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"It's a little oasis of all things tolerant in Arkansas," says Kendra R.
A walkable mile and a half along Wilton Dr is the main attraction, says Mayor Gary Resnick.
Says Tony Ray Baker, of Gay Tucson: "Tucson was the first city in the US to enact a domestic partner provision way back in the '70s, and was also home of the first church to openly welcome gay members -- drawing the ire and protest of a very young Fred Phelps." Pissing off the Westboro Baptist Church patriarch is truly God's work, but Tucson marches on.
The city also has an openly gay police chief who has enacted a new program called Safe Place.
B'ham's main gay bars -- Al's on Seventh, Our Place, and Quest Club -- all have their own cast of drag queens.
"Showtimes are strategically launched," Mallisham says, "so if you want to catch all three on one night, you can! Brooks Banker, the youth program manager at Identity Alaska, says that the city's Pride Fest had 10,000 in attendance last year.
For the ladies, a new lesbian bar, G Spot, opened in February 2017.
It has a physical address, and yet men don't believe it exists. Petersburg, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Key West A recent influx of gay residents and business owners has helped to revive this once-depressed Appalachian logging town by bringing a spate of gourmet restaurants, boutiques, and, most importantly, a climate that’s welcoming to all.
State law dictates that teachers must tell students "that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public." Just this March, the legislature moved to ban gays from adopting needy children, and the owner of a movie theater refused to show Gina Mallisham, a member of the Pride advisory board in Birmingham, says wryly, "Adversity is nothing new to disenfranchised people in the South." Birmingham, she says, "is a very affirming city," with a gay community big and active enough to support a 10-day, tri-county Pride celebration, a gay softball league, and a chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (a protest/performance art troupe of queer "nuns").
There are also LGBTQ book clubs, church groups, and youth centers.
Last November the Republican candidate for president won 30 states, making them, for the next four years, "red states." Thirty is a lot of states, all with varying levels of protections for their LGBTQ citizens, but we can safely generalize on this: As a group, these states are lagging.
Nationwide, the Human Rights Campaign counts 31 states that don't have comprehensive laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in housing, in employment, and in receiving services. That's the discouraging news, if you're living in any of those states, or if you care about equal rights. In every one, cities are ahead of the curve in making life more welcoming -- and more safe -- for diverse peoples.
If your city isn't on here, there's always time to get to work. "These are state legislators' constituents as well.