Wouldn't San Francisco, which has had a thriving gay community for decades and where the same-sex marriage revolution began, automatically be considered the gayest city in America?
Well, The Advocate, a major gay publication, doesn't even put San Francisco in its top 10 gayest cities.
No. 1, The Advocate says, is Washington, D.C., and one has to go all the way down to 11th place to find San Francisco — nine places lower than No. 2 Pasadena, described by the publication as "a kind of bedroom community for gays who like to garden..."
In fact, San Francisco ranks behind No. 10 Arlington, Va., No. 9 Oakland, No. 8 Salt Lake City (a real shocker, given the prominence of the anti-gay marriage Mormon Church), No. 7 Madison, Wis., No. 6 St.Louis, No. 5 Atlanta, No. 4 Cambridge, Mass., and No. 3 Seattle. Long Beach is No. 14.
The Advocate's rankings are admittedly subjective, as it explains:
"It's not all piano bars, gender-specific music festivals, and giant disco houses (although we all love some of those things) that make these cities the gayest in America.
"You say you're shocked Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City aren't at the top of the list, this year and every year? What kind of fun would that be? (Spoiler alert: San Francisco comes in at No. 11.)
"This year's criteria, designed to uncover the hidden factors that give a city its queer cred, include points for a city's LGBT elected officials (and fractional points for the state's elected officials), points for the percentage of the population comprised by lesbian-coupled households, a point for a gay rodeo association, points for bars listed in Out magazine's 200 Best Bars list, a point per women's college, and points for concert performances by Mariah Carey, Pink, Lady Gaga, or the Jonas Brothers.
"The raw score is divided by the population to provide a ranking based on a per capita LGBT quotient."
Despite its relatively low ranking in the gayest city evaluation, The Advocate says of San Francisco:
"Calm down, San Francisco. Everyone knows you're still the gayest thing going. The beautiful, panoramic City by the Bay is home to both well-heeled queers and a vibrant counterculture (witness the uproar over the recently announced ban on public nudity).
"LGBT life here is not limited to the Castro neighborhood, though that's a tourist draw for good reason - it's a queer Disneyland. You'll find us in every neighborhood, and gay-owned and gay-popular bars, restaurants, and business are everywhere. San Francisco is home to more nightlife than you can shake a go-go boy at, as well as vibrant bear and trans communities."
PHOTO: A picture-perfect view of San Francisco, as seen from the Marin Headlands. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo