News | Washington DC

Is Washington D.C. the Gayest Place in America? — VIDEO


The New York Times heads to Washington D.C. to find out if, indeed, it is the nations' gayest city, paying a visit to Nellie's drag brunch and talking to several LGBT advocates and residents.


Writes Jeremy Peters, along with a compilation of statistics and anecdotes:

Consider what surveys by Gallup and the Census Bureau have found about the gay population here. When the District of Columbia is compared with the 50 states, it has the highest percentage of adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to Gallup. At 10 percent, that is double the percentage in the state that ranks No. 2, Hawaii, and nearly triple the overall national average of 3.5 percent...

Why are they all here? They could not have just moved in. Unlike cities like Austin, Tex., that rank high on the list of same-sex households (No. 15), Washington has not experienced a huge population boom in the last decade. One answer seems to be that they have always been here. Gays and lesbians do seem to be drawn to politics in disproportionately high numbers.

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  1. The Washington Monument is a big draw.

    Posted by: trees | Nov 18, 2013 3:00:41 PM

  2. While I do not disagree with the premise, that video is hardly representative of the gay scene in DC. I mean, could they maybe have done a few shots at more than just Nellie's?

    It likely boils down to the fact that for many years, DC was a predominantly unsafe city that is geographically quite small. In the last 15 years, gays have pioneered the gentrification of the city because we were the only ones willing to live inside it. And more and more gays continue to come into the city. Sadly I think this will change some. More and more young millenials are choosing to actually come live in the city rather than in the neighboring suburbs and each year, the city becomes more and more suburbanized with Targets, Wal-marts, and Bed Bath & Beyonds.

    Posted by: Kipling | Nov 18, 2013 3:18:29 PM

  3. LOL @ "The Washington Monument is a big draw."

    You are correct, Trees. But I couldn't possibly find a condom big enough to fit over it--so there's no use in me coming down to Washington DC.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 18, 2013 3:22:48 PM

  4. i think Jeremy's heart was in the right place with this piece as were AJ's photos but it's still as homophobic as the next town, where else do straights say "don't talk to me" or "you don't know me"? Lucky me i don't, also DC gays are prejudiced against each other, wait for a not cute person to chow down on a bucket of corn dogs at Nellie's, laugh their heads off.

    Posted by: Cd in DC | Nov 18, 2013 3:27:13 PM

  5. An insufferably stupid article from multiple myopic angles beginning with no understanding of the city's longer history than the author's experience and ending with failing to measure the effects of the key difference between DC and other cities of its size. That is, it's a factory town, and the factory is the federal government. Not just because I live here, but SF remains "the gayest" city in America. And anyone who thinks that only refers to the Castro is dumber than a box of hair.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Nov 18, 2013 3:30:07 PM

  6. Derrick, the Washington Monument has been covered with a condom-like structure for the last six months.

    Come on down! I'll make cocktails.

    Posted by: crispy | Nov 18, 2013 3:32:38 PM

  7. "An insufferably stupid article..." blah blah blah

    Oh, look, the tireless curmudgeon rears its head. I figured Bedwell choked by now.

    Posted by: crispy | Nov 18, 2013 3:35:14 PM

  8. LOL @ Crispy:

    Thanks. I'll be down on the Bolt Bus...only twelve dollars per round trip ticket.

    I'm already excited!!!

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 18, 2013 3:41:31 PM

  9. DC also has the highest rate of gay men with HIV in the country. A sad fact but a fact none-the-less.

    Posted by: Sam | Nov 18, 2013 4:20:45 PM

  10. This article rests on some dubious social science. Primarily because DC is much more a city than a state. Compared to a place like Missouri, it has a higher percentage of young professional people, and 100% fewer rural areas. Both these factors suggest a higher percentage of people who will identify themselves as gay or lesbian. It would be much more instructive to compare DC to similarly sized metropolises.

    And has already been noted, the article sort of ignores the diversity of LGBT life in the District.

    Anyway the article was a good effort. And it does underscore the very real progress and changes that have come in recent years.

    Posted by: Lars | Nov 18, 2013 5:09:29 PM

  11. Your love notes, Crispy Critter, give me reason to live. So keep 'em comin'. Please!

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Nov 18, 2013 6:22:50 PM

  12. DC is gay, but it's not gayer than San Francisco. SF has the gay history no other city can really compare to, outside of NYC. Those two cities remain the gay pinnacles.

    A lot of gays flock to DC because of the politics. A lot people have flocked out of DC because it's too expensive. Do the math, people leaving DC, while gays going to DC...means the city becomes progressively more gay over time. Also as society has progressed and become more accepting, queer folk aren't living in only in "gay ghettos" but everywhere, which means throughout DC, there has been a transformation towards more gayness.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 18, 2013 6:35:00 PM

  13. I've lived in DC and SF, and SF is definitely much gayer. If I reference a boyfriend to any stranger, repair person, or colleague, they don't bat an eye. I wouldn't do that in DC.

    It helps that DC's population tends to be well-educated and has been exposed to more of the world than the average person in, say, Tupelo, Mississippi. So whether they're liberal or conservative, it's not something most will make a fuss over. And of course like many major cities, religion plays a much smaller role in people's lives. Thank god. But it goes without saying that SF is also about 100 times more liberal than DC.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 18, 2013 8:16:04 PM

  14. The video isnt a good representation of gay people in DC - but yes, this city is insanely gay and that's a good thing!

    Posted by: Reality | Nov 18, 2013 9:44:12 PM

  15. I visited DC a couple years ago having grown accustomed to the mega gay scene in Midtown Atlanta, and I did not see one gay couple or anything gay-looking in DC. I went to DuPont Circle, not one rainbow flag or any indication that gay people existed in the vicinity. I was like "this is supposed to be the gay area of DC??" Nothing gay or special about the DC gay scene from what I could tell. My friend insisted that the gay scene had moved to Logan Circle and it was still a big scene... nothing to be scene there either. I guess they are all republicans and they requested the gay folks not appear gay or have rainbow flags? I was very disappointed with the DC "gay scene".

    Atlanta is BY FAR wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy gayer than DC or anywhere else Ive been honestly.

    Posted by: Drew Murray | Nov 20, 2013 11:53:21 PM

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