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.