The 21 Most Lesbianish Cities in the US: The Autostraddle Guide

The Advocate’s Third List of America’s Gayest Cities got us thinking that somebody really ought to make a list for America’s Most Lesbionic Cities, yannow?

A lot of our readers wanted to know where they could meet other readers, so we gathered a bunch of data — including our site’s statistics — to put together this fantastic list which undoubtedly every soul on the planet will agree with 100%.  The Advocate‘s criteria this year included things like Veronicas concerts and Nude Yoga classes and somehow Grand Rapids made the Top Ten. This might be slightly more accurate than that.

The totally unscientific possibly dubious math breaks down as follows:

Autostraddler Population Statistics:
Based on numbers from Google Analytics, we looked at which cities/towns most Autostraddlers come from. But because clearly those numbers give large cities a huge advantage, we made a second list where we weighted those numbers based on each town’s population size. This ended up highly favoring smaller towns and college towns, which is unfair, just like life itself. Both rankings (unweighted & weighted) were factored into each city’s score.

Culture:
We distributed points for hosting Tegan & Sara concerts and/or Melissa Ferrick concerts, as well as for LGBT or Feminist bookstores, lesbian nightlife and LGBT-friendly colleges (per the Campus Pride Index and our LGBT College Guide – post and comments).

Political Climate:
We looked at who had inclusive ENDA policies, who had semi-inclusive ENDA policies, who allows same-sex marriage, who allows Civil Unions, etc. We used Lambda Legal as a reference for this section.

Other Lists:
Points were given to cities that ranked on The Advocate‘s list over the past three years as well as a recently published list by The Daily Beast, which was perhaps our best resource. The 20 Gayest Cities in America, which was created using the Gay/Lesbian Index developed by Gary Gates, a demographer at UCLA’s Williams Institute, are rankings based on actual population statistics of same-sex couples! Novel!

Resources Included: The US CensusGirlports, Wikipedia , The Williams Institute, GO! Magazine, Federation of Ideas

 This isn’t a perfect system, so be sure to respond with as much outrage and passion as possible regarding whether or not your city is on this list in the comments!

Oddly, Provincetown — widely hailed as like the best gay place ever — doesn’t even rank on the top 500 for cities populated by Autostraddlers. What’s up with that? We don’t know, maybe it’s because only 3,000 people actually live there, according to Wikipedia. Anyhow, we encourage you to visit Provincetown!

Clearly, not every city is on this list, but while putting it together we found ourselves super-disappointed by the resources out there for lesbians looking to live places. So, we’re actively recruiting YOUR Queer Girl City GuidesThese can be for any city in the world, including the ones on this list.

Email Laneia [at] Autostraddle dot com with a letter describing your connection to the city you wanna write about. She’ll let you know if it’s already been taken or not, at which point you’ll be responsible for crafting a comprehensive guide addressing things like the degree to which the LGBT scene is G vs. L, the environment for queer families, the college scene, local events/festivals, activist groups, nightlife, trans-friendliness, etc. You’ll also need to provide at least five of your own high-res photos (which you own the rights to), links to the places you talk about (and phone numbers/addresses when necessary), and whatever insidery details you’ve got.

These guides can absolutely be collaborative if you’ve got friends/family who wanna work on it with you.

Without any further ado…

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Top 21 U.S. Locations Where We’re Pretty Sure That You’re Likely to Meet Some Other Lesbians

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1. Northampton/Amherst, MA

Keywords: Smithies, Out for Reel Film Festival, Pioneer Valley Roller Derby League, Lesbianville, New England Trans United Pride March, Allison Bechdel, Rachel Maddow, Pride & Joy, Sid Vintage, Iron Horse

In Massachusetts, same-sex marriage is legal, adoption rights are LGBT-inclusive and anti-discrimination laws include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Northampton Pride Parade

Northampton‘s got more lesbians per capita than any town or city in the entire country, and that’s not even counting the transient students from Lez-Heaven Smith College or Mount Holyoke in nearby South Hadley. There are 40.31 same-sex couples per 1,000 households here. The birthplace of Rachel Maddow’s career, this cozy politically progressive college town is home to its own lesbian dance club (Diva’s), LGBT bookstore, LGBT newspaper and a sweet LGBT film series, Out For Reel. Amherst ensconces  U-Mass, Lezzified Hippie Festival of Education Hampshire College and, obviously, Amherst. Vegan restaurants abound. Plus, it’s Massachusetts which means same-sex marriage is legal.

Meet local-like minded ladies in the Western Masstraddle meet-up group.

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2. New York, NY

Keywords: Ginger’s, Nation, Choice Cunts, Stonewall, GO! Magazine, Autostraddle, Eileen Myles, Dyke Slope, Cattyshack, Cubbyhole, Newfest, Logo, Women’s Herstory Archives, Rodeo Disco, Ali Forney Center, The Center, Henrietta Hudson

In New York, same-sex marriage is legal and adoption rights are LGBT-inclusive. Employment anti-discrimination laws protect people on the basis of sexual orientation but do not include gender identity protections.

