May 18, 2016 at 2:12 pm EDT | by Brock Thompson
9 reasons D.C. is best city for gays
Washington D.C. best for gays, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

New York? Yawn. San Francisco? It’s been overrun by tech junkies. Chicago? Might as well be Shreveport.

The jury is officially in, via my Facebook page, and Washington, D.C., has been declared the best city to be gay. But what makes our nation’s capital the ideal urban fruitopia for the LGBT community? Succinctly, today’s Washington is the perfect coming together of vibrant neighborhoods, good restaurants, nightlife, events and cute guys.

Gay sports leagues, happy hours, a growing theater scene — all of this gives D.C. a certain gay camaraderie that other cities seem to lack. Plus, this city makes brunching an Olympic sport.

Here are nine reasons of why you shouldn’t waste your time with any other city.

#9 There Are More of Us Here. There’s no denying that. Even though we aren’t a state, yet, D.C. has the largest percentage of gays and lesbians in the United States. Bringing up the rear, so to speak, North Dakota.

#8 Stonewall Sports. Darts, billiards, kickball, dodgeball — practically anything you were never picked for the first time around is out there now to be reclaimed and played along with your gay brethren. And if you are new to town and are even moderately outgoing you can make friends quite easily. And though the sight of a roving bunch of sleeveless, tipsy kickball bandits rolling down 17th Street on any given Sunday might stoke fear in the hearts of some, hope in the hearts of others, Stonewall Sports is rightfully credited with strengthening the bonds of community in the District. So much so that the model is being replicated in cities across the country.

#7 City Beautiful. And it’s not just the architecture of the federal government, though if you ever tire of seeing the Washington Monument illuminated at night you should probably move away. Aside from the grandeur of the National Mall, the city is undeniably beautiful. Brookland, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Lincoln Park, Bloomingdale — the city is home to distinct neighborhoods, and now gays and lesbians can be seen walking down the streets proudly holding hands with their partners in practically every one of them. The city is compact and walkable. Not as sprawling as our neighboring cities, you can trick anywhere in the city in 15 minutes or so. Faster if you do Capital Bikeshare.

#6 Even Your Dimmest Friends Are Some of the Brightest in the World. So much so that no one would look down on you for showing up at a trick’s house using Bikeshare. In fact, you’d probably be lauded for being environmentally conscious. D.C. boasts the most educated populace anywhere in the United States. There is no real small talk among gays at the club, bar, or the kickball fields. Don’t get me wrong, this town delights in gossip, but the art of conversation among gays is highly regarded in D.C. People do interesting things for a living, have been to interesting places, and have met interesting people.

#5 Smarty Pants and Fit People. I’ve always found it interesting that as gay kids we did everything we could to get out of gym, but now as gay adults we seem to flock to them. Washingtonians love to gym. Discussing the latest PEN/Faulkner winner goes a long way at a party, doing so while looking good in a tank top presents the whole package.

#4 Progressive Dinner, Miss Adams Morgan Pageant, the Victory Fund Brunch. A little party never hurt nobody, right? And this city throws the best parties for the best reasons, and sometimes that reason is no reason at all. Charities brunches, galas, balls and drag pageants dot the District’s social calendar. Yes, we drink like champions. But it’s often for a good cause. Probably.

#3 In the Thick of It. Last June, during Decision Day, I cheered as the decision was handed down outside the Supreme Court, then clanked glasses at JR.’s with what seemed like the entire city. We rounded out the night outside the White House illuminated in the colors of pride. You can’t help but love being in the center of it all.

#2 Capital Pride. It’s sort of the Nation’s Pride. You really haven’t lived until you’ve seen Wilson Phillips belt out their beloved ballads with the United States Capitol building as a backdrop.

#1 You get the L the G the B and the T. You gotta love a giant, liberal urban bubble. Though there is of course a real danger of being around only those that agree with you and hearing no other point of view, the big gay village we’ve constructed is actually quite diverse in terms of age, race, religion, educational background and life experience — all of this helping to shape a well-rounded queer world view.

These are just handful of reason as to why our city is the best. What are yours?

Brock Thompson is a D.C.-based freelance writer.

28 Comments
  • Sorry, but this is too rich. DC is indeed an LGBT utopia–if your definition of LGBT is entitled, judgmental, white, cisgendered gay men. Seriously, go out to any random bar on any night of the week. The lack of integration and the level of snobbery are truly astounding.

    • Do people still go to gays bars? I thought they were all on internet sights virtually giving attitude to each other instead of doing it in person.

    • Snobbery come naturally to the beuraucrase. Since they ARE superior to everyone else. Why should they pretend to be humble about it?!

