By Susan Payne
California, with its exceptionally high LGBTQ+ populations and progressive economic, educational and social policies, was rated by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) as the one of the top 15 states with policies and resources geared toward LGBTQ+ support.
House Digest reported the top cities in California with the highest scores from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Municipal Equality Index, which assesses cities based on non-discriminatory laws, employment policies, municipal services, hate crime rates and political leadership.
Nearly 6.7% of the San Francisco population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, totaling almost a quarter of a million people, according to state records in 2021, making the city more accepting and progressive regarding LGBTQ+ issues.
According to the HRC, San Francisco has a perfect score in the Municipal Equality Index with high marks in non-discriminatory public and workplace laws, all-gender facilities and LGBTQ+ city services.
Between Los and Angeles and San Diego is Irvine, known as one of the safest cities in the U.S. with the lowest rate of violent crime per capita of any other city with a 250,000 or higher population, according to the city of Irvine and House Digest.
The Irvine region is home to “Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Orange County,” a national organization that support and provides resources for non-cis and non-heterosexual individuals, giving the city a perfect 100 score on the Municipal Equality Index report.
Another city with a perfect score from the HRC, Santa Monica hosts a number of local events and organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community. Many of the cities widely known gay bars and piers are a safe haven for non-conforming individuals.
With a modest number of 55,000 people, Cathedral City is a smaller city, but the residents lean toward more progressive views. Close to a big city, but not quite a big city, Cathedral City has a crime rate that falls beneath the country and state average, making it a safe place to live.
Cathedral City also rated perfectly on the Municipal Equality Index with three out of council members who are openly gay, and California’s first pride event of the year bringing in at least 10,000 attendees.
Not only is San Jose a happy place to live, but the city also has a welcoming LGBTQ_ community and is considered “under the radar” since its queer acceptance programs aren’t as publicized as the other California cities. San Jose scored a 97 near-perfect score from HRC.
House Digest reported that Long Beach has spent over 10 consecutive years on the list of best LGBTQ+ cities, reaching a score of 100 and 11 bonus points on the HRC Municipal Equality Index. Long Beach boasts passing non-discriminatory laws and resources in the workplace in support of the LGBTQ+ individuals who reside here.
Over 40% of the West Hollywood population identifies as non-heterosexual or non-cis, according to Travel Gay. The city is lined with 25 gay bars and clubs, making every corner a pit stop for support.
Known for its multicultural population, Los Angeles has three neighborhoods with strong communities for closeted and openly gay people. LA welcomed a 100 HRC score for its LGBTQ+ resources.
Unique to Palm Springs is its common association for retirement, specifically for LGBTQ+ identifying people. Around 50% of residents over the age of 55 identify as non-hetero or non-cis, making it the perfect location for retirees or people seeking a peaceful and leisurely existence, according to House Digest. Palm Springs received a perfect HRC score for its political, economic and educational policies.
Outdoor enthusiasts look to San Diego for natural beauty, but the city is also home to a rich cultural scene including art galleries, museums, botanical gardens, breweries and more. Nearly 8.8% of residents identify as LGBTQ+ within the county, making it an inclusive place to live. San Diego was given a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index.