Dykes on Bi-Cycles with The PoleRiders at NYC Gay Pride 2010 via colorandlightphoto.com

Autostraddle got born in New York and it got born in New York for a reason — ’cause the city is chock-full of dykes. New York City’s got more gays & lesbians up inside it than any other city in the country and the diversity of the LGBTQ scene and the anonymity afforded by NYC’s masses make it a prime location for one to spread one’s newly-queer wings. Conversely, newly legalized same-sex marriage makes it a nice place to settle down. NYUThe New SchoolBarnard and Columbia are chock-full of lesbians, as is nearby Sarah Lawrence. There are resources/activity groups for everyone of every sexual proclivity, gender identity, political passion and yoga style preference.

Although Manhattan’s West Village and Chelsea neighborhoods have become largely male-centric spaces, lesbians have made gayborhoods of their own in areas like Park Slope, Red Hook, East Harlem and West Harlem. Nightlife is always evolving as some clubs close and new nights crop up, from Cubbyhole to Choice Cunts to Lovergirl. However everything is super fucking expensive all the time.

Meet local like-minded ladies in the NYC Straddlers and the NYC Autostraddlers groups. AS Team Members who live here include Photographer Robin, Senior Editor Jess, Writers Gaby, Katrina and Jamie, and contributors Michelle and Bevin.

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3. Los Angeles/West Hollywood, CA

Keywords: LA Gay & Lesbian Center, The L Word, The Abbey, The Real L Word, Truck Stop, Gimme Sugar, Ellen DeGeneres, Gay in LA, Silver Lake, Urth Cafe, Booby Trap, Girlbar, Ellen, Fusion: LGBT People of Color Film Festival, Hamburger Mary’s, Dyke Day LA

In California, domestic partnerships are legal and the state recognizes the status of couples who were married in states where same-sex marriage is legal. Adoption rights are LGBT-inclusive. Anti-discrimination laws include sexual orientation and gender identity.

There are lesbians that loathe the fuck out of this city and there are those that love every inch of it’s burning hot hub of lezzer lezdom and those in the latter group seem to have a pretty good time here. It never snows, there are girl parties nearly every night, and the place is teeming with creative women looking to collaborate with other strange geniuses. The city that birthed The L Word has been birthing power lesbians and stylish young dykes for generations. As the hub of the uber-liberal entertainment industry, Outfest and The LGBT People of Color Film FestivalThe GLAAD Awards, The Power UP! Awards are all held here.

West Hollywood specifically has a population of about 39,000 and 1/3 of that population is LGBT, so there’s a good chance your Coffee Bean barista and/or Hamburger Mary’s waitress swings your way. Their lesbian nightlife tradition kicked off in the 1920′s with the radical bohemian glamorous lesbian parties at WeHo’s Gardens of Allah Hotel.

Also worth mentioning — Long Beach! It’s about 30 minutes from LA and is often overlooked, despite having its own thriving LGBT community. There’s Long Beach PrideThe Long Beach LGBT Center and the Long Beach Q Film Festival. Long Beach is actually 8.1% GLBs, which makes it the 10th most-LGB-populated city.

Meet local like minded ladies in the We Straddle LA, Bitch group. the city is stocked with Autostraddle Team Members, including Design Director Alex, Brandy Howard & Julie Goldman, Haviland Stillwell, Ashley Reed, Sarah Croce, Stylist Sara Medd, Contributing Editor Brittani and Contributor Chloe.

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4. San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley, CA

Keywords: Harvey Milk, The Lex, Michelle Tea, The Castro, Dinah in Color, Original Plumbing, Good Vibrations, The Frameline Festival, The Advocate, Curve Magazine, The Mission, Valencia, The Lusty Lady, The Crib, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project

In California, domestic partnerships are legal and the state recognizes the status of couples who were married in states where same-sex marriage is legal. Adoption rights are LGBT-inclusive. Anti-discrimination laws include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Cat Perez via lesbiansinsf.tumblr.com

Everybody knows that San Francisco is Queer Utopia (and especially trans-friendly) but you probably knew that even before  you saw Milk. The Bay Area is notoriously liberal and stocked with political activists, innovative writers and gender outlaws — in fact, LGBTQ culture is practically the dominant culture here, regardless of the fact that so many heterosexuals share the space. Seriously – so much queer shit to do.

However, 60% of San Francisco’s same-sex couples are men. Meanwhile, Oakland is on the up-and-up when it comes to lady-queerness.  The Gay & Lesbian Atlas, using numbers from the 2000 Census, determined Oakland had the highest concentration of lesbian couples in the entire country. It’s an affordable alternative to San Francisco with its own mixed LGBT dive bar (The White Horse), a lesbian-owned bookstore (Laurel), its own pride, its own monthly gay dance party (Hella Gay) and a Black LGBT Film Festival. Queer collegians or academics can be found at San Francisco State, University of California-Berkeley, Mills and Stanford, among others.

You can hold hands with anyone you want, just remember to recycle!

Meet local like-minded ladies in the Straddling by the Bay group. Team members living here include Editor-in-Chief Riese, Intern Bren, Writer Annika and Contributors Marni, Fitforafemme and Kelsey.

