5 best states in America for gay travelers (and the 5 worst)
Between June Pride Month and the Supreme Court ruling recent decision to maintain a federal law protecting LGBTQ workers of discrimination, there is a lot to celebrate in the LGBTQ community right now. But based on a new study ranking America’s best and worst states for gay-friendly travel, there’s still work to be done. OutOfOffice.com travel company created the US LGBT + Travel Index, which ranks states, revealing America’s best and worst destinations for gay travel.
“We want to be known as thought leaders in LGBT travel, so it’s important that we conduct original research,” says Darren Burn, director of UK-based OutOfOffice.com. “With so many of our customers based in the United States, we wanted to make sure we provided them with safe domestic travel options. “
To determine the best and worst conditions for gay travelers, the site analyzed a number of factors, including legal protection for LGBT + people, the LGBT + population, cost of travel, things to do, and overall happiness.
California tops the US LGBT + Travel Index as the best state for gay travelers. “It wasn’t too surprising to see California coming out on top,” says Burn. “The state is widely regarded as one of America’s most progressive states and is home to havens for LGBT travelers such as San Francisco. It’s also full of beaches and fun things to do, so it’s a great vacation choice for everyone. ”
Washington State and Minnesota came second and third on the list. According to Burn, the top three states have criminal laws in place to protect against hate or harmful crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “They also have some of the highest levels of the LGBT population, although Oregon is actually the highest at 5.6%,” says Burn. “Unfortunately, these three states are some of the more expensive travel options.”
Burn says he was surprised by New York’s ranking. “Before I did the research, I thought New York would rank better,” Burn says. “But including happiness was important to us and some other states just have better wellness ratios than New York City because of its hectic lifestyle.”
At the bottom of the US LGBT + Travel Index is Alaska. “Alaska ranked low with particularly low scores for safety. The security element was based on protection against hate crimes, as stated in the State Equality Index, says Burn. “Alaska has no laws in place to protect people from hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Alaska also ranked low as it is an expensive state for travelers to visit based on the Cost of living index. “
In the contiguous states, Alabama was the worst on the list. “Alabama has one of the weakest LGBT populations in the United States and also does not have the proper protection against hate crimes in place,” Burn said. “Alabama also ranked low for things to do, according to the Funniest States Index, and ranked low for overall happiness in the World Population Review happiest states data. “
Burn points out that lower-ranked states do not have laws to protect against LGBTQ hate crimes and that they also have some of the lowest LGBT population levels in the country. But whether LGBTQ travelers should avoid visiting lower-ranked places entirely is a very personal decision, says Burn. “Whether an LGBT traveler chooses to visit such a place is a personal choice they have to make,” says Burn. “In terms of precautions, we just advise being reasonable and taking the usual safety precautions.”
Here, Burn gives his thoughts on the top five states on the US LGBT + Travel Index and the five worst states on the list. You can see the full ranking of all states here.
The 5 best states for gay travelers
- California: It’s not much of a surprise that Golden State is in the top spot. The city of San Francisco has the highest LGBT population of any American city and is well known as a hotspot for LGBT travel, drawing visitors from all over the world. California is generally considered one of the most progressive states and has Hate Crime Protection to protect against hate or harmful crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Washington: Washington has one of the highest LGBT population rates at 5.2%. The state has in place comprehensive LGBTQ + legislation. The city of Seattle is the city with the second highest LGBT population, after San Francisco in first place. The city is well known for its equality and LGBT pride, having celebrated the city’s LGBT culture during Gay Pride Week since 1977.
- Minnesota: Minnesota has the lowest LGBT population in the top 10, at just 4.1%, but despite this, Minnesota is known to be liberal and tolerant, which is one of the reasons it is a great choice for LGBT travelers and why it ranks as the third happiest state in all of the United States. The city of Minneapolis is known to be a pioneer in LGBT equality. In 1975, Minneapolis was the first city in the United States to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance.
- Colorado: With a 4.6% LGBT population, we might have expected to see Colorado more in the middle of the table, but its cheap costs and scores for being one of the funniest, happiest states in the states. -Unis, alongside its equality laws, placed it in fourth place. place.
- New York: Ranked third for funniest states in the United States and 14th for overall happiness. New York is known to be an assortment of people from all walks of life and is generally considered to be one of the most open and liberal states, which of course makes it a good choice for LGBT travelers. The state has all relevant hate crime laws in place and has an LGBT population of 5.1%.
The 5 worst states for gay travelers
- Alaska: As with all lower ranked states, Alaska does not have hate crime protection in place to protect LGBT people. The state has a low LGBT population rate of 3.7% and the state is generally not well known for its acceptance of LGBT people.
- Alabama: One of the southern states, Alabama has one of the lowest LGBT population rates (3.1%) and does not have hate crime laws in place to protect LGBT people. Alabama has often made negative headlines when it comes to LGBT rights, such as the comments from one of the mayors of the state in June 2019. In some ways, Alabama seeks equality through rights such as LGBT adoption and the right to change sex.
- West Virginia: West Virginia has a surprisingly high 4% LGBT population, but sadly these people are not protected by hate crime laws. This may be one of the reasons why this state has the lowest overall happiness levels.
- Arkansas: Arkansas has a low LGBT population of 3.3%. In January 2019, the LGBT protection project proposed by the state’s most liberal city, Fayetteville, was overturned by a state judge. Arkansas offers no protection against hate crimes and LGBT prejudice.
- Montana: Montana does not have hate crime protection in place for LGBT people, which may present challenges for LGBT travelers that others would not face. At just 2.9%, Montana has a very low LGBT population.