A new Gallop poll shows Richmond has one of the least openly LGBT populations in the top 50 US metro areas.
Coming in at 3.5%, RVA is tied with Oklahoma City, Nashville-Davison-Murfessboro-Franklin, TN, and Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Aliss, WI for 7th place.
Gallop’s study is based on responses to 374,000 Gallup Daily tracking interviews when asked “Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?”
The question was included in surveys conducted between June 2012 and December 2014, and was called the “largest ongoing study of the distribution of the LGBT population in the U.S. on record.”
Less surprising, The top openly-LGBT metro areas included San Francisco, CA, Portland, OR, and Austin, TX.
More surprising was the traditionally conservative Salt Lake City, UT, breaking the top 10.
Birmingham, Alabama, with 2.6% LGBT identity, was the lowest in the rankings.
Gallop noted the increase in openness could be connected to Utah making discrimination against sexual orientation illegal in employment and public accommodations – something a majority of states, including Virginia, still lack.
While some might think this would affect where and how LGBTQ folks choose to live, an earlier Gallop polls showed LGBT people don’t often look at social acceptance when picking a new homes.
Despite the correlation, or lack there of, between where LGBTQs choose to live vs. how they live, Gallop Pollster Gary J. Gates from the Williams Institute, said more protections and freedoms for LGBTQs does seem to allow for more openness in their living situation.
“LGBT people who live in Metro Statistical Areas where they experience greater levels of social acceptance and often the legal protections that come with that may be more likely to identify themselves as such compared with LGBT adults living in areas in which there is less acceptance of people of differing sexual orientations,” said Gates. “While San Francisco may be one of the most desirable areas in the country for LGBT people to live, it also may be an area where residents feel more comfortable in identifying themselves as LGBT.”