Friday, January 22, 2010

The Advocate Declares Springfield, MA one of America's gayest cities

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The top places for LGBT's to settle down in are surprising.

All across the nation, LGBT folk are scratching their heads at the cities The Advocate.Com picked as America's gayest. They admit it was not a precisely measured study, but a subjective one based on things like gay civil rights and marriage, openly LGBT elected officials, the number of gay bars, social organizations and number of cruising spots. The obvious choices like Manhattan, San Francisco, Provincetown and even Northampton do not appear, since some of the measurements were based on per capita same sex couples living together according to the census.

Former Springfield Mayor Michael Albano dragged that backwater into the 21st Century.

It is surprising that Burlington, Vermont is #2, but not as jaw dropping as Springfield, Massachusetts being in the top fifteen. The reason Springfield was chosen, they wrote, is "When you think of gay Massachusetts, you may think Northampton or Provincetown. But now, thanks to a string of pro-gay municipal actions and progressive former mayor Michael Albano, Springfield has become an example of how a state’s pro-gay legislation can transform a city."

Another reason for increasing gay tolerance in Springfield is a newspaper that encourages positive change and the development of a gay community.Not everyone agreed.

Burlington, Vermont made second place. "Vermont’s largest city may seem deceptively sleepy (Vermonters tend to be quiet about their beliefs), but it’s the epicenter of the state’s equality efforts. There are several out members in the state legislature (if not on the city council), and nearby Ben & Jerry’s renamed its Chubby Hubby flavor “Hubby Hubby” to celebrate the state’s marriage equality law."

Vermonters didn't keep their openess to gay unions a secret.

Here are the rankings according to their fascinating survey:

1. Atlanta, GA
2. Burlington, VT
3. Iowa City, IA
4. Bloomington, IN
5. Madison, WI
6. New Orleans, LA
7. Fort Lauderdale, FL
8. Portland, ME
9. Austin, TX
10. Seattle, WA
11. Gainesville, FL
12. Asheville, NC
13. Springfield, MA
14. San Diego, CA
15. Albuquerque, NM

Burlington with a population of about 40,000 manages an impressive Gay Pride parade each year.

Read the full story in The Advocate. (Not to be confused with the embarrassing local Advocate here in the Berkshires, once a usable arts guide but which regularly gives up its precious space to homophobic letters for some reason. Homophobia continues to appear in the Topix columns of the Eagle and Transcript as well. Sometimes openly, more often disguised, but clear to anyone who reads there. Not only are these continuing attacks hurtful, but the hostility of anonymous cranks who bash every business in the area are driving advertisers away.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not surprised at all by Springfield's inclusion in the list...quite a network of gays and lesbians in the city, appreciation of the arts and architecture that come with Springfield and value have brought many to the city. If anything, its long overdue.