Gay-friendly refers to places, policies, people or institutions that are open and welcoming to gay people (to include all members of the LGBTQ community) to create an environment that is supportive of gay people and their relationships, respectful of all people, treat all people equally, and are non-judgmental. This is typically a late 20th-century North American term that is the byproduct of both a gradual implementation of gay rights and acceptance of policies supportive of LGBTQ people in the workplace and in schools, as well as the recognition of gays and lesbians as a distinct consumer group for businesses.
Cities that are known worldwide as being gay-friendly include San Francisco, Seattle, Tel Aviv, New York, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Melbourne, Paris, Chicago, Brighton, Amsterdam, London and Berlin amongst others.
The Advocate publishes a list periodically of the gayest cities in America that include cities such as Minneapolis, Albuquerque, San Diego, Austin, and several others based on facts such as their same sex marriage laws, number of same sex couples, and other qualifiers.
The Spartacus International Gay Guide publishes the Gay Travel Index, a ranking of gay-friendly countries. Points are added to countries for anti-discrimination legislation, equal marriage, partnership and adoption laws, and LGBT marteking. Meanwhile, points are substracted for anti-LGBT laws, HIV travel restrictions, religious influence, and prosecution, murders and death sentences to LGBT.
In 2013, the Spartacus Gay Travel Index features a majority of Western European countries in the top 11 (Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Belgium, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Spain), plus Canada and Uruguay. The bottom 5 countries are Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Jordan and Jamaica.
Spartacus also publishes a Gay Travel Index USA, listing the 50 states plus the District of Columbia with the same criteria as the countries ranking. In 2013, the top 5 regions are from the Northeast, whereas the top 10 also includes California, Illinois and Oregon. The bottom 10 states are mainly from the Southeast, except for a few Mountain states (Utah, Idaho and Montana).
Many businesses now identify as gay-friendly, allowing for a more diversified employee and customer base. The Human Rights Campaign works to achieve equality for gays, lesbians and other and publishes a list of companies in relation to issues concerning LGBT people. Companies that are noted for gay-friendly work environments include Dell Inc. and Coca-Cola Company (Coca Cola does sponsor the 2014 Russian Olympics regardless of Russia's anti gay policies). Companies such as R Family Vacations, Manspray, Volkswagen new Beetle convertible, Ginch Gonch and Egotour and numerous others offer niche products and services for gay customers. Studies have shown that LGBT communities tend to favor gay-friendly businesses, even if the cost of a particular product or service is higher.
- Human Rights Campaign, lobby group for LGBT rights
- Lonely Planet - Top gay-friendly destinations
- The Five Most Improved Places For Gay Tolerance
- Gayest Cities in America
- Spartacus Ranks Gay-Friendly Destinations: Sweden’s On Top (USA Not So Much) - Queerty, 3 March 2013
- egotour - user reviews, gay travel portal
- Edge- Gay Consumers Willing to Pay More to Gay-friendly Companies