      • Gay cisgendered white men ARE superior to everyone else you write? Well, just make certain you don’t completely contradict your entire stance on this issue by NOT voting for Trump in November then. Honestly, how 2-faced do you get? Have a nice day!

    • I agree sir. Gay man in DC here and I have never seen so many nasty, conceited, vapid and arrogant people in my life. The few gay men here are even worse. The three popular gay bars are over run with straight women and their self-absorbed boyfriends who only care about being “checked out” to reassure their egos that they are hot, since their ugly girlfriends can’t reassure that for them. Logging onto gay apps or websites is a waste of time as everyone is 50 and older. I can’t decide who’s gay or straight since everyone works so hard to ignore one another on their cell phones with their fancy suits on. Visiting a “gay neighborhood” is a joke if you can stomach the myriad of married, middle aged couples making out in public every chance they get. And while the men are gorgeous, they are so arrogant that you almost can’t help but NOT look at them. I cant not WAIT to get back down to Atlanta or move some where else because I am tired of watching men chase ugly women around this city all day. DO NOT MOVE TO DC if you are gay unless you have a ton of friends, money and are super, super goodlooking.

  • Everyone is indeed famous for 15 minutes but this tool is pushing the second hour….

  • What an Elitist opinion piece LOL!

  • I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  • Seriously?! DC certainly does have some amazing things to do, see and participate in. But pretty much you have to be a excessively outgoing, ivy-educated lobbyist whos slept with half the population of DuPont to get into any of it. And god forbid you’re over 5% bodyfat…

    Also, I have been to Pride in several cities (SF, Seattle, Vancouver, Chicago, NYC) and sir, DC Pride is middling at best.

  • Brock you hit the nail on the head! Congrats for being such an inclusive and friendly queer writer in the DC metro area. Shame on people for posting rude comments about a write for having PRIDE in his city. #dontThrowShade #weAreAllOne

  • I’m actually from DC and I’m gay. DC is beautiful city and it’s a great city for LGBT, but I need to translate this article for everyone. Yes, the people who moved to DC are very educated and want to make real changes for the better. But many are socially awkward, have a lack of real world experiences, and they can’t even figure how to put money on their Smartrip Card. Also, k-12 is a joke in DC and are some of the worse public schools in the country. DC is not a compact city. It’s a sprawling suburb. Downtown is compact, but DC is more than Downtown. It’s Bethesda, Rockville, Tyson’s, Fairfax, Arlington, Anacostia, H St. , Silver Spring, etc. it’s not just between DuPont and Shaw. Many people move to DC from places where you need a car to get everywhere, so there not very fit. They would rather rent an expensive closet 15 min walk from their job ( where they sit all day), across the street from Whole Foods, and right above a bar ( many alcoholics in DC). They do get their yoga pants and mesh shorts and go for a quick 30 min run before happy hour. And if they do go to the gym it’s to be creepy and eye the Zumba instructor in the co-ed sauna. I hope that’s worth the $120-170 gym membership. Next, the liberal and diverse gay scene. DC is a very liberal city, it’s honestly one of the best things about DC. But when it comes to fun, DC is pretty conservative. It’s almost like being in a perpetual dormitory. Lots of house parties, or maybe room parties ( that’s all u can afford), or should I say a gathering of opinions. Basically, you drink and talk about college and politics, in the hopes you will be getting laid.

  • There are a few places to dance and drink, Town, Cobalt, JR’s, etc. But not as many as one would think, especially for such a gay city. Another thing all the gay men wear the same thing (Universal Gear), they’re always in their cliques, and they hate lesbians. Why is that? It’s also very segregated Latinos, Blacks, and White gays don’t mix too much. They’re either at their own bars or if they’re in the same building they’re on separate floors. I don’t know why that is either? So a lot of that diverse background doesn’t count if your not socially diverse. It’s definitely a lot more diverse in other major cities. Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE DC! It’s a great city to grow up in and I’ve meet so many great people here. But I feel like so many people use DC as a stepping stone and don’t really know anything about it. They could get a better job in another city tomorrow and completely forget DC. They have no roots here. That’s all I have to say.

    • You’re right. Gay bars are not as good as they once were. Many have shut down unfortunately. But going to DC if you don’t live there is harder than ever. You can’t park without fearing a ticket and sorry but metro just doesn’t cut it for late night clubbing neither do expensive cab rights if you don’t live in the city.

      Gay men have always been in cliques and often always racially segregated. Why? Racism plays a part in that. Gay men hate lesbians? Many Lesbians don’t like gay men. That’s also nothing new. Remember there is a faction of lesbians which dislike all men.

      I recall once going to a Lesbian bar and being made to feel very unwelcomed as a man. I sat down at a table and a Lesbian told me women sit there. I asked if I could sit on the floor.

