Social conservatism may be the dominant force in American politics, but don’t let that put you off, as there are plenty of openly gay Americans who rightly reject any kind of criticism about their sexuality, as well as straight, liberal-minded Americans who think it’s none of the government’s business! There are certain areas in the USA where there is perhaps less tolerance towards gay men than others, especially in the Bible Belt, but there are also many cities where there is a thriving gay scene and where you are able to be out and proud. It obviously helps to know beforehand what kind of area you’re travelling to, so that you can reduce the likelihood of encountering problems.

If you’re looking for a good time, then it’s obviously worth checking out New York, because there are plenty of attractions to keep you occupied whether you’re gay or not! There are many gay bars, clubs and attractions to keep you entertained. New York also has historic significance for the gay liberation movement in America. The oldest gay pride march first took place in New York in 1970 and was then known as the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day. Nowadays, it is commonly referred to as the Parade with the route taking in Greenwich Village, home to the Stonewall Inn, where a police raid in 1969 helped to launch the modern day gay rights movement. Greenwich Village is also home to the oldest gay and lesbian bookstore.

New York is not the only well-known gay-friendly destination in the USA, as San Francisco also rates highly as a place to visit for its gay attractions. One of the largest and oldest gay communities in the USA can be found in the Castro District of San Francisco. The first full-scale museum of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history in the USA is based in the area, whilst there are also a range of special events hosted in the Castro, including the Castro Street Fair; the Dyke March; Pink Saturday. You can also catch the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, which is the oldest and largest LGBT film exhibition in the world. There is definitely plenty to do in this area of the USA if you’re gay.

Florida is a fun state to be in, especially if you want to enjoy the gay lifestyle and get a tan at the same time! Ybor City in Tampa is definitely worth a visit, with the GaYBOR District made distinguishable by large rainbow flags and GaYBOR signs. The area is known for its bars, nightclubs, restaurants and shops that are welcoming towards people of all sexualities. Beyond Tampa, there are many other places in Florida worth visiting, from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, where you can enjoy Gay Days at Walt Disney World. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you could always go to Key West, another popular destination amongst the gay community, and enjoy Fantasy Fest; a large street party featuring a parade of humorous floats.

Palm Springs in California must also be mentioned as it now boasts one of the largest gay communities in the USA. It is desert oasis with a warm and sunny climate. The majority of the gay resorts in Palm Springs have mostly gay-male clientele and have clothing-optional policies. Palm Springs is a very popular resort for the gay older man.

Pennsylvania is another state where you can find plenty of gay-friendly areas and where there are numerous events to keep you occupied. The Pride Festival of Central PA is extremely popular and features music and a parade. OutFest Philadelphia is another notable LGBT event and is associated with National Coming Out Day. It is held in Washington Square West, also referred to as ‘The Gayborhood’ due to the presence of a large number of gay-friendly businesses, restaurants and gay bars. Rainbow flag symbols have even been added to street signs to highlight the fact that the area is known for its acceptance of people, whatever their sexuality happens to be.

Minneapolis and St. Paul in the upper Midwest are fast becoming a gay mecca as this was one of the first areas to adopt bans on antigay discrimination. Now these areas have very active and growing gay scenes.

You are bound to find numerous gay-friendly areas to visit and activities to keep you occupied in New York, San Francisco, Florida, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, though since the USA is so vast, these are unlikely to be the only areas worth exploring!

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