The current state of LGBTQ+ representation in media and entertainment in Central Missouri is a complex one. On the one hand, we have young activists and organizers motivated to fight for equality and progress. On the other hand, we have powerful legislators speaking out against the rights of LGBTQ+ people and launching bills that threaten to undo all the progress made by the Civil Rights Movement. In cities across the United States, local leaders are working hard to make life more welcoming and safer for all residents, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.
The Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index has identified 25 cities in Republican-majority states that are particularly friendly to LGBTQ+ people. If your city didn't make the cut, now is the time to take action and speak up. For instance, Wilton Manors, Florida is a small subtropical city with a queer population of 14%, the second highest percentage in the country. Wilton Drive is a mile and a half long stretch of independent businesses that proudly wave flags of pride.
The local bar scene is also thriving, with Cardinal Spirits' PRIDE vodka being a favorite among locals. In Idaho, the University of Idaho founded one of the state's first gay rights organizations, Northwest Gay People's Alliance (NWGPA), in 1974. Moscow is also home to Inland Oasis, a volunteer organization that hosts the annual Palouse Pride festival, as well as a food pantry and community center. Indiana has also made strides towards LGBTQ+ equality. Bloomington's annual PRIDE film festival and PrideFest are two beloved pillars of the community, while the world-renowned Kinsey Institute has kept Indiana University firmly grounded in issues related to the LGBTQ+ community for 75 years.
New Orleans is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, with bars and clubs such as Oz, Bourbon Pub, Napoleon's Itch, 700 Club, Good Friends, and The Golden Lantern being popular spots for queer people. Southern Decadence is arguably the biggest party of them all, drawing up to 200,000 revelers every Labor Day weekend. Columbia, South Carolina is another city that embodies this pull between traditional values and modern progressive influences. The Harriet Hancock LGBTQ+ Center is working hard to change hearts and minds in this city, while The Capital Club is an elegant establishment that welcomes LGBTQ+ people with open arms.
Nashville was one of the cities that lost points in the area of non-discrimination laws according to HRC's Municipal Equality Index. Although city employees have access to anti-discrimination policies and inclusive workplace measures, there's nothing to protect Nashville's LGBTQ+ population from prejudice at work or when trying to get housing. Organizations like Tennessee Equality Project, Nashville Pride, and Nashville Black Pride are working hard to make sure everyone is protected from discrimination. In Austin, Texas organizations like Out Youth, The Q Austin, Central Texas Transgender Health Coalition, Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation, and Equality Texas are fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.
There are also plenty of places for queer people to have fun such as Cheer Up Charlies, Coconut Club, Barbarella, Rain on 4th and more. Finally, Laramie Wyoming doesn't have openly gay bars but there are private clubs that only admit members and their guests.