Riding the momentum of landing on the New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2023, Louisville continues to be celebrated as a welcoming and inclusive place. The city has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index every year since 2015, a streak that continues with the latest released ratings. The index scores cities based on their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Several factors cited by the New York Times for featuring the city on their travel list include Louisville’s HRC accomplishments, a new LGBTQ community center and Bourbon City’s thriving LGTBQ scene, including hot spots like Chill Bar and Play Dance Bar.
“Every year, word spreads even farther that Louisville is an open and inviting place for visitors and residents no matter who they love or how they identify,” said Mayor Craig Greenberg. “Recognitions like the recent New York Times features and our continued streak of perfect scores from the Human Rights Campaign help us share that story. We are excited to once again receive this important accolade.”
Kentucky was the only U.S. destination named one of the ‘17 Wild Card Holidays You Probably Hadn’t Considered Trying This Year,’ by the United Kingdom’s i news touting Louisville’s “thriving LGBTQ+ scene.” Additionally, the city was listed as well as one of the 10 Most Underrated Romantic Destinations Around The Globe by Travel Pulse due to the city’s “inclusive and queer-friendly atmosphere making it a safe and romantic destination for couples of any type who love bourbon, architecture and fun.” The publication highlighted having “the ultimate bourbon tasting at Old Forester, which has the first openly gay master taster.”
“We are proud of Louisville's perfect score as it shows the city's longstanding commitment to being an inclusive and welcoming destination – especially with regards to our local LGBTQ+ community and incoming visitors,” said Cleo Battle, President & CEO of Louisville Tourism. “It is an honor to receive this significant recognition for the eighth consecutive year, and we strive to uphold this meaningful precedent well into the future.”
Accolades Louisville has received related specifically to the LGBTQ+ community include:
· “Most Diverse Cities in the U.S” - Far & Wide
· “10 Hottest Gay Destinations” - Orbitz
· “6 Surprising Cities Great for LGBTQ Families” - Family Traveller
· “One of America’s Gayest Cities” - Gallup Poll
· “6 Underrated Cities for LGBT Travelers” - Condé Nast Traveler
· “9 Perfect Places for Your LGBT Destination Wedding” - Travel + Leisure
In its overall score, Louisville Metro received points for having openly LGBTQ+ appointed leaders, protecting youth from conversion therapy, providing services to the transgender community, and having non-discrimination laws related to housing, employment and public accommodations, among other measures.
The Human Rights Campaign began in 1980 and is now the nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans. Through its Municipal Equality Index (MEI), it reviews criteria on citywide non-discrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement, and the city’s leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.