 

5. Cambridge/Boston/Somerville, MA

Keywords: Machine/Dyke Night, The Bay Windows, Edge Boston, Boston LGBT Film Festival,  Bisexual Resource CenterKeshet for the Jewish LGBT community, Queer Women of ColorQueer Asian Pacific-Islander AllianceLGBT Youth Alliance, Fenway Health Center

In Massachusetts, same-sex marriage is legal, adoption rights are LGBT-inclusive and anti-discrimination laws include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Boston Dyke March photo by Kelly G on flickr – flickr.com/photos/thekellyg

In the 19th century, people used the term “Boston Marriages” to describe the middle-to-upper-class educated ladies who lived together as couples in the city after graduating from one of the city’s many Universities. Nowadays, ladies who wanna marry ladies can just do so and they can use the term “marriage.” This area has the largest lesbian community nationwide and is one place where gay ladies outnumber gay men. Cambridge is home to 41 LGBT-owned businesses, and the bounty of LGBT-friendly schools in the area are a huge draw: Simmons (all-girls), Brandeis, Harvard, Emerson and MIT.

Meet local like-minded ladies in the Autostraddle Social Club – Boston Chapter. Also, Contributing Editor Lizz lives here!

 

6. Chicago, IL

Keywords:  The Reeling Film Festival, Boystown, Andersonville, The Center on HalstedThe Deaf Lesbian Festival, Big Chicks, Watra Thursdays, Early 2 Bed, Towertown, Out in Chicago

In Illinois, civil unions are legal and employment non-discrimination policies are sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive.

Chicagostraddlers on New Years Eve

Chicagostraddlers are perhaps Autostraddle’s most passionate meet-up group and, along with San Francisco, Boston and New York, was one of the first cities to develop a lesbian “scene” in the post-World-War-I era. The first gay rights organization in the US was founded here in 1924.

Northwestern University is in nearby Evanston, and our LGBT College Guide Northwestern U Reviewer promises that “if you’re willing to sit through the first awkward five minutes of a Chicagostraddlers meetup, you will be rewarded with a wonderfully diverse queer posse who will accompany you to derby matches, lady arm wrestling, chicken and waffles, Pride, FKA at Big Chick’s, brunch at the Chicago Diner, and pretty much anything involving alternative lifestyle haircuts/flasks.”

 

7. Seattle, WA

Keywords: OutWest Bar, Lesbian Resource Center, Babeland, Dan Savage, RE-Bar, Capitol Hill, Neighbours, The Seattle Lesbian, The Stranger, Ingersoll Gender Center, The Dorian Society

In Washington, domestic partnerships and out-of-state legal same-sex marriages are recognized. Non-discrimination policies are LGBT inclusive.

The Emerald City Mudhens – Seattle Women’s Rugby Team

Seattle! Where computer software, coffee and grunge music were born! A lot of people live in Seattle and a lot of those people are lesbians — 12.9% of the city’s residents identify as LGBT. Seattle’s dedicated lesbian bar is called Wildrose, its completely-devoted-to-LGBT-film cinema is called The Three Dollar Bill Cinema (it hosts both a Transgender and a Gay & Lesbian Film Festival annually) and its Roller Derby League is called Seattle’s Rat City Rollergirls. The city’s also super trans-friendly — The Ingersoll Gender Center has been holding peer-support meeting for trans, genderqueer and otherwise gender-variant folks at least once a week since 1976.

Meet local like-minded ladies in the Seattlestraddle group.

 

8. Portland, OR

Keywords: Bitch Magazine, Vaseline Alley, Portlandia, Rose City Gay Freedom Band, Triangle Productions, Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, Hawthorne Boulevard, Alberta, Q Center, The Milwaukee Tavern

In Oregon, same-sex couples may join in domestic partnerships and employment non-discrimination policies are LGBT inclusive.

Alex via lesbiansinpdx.tumblr.com

Portland is super queer. It’s quirky, liberal, laid back, and home to a lot of trees and mountains and bodies of water and beaches and wineries and bookstores and farmers markets. Home to AS’s Tech Editor Taylor and the 8th-most Autostraddler-populated city in the country, The Rose City is more than just the name of that sweet Portland Queer anthology Gabby has a story in. In 2008, it was the first big metropolitan city to elect a homo to be their mayor!

Meet local like-minded ladies in the Pdx Autostraddlers group.

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9. Washington DC

Keywords: The DC Center, OutWrite, Capital Trans Pride, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, GLSEN, Family Equality Council, National Equality March, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, The Real World DC, The HRC, DC Radical Fairies, Tongues Afire, Rainbow Youth Alliance, BiNet USA, National Center for Lesbian Rights

In Washington DC, same-sex marriage is legal and non-discrimination laws are inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

2011 Capital Pride Parade / photo by Metro Weekly’s Julian Vankim

I feel like there are about twenty different DCs and one of them is hella gay (though nobody says “hella” there). I mean, there’s the politics and the activism, and also American, The University That Birthed Two Autostraddle Writers, Katrina and Carmen, the latter of whom describes American as “dyke paradise.”  Clearly it headquarters a lot of political activism groups and events, as well as a vibrant Gayborhood in Dupont Circle. The first-ever Dyke March happened here in 1993. [Sidenote: a 2007 DC Public School Survey of High School students found 13.2% of young women identifying as lesbian, bisexual or unsure, which is kinda a lot.]

