February 23, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

COLUMN: Living in the Safest LGBTQ+ City in the United States

By Elijah Root-Sanchez

Waking up and watching the news each morning can be exhausting. There is a constant battle  for federal rights and social acceptance of the queer community on the screen. Yet, when the Human Rights Campaign dug a little deeper, it seems that the U.S. does well regarding localized protection for the LGBTQ+ community.

A study that HRC recently released gave over 500 cities across the nation perfect scores. The study scored cities based on laws regarding LGBTQ+ equality and overall acceptance in the community.

According to the HRC, California alone has a dozen major cities that perfect scores of 100, with several others that were close, scoring in the high nineties. California cities were boosted by a statewide non-discrimination laws, but twelve cities in the state did the extra measures necessary to create a community that is welcoming to its queer and trans residents.

LGBTQ+ hubs like West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Palm Springs and San Francisco all received perfect scores. These cities have shown a welcoming community for LGBTQ+ folk for decades before almost anyone else.

“With the current administration aiming its intolerance at us, we cannot take for granted our hard-fought rights as LGBT people,” WeHo Mayor John J. Duran said. “We must never stop fighting for our community members here and for LGBT people across the nation.”

West Hollywood received a perfect score for the seventh year in a row, according a City of West Hollywood press release. WeHo received a “15 bonus points in recognition … [services] to LGBT youth, seniors, and homeless people; services to people with HIV/AIDS; and services to transgender people … single-occupancy all-gender restrooms, [and] for its work to protect youth from conversion.”

Long Beach received a perfect score for its amazing work with the queer and trans community. Opening in 1980, the LGBTQ community center has done and continues to do exemplary work in creating an environment that is welcoming and safe for all. They provide many resources on its website, including legal services, health services, mental health counseling and more.

San Diego received a perfect score in every single category. The city opened California’s very first LGBTQ+ center in 1973 and has been a champion for equality ever since. According to the San Diego Community Center’s Mission statement, its goal is to enhance and sustain the health and well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV communities.

In Northern California, San Francisco has always challenged society’s rules and protect its queer and trans citizens. The LGBT community continues to put on events, such as the San Francisco Pride Parade. The LGBTQ+ community is strong and tight knit that has gone through much resistance from the rest of society, but it still remains strong today.

The Human Rights Campaign also gave Guerneville a perfect score. Guerneville is a small logging town in Sonoma County. Most people would not look to that area as the peak of LGBTQ+ equality, but Guerneville has been a vacation spot for Northern California queer and trans travelers since the ‘80s. It

Oceanside, Rancho Mirage, Sacramento, San Jose, and Santa Monica also received perfect scores for their work in building equality in their communities. The Western Region of the U.S. received an overall score of 71, tied with the Great Lakes area for the overall highest ranking for LGBTQ+ people in the United States. There is a lot of work that is left to do in achieving equality across California and the United States, but it is essential to recognize and highlight how much work has already been done.

 

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