Pennsylvania is a state with a diverse range of attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community. Some cities in the state, such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, have a relatively accepting and progressive culture towards LGBTQ+ people, with active LGBTQ+ communities and resources available. However, other cities in the state may be more conservative and less welcoming to LGBTQ+ people, especially in rural areas.
Among the cities in Pennsylvania that are LGBTQ+ friendly, one stands out as the most inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ+ rights and issues. That city is Philadelphia, the largest and most populous city in the state. Philadelphia has been named the LGBTQ+ friendly city in Pennsylvania by various sources, such as the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the Advocate, and Philly Magazine.
Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ History and Culture
Philadelphia has a long and rich history of LGBTQ+ activism and culture, dating back to the 1960s. In 1965, Philadelphia was the site of the first organized LGBTQ+ civil rights demonstrations in the country, known as the Annual Reminders. These protests were held every Fourth of July from 1965 to 1969, outside Independence Hall, to demand equal rights and recognition for LGBTQ+ people.
In 1972, Philadelphia became the first major city in the US to pass a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations. In 1982, Philadelphia elected its first openly gay city council member, Bob Brady. In 1988, Philadelphia hosted the first national LGBTQ+ health conference, and in 1993, it hosted the first international LGBTQ+ human rights conference.
Philadelphia is also home to a vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ community, with many neighborhoods, organizations, events, and businesses catering to LGBTQ+ people. Some of the most LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhoods in Philadelphia are Center City, Washington Square West, Rittenhouse Square, and Old City. These areas have many LGBTQ+ bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, and cultural venues, such as the William Way LGBT Community Center, the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference, and the Philadelphia Gay News.
One of the most iconic symbols of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ pride and culture is the rainbow flag, which was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978 and first flown in San Francisco. In 2015, Philadelphia added two new colors, black and brown, to the rainbow flag, to represent the diversity and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people of color. This new flag, known as the Philadelphia Pride Flag, was adopted by the city and displayed in various public places, such as City Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Policies and Programs
Philadelphia is not only a LGBTQ+ friendly city in terms of history and culture, but also in terms of policies and programs that support and protect LGBTQ+ people. Philadelphia has consistently scored 100 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Municipal Equality Index, which measures how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ+ people who live and work there. Philadelphia is one of only 88 cities in the US to achieve this perfect score in 2020.
Some of the policies and programs that Philadelphia has implemented to promote LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion are:
1.) The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, which enforces the city’s anti-discrimination law and provides education and mediation services to prevent and resolve conflicts based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other protected characteristics.
2.) The Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, which advises the mayor and city agencies on LGBTQ+ issues, advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and representation, and coordinates LGBTQ+ events and initiatives, such as the annual Pride Month and the OutFest street festival.
3.) The Philadelphia Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Committee, which fosters communication and cooperation between the police and the LGBTQ+ community, and provides training and education to police officers on LGBTQ+ sensitivity and awareness.
4.) The Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s AIDS Activities Coordinating Office, which provides HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment services to LGBTQ+ people and other populations at risk of HIV infection.
5.) The Philadelphia School District’s Office of School Climate and Safety, which supports LGBTQ+ students and staff, and implements policies and programs to prevent and address bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Philadelphia is a city that embraces and celebrates its LGBTQ+ community, and has earned the reputation of being the LGBTQ+ friendly city in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia has a long history of LGBTQ+ activism and culture, and has implemented various policies and programs to ensure LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion. Philadelphia is a city where LGBTQ+ people can feel safe, respected, and valued, and where they can find a sense of belonging and community. Philadelphia is a city that is proud of its LGBTQ+ identity, and that welcomes LGBTQ+ visitors and residents alike.