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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gay San Francisco Isn't Really the Gayest City in America

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 8:33 AM

click to enlarge homofiles.jpg

All appearances to the contrary, San Francisco is not the gayest city in America. “Yeah, it’s Palm Springs,” you might be thinking, “or some tiny city with a significant LGBT population like Key West.”

Well, according to the Advocate, you couldn’t be colder. The Queerest City in America  this year is none other than Dayton, Ohio, aka the “Gem City,” birthplace of Martin Sheen and the Wright Brothers, population 143,000. As evidence, the magazine cites Dayton’s flourishing theater scene, a recent trans-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance, and a group for outdoorsy LGBT peeps.
A little more ghoulishly, they give a thumbs-up to the upcoming Jan. 17 vigil for trans teenager Leelah Alcorn, who committed suicide on December 28. Alcorn was from Kings Mills, a small and seemingly conservative town midway between Dayton and Cincinnati. Dubious logic aside, it’s in pretty poor taste to use her death as a bullet point for silly boosterism.

With evidence like that, it’s no surprise that neither San Francisco nor Oakland even made the top 25 (although Allentown, Costa Mesa, Lansing and Spokane all did). Like Susan Lucci, snubbed by the Daytime Emmys some 19 times before going home with a statuette, it wasn’t for the first time, either.

In fact, we never seem to win. The Advocate has a history of doing trolling queer America with its outlandish rankings. So the entire exercise reads more like an attention-getting stunt than a useful comparison. While indisputably gay Washington, D.C. won last year, previous winners include Minneapolis and Salt Lake City — both of perfectly lovely cities (and SLC is more cosmopolitan than many people give it credit for), but hardly national champions when it comes to gay-friendliness.

Their methodology is hardly opaque, either. Take a look at the Advocate’s ever-evolving criteria, of which there are six: trans-inclusivity, Pink Pistols chapters (that would be the gay gun club), number of pro-equality mosques, LGBT retirement communities, LGBT-friendly synagogues, and tours of Wicked, The Book of Mormon and Kinky Boots. I smell selection bias, as two years ago, they were also looking at gay rugby teams and roller derbies, the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and Scissor Sisters concerts.

With that said, GayCities released its worldwide evaluations, too, and based on user responses, San Francisco ranks somewhere in the upper middle. Toronto won City of the Year, and Dayton, of course, didn’t rate anywhere — not even in the Hidden Gem category, where Savannah took top honors.

Interestingly, S.F. won both the Singles Scene and Marriage categories, the latter by far, and tied for second with New Orleans in Food (1 percentage point behind Paris). Union Square took third in the shopping category, and the Castro won Best Gayborhood, beating Chicago’s Boystown by a considerable margin. It appears that when the people have their say, we do all right.

But losing to the declining, Rust Belt Dayton kinda stings. We can award them some points for fabulousness because Krystle Carrington from Dynasty was born there, but even when it comes to Peace Accords, ours (WWII) clearly beats theirs (the Bosnian War)! Pragmatically speaking, since tropical beaches aren't a possibility, I don’t know what San Francisco can do to be any gayer than it is, really. Undoubtedly, we must redouble our efforts to woo some more liberal Muslims and conservative, gun-toting lesbians. Maybe then we can get the recognition we deserve.

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About The Author

Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40

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