“Tacoma was the right blend of the right size and had the factors we looked for in the criteria,” Matthew Breen, editor of the The Advocate and the man behind this year’s list, told weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden.
The occasion of these remarks was the naming of Tacoma, WA, yet again, as the top pick of The Advocate’s “Gayest Cities in America.” As NPR’s story continues, deciding factors include “criteria like the number of LGBT elected officials and whether a city has legal protections for people who are transgender and bisexual resource centers. Then the magazine adds in some tongue-in-cheek factors: concerts by Glee cast members, roller derby and gay rugby teams, and “fabulous” shopping — measured by the number of Whole Foods, West Elm and Pottery Barn stores.
“We start with a baseline of cities that have 150,000 people or more and we take all of our criteria,” Breen says. “Then we divide by the number of people and we get a per-capita gay-ness.”Joining Tacoma on the list of America’s gayest cities is Spokane, Wash. The two cities were helped by the fact that the state legalized same-sex marriage in last year’s election.
“We weighted marriage-equality states pretty heavily this year,” Breen says. Some of the newly minted gay cities surprised even Breen. Colorado Springs, Colo., for example, is home to the anti-gay organization Focus on the Family but also ranked 13th on The Advocate‘s list (beating out both San Francisco and Long Beach, Calif.). In Salem, Ore. — No. 14 — Breen says editors were surprised by the number of LGBT-friendly churches.Also notable are the cities not on the list. New York didn’t make the cut. Neither did Palm Springs or any other city in Southern California.”