Deciding which states in the U.S. are the most gay friendly can be looked at in several ways. On one hand there is the legal aspect, which states offer protections in regards to equality in things like housing and employment. Another thing to consider is what states have strong thriving gay communities, and yet another thing to consider is what the statistics regarding hate crimes against the LGBT community are in a given. Then of course there are the intangibles, those little things that make a person feel comfortable and cannot be measured empirically as they vary from person to person. Add them all together however and you can begin to get an idea of what states could be considered gay friendly.
Massachusetts has to be considered one of, if not the friendliest state in the U.S. in regards to gays. Legal same sex marriages with all it’s provisions and protections plays a huge role in determining this but is far from the only factor. From the legal standpoint the protections gays receive in regards to non-discrimination and hate cries legislation are among the best in the nation. Having a large liberal resident base also goes a long way towards providing what can only be described as a friendly atmosphere. Add into the mix places like Provincetown (Also known simply as P-Town) which is and has for years been a gay mecca for visitors and residents alike and Massachusetts is in many minds the most gay friendly state.
Although tiny Rhode Island does not yet allow gay marriage it does recognize gay marriages that have been legally conducted elsewhere and seems to be a shoo-in to pass same sex marriage legislation when it next appears on the ballot. The legal protections for gays and transgenders are outstanding and they have gone to great lengths to educate state and local law enforcement of special issues regarding the proper treatment of the transgender community. Rhode Island’s largest city, Providence, also has an openly gay mayor David Cicciline who has helped make the city and to some degree the state as a whole a comfortable place for LGBT persons to live, work, study, and visit without compromising his integrity by pushing it as an agenda.
Connecticut rounds out the tri-state area and ranks at least as one of the top five gay friendly states with the help of it’s recent passage of same sex marriage. traditionally Connecticut has been regarded as a starched collar state however the citizens and lawmakers of the state have shown time and again that they are progressive thinkers that put the right to equality above personal likes or dislikes. While the gay community in Connecticut wouldn’t be considered as large per capita as many states there are small pockets in which there is a stron gay presence. Add in it’s location which allows easy access to large cities like New York City, Providence, and Boston, and Connecticut is a wonderful safe environment for any LGBT person to hang their shingle.
New York has long been regarded a leading state for gays to live and work. While gay marriage has not yet passed it is likely to do so within the next several years at least. When discussing New York on this topic like many others however it is important to distinguish the difference between life in the city and life in the state. New York is split in to government agencies which oversee life in each separately in many cases so not all laws are universally carried over. For instance in the five boroughs a transgender person is legally allowed to use the public restroom which is congruous to their gender presentation, while in other areas of the state this is not so even if it is generally unenforced. Likewise a transgender person in the five boroughs health department can easily change the designation for their sex on legal documents while the state health department does not allow this.
New York City is a great place for LGBT persons as it is very liberal in the regards it treats LGBT persons do to the gay communities large presence there. As pointed out above, the city in many ways functions apart from the state as whole almost as if it were it’s own entity which makes this possible. The state as a whole however is still superior in regards to laws, gay communities, and that undefinable vibe that you are safe there as a resident or visitor. Without doubt New York is a top five gay friendly state.
Regardless of the recent passage of proposition eight, California has long been considered an LGBT mecca thanks in large part to the huge thriving gay communities of San Francisco and Los Angeles. California is often recognized as a gay Capitol in the world, has a gay friendly Governor, and LGBT persons in positions of power throughout the entire state thanks in large part to the entertainment industry/ California may be one of the two best states in regards to LGBT hiring both in policy and reality. Violence statistics in California in regards to LGBT persons seems high but when looked at on a per capita basis are actually in line with what one would expect. It only makes sense that with so many LGBT persons residing in and visiting California the numbers would be slightly higher based availability for lack of a better word.
While these are generally regarded as the most gay friendly states they are not the only states which deserve mention and they may even be replaced by the likes of Oregon, Minnesota, New Jersey, and surprisingly improving states in this area Georgia and North Carolina whom for many years had been regarded as states for LGBT to avoid. With all this said however the real determining factor for any person should be where do they personally feel safe and comfortable, not what polls, studies, or anything or anyone else says. This is simply a guide to help people that may be considering a move places that may allow them an opportunity to find those things.