7 Most LGBTQ+ Friendly States in the US

There are significant differences in the ways in which different US states approach LGBTQ+ individuals and treat them with regard to their rights. These differences often manifest in areas such as anti-discrimination laws, access to healthcare, protection of transgender rights, recognition of same-sex relationships, and more. Generally, states with more progressive policies may have very comprehensive anti-discrimination laws, more inclusive healthcare practices, and legal recognition of various LGBTW+ rights, including, among other things, marriage equality. 

More conservative states, on the other hand, tend to lack explicit protections for LGBTQ+ individuals in areas like employment, housing, and public accommodations. They may also have a very different approach to transgender rights, bans on conversion therapy, and a range of other issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community. 

These variations from state to state can be really dramatic, but they tend to align with political affiliation – that is, red states (republican states) tend to be far more conservative, and LGBTQ+ people, generally speaking, have fewer rights. Whereas in blue states (democratic states), LGBTQ+ people tend to have far more rights and equality. Of course, this is a generalization, but that’s the overall idea. And because of the US federal system, it’s absolutely possible for different states to have completely different laws and ways of dealing with people. 

With these things in mind, here are the 7 most LGBTQ+ friendly states in the US. 

1. Vermont

Montpelier, Vermont, USA town skyline.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Vermont is generally considered by most people a welcoming and inclusive state for LGBTQ+ people, as it legalized same-sex marriage back in 2009 – one of the first states to do so. It has a history of progressive policies, and the state has anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQ+ people today in areas such as employment, housing, and public accommodations. 

There’s also a fairly large and outspoken LGBTQ+ community in Vermont, including various organizations working towards earning rights and inclusion for their community. 

2. California

Oakland, California
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

California has long been perceived as a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ individuals, with specific areas like San Francisco and West Hollywood being particularly well-known for their vibrant LGBTQ+ communities, organizations, and events. In fact, the state of California has been a trailblazer in terms of fighting for LGBTQ+ rights over the years, by supporting legislating, anti-discrimination laws, and just generally accepting LGBTQ+ culture.

3. New York

New York, New York
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Having been at the forefront of fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, especially in being an early adopter of the same-sex marriage legalization in 2011, New York state is considered by most people as a generally LGBTQ+ friendly state. They’ve also implemented plenty of legal protections including anti-discrimination laws and areas including (but not limited to) employment and housing. 

New York City is particularly well known for its vibrant and diverse LGBT+ communities They host Pride March every year, and it’s one of the biggest Pride events in the world. 

4. Illinois

Illinois
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The state of Illinois is fairly well known for being LGBTQ+ friendly, and its laws reflect this. They have plenty of legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, including anti-discrimination laws regarding things like public accommodations, employment, housing, and more. Also, Illinois was an early adopter of same-sex civil unions, and they legalized same-sex marriage not long afterward.

The state has a fairly active LGBTQ+ community, hosting events and initiatives that promote inclusivity and equality. 

5. Colorado

Panorama of Denver skyline long exposure at twilight.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Colorado legalized same-sex marriage in 2014, and since then, they’ve implemented various measures to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, including various anti-discrimination laws. There are also active LGBTQ+ communities throughout the state, especially in Denver which hosts plenty of events that celebrate and promote inclusivity. Colorado has also been recognized for providing legal protections against conversion therapy for minors. 

6. Washington

Seattle, Washington
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Washington, a state known for being “blue” since 1988, boasts a pretty supportive climate for the LGBTQ+ community. The state has implemented various legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, including many anti-discrimination laws. They also legalized same-sex marriage in 2012. Most of these protections started being introduced around 2006, and since then, these laws and rights have mostly been upheld and improved.

Cities like Seattle have pretty active and vibrant LGBTQ+ communities that host events that promote inclusivity. Generally speaking, Washington state is not a bad place to be if you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community.

7. Oregon

Aerial view of the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The state of Oregon is pretty well known for being a very liberal state, and along with that reputation comes the state’s inclination to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Oregon has many legal protections of this sort that work against discrimination based on sexual orientation, and they legalized same-sex marriage in 2014. 

Most of all, Oregon is known for its large and vibrant LGBTQ+ community, hosting many events and generally being welcoming. The state is well known for its progressive policies and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ individuals and for the community as a whole. 

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