colorful city skyline

Is Denver a Gay-Friendly City?

June 28, 2021

There are more and more indicators that Denver is officially a gay-friendly city. From the U.S. Census Bureau’s data on same-sex households to the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, the numbers illustrate that Denver may be the best city in the West for LGBTQ+ residents.

census map of U.S. showing same-sex couple households

Family-Friendly PrideFest and LGBTQ Legal Rights

Denver’s PrideFest, which celebrates LGBTQ Pride every June, is now the largest pride event in the West and considered one of the top 10 in the country. In 2019, over 425,000 attended Denver PrideFest at Civic Center Park.

Denver is also notable for having one of the most family-friendly Pride events in the country. In 2021, The Center on Colfax, which is the official sponsor of Denver Pride, is partnering with businesses to offer Pride Hubs. As one of the Pride Hubs, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science will celebrated PrideFest 2021 outside last weekend, focusing on family fun. Events will included rainbow-colored bubbles and story time with drag queen readers.

But Denver isn’t just LGBTQ-friendly during Pride Month. With noteworthy legislative representation, the city also legally protects LGBTQ+ residents. It’s home to Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected governor of a state in the U.S. In May 2019, Polis signed two pieces of LGBTQ legislation into law: HB19-1039 and HB19-1129. The first bill makes it easier for Coloradans to update the gender on their birth certificate and includes an option to identify as non-binary. The second bans conversion therapy for minors.

But wait, there’s more. The nonprofit organization Human Rights Campaign gave Denver a 100 score on its most recent Municipality Equality Index—a perfect score. The MEI measures LGBTQ rights in five areas: non-discrimination laws, city employment benefits, city services and programs, law enforcement, and leadership.

census list of metropolitan areas with highest percentage of same-sex couple households

Denver Area Among Highest Percentage of Same-Sex Couple Households Nationwide

The latest U.S. Census data substantiates that the greater Denver metropolitan area is home to a high number of same-sex couples, and it places in the top 10 for cities with the highest percentage of same-sex couple households. All those citizens improve Denver’s financial outlook too. According to the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce website, “Certified LGBT-owned businesses realize an average of $2.5 million in revenue a year, almost triple the average revenue of other small businesses.”

In sum: Denver rates well. Top 10 in number of same-sex couple households, Top 10 Pride event, 100 equality municipality score, $2.5 million annual revenue, and one openly gay governor who’s already signed two bills to protect trans youth.