In a month that has been both historical and joyful for LGBT Florida comes some more good news: West Palm Beach comes in third in The Advocate 's Queerest Cities in America 2015 list.
While many immediately think of Fort Lauderdale when it comes to gayest cities in Florida, recent studies show that might not be the case. West Palm Beach has sneaked up the rankings and, according to The Advocate's list, is only one of three cities ranked (oddly enough, Gainesville and Orlando are also ranked).
The grading system used to determine the final list includes dividing the population to get a ranking based on per-capita LGBT results. For example, a city will get a point for trans-inclusive nondiscriminatory laws (which West Palm Beach has) or a point for every LGBT-friendly retirement community.
The Advocate also awarded points to cities where Broadway shows like Wicked, Kinky Boots, and the Book of Mormon made a stop, and that also worked in West Palm Beach's favor.
It also helped that The Advocate noted that author, potter, and Top Design judge Jonathan Adler and his partner, Simon Doonan, now make West Palm Beach their part-time home.
The tallied up quotient showed that West Palm Beach is the third-queerest city in the U.S., beating out places like Madison, Wisconsin; Washington D.C.; and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
3. West Palm Beach, Fla.
[ pop. 102,436 ]
A new injection of cool trendsetters (including Jonathan Adler and his partner, Simon Doonan) into Palm Beach has spilled over to neighboring West Palm Beach. The five-minute drive across the bridge makes a big difference to LGBT people; West Palm Beach has a trans-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. Residents and visitors take advantage of the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Miami City Ballet, the Palm Beach Opera, and touring Broadway shows like The Book of Mormon. Denizens come together at trendy restaurants, such as the gay-couple-owned Table 26 and sing karaoke on Sundays at neighborhood spot Rooster's.
Even with the so-called injection of trendsetters and trendy LGBT restaurants, West Palm Beach has been fighting hard for gay rights for some time. It's where the advocacy group Palm Beach County Human Rights Council makes its headquarters, led by Florida's first openly gay judge, Rand Hoch.
Hoch and the council have been able to pull off some big policies for the LGBT community in West Palm Beach, including an equal benefits ordinance for gay and lesbian city workers as well as an extension of a full range of domestic partnership benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance, for its municipal employees in Boca.
West Palm Beach has been fighting for LGBT rights and winning the battle, so the ranking is well-deserved.
And, yes, it definitely helps whenever The Book of Mormon makes an appearance too.