Gone are the days when same-sex lovers would have to keep their relationships under wraps. Today many states in the US legally recognize gay and lesbian unions. Then there are those cities where the broader civic life is sensitive and accepting of same sex partnerships even in the open. Among such places here are the ten most lesbian-friendly in the country.
This city in the state of Massachusetts is well known for its academic institutions and most particularly the Smith College. The intellectual way of life in Northampton has been a strong factor in the growth of a liberal artistic and counter culture scene that makes it one of the best places for the lesbian community. Yet more important is the fact that gays and lesbians can get legally married in the state of Massachusetts which makes Northampton the perfect choice for lesbians who are looking for culturally vibrant and legally safe place to live and love. Little wonder then that Northampton was declared ‘Lesbianville USA’ by the prestigious publication The National Enquirer as early as 1992.
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If lesbians in the eastern part of the USA have Northampton, those in the west have Portland. This city in the state of Oregon is not only its most populous but one of the best places to offer a high quality of life. Portland is frequently mentioned as the Greenest City in the country and among other things, Portland has the distinction of been voted as the best walking city as well as the best bicycling city in the past. However the aspect of the city which works for the lesbian community is its strong tradition of protecting free speech which has on several occasions been extended to support full nudity as well. And despite its voters passing an anti-gay marriage law last year, a long culture of free speech staunchly protected by the Oregon Constitution, a radical feminist presence as well as a marked DIY youth culture have all led to the city being considered as one of the best places to live for lesbians.
Sunny San Francisco is a paradise not only for tourists and geeks but for the country’s LGBT community as well. A tradition of liberal activism in the city means that lesbians along with gays have the freedom to love as they choose to. Moreover the plethora of hip lesbian hangouts makes San Francisco a great one for the girls. One could start off the day for instance in the Dolores Park Café and then browse through the numerous shops on Haight Street which was the birthplace of the hippie movement in the country, perhaps stopping by for a quick drink at the Trax which is one of the trendiest lesbian joints on the street. Bernal Heights is yet another popular neighborhood for lesbians and there the Wild Side West is one of the most frequented lesbian bars. Or one could stop for a spot of lunch at The Lexington Club, a lesbian-friendly club and then round off the day with dessert at the Citizen Café where award-winning out lesbian chef/owner Elizabeth Falkner serves up delicious cakes, cookies and other sweet delicacies.
New York City
The most populous city in USA is a natural choice for lesbians since this is a place which is tolerant of various other kinds of minorities – racial, political, religious, cultural besides sexual. And the best part about belonging to the Sapphic sisterhood living in New York City is that you can choose your own kind of life. Whether one is a six-figure power lesbian or an esoteric artist working in Soho, the ‘city that never sleeps’ has something for lesbians of every age, political affiliation and cultural background in all its boroughs. And it is this incredibly varied mosaic that makes New York City one of the best places to live for lesbians.
Atlanta owes its reputation as the ‘Queer Capital of the South’ to a liberal political atmosphere as well as an incredible diversity of culture. Another reason why the capital city of the state of Georgia is haven for the LGBT community is because of the sheer size of its population which is the third-highest among all cities in the country, just after San Francisco and Seattle. The vibrancy of the same-sex community here is evident in the way Atlanta hosts several cultural gatherings like the country’s largest gay parade and a well-attended gay film festival. The lesbian community in particular thrives on a wide variety of recreational venues ranging from the Outwrite gay and lesbian bookstore which caters to the academically oriented to My Sister’s Room, a popular lesbian bar where visitors can dance away the night. Finally Atlanta has several lesbian-friendly neighborhoods varying in type from the eclectic East Atlantic Village to the posher Virginia Highland where residents recently elected a lesbian council member Anne Fauver.
Pittsburgh is famous for its many colleges and universities which gives the city a marked intellectual atmosphere and a vibrant student population. Thus it hardly comes as a surprise that the capital city of Pennsylvania should be home to icons of gay cultural expressions like Andy Warhol or to those of radical feminism and lesbian activism like Gertrude Stein and Willa Cather. Events which are the highlight of Pittsburgh lesbian community are the Pittsburgh International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival which continues for ten days in October and the increasingly popular Pride Theater Festival which run over two weekends in June.
If it’s a break one is looking for, Key West in Florida rank the list of the one of the most lesbian-friendly vacation destinations. Located at the southernmost tip of Florida, Key West has warm beaches, colorful coral reefs and a vibrant same-sex community. In fact many of the businesses here like the restaurants, bookstores and tour companies are owned by gays and lesbians. All these factors have propelled Key West into one of the most popular vacation spots in the lesbian community.