Using a highly scientific formula that considers factors including WNBA teams, nude yoga sessions, and local Mr. Leather semifinalists (uh, no, really), the Advocate magazine has crunched out its annual list of the "Gayest Cities in America." The Sunshine State was well represented -- by Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
Miami's gay day has long since passed, the magazine writes, as the city has seen a "mass exodus" because "a real estate boom priced out many gay clubs." (Was this piece secretly written in 2008?)
Actually, we'd be the last to dispute the basic argument in the Advocate's list -- we wrote a whole feature story in January 2010 about how the gay community has fled South Beach for Fort Lauderdale as hip-hop culture has taken over the SoBe club scene.
It's more the magazine's scorecard that leaves us wanting. It looks at some good indicators (LGBT elected officials, transgender protections, and gay bookstores) before getting crazy with categories like Mr. Leather, Gay Softball World Series teams, and concerts by the Cliks.
That's probably why the list includes head-scratchers like No. 11 Little Rock (which remains in Arkansas at last check) and No. 8 Knoxville, Tennessee, which presumably dominated the Mr. Leather competition this year to get a spot.
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Here's what the Advocate had to say about Fort Lauderdale:
Booting spring breakers from its shores may have not boosted Jagermeister sales, but it sure has classed up the joint. Add to that a mass exodus from Miami, where a real estate boom priced out many gay clubs (then the boom busted), and you have the recipe for a rising homo mecca in South Florida. The area is teeming with gay bars and restaurants, and a ton of guesthouses and spas that run the gamut from mild to spicy. Lesbians are finally starting to move to Fort Lauderdale too, though most girl bars, like New Moon (NewMoonBar.com), are in nearby Wilton Manors.
Orlando, meanwhile, clocked in as America's second gayest city, by the magazine's reckoning, thanks to Disney World's popular Gay Days and "more gay softball teams than you can shake a Louisville slugger at."