Meet local like-minded ladies at the Baltimore / D.C. Autostraddlers group.

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10. Austin, TX

Keywords: South by SouthwestAustin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Foodies, Lipstick 24, Rusty’s, ‘Bout Time, Softball Austin, Out Youth, Allgo, Gender & Sexuality Center, Book Woman

In Texas, there is no legal recognition for same-sex couples or LGBTQ-inclusive employment non-discrimination policies. 

backstage at the Austin Kings and Things show, photographed by Alina Prax (facebook.com/kingsnthings)

Texas’s government may treat gays abysmally, but Austin is a countercultural liberal breath of fresh air best known for its indie music scene, awesome BBQ and the annual South by Southwest music/film/interactive festival. I mean, there’s a special Yoga class for Genderqueers, The Texas Gay Rodeo Association, The Kings and Things Drag King Group, and an active “e-mail based social network” called Foodies that organizes regular lay-dee get togethers. The lesbian social scene is “lively” and residents find queer life uniquely blended in to the dominant Austin culture in a super-special way.

Meet local like-minded ladies in the Austin Straddlers group.
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276 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    So glad that Carleton College got a shout out in the Minneapolis description! I’m a Carleton senior and can definitely vouch for the awesomeness of our LGBTQA community here on campus.

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    are there no statisticians in autostraddle?! maybe some member would like to volunteer.
    out of the top of my head i’d decide on a minimum number of inhabitants: one lesbian in a city of 2 people = 50%, not enough representation, but a city with 500 000 inhabitants might already be representative. then when you present you just have to say you analyzed cities with more than 500 000 inhabitants, or something like that. normally for small populations you can use a poison, but i’m not a statistician so i don’t want to talk about something i don’t know…..

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          toronto and van could give us a run for our money, though. i believe toronto lesbians single-handedly brought neon back.

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          Vancouver at least used to have one of the best drag king scenes in the world, IMHO (not sure where it’s at now, though I can only assume the city is still very queer friendly).

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          But but Ive already adopted the anti-Toronto/anti-everythingnotQuebec-y rhetoric..for realsies though Toronto proper is pretty damn queer, if only the GTA were as well. I have a dream, that one day I will return for the holigays and there will be straddlin’ on the streets..autostraddlin’ that is

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          I would also love to see/participate in a Canadian survey! My university town is like a queer vortex… Heck, almost everyone from my res who wasn’t queer to start with realized they were queer within the next seven years. I remember feeling -left out- because I wasn’t queer! From the first day of school onward girls were flirting with me and I thought, how unfair is this world that I’m straight and there are SO MANY BEAUTIFUL WOMEN EVERYWHERE WHO LIKE ME!? (I really should have realized I was gay at that point. Why is the gayee always the last one to know?!)

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          Im in the GTA , Kitchener-waterloo is pretty full of dykeys. at one of the campuses their club has sooo many LGBTQ events its crazzzy. and the drag shows that get hosted there are a pretty good time too.
          * AKA look up miss drew and crew. :) i adore them, and one of their members won Mr. International Tri pride or some chizzz.

          But yea, gotta agree, Montreal and Toronto are as full as the gett.

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    A. I’m so proud to be in that Chicago picture. Like, so proud. Only problem, you can’t see my baller bow tie and suspenders.

    Chistrad <3 4ever.

    B. Someone in that picture is grabbing Jenin's butt (queer in front, white shirt, vest, and tie). WHO DO YOU THINK IT IS.

    C. If you live in Chicago and you're not a Chistraddler yet, start this very weekend–we're going to ROLLER DERBY.

    D. Seriously, don't know what I'd do without you guys.

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    Sigh…Northampton is #1 per capita.

    If I could do high school and university applications all over again, I would’ve worked my ass off so I could’ve gone to Smith or Amherst so I could live there. It seems like such a rad town with a great history.

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    I need to get out of MI. Ann Arbor is the sanest part of the state right now, and Grand Rapids is OK to be out in, but the rest of it…no. No one will let a lesbian teach their kids here.

    The only question left is, East Coast or West?

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    Yes! Columbus is usually always ignored even though it is one of the most queer friendly cities in America with the rank of the most sexually active city in america and resource for many queer community studies. The Short north always has its rainbow flags flying high and boast the largest women’s night club in america. Side note, Columbus also has one of the first and largest queer burlesque groups. :)

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    Oh, MA. Why did you make Northampton so far from Boston? Why are your public high schools in Cambridge and Somerville so sad? WHY DO YOU HAVE A LOTTERY SYSTEM, BOSTON?! And pray tell where then do the lesbian families with kids in HS flee to in your leafy, clinging suburbs?! (Preferably east of the 95, please and thank you, but there are no rules in love and war, nor are there in real estate.)

    I really, really, really love this post. It might just be my favorite. I think your guides are going to KICK ASS.