      I don’t know where all these highly visible gay people are? I never see gay people in the suburbs. Certainly don’t see them in Virginia and don’t see any couples holding hands. You can’t cruise on the streets anymore either like the good old days. I feel as we supposedly become more free and equal we also become more invisible and isolated from each other.

      • Try the Kennedycenter. There’s a reason why college kids use ‘musical theatre major”as a code-word for ‘gay.”

        • Hey if I want to play with somebody’s flute a gay bar would be far more convenient for a live performance.

        • Really Piper? He should try trolling the Kennedy Center like you do — harassing college students, insisting that they’re all gay? Sounds like you ought to be apprehended on sexual misconduct charges if you’ve tried this method even once. Oh, and what if he’s not even “college age”? Honestly, you make no sense.

          • Or he could go to a “gay bar” on U st and hit on one of the many straight men in the bars with their girlfriends “sorry bro, I am not gay” is what I have been told so many times in DC.. that same guy checking out every guy that moves- make a move and he runs to hug his girlfriend, close..

          • Yeah. I’ve seen that so much. I don’t get it. Meanwhile they stare like they’re so curious, but the moment there’s actual interaction they need to be coddled. They think they’re victims somehow. It’s disturbing.

          • I noticed that “curious” look too that these men give here. They’ll even walk close to you or stand near on top of you on the metro. The second you look back for too long, the game ends, and then they flash that wedding band, pull out the iphone with the girl on front, and or go and smooch their girlfriend. I peeped the game after a few months of seeing these men in the streets. It’s pure narcissism, bro. I see most these hot men with the ugly women (they are obsessed with ugly women in DC) and they need that reassurance that they are as hot as they think they are, and that would it not be for their beard, ugly wives–how many gay men could the pull if they wanted. Unfortunately for them, I don’t play that stare game anymore. If I am not in a gay environment I don’t entertain these men in DC. The anger and rage I get when I ignore their “curious” little enticing glares is priceless. We can all ignore each other together now.

  • It’s hot and humid from April through November-why would you want to live there unless you were being paid ridiculous amounts of money on the taxpayers’ dime to live there?

  • Considering the appalling political bigotry of the professoriate, having the most and best educated pervertsin the country isn’t much of a recommendation for Wretched, Wyoming, let alone the capitol of a free country!

  • Wait. All the hip/diverse clubs are since closed, dance clubs have become socially awkward, LGBT bookstores appear to have a target on their backs, the “Gay Redlight District” was re-districted to Siberia (NE) so straight DC could have their baseball in it’s place, convenient parking is non-existent, and Metro is an abuse to gay passengers as nothing in Gay DC is worth a $15 round trip.

    JR.’s? Hilarious! I date white men, and I’ve never been made to feel comfortable in that place. I’m not even saying that you embellished the truth in your article, but as a gay black man and one-time resident of DC myself I just need more than racist gays and kickball.

  • Wow! Some “interesting” folks on this thread. Glenn, please seek help.

    • It’s not my fault. I was sent a message saying the Washington Blade would review my comments, but then my comments never appeared leaving me to resend my comments twice — the 2nd time from memory. That’s why they appeared twice, but written slightly different each time. I’m sure this happens all the time if this is the system they employ.

      Personally, I didn’t have a problem with it. I got a good laugh out of it in fact. I don’t know why it bothered you so much. I noticed you didn’t actually have a thing to say in your own right, but left petty commentary about my commentary. Maybe you’re the troll Jason. Take your advice, and “seek help” immediately dude…

  • Seriously, what straight woman wrote this post? Who writes these posts about “gay” this or that? Who decides where these meccas and utopias are for gays? I am a gay man living in DC and I can tell you right here and now that it SUCKS being gay and living in DC. DC does not have a large gay male population, first of all. While there are tons of very attractive men here (more attractive men than I have seen anywhere in the world) the majority of them are straight and married and very, very arrogant and conceited. The openly gay men (very small amount) are almost as bad as the straight men. Gay men in DC are so pretentious, conceited, nasty, snooty and standoffish that you are better off not dealing with them altogether. I have had friends visit and frown in disgust at how nasty and snooty these people are. And not that I have issues with people being overly confident (as I am an attractive and educated person myself) but these people take it to a whole new level. Also, the few so-called gay neighborhoods are off limits because nothing but straight, white couples with children live in them. Dupoint Circle and other gay neighborhoods are SO EXPENSIVE that you need two incomes to rent a one bedroom, meaning only married hetereos can afford to live there. The gay bar scene is a joke. Most the guys here are international (smocking hot), homophic and/or, married. There are few gay clubs and groups because DC is so poltical, conservative and small that people are afraid to associate themselves with gay people. Dont read the feel good articles–DC Is a joke. Better offf going to Atlanta or DC where atleast the men will make eye contact with you.

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