Long ago, gay people settled in our nation’s largest cities. There they spruced up all the property, created every art and fashion movement, and taught entire populations how to dance. They created gayborhoods like WeHo, Chelsea, South Beach—and pretty much queered all of San Francisco until even Laundromats had rainbow flag decals in their windows. About 10 years ago everyone else moved back into these nicely gentrified metropolises, and the lavender diaspora began. Now a slew of secondary cities are becoming gay epicenters.
This admittedly subjective search reveals spots that are much more pink than you might think. Determined by a completely unscientific but accurate statistical equation, these gayest cities may surprise you. Iowa City, Austin, and Asheville have more gays per capita than the biggies. These cities where everyday gays live—towns and boroughs with a mix of baby carriages, gay bars, and B&Bs—signal the continuing movement of gay people into mainstream American life.