Countless cities across the U.S. have a substantial way to go toward being more LGBTQ-friendly. These are the 10 least LGBTQ-friendly cities in America:
- Memphis, TN
- Houston, TX
- Jacksonville, FL
- Birmingham, AL
- Miami, FL
- Dallas, TX
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Tampa, FL
- St. Louis, MO
- Kansas City, MO
What stands out in the bottom cities is that they all have particularly low state equality tally scores. The bottom 10 average a state equality tally score of -3.15, which is 119% lower than the average state’s score of 16.7. Seven out of the bottom 10 cities are also in states that have a “Don’t Say Gay” law, one of the most restrictive laws targeting LGBTQ Americans.
In addition, four of the bottom 10 cities don’t have any NGLCC chapters, and they average just 0.75 LGBTQ-affirming health care providers per 100,000 residents — 46% fewer than the average metro in our study (1.4).
Despite ranking so low on LGBTQ-friendliness, some cities in our bottom 10 do have some bright spots. Houston is home to Pearl Bar, one of the few remaining lesbian bars in the country, while Kansas City declares itself an LGBTQ sanctuary city. As for Jacksonville, it’s tied for the lowest percentage of residents opposing same-sex marriage, along with Hartford at 11%.
Memphis, our least LGBTQ-friendly city, struggles with its location in Tennessee, a state with several anti-LGBTQ laws. Tennessee’s state equality tall score is -11.5, nearly 2x lower than the average state’s score of 16.7. Thirty-six percent of its residents oppose same-sex marriage, which indicates it has less support for LGBTQ residents materially and in terms of community.
Clever Real Estate compared the 50 most-populous U.S. metro areas across 14 metrics, listed below. Each metric was normalized and graded on a 100-point scale. The combined weighted average of each score determined the overall “most-friendly LGBTQ+ city” score upon which the final ranking was based.
Data points were attributed to metropolitan areas as much as possible. For some, data attributed to the largest city in the metropolitan area or state was used.
The metrics used are as follows:
- Percentage of state population that is LGBTQ+ (11.1%)
- PFLAG chapters per 100,000 residents (11.1%)
- LGBTQ+ affirming health care providers per 100,000 residents (9.5%)
- Count of state-level anti-trans legislation (9.5%)
- Pride events per 100,000 residents (9.5%)
- Count of NGLCC chapters (7.9%)
- Percentage of population opposing anti-discrimination laws (7.9%)
- Percentage of population opposing same-sex marriage (7.9%)
- Gay bars per 100,000 residents (4.8%)
- Human Rights Campaign’s municipal equality index (4.8%)
- Movement Advancement Project’s state equality tally score (4.8%)
- Presence of state-level inclusive curricular standards (4.8%)
- Presence of parental opt-out laws (3.2%)
- Presence of “Don’t Say Gay” laws (3.2%)
Sources: Human Rights Campaign, The American Values Atlas provided by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Movement Advancement Project (MAP), OutCare, Yelp, Google Trends, and Gaypridecalendar.com.
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Frequently Asked Questions About the Most LGBTQ-Friendly Cities in the U.S.
What is the most accepting city of LGBT?
Defining a city as most “accepting” can be difficult because of differing state-level policies, municipal policies, and public support. We look at each of these metrics in this study. Check out how your city stacks up.
Where are the most LGBTQ-friendly cities?
The top three most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the U.S. are San Francisco, Hartford, and Las Vegas. Learn more.
Where is the best place for LGBTQ families to live?
The Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays network is a national organization with hundreds of chapters around the country. Cities with PFLAG chapters can be great for LGBTQ families because of the support they provide. Columbus, Washington, D.C., New York City, Cleveland, and San Jose are all tied for having the most PFLAG chapters per 100,000 residents at 0.05 each. Learn more.