California

Of all the U.S. states, California has the largest population, the largest economy, and, let’s be honest, is just the coolest of the bunch.

In addition to these superlatives, California is also regarded as one of the most liberal states when it comes to LGBT rights and protections, a reputation it’s had since the 1960s.

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1976. In 1999, the state became the first to legalize domestic partnerships. Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2008, banned by voters five months later, then recommenced in 2013. Same-sex adoption has been legal since 2003. California has also had discrimination protections against sexual orientation and gender identity or expression since 2003.

What’s more, public schools are required to teach the history of the LGBT community and transgender students are allowed to choose the restroom or sports team that aligns with their gender identity. Reparative therapy for LGBT minors is prohibited.

The most gay-friendly cities in the state include San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, with San Francisco definitely claiming the top spot. San Francisco has the highest percentage of people living on the LGBT spectrum and a high ranking on the Human Right Campaign Municipal Equality Index. Over 1.5 million people attend Pride events in the city each year. But L.A. and San Diego are not far behind in term of diversity, tolerance, and an awesome gay scene. L.A.’s West Hollywood has some great nightclubs and 40% of the population is LGBT. San Diego’s gay scene is centered in Hillcrest, a great, walkable neighborhood in the middle of the city.

What more could you ask for in a state? Eureka, indeed!