People of alternate sexual orientation have always tended to congregate in certain cities or in certain areas of those cities. In the earlier days while this was in order to escape ostracism from the mainstream straight society, now it is increasingly about celebrating another way life and often associated with liberal cultural and artistic values. Following are ten cities in United States which have some of the largest population of gays in the country.
- New York City
New York City tops the list of places with the largest gay population in America. According to the figures compiled in American Community Survey of 2006, an estimated 272493 gays reside in the city. Ever since the end of nineteenth century Manhattan has attracted the gay community and today it continues to be the epicenter of gay life in NYC with its fabulous shopping, theater, dining and artistic destinations. At the same time however there is a growing gay presence in the Outer Boroughs particularly in Brooklyn and its neighborhoods like Park Slope as well as Cobble Stone. In terms of cultural events Gays have a lot to look forward to throughout the year, especially from May to November when each month features a gay pride hosted by boroughs like Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, followed by the NYC Gay Pride and the hugely popular Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.
- Los Angeles
Second only to New York City, Los Angeles boasts of a 154,270-strong gay population. Perhaps this is only expected from the most populous city of California, a state which has the highest number of gays in the entire country, both in terms of total numbers as well as a percentage of the overall state population. Los Angeles does not have a single hub of gay life but rather an entire series of neighborhoods and adjacent places which are popular for their gay businesses and residential areas. Some of these are West Hollywood, Hollywood, Silver Lake, the San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Westwood besides the increasingly trendy downtown. Some of the highlights of Los Angeles’ gay community include the Long Beach gay pride, the Los Angeles gay pride, OutFest in mid-July, AIDS Walk next month and finally a riotous gathering of the gay community at the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval.
The Windy City ranks third in the size of gay population among the American cities with an estimated strength of 114,449 residents. The majority of the gay population in Chicago appears to be concentrated in and around the Lakeview and Andersonville neighborhoods, which are about 5 to 7 miles northwest of downtown but quite easily accessible through public transport. Roscoe’s is one of the most famous gay bars in these areas which boasts of long queues on weekend evenings. While the city has its own gay pride in late June, other gay cultural attractions to watch out for are the International Mr. Leather weekend in Mid-May, Chicago International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in November and Northalsted Market Days in mid-August.
- San Francisco
The capital city of California is notable for its gay population not only because of its sheer size amounting to 94,234 residents but also for the high percentage the gay community which makes up 15.4% of the total city population. No other city in the country can claim to have as vibrant and politically-aware a gay community as San Francisco. Here a history of liberal activism since the 1950s has led to the emergence of a sophisticated and informed gay population. Bernal Heights is one of the most notable gay neighborhoods in San Francisco while the city’s gay hub Castro is located at the intersection of Castro, 17th and Market streets and includes countless hip shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and even gay accommodations. Other trendy neighborhoods frequented by gays include The Mission, SoMa as well as the Haight and Hayes Valley.
Though not as remarkable a gay culture as in cities like San Francisco or New York, Phoenix nevertheless has a large gay population amounting to 63,222 residents. Apart from the city’s central neighborhoods like Central Avenue where most of the gay-owned businesses and nightlife is centered, other cities in the Phoenix metro are like Scottsdale and Tempe also have a lively gay population.
This hi-tech city does not figure in many lists of gay-friendly cities since its gay community makes up only 4.4% of the city’s whole population. However at 61,976, the gay population in Houston is the six-largest in the country. The most visible gay hub in Houston is the busting Montrose neighborhood even though Oaklawn and Highland Village are among other popular choices for gay residential areas.
Though not figuring in the list of top five cities with the largest gay population, Seattle is nevertheless noteworthy for the high percentage of its total population that is made up by the gay community. At 12.9% of the city’s whole population, gays in Atlanta are only second to those in San Francisco as far as visibility is concerned even though its actual number of residents reaches up to 57,993. The areas most popular with gays are the funky Capitol Hill neighborhood, Belltown, Wallingford, Ballard, Fremont, Queen Anne and even the downtown district.
The capital city of the state of Georgia also has a high percentage of gay population which makes up 12.8% of the entire population of Atlanta even though in terms of actual numbers the gay population does not exceed 39,805. The most high-profile gay locality in Atlanta is Inman Park while the Little Five Points nearby forms a significant counter culture hub too. Other Neighborhoods like Midtown, Grant Park and Virginia-Highland are among the top gay destinations in the city for shopping, dining, and a happening nightlife.
With an intellectual way of life and a buzzing cultural scene, Minneapolis in Minnesota is yet another gay-friendly destination in United States. This has led to gays making up a high 12.5% of the city’s population even though its total numbers at 34,295 are lesser than the gay population in many other cities. Loring Park, Mill District, Warehouse District and Hennepin Avenue are some of the prime locations favored by the gay community in Minneapolis.
According to statistics compiled by the American Community Survey in 2006, Boston has the tenth-largest gay population at 50,540 in the country. However its gay community is far more noticeable than the number suggest since it makes up around 12.3% of the entire city population. While the South End remains the most fashionable gay neighborhood in Boston, others equally popular with the community are Back Bay, the Fens, Jamaica Plain and the neighboring city of Cambridge.