A senior housing referral service, SeniorAdvice.com, has compiled a listing of what it considers to be the top 15 US cities for LGBT seniors.
The list is topped by the Texas capital city, Austin. Although the state is not known for being one of the more LGBT-friendly ones in the US, the study points to the Austin’s warm climate and affordable living compared to east and west coast gay hotspots such as New York and San Francisco (which came in at number 14).
It says Austin is also ‘a political hub for LGBT advocacy’, and is a liberal and progressive city where more than 5% of the population identify as gay.
It also has a thriving social environment for LGBTI citizens and ‘strong support for gay-owned businesses,’ with its own LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
The top 15 rundown for LGBT seniors is as follows:
- Austin, TX
- Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
- Atlanta, GA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Orlando, FL
- Tampa, FL
- Portland, OR
- Seattle, WA
- Columbus, OH
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Dallas, TX
- Las Vegas, NV
- San Francisco, CA
- Houston, TX
SeniorAdvice compiled its ranking by first examining 100 variables, broadly split into: health and safety; recreation and leisure; finance; and general quality of life. From these it ranks cities according to their SeniorScore™.
In order to compile the top 15 ranking, it then looked at how cities fared with regard to LGBT-friendliness.
SeniorAdvice.com CEO and Founder, Ryan Patterson in a statement that the organization is, ‘Very dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and we wanted to make sure we could assist members of the gay and lesbian community in finding the best locations for retirement and senior housing.’
‘Austin has a history of being inclusive and welcoming’
Austin’s number one placing was welcomed by Paul Huddleston, President of Austin Pride, who told GSN: ‘I would definitely agree with that. We have several active groups for Seniors, to include the Austin Prime Timers. Overall, Austin is a very welcoming city to every facet of the LGBTQ spectrum. We recently hosted the Gay Softball World Series and are working on bringing the Gay Games to Austin in 2022.
‘Austin is considered a gay oasis in Texas with a thriving nightlife, culture and lifestyle.’
His views were echoed by John Egan, a board member of the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
‘When you think of LGBT-friendly retirement spots, Austin, Texas, may not immediately leap to mind. However, for those of us who live here, being named the best American city for LGBT retirees is not a shock.
‘For one thing, Austin has a history of being inclusive and welcoming. Also, the Austin metro area has one of the highest percentages of LGBT residents in the country. On top of that, Austin city officials have been among the most progressive in the country in protecting the rights of the city’s LGBT residents.
‘Austin may not have the same reputation as Fort Lauderdale for being a great place for LGBT retirees, but it does have many of the qualities that would attract LGBT retirees seeking an inclusive, welcoming place to live.’
A spokesperson for Equality Texas pointed out that Austin has been one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the US: the city’s overall population grew nearly 40% between 2000 and 2010, while the number of Austinites over the age of 55 grew by 80%.
‘The LGBTQ community is an integral component of ongoing work by the City of Austin’s Commission on Seniors to prioritize the unmet needs of Central Texas’ aging population, tap the assets of older adults to improve our community, and embrace innovation and creativity in the pursuit of an age-friendly culture,’ said the spokesperson in a statement.
‘An LGBTQ age-friendly steering committee has been formed to work to ensure that aging issues unique to the LGBTQ community are considered and addressed in the larger citywide efforts.’