Gayest City or Not? Fort Lauderdale Tops Census Data; Snubbed by Advocate

Sebastian Beach, Fort Lauderdale

Sebastian Beach, Fort Lauderdale

What makes a city gay? Lots of gay bars? Lots of gay elected officials? Lots of LGBT people? Census data?

According to the Advocate’s 2014 ranking of the nation’s gayest cities, it’s a hodgepodge of reasons. For the number one spot, which was earned by none other than Washington, D.C., here’s the official description from Advocate:

...this city has a whopping 17 gay elected officials, perhaps a result of its unique status as a federal district, free from the grip of a state government. … Though they’re ostensibly right-leaning, we think hunky young pols Rep. Paul Ryan and Rep. Aaron Schock are subtly demonstrating their LGBT friendliness by indulging in well-known gay customs: Ryan lifts weights and exaggerates his stats (how fast was that run, Paul?), and Schock likes his shirtless photo shoots and pink fashion accessories. And we cannot overlook House Speaker John Boehner; bring extra Kleenex if you invite him over for a Nora Ephron flick on movie night.

Yep. Boehner and bartenders. But the buzz around the Internet wasn’t singing the same tune back in October when newly revealed (and still the most recent) census data from 2012 showed the gayest city in the America to be — drumroll, please — Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In that city, 2.8 percent of households self-reported being same-sex. It’s dry data, but still. Second place went to Seattle, Washington, where 2.6 percent of households reported the same. Long-standing gayest city San Francisco came in third at 2.5 percent, effectively getting thrown off of its pedestal. Indeed, the Huffington Post’s article about the ranking starts off with: “Did San Francisco just get out-gayed?”

But the Advocate didn’t put Fort Lauderdale as its top city, or even in its top three, or even in its top 10! Instead, Fort Lauderdale is part of a list of honorable mentions:

15. Pittsburgh, Penn.
16. New Orleans, La.
17. Denver, Colo.
18. Tacoma, Wash.
19. Lexington, Ky.
20. Portland, Ore.
21. Las Vegas, Nev.
22. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
23. Tampa, Fla.
24. Akron, Ohio
25. Boston, Mass

The census data ranking did give a list of top 10 cities, though:

10. Warwick, Rhode Island
9. Washington, D.C.
8. Providence, Rhode Island
7. Oakland, California
6. Somerville, Massachusetts
5. Portland, Maine
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota
3. San Francisco, California
2. Seattle, Washington
1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

So what makes a city gay? Maybe it’s just about love or something. What do you think?

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