World's Queerest (or Queer-friendliest) Cities?

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World's Queerest (or Queer-friendliest) Cities?

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Jun 29, 2009, 2:39 pm

I'm writing to ask for a bit of advice.

I'm currently finishing up a Masters degree, and am in the lucky position of being able to move just about anywhere after this. So, in order to narrow my job-search down slightly, I thought I'd turn to the collective wisdom of Librarything and get your recommendations.

I'm a 20-something, kinky, queer-identified bi/lesbian/dyke/womyn-loving-womyn (bike?) looking to move to a city with a lively and welcoming queer community (preferably some level of social or intellectual consciousness beyond the clubbing/meat-market scene, although that's good too...) and an accessible bdsm scene.

Bonus points for cities with good music/cultural life. Double bonus points for places where I can get a job in international development:)

Let the shameless plugs begin.

Jun 29, 2009, 2:45 pm

Well, obviously, Washington D.C. Huge gay community, but more importantly there's the international development thing. AFAIK, isn't D.C. one of the only places where that career path is viable?
If you're doing public health, Atlanta...both the CDC and Emory have huge international public health programs/initiatives, and Atlanta's one of the queerest cities, pound for pound, outside San Francisco.
SF being the (only?) other real alternative in terms of queer culture. But jobwise, I don't know.

Jun 29, 2009, 2:48 pm


Jun 29, 2009, 5:49 pm

San Francisco. Though I'm not sure about the i-development part.

Jun 30, 2009, 7:59 am

Ann Arbor, Michigan and surrounding areas are pretty decent for a smaller city. (Of course, just about any place is better compared to where I grew up...)

Jul 1, 2009, 7:18 am

Thanks, wonderful people.

I would never have thought of Atlanta, and I was resigning myself to working in DC due to the jobs and hating the city.
San Francisco and Seattle were already on the list – glad to have those reinforced. And although I suspected Ann Arbor would be open-minded, it's nice to have the feedback.

I grew up in Chicago, and am constantly having it pointed out to me how great of a city it is. I moved away before I got much of a chance to discover its queer, kinky, or feminist communities, though. This might be just the push I need to move back.

Please, keep the comments coming.

Jul 1, 2009, 3:00 pm

Chicago is awesome, too (another vote)

Jul 1, 2009, 3:05 pm

New Orleans. If you don't mind the surrounding countryside filled with religious freaks, and 'phobes of every stripe.

Jul 2, 2009, 3:39 am

I can't believe I'm going to recommend this, but one that has not been mentioned is Memphis...fits your qualifications...queer friendly (as far as southern cities are), music, a landed BDSM club, as for "social or intellectual consciousness" well, I only found it in small doses in the Memphis area.

Personally, I detest Memphis, but for reasons that don't fit your parameters (that damn heat, blatantly corrupt government and abject bigotry).

Another option that I STRONGLY recommend, that has a great queer community is Anchorage Alaska. Fails on the music side, but what it lacks there it makes up in agreat GLBT support community and establishments (you HAVE to check out Mad Myrna's), the rest is all there. Strong sense of independence, strong social and political movements, a smallish but building BDSM community. International development…why, Sarah says she can see Russia from her back yard.

Jul 2, 2009, 3:43 am

Oh, and if you ARE doing any type of public health, economic development, or save the planet and it's people stuff, the Yukon Kuskokwim delta is a place where you will fall in love with the people and wake up each morning knowing you have helped.

Jul 2, 2009, 3:58 am

I'd feel a bit remiss if I didn't throw Austin, Texas into the ring for your choices. It's got a pretty good sized GLBT community, along with a never ending stream of interesting people, especially in the downtown/UT area (being the most liberal of the Texas cities does have it's advantages). It's also the (self-proclaimed) Live Music capital of the world, and really I don't know a lot of people who would argue that fact.

If you like bars and drinking there's 6th street (think Bourbon Street in New Orleans, only cleaner). There are also a lot of more cerebral activities to be had in the museums/art galleries/libraries/etc. Lots of good outdoorsy places to visit as well, reasonably close to the city.

I'm sadly uninformed on the state of jobs in Austin at the moment, so that would bear some looking into. And if you don't like hot weather...yeah.