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      oh, boston suburbs. inside 95 i’d recommend lexington, pretty progressive town with great schools but pricey. newton and brookline also have good schools, i think. my dad just moved to brookline, so i can’t speak to those towns’ queerness yet. i grew up in a town off 495 called westford, which is more conservative/the most hetero, but has a high school that did teach me things and is ranked highly. other towns in the 495 belt to maybe consider would be carlisle, concord, bedford, littleton, sudbury. hope this helps!

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        Yes, so helpful!

        Lexington was our #1, but we’re worried it won’t have enough walkable stuff if we want to stroll to a market or cute little restaurant or whatnot.

        Everyone suggests Brookline but nobody is willing to give us an extra couple of hundred thousand dollars! Westford is a bit too far out for a Boston commute via rail, but Bedford’s on our list! (Though some have said it’s too suburban.) Do you feel Newton is less expensive than Lexington (it seems like it)?

        Others we’re considering: Natick, Needham, Winchester, Hingham, Belmont, Wellesley

        It is SO HARD to know which ones are too suburban/boring and commuter towns vs. ones w/ an adorable bustling little downtown or Main Street to hang out on when we don’t want to go v. far, but they all have exemplary HSs and houses within our budget. I wish Arlington HS had slightly better scores, because I think it’d otherwise be perfect for us. Whomp!

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          Hingham has a super cute downtown/main street and a couple nice shopping area, and some really good restaurants. I don’t know how many gay families/people are around though, and it can be very much the stereotype of new england yuppie-ness.

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          Very good to know! The tomboy is still worried as there are no bars.

          As for yuppies, we’ve resigned ourselves to a certain degree of it given the market, but we managed to hold our own with Rockridge parents for years, I’m sure we’ll be fine.

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          Public, actually, but no public charters (haven’t seen many of those with top marks). If we could afford private schools, we’d stay here and send her to Oakland’s College Prep!

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          Flee to Newton! As a recent graduate of Newton North High School, I would love to shamelessly plug my hometown: thirteen villages (each with their own town centre, replete with adorable coffeeshops) to choose from, 20 minutes commute to downtown Boston via the green line, extremely walkable/green and neighborhood-oriented, and a brand spankin’ new high school building and fields! Nonantum and Newtonville are reasonably affordable for their proximity to Boston, as well (http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Newton-Massachusetts/). It’s safe, but not sleepy.

          With regards to North–which I absolutely adored)–it has very strong theatre, arts, and sports programs, as well as a plethora of advanced-placement courses to choose from despite recent budget cuts (the language department is also particularly strong and offers French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, and American Sign Language). I found it extremely inclusive and progressive. Also, the principal is queer! Hey, gays. Did I mention the building is new and eco-friendly? Only downside is you’ll be paying for it.

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          You’re a peach! Do you know how zoning is determined / laid out for ensuring enrollment at Newton North? Does this basically mean you can’t walk a mile in Newton in any given direction without hitting a super cute little ‘hood with coffeeshops and such? It sounds like a really lovely school. I’m so glad you posted!

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          Each elementary school has a district, and about four elementary schools “feed” into a middle school, and two middle schools “feed” into a high school. Therefore, the elementary school districts that feed into North are Burr, Cabot, Horace Mann, Lincoln-Eliot, Peirce, Ward, and Williams (since the last time I checked)–houses near those schools should be in the North district. You can check which school district your address is in using http://www.ci.newton.ma.us/wpinternet/index.asp, and a map of the high school districts is here: http://www.newtonma.gov/MIS/gis/Maps/High%20School%20Districts.pdf

          However, if you live within a mile radius of a high school not in your assigned district (happened to me), you can request to attend the closer one.

          I would say that within a mile of anywhere you choose to live in the North district, you will find a supermarket, at least two coffeeshops, and ice cream shop, great restaurants, a park, a pharmacy, and some sort of community education building. Some of my favorite village centers include Newton Center (the largest, near Crystal Lake), West Newton (near the Charles River and Moody St. in Waltham, source of incredible ethnic food and thrift shops), and Auburndale.

          Please let me know if you have more questions, I could rave about Newton forever.

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          I think you’d love the Cambridge area. Porter Square is nice. Newenglandmoves.com is a good website to search for properties. If you are searching for a condo, you’ll have some good choices. However, single family homes are pretty rare/expensive in the area. Some good Cambridge zip codes to search are 02138 and 02140. Have you thought about Arlington? The Massachusetts Avenue strip through Arlington is bustling with an historic movie theater and restaurants. If you want my feedback on properties or areas you find, I’d be happy to give you my two cents. It can be difficult to really know a neighborhood if you’re not from the area.

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      Hey now, I don’t know where you’re getting your info but I went to Cambridge’s public high school and it was actually quite phenomenal. Things were a little crazy in the 90s I hear but it has seriously become an awesome school. The arts program, for example, was recognized as comparable in quality to that of a private school. And heck, it’s pretty LGBT-friendly too. Our principle was gay for Christ’s sake.

      I’m a little embarrassed to rant on this subject but honestly, especially after hearing other people’s shitty high school experiences, I’ve got mad love for my school.

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        Don’t be embarrassed, please, it’s truly essential for parents to have a perspective like yours. I’m very glad you’ve spoken up and meant no offense!

