If you’re planning a trip to Virginia, there are several places that are known for being gay-friendly. Virginia is home to a thriving LGBTQ+ community. These citizens own businesses, organize events, and enjoy the outdoors. If you’re interested in exploring the diverse cultures of these people, you should consider visiting Alexandria, Norfolk, Charlottesville, or Arlington. Here’s a list of the gay-friendly areas in Virginia.
Alexandria is a gay-friendly area
Alexandria, Virginia, is a thriving gay community that has a strong sense of community spirit. The LGBT community can be found throughout the city, but it is especially visible in Old Town. This historic district is a hub of activity and offers a unique atmosphere of tree-lined streets, eclectic restaurants, and happening nightlife. Whether you’re planning a trip to Alexandria to celebrate pride or to escape from the city’s bustling streets, you’re sure to find a place that matches your lifestyle.
Many people who visit Alexandria are gay or lesbian. There are several local organizations for LGBT citizens. The DC Center has events, resources, and connections for gay and lesbian residents. The Rainbow History Project is a nonprofit that collects and curates LGBTQ history in the greater Washington, D.C. area. It also hosts monthly social events for LGBT families. And, of course, Alexandria is home to the Gay and Lesbian Museum.
Norfolk is a gay-friendly area
If you’re interested in living in a gay-friendly area, you should consider Norfolk, Virginia. The city’s vibrant LGBTQ community is home to a wide array of festivals, theatres, and events. Hampton Roads PrideFest is a big draw for LGBT visitors to Norfolk, and the LGBTQ Life Center offers many services to members of the community. You can also find out more about the city’s history and current events at Norfolk’s website.
The city has been making progress in recognizing and celebrating the LGBTQ community. Virginia’s former governor has signed an executive order banning discrimination against LGBTQ people. In 2012, the Human Rights Campaign issued a Municipal Quality Index to gauge the cities’ commitment to ensuring that they are welcoming and accepting of the LGBTQ community. The index measures the extent to which localities have implemented non-discrimination laws and how inclusive they are in their municipal services. Norfolk has an overall rating of 81, which is the highest of all cities in Virginia.
Charlottesville is a gay-friendly area
The city of Charlottesville is known as the University of Virginia’s Jeffersonian campus, and it also has the most visible gay community in Virginia. It’s home to the Bayly Art Museum and the courtly architecture of Thomas Jefferson. But visitors should dedicate a day to exploring the countryside around Charlottesville, which includes places like Monticello, the former home of President Jefferson, and Ash Lawn-Highland, the estate of James Monroe.
For Campbell, the LGBTQ+ community is very welcome in Charlottesville, and the queer and ally club at her high school are a safe haven for people in the LGBTQ+ community. She and her peers have organized various school events, and even the “Day of Silence” where people who support the LGBTQ+ community do not speak to those who do not. After the film, Gelbman will lead a Q&A session.
Arlington is a gay-friendly area
The city is a popular destination for LGBT travelers and boasts an excellent reputation for welcoming the LGBTQ community. Arlington has received high marks in several LGBTQ-related categories, including achieving 100% equality in the Municipality Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign, being named “The #1 Best Town in Virginia for LGBT Families” by Movoto in 2016, and being listed as one of the best destinations for LGBTQ travelers by Passport Magazine. Located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Arlington is an extremely walkable city with convenient access to Metro services.
The city’s thriving LGBT community is supported by a local nonprofit group, the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance. The organization fosters civic awareness and offers social events. In addition to organizing community events, it works with local and state government agencies to create women-specific resources and form alliances with universities. These organizations are committed to improving the quality of life for the LGBTQ community in Arlington. However, Arlington isn’t perfect.
Roanoke is a gay-friendly area
While Roanoke, Virginia, is not known for its homophobia, it has become an increasingly diverse and open-minded city. In the 1980s, the town was a predominantly straight community, and the Backstreet Cafe was a place for LGBTQ people to go. Despite the shooting, however, the restaurant reopened a week after the tragedy, and was a hitch for many people. Nonetheless, it was an important space for gay and lesbian residents to celebrate. In fact, the Backstreet Cafe was one of the most beloved gay destinations in eastern Central Appalachia. Now, the space is the Front Row sports bar, which hosts punk and metal shows at night.
The town’s emergence as a gay community is largely credited to the Stonewall uprising. The city’s gay community developed, and a second bar and discothèque opened in 1973. As the town’s gay population grew, people began moving to the Old Southwest neighborhood, which soon became Roanoke’s first gayborhood. By the time Park opened in 1978, there were six gay bars in the city. At the time, lines to enter the bar would often stretch out into the parking lot. And there were times when homeowners fought with the LGBTQ community.