Good luck finding a place you'll enjoy.

Jul 2, 2009, 7:56 am

Hi, I'm not a member of this group but this thread caught my eye and I've learnt a lot from your posts already.

Also, since the thread title is for cities around the globe and only American cities have been mentioned so far, I thought I'd suggest Cape Town in South Africa, if only for a visit. I grew up there and although I'm not queer in any way (I don't think :) it is a sexually friendly city, at least in the parts you'd be most interested in and most likely to visit. There are always many foreigners in the city, not only as tourists but as students, designers, researchers, and residents, so you'd be very welcome.

Cape Town hosts events like the Mother City Queer Festival (part of the Mother City Queer Project), the Gay Pride Parade, Sex Expo, and a Lesbian and Gay film festival.

I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I hope it helps or at least gives you something interesting to look into.

Jul 8, 2009, 7:03 am

And the list grows...
Thanks, folks! I had sort of mentally written off anything south of the Mason-Dixon line...glad to know that doesn't need to be the case. Iwill definitely be looking into Memphis, New Orleans, and Austin. Also Anchorage, which I know absolutely nothing about!

Inkspot – thanks for the recommendation. Cape Town is somewhere I've wanted to visit and/or work in for a while, and it's great to know it's such a lively, diverse city. I'd love to hear more about it.

Jul 11, 2009, 9:50 am

What about Toronto?

And then there is always Melbourne, Australia - we are particularly kinky and its a short flight to Sydney for MardiGras.

Can't comment on the work aspect - but the music and arts scene is diverse and apparently the shopping is to die for!

Set 2, 2009, 1:30 am

Amsterdam, the Netherlands proudly states to be the gay capital of the world. I have also heard good messages about Berlin, Germany.

Out 20, 2009, 12:27 am

Madison, WI has a large active LGBTQ community and is also very culturally diverse. They usually have all kinds of festivals and events happening there or nearby regularly.

Editado: Nov 27, 2009, 8:42 am

I agree as a South African also Cape town is the right place. Inkspot also left out Sandy Bay, one of the best nusist beaches in the world. Also nice to see a fellow South African here (inkspot).

Dez 27, 2009, 9:02 pm

Hmmmm...old topic, but interesting. I suggest Paris or Berlin, although Prague might be interesting.

Jul 17, 2011, 4:03 pm

New York City has an established BDSM community, and uhm err the UN is here. As for culture and art, broadway and museums galore. You might also note that the gay/queer/pick a label community is pretty well established (We DO have stonewall afterall)

Jul 19, 2011, 8:22 pm

seattle's a fabulous city for radical queer folks.

Out 2, 2011, 10:50 pm

places I've loved: SF, Ptld ME, Toronto, N.Hampton/Ptown, MA, Chicago, Denver

places that I am curious about, or been encouraged to try: Austin, Seattle, Portland Or, Decatur Ga, Oakland... If you end up getting to Atlanta or Savannah, let me know how they feel to you. I'm really interested in a grad school offered in both cities, and am hesitant to move to either of those areas for safety. Best of luck!

Dez 29, 2011, 10:55 pm

OP here — Randomly checked the "your posts" in Talk and ended up back here. I love that the conversation has kept going. Loving the suggestions, which make for good travel plans if nothing else.

I've ended up in Montreal for the time being, and although it never got mentioned in this thread it is marvellously queer and culturally vibrant. Neither of which were the reason I ultimately ended up here (it was a career/school move), but they sure are nice perks.

oevolve — I haven't been to either Atlanta or Savannah, but I have friends who love both. I can ask them for more details if you'd like.

Jan 11, 2012, 7:57 pm

Winnipeg is great. It's a "big" city with a small town feel where everybody knows everybody else. It has a vibrant alternative scene and gay scene that experiences a ton of overlap (arguably the gay scene is bigger), and one of the biggest fetish balls in the world. There's a huge annual pride parade that's attended by not only members of the LGBT community but a large portion of the general population as well. And my own place of employment has an extremely visible LGBT population, and has won many diversity awards.
Though if you've ended up in Montreal you've made an even better choice :)