        The info has been culled from multiple sources, one of which currently rates Cambridge R&L at a 5/10 based primarily on testing (which is important but not everything, I know). We have 5s and a few iffy 7s here in the bay, so we’re focused on improving upon that as much as humanly possible. If you feel any of those shitty experiences you’ve heard about are relevant to our interests, by all means share!

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          Yeah I’ve actually heard really good things about Cambridge R&L too. Matt Damon went there.

          If you’re willing to move out to western mass, Hadley (the town on the other side of Amherst from Noho) has way cheaper housing prices and a good public school.

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      I love Hingham!

      Have you looked at Sharon? You’d have to do commuter rail (Providence Line) but it has a nice center, lots of green space, good schools, big Jewish communities, fairly diverse for a suburb. It also has a cheap movie theater!

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    I’m moving to the bay area and I can’t decide between Oakland or San Francisco. Every one says Oakland but the last time I was there, I didn’t like the neighborhood I was in. I was near Mills College. Liked the college. Not the neighborhood. If someone could give me safer (and preferably gayer- if that’s even possible) alternatives I could make up my mind!

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      Yes, that area is mostly neighborhoods (both nice and not very) and a crumbly strip fairly far from the more accessible hubs closer to downtown.

      Most lesbians I know (and I myself have) live(d) right around the lake, in the Grand Lake and Lakeshore areas, some near Piedmont Avenue or Temescal. On the most expensive side, Rockridge, on the least expensive, probably downtown and/or on the other sides of the lake. There’s lots of exciting stuff going on in Jack London Square, but I think it’s more common to find lofts for lease instead of rentals, but it can’t hurt to look. All of those areas are super walkable, bikeable, and within a mile or two of a BART station, more or less.

      I lived in Oakland for 10+ years and still feel safer there than I do for the most part in SF. Even the posher neighborhoods can be sketchy depending on the block in some cases, but a Google street view can aid you there – and feel free to message me here if you’re not sure, I’m happy to give my two cents!

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      I lived in Oakland, right on Lake Merritt. It was decently good. Within walking distance of a lot of stuff and the neighborhood seemed to be a lil more… I don’t know what word… safe? Maybe? I don’t know. I walked in the dark a lot (with pepper spray, ha!) but always felt pretty comfortable. And it’s pretty.

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      I live in North Oakland/South Berkeley. It feels safe to me. It kinda sucks to not have a car, but most everything I need is within walking or biking distance, including the BART. it feels super gay all the time for real though, like everyone here has agreed to be okay with it moreso than i even felt in like, new york city when i lived there for 6 years.

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      I live in a so-so area of Oakland, sort of near Mills college. It’s very suburban feeling, and I don’t love to walk around at night. Even though 99% of the time I have a pack of dogs with me, it still feels dangerous. But I think that’s more to do with the fact that no one is out and it’s very quiet. I grew up in Bernal Heights in SF, and LOVED it. There were two lesbian bars ON MY STREET, and so I’m really spoiled. I moved to Oakland awhile ago and for a long time hated it and wanted to go back to the city. But now that I’ve been here for so long, anytime I go to the city I can’t help but notice how many rich/male/white people there are (compared to Oakland), which I never noticed when I lived there. What I miss most about SF is that I didn’t have to drive at all. In Oakland, you have to use the freeway to get to a lot of places. But again, I think that’s just my neighborhood. I really like the areas near the lake, grand ave and piedmont ave. I think all in all Oakland gets a bad rap. When I first moved here I was shocked at how many of my clients were super super rich. It’s incredibly diverse in a lot of different ways, which I love. Also, even though I’m always complaining about my neighborhood, three of the five houses you can see from my front door are owned by lesbians. Oakland is a pretty gay/awesome city, I’m just ruined cause I was born and raised in a small lesbian town. Anyways sorry for the giant paragraph……

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        Also, to add to my ridiculous paragraph above, It’s like 5 million times easier to find housing in Oakland then in SF, especially if you have pets! And the weather is very different, Oakland gets really hot and SF tends to stay pretty cold/foggy. And there’s less traffic! And TONS of beautiful parks!

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    Hooray for the Pioneer Valley Roller Derby shoutout in Northampton!

    And we’re recruiting, you guys! Our last Fresh Meat Night of the season is Wednesday, Feb 1, and you don’t have to know how to skate or anything about the sport to come check it out!

    If you’re looking for a super queer-friendly community of crazy and wonderful people, come check us out! I hope to see you there!

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    Alright, Amherst-ians. Come out of hiding, I want to meet you guys.

    Also I would like to dispute that Diva’s is a lesbian dance club because everytime I’ve been there it’s been gay guys and straight girls who want to see the drag queens.

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      yeah, i’ve only been a couple of times but according to people i know who’ve lived here longer, Diva’s isn’t as much of a lesbian club as it used to be. i mean, it’s not uncommon to see queer girls grinding on each other, but it’s nowhere near the majority.

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      I didn’t know Diva’s was supposed to be a lesbian club. And I’ve heard not-so-hot things about it. I figure if I want to hang out with/meet queer girls I’ll just sit in a NoHo coffee shop for any length of time.

