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It seems common knowledge to many that many cities have communities where the best LGBTQA community can gather in peace and harmony, but small towns are a bit of a different matter. Small towns bring to mind images of racist old people and hate speech. Despite the comforting idea of small towns from yesteryear, those in minority groups recognize that in small, isolated communities, intolerance has a way of spreading.
So if you're not up for the big city, but looking for a place where you can be gay in peace, don't worry. There are plenty of towns across America where LGBTQA people can form a great community of love, tolerance, and acceptance.
I admit, with a population of over 66,000 people, perhaps Portland isn't a "small town." It is, after all, Maine's largest city. However, it's microscopic compared to cities like San Fransisco or New York, and, by popular understanding, it remains one of the most friendly places for LGBTQA individuals to meet and congregate.
It hosts the highest population of openly LGBTQA people on the East Coast. It also hosts the Frostbite ME weekend, a Pride Event featuring a host of fun activities for couples and individuals to enjoy together. It has a large LGBTQA-friendly nightlife, and, on top of all that, is just a very nice place.
Also, Stephen King was born there. This has no relevancy to the best LGBTQA communities, but, as a fan of his, I just think that's pretty cool.
Asheville, North Carolina
Another relatively large "small" town, Asheville is nestled in the mountains, flanked by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There's a magic to this town, perhaps due to its proximity to nature and its divide from the rest of the world.
Once in Asheville, you find several communities, from bars to bookstores to art galleries, run by the LGBTQA community. The 1899 Whitegate Inn and Cottage is perhaps the most well-known gay-owned business in Asheville, and a verifiable safe haven for people looking to escape intolerance and stupidity.
Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Located next to Asbury Park, another very pro-LGBTQA city, Ocean Grove is a smaller town that sports a very high percentage of LGBTQA people. This town, located near the beaches, is a beautiful though small location that's close enough to the various LGBTQA-friendly events in Asbury Park to live in without having to live with some of Asbury Park's high crime rates.
It's a nice, small place where you can, during the summer, go to the Jersey Shore. I see no downside to this place.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
35 miles west of Detroit, this college campus, home to the University of Michigan, is a verifiable LGBTQA town. The town attracts very liberal-inclined youths. Most noteworthy is a two-story lesbian bar, the Aut Bar.
In addition to the night life, there are tons of clubs and associations in Ann Arbor that cater to the LGBTQA community, whether you are a mom with a same-sex partner or a transman hoping to come out. It does not matter. Ann Arbor is famous for its tolerance and acceptance of all people, which makes it one of the towns with the best LGBTQA communities.
Home to Indiana University, Bloomington, like many college towns, attracts a very liberal group of people, which fosters the community of acceptance and love, as well as one of the best LBTQA communities. But Bloomington is a little more than just any LGBTQA town. There's something else here. Something more important.
In this town resides the Kinsey Institute for Research in Gender, Sex, and Reproduction. It possesses the largest porn collection in the world, which may attract a few less than savory individuals... but it here that the Kinsey Scale was conceived – otherwise known as the scale that said that sexuality exists as a spectrum, and that, in a literal sense, everyone is at least a little bi.
Wilmington declares itself to be "A Town to be Somebody." While the LGBTQA community is small, it possesses a tightly-knit LGBTQA community that is highly supportive of one another.
The university in town attracts a highly progressive group that holds tons of social events for young LGBTQA individuals looking for both acceptance and warmth. It may not have the largest community, but it is one that prides itself on acceptance, especially with the ever-increasing influx of young people moving in.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
At 2,300 people, Eureka Springs is less populated than most colleges. It's a small, quaint town filled with Victorian-inspired architecture. It's a beauty to behold, and is super gay.
There are tons of businesses, from hotels to restaurants to bars, owned by openly gay individuals that cater tons of events to the LGBTQA community. For many members of the community, it is seen as a safe haven from the rest of the Bible Belt, which is notorious for being incredibly homophobic and prejudice to the community. For those trapped in the otherwise conservative state of Arkansas, this is your slice of Heaven.