For the second year The Advocate, a gay website with an impossible to find print component, has published its list of the gayest cities in America. For the second year it is so incredibly wrong that I can barely contain my gay rage.
New York isn't even on the list—again. It's not even in the honorable mentions. Do you know what the gayest city in America is? Salt Lake City! Yeah, I know it's wrong too, but that's what The Advocate said according to their fuzzy math. This does not even make sense at all. Number two is Orlando. OK, the home of Disney is gayer than Elton John's manny, but still these do not compare to New York or San Francisco or Provincetown or any of the towns the U.S. Census Bureau declared gay. I'm sorry, they're just not.
Here is the (admittedly amusing) formula my Facebook friend Matthew Breen used to figure out the cities on his list. They took the number of openly gay elected officials, the number of WNBA teams, the number of International Mister Leather competition semi-finalists, number of chapters of the Imperial Court (a drag association), number of teams that competed in the Gay Softball World Series, the number of gay bookstores, the number of concerts by The Cliks or The Gossip or The Veronicas and added a point for a city that has either a gay nude yoga class or protection for transgender citizens. Then they divided all that by the population of the city.
That's why this list is inherently flawed. Large cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are penalized for having too many people. Sure, that makes the town have a lower concentration of gayness, but when you divide by the total number of inhabitants, you penalized a city for having a lot of gay inhabitants too. Also, we don't get credit for having more gay nude yoga classes than anywhere else (a statistic I did not research) or for having more gay celebrities per square inch than anywhere else (except L.A.) or, you know, being home to the start of the modern gay civil rights movement?
Under the current system, Grand Rapids, Michigan, is more gay than New York City. No offense to Grand Rapids (actually, a lot of offense to Grand Rapids) but that is just not true. Neither is Little Rock. Bill Clinton, their favorite son, created "don't ask, don't tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act! And they're gayer than New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles? And do not even get me started on Knoxville. Yes, queen! Knoxville!
I do like where this list is going. This year's is better than last year's and top 10 cities Cambridge, Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, and Atlanta are really damn gay. But until they can find a way to properly account for large populations, it's nothing more than something for everyone to get worked up about.
[Image via CCHO's Flickr]