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        My tolerance for Diva’s keeps dropping as I move through college.

        It will always have a place in my heart though because it was the first club I ever went too (probably because they are one of the only places that let under 21s in).

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          i swear that i went one time last spring and the crowd was literally 80% lesbians… but every time since then it’s been deserted.

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    Loved this list. Warms this old dyke’s heart to see our community taking its righteous place on planet USA and clearly having such a good time doing so. HOWEVER, with the exception of Chicago (sort-of) and DC, there is a really striking absence of women of color in your photos. And most of your statistics positively reek of a white demographic. Wassup with that? Have things really changed so little since I was coming up?

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      Chicagostraddlers are a very diverse group of queers in many aspects, race included. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get us all together to take photos, so there is only a small sampling represented. Most of the places I go in Chicago, there is a good crowd of queers of color.

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    So proud that Columbus made it to 21. In addition to the things mentioned above, it seems relevant to mention that this fair city is also awesome at dive bars and delicious food. There is so much grilled cheese, you guys.

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    I just want to say that I am SUPER excited about the (future) existence of Queer Girl City Guides, because I am in the midst of grad school applications right now and have SO MANY QUESTIONS about all of the cities that I am applying to. So far I’ve determined that Toronto is super gay, Eugene and Boulder are both super hippie, New Haven has cheap mimosa pitchers on Sundays, and everywhere else is sort of a terrifying void. Except, according to this post, Atlanta is WAY cooler/gayer than I was giving it credit for. :)

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    WAHOO PHILLY PRIDE!
    We also have the biggest Outfest in the nation. ^_^ And we have Giovanni’s Room in the gayborhood (LGBT + Feminist Bookstore), and Wooden Shoe Bookstore on South Street, only a few blocks away (Anarchist Bookstore). AND AND AND we’re one of the few cities in the nation that protects against sexual orientation AND gender identity!

    /philly fangirl. philly is my home<3

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    My best friend is in the picture for Ann Arbor, MI. We went to the coming out rally this year on the Diag! It’s good to know that 70% of the same-sex couples are female…it never seems that way when I’m at Necto on Friday nights!

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        The hippy types are still there. Currently go to Humboldt State in Arcata (little bit north of Eureka to those who don’t know). LOVE IT. Everyone must see the redwoods at least once before they die… One of the must beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life.

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          The problem is that California is the third largest state in the union–it’s bigger than the ENTIRE COUNTRY of Japan!–so you can still be in CA and leave a whole lotta room for terrible geography.

          I spent a lot of time growing up in a tiny redneck town in the Sierras. The nearest city of any appreciable size was Fresno and that was over an hour away. Much of my time was spent fervently swearing never to live in a rural area again.

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    I need to move and go to college out of Arizona, which of course didn’t make the list. I was born in Seattle and lived in upstate California when I was a kid, why when I realize my queerness am I stuck in AZ? Bleh. Are there special Lezzy college grants and scholarships I can apply to?

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    Can we still write about a city if it made it to the lower ranks of this list? The description of the criteria for writing was much more than what was included in each city’s post, so if we have a ton of queer knowledge about our city, can we pleaseeeeee still write about it? I love my lez city, even though it’s ranked on here.

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    SLC, UT was voted as the #1 gay city in the US this year. As a former rez… let me tell you… LOTS of lesbian action :) It’s like uprooting the Silverlake East Side lez’s from LA and sticking them in the mountains. They’re everywhere!

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    SO glad that Austin is on here. This city is AMAZINGLY gay, and I find especially lesbian friendly. Unfortunately, I think lesbian bar here is ehhh….but with SO much to do here and it being so liberal, I find that where ever I go, I ALWAYS see lesbians. Awesome. :)

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    WHY IS BURLINGTON, VT ON THIS LIST?! granted, sometimes the hipster/queer problem gets tiring, and it might not meet some people’s definition of a city (like having a dedicated any kind of gay bar…). but on all other dyke measures we absolutely beat motherfucking houston.

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    I guess I kind of take extreme queer saturation of a city for granted, since I live in the bay area…. it’s cool to see so many other cities listed though, San Francisco gives you this weird California bubble mindset were you’re all comfortable being happy and liberal and don’t want to go anywhere else. So it’s reassuring to know that there are other places to go and be all queer that aren’t New York.

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    Of course the picture for Denver is of Dykes on Bikes, because
    most of the lesbians I meet here are butch/masculine or flat out ugly, not like LA/NY lesbians. Also locals call it Menver, and the disproportionate male population includes the LGBT population which is dominated by gay males.

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    Ohmygod, it’s official: I’m a huge nerd. I just got ridiculously excited that you used one of my photos in this article (Fruit Fest in Madison). Thanks!

    And yes, Madison is super queer friendly. Also very, very queer family oriented, despite Wisconsin still lagging behind on LGBT family rights.

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    OK, I’m not sure how you’d do this technically, probably some plugin for the social networking section, but it’d be cool if you could list your city in your profile and your associated Queer Grrrl Guide came up. Then you can see who’s near you!

    I know MeFi has a thing where you put in your coordinates and it brings up Mefites near your area. Great for meetups :)

    also: AUSTRALIAAAAAAAAAAA. I can help with Brisbane. Rachelle where are you?

