year.
Pittsburgh is more than just bridges (although it has plenty of those, too): in the last few decades, the LGBT population of this former steel town has grown in visibility, in part through the annual ReelQ film festival, held every October since 1985. Pittsburgh is known as the birthplace of Andy Warhol, and the Andy Warhol Museum regularly features contemporary LGBT artists like Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Yasumasa Morimura.
Madison is a small, progressive college town with a number of gay elected officials, a few LGBT sport teams like the Madison Minotaurs, and several popular LGBT publications, including Our Lives Magazine. Madison is also the home of A Room of One’s Own, a feminist bookstore and coffeehouse popular with the city’s lesbian community. Fun fact: Madison’s official city bird? The plastic pink flamingo.
You read that right: Kentucky. Despite being in a conservative state, Lexington has carved out a niche as a gay friendly city, with a large and active LGBT community. The city is home to the Pride Community Services Organization, which hosts events like the Pride Community Prom, and Lexington Fairness, a group working to advance equal rights for LGBT residents.
The Mile High City was recently voted an up-and-coming destination by OutTraveler magazine, and for good reason: the city is home to more than 4,000 gay and lesbian couples and thousands of LGBT singles, and its tourism board is actively courting LGBT visitors. With its laid-back reputation, wide assortment of nightlife and outdoor activities, and cultural offerings, it’s clear that Denver wants to make its mark as a gay friendly city.
With 10 percent of its population identifying as LGBT, it’s no wonder DC is a gay capital. The Dupont Circle neighborhood has long been an LGBT fixture, and neighborhoods like Adams Morgan and Bloomingdale are beginning to feature more and more gay-owned businesses. DC is also the home to the longest continually-operating lesbian bar, as well as Team DC, a non-profit LGBT sports league.
While some cities dedicate a month to LGBT Pride, Atlanta has events throughout the year to celebrate its diverse population. Atlanta’s gay community is also one of the most generous: the city is home to the Out on Film festival; Joining Hearts, a pool party that donates all proceeds to HIV/AIDS services; and the East Point Possums Show, a charity drag event with hundreds of annual visitors.
St. Louis, MO
What does St. Louis have that many other gay friendly cities don’t? How about a gay rodeo association? As home to one of the largest Pride festivals in the midwest, St. Louis is embracing its LGBT population and expanding its cultural offerings. The city also boasts three gay elected officials, and is scheduled to host the third annual North American OutGames in May and June of 2016.
If you’re looking for some of the most gay friendly cities in the United States, it may be time to look beyond the coasts. The “flyover” states and former rust belt are quickly becoming centers for LGBT culture, and their artistic and cultural offerings just might surprise you. Any travel destinations you’d like to see covered? Please let us know!