The Advocate has come out with a list of the 15 “Gayest Cities in America” using a set of criteria that is… (what’s the best way to say this?) …”unique.” The list uses a point system based on nine criteria, assigns points for each and then divides the total points by the population living inside the city limits:
The winning cities range from Denver, CO at 15th (with 9 points and a score of 0.00001499) to Salt Lake City, UT in 1st place (with 6 points and a score of 0.00003218). With a population of 2,099,451 (according to the 2010 census) Houston would have to score 32 points to make the list. Clearly the criteria are designed to favor smaller cities (Austin’s the only Texas city to make the list, coming in at 13th (with 12 points and a score of 0.00001518)), but part of the joy in making up meaningless lists for the internet is that you get to make up the criteria. So, based on the Advocates own criteria, how does Houston fair?
- LGBT elected city officials: 6 points (OK, I cheated a little on this one, Mayor Annise Parker and Council Member Mike Laster clearly count, while the criteria says “elected city officials” I’ve decided to include Municipal Judge Barbara Hartle and Associate Municipal Judges Phyllis Frye and Charles Spain, who are appointed, and Judge Steven Kirkland who’s a county judge.
- WNBA teams: 0 points (Houston lost it’s WNBA team, The Comets, in 2009)
- International Mr. Leather competition semi-finalists: 1 point (Roger Triche)
- Imperial Court chapters: 1 point (Empire of the Royal Sovereign and Imperial Court of the Single Star)
- Softball teams that competed in the Gay Softball World Series: 7 points (A Division: Houston Force; B Division: Bomb Squad, Hellcats; C Division: Texas Twisters, Toros; D Division: Sons of Pitches, Toros)
- LGBT Bookstores: 0 points (I’m assuming by “bookstore” The Advocate means stores that sell books, not stores that sell videos and have back rooms, otherwise we would get several dozen points from this one)
- Nude Yoga: 1 point (at least according to this CultureMap article)
- Transgender Protections: 1 point (The Advocate’s criteria say “one point for every city with laws prohibiting discrimination.” While Houston does not yet have employment or housing protections for any LGBT people, we do have an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in city hiring practices and in public accommodation in city facilities (Executive Order 1-8).)
- Concerts by Gossip, The Cliks and The Veronicas: 3 points (The Cliks: 3/22/11, 8/3/10, The Veronicas: 6/18/09
So that’s 20 points, 12 short of the 32 Houston would need to make the list, but far more than the 14 points that 5th ranked Seattle and 7th ranked Minneapolis/St. Paul received (is it fair that the two cities get to be considered together?).
Seriously, The Advocate, what about some Houston love? Next year maybe considering tweaking the criteria to include things like “one point for every elected official in the pride parade,” “one point for everyLGBT friendly church,” or “one point for having to deal with Dave Wilson.” We’ve got a lot to offer here in Houston, it’s time the people over at The Advocate took notice.
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