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    I was already planning on moving to Boston/Cambridge/Somerville after graduation. I AM SO SO PSYCHED.
    Also, Tufts is in Somerville. Apparently it’s pretty gay there too.

    Yay Philly!!

    why can I no longer like people’s comments?

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    Just a heads up for Cambridge/Somerville/Boston ‘straddlers – We’re planning a meetup for Friday night before GirlSpot as well as a possible a meetup on Thursday night in Harvard Square prior to Mr. Goodbar at Oberon (AIDS Action Committee benefit). Currently mulling over locations, but check out the Autostraddle group page or our Facebook group page ) if you’re interested!

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    Someone should so do Asheville, NC!! I’d be your correspondent, but I’m up to >here< with my thesis due in April. . .Best citylike town EVER! Full of massage therapists, vegans, herbalists, hippies, dread-wearers, LESBIANS & a music/arts festival every time you turn around. Hoop jam in downtown park every Tuesday in the summer; Drum circle every Friday that weather allows; and we were named Beer City USA for the second year in a row. Mountains, rivers, lakes, and LESBIANS!

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    How does Phase 1, the countries oldest continuously operating lesbian bar, not get mentioned in Washington, D.C.’s write-up? I call shenanigans on the D.C. blurb.

    Still, on behalf of Washington, D.C. I’d like to accept this award and say how proud we are to be immediately behind Portland. I mean: Portland!!

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      Agreed! I moved out of DC a few years ago and will always have a place in my heart for the city’s gay scene. Do they still do jello wrestling nights at Phase 1? All I can remember was that nudity was usually involved and they would literally hose down the girls outside after matches.

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    I’m in the States in October, visiting Washington DC and New York. Unfortunately I’ll be with school/my parents, and I’m not 21, so I doubt I’ll be able to get the full queer experience. Still, if I see anything hella gay, I’m going to force people to take photos of me with it. Hooray for equality!

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    This reminds me that I should probably leave Chicago sometime for a place that is not bumfuck Wisconsin or bumfuck Indiana (hideaway vacations with friends are great, but so is culture)

    Now I just need to choose! Baaaah publish the guides soon so I can arrange a roadtrip, please!

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    I’ll be making one of this of Venezuela cities! No one care i know but it’ll be fun for me to do it! xD

    My mom lives in Michigan… Im planning to go visit her there but after reading this, i dont know! Maybe i can convince her of meeting me in LA or NYC! :-D

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    I-Town in the house! It’s quite true – you can’t throw a rock without hitting a fan of Ani (and we have a lot of rocks. Ithaca is gorges after all). Subsequently you can’t throw a rock without hitting one of your exes, your exes ex and your exes ex ex who you had a thing for back in high school. Some of you ladies should move o’er here to tip the balance, k?

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    If anyone does a guide for the San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara area, please mention the Santa Maria drive-in as an attraction. I know it’s not real close to either but it’s pretty fucking awesome. As many people as can fit in a vehicle can go see two movies for five bucks each while wearing their pajamas and bringing all their own candy and nobody cares.

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    I need a good affordable lesbo filled lace with a college that’s easy to get into. I’m sure Smith has high expectations and L.A/San Fran are expensive from what I have heard…I have no money too so I gotta get a job where ever I move…I’m off to look up how expensive Portland and Oakland are lol

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    I live in Miami, and even tho gay boys have like 10 good clubs to go to, lesbians have none. We do have “ladies nights” which attract lesbians and hipster girls alike, making it a bit awkward when you mistake one for the other. I don’t want to move, and would love to throw lesbian parties in town, and possibly open a lesbian club, but every lesbian club that tried failed ( including truck stop tried to take off in Mia, and was closed a few weeks after). Any advice on how to attract lesbians to a club. I know there are many many gay women here, they just don’t go out? We do have pride (this is the 4th year) and aqua girl in may, but sucks there’s only two lesbian weekends and that’s it.

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    In your Ann Arbor description I am a little confused as to why you named Royal Oak as having a lot of queers, but completely ignored Ferndale which is one of the gayest/most lesbionic cities in all of Michigan…it far surpasses Royal Oak in the Metro Detroit area particularly. I live in the gayborhood and we deserve the shout out FAR more than the bougie Royal Oak.

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    Wow! I can’t believe Albuquerque NM didn’t get a mention. Are you living under a rock? It’s considered be THE Lesbian San Francisco. It works like this:
    Albuquerque + Subaru (legacy) = lesbian

    I’m not a lesbian but I drive a subaru legacy so I get the benefit of cute girls flirting with me whenever I drive around. Yay cute girls! Yay subarus! Yay albuquerque! It certainly give me a thrill.

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    I’m trying to figure out the best place to be les and Jewish and maybe think of grad school, or a way to work up to it. I liked the Boston reference to Keshet. I’ve heard it’s pretty cool. NY is stereotyped, but I like that there’s a corridor of cool cities and towns back east. No offense to Cal people, but I have a lot of baggage from California. Very sad. I need to find a place where I feel like I can really start over. So… thoughts?

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