Fort Lauderdale: Why Do So Many LGBTs Live There?


Well there’s a reason this sunny beach city is Florida’s gay capital, she’s filled with queers! As one of the first areas to legalize protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation, Broward County was also the first school district to support LGBT History Month this past October.

Outside the legal wins and historical moments, Fort Lauderdale’s suburb counterpart, Wilton Manors, was named the No. 2 city with the largest percent of same-sex couples—with about 140 per every 1,000. There also are more than 200 gay-owned hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops in the Greater Fort Lauderdale, among other establishments, and the main gay streets, like Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors, are filled with rainbow flags and couples holding hands as they shop at places like Gay Mart or eat out at Gaysha sushi.

Over 30 gay watering holes to choose from between Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors, locals always have a different cocktail to try, new party to scope out, and of course fresh meat to cruise—the area welcomed 1.1 million LGBT visitors just last year. Popular hotspots include mega nightlife complex The Manor and the new kid on the block, Village Pub, which has been becoming a local favorite.

Gay beaches popular to both locals and tourists include the Sebastian, the bigger of the two and loaded with men, and Terramar Street beach, which is closer to the gay stays like the Grand Resort and Villa Venice.

With all this and countless food choices from New American to Mexican to Thai, plus a burgeoning arts scene and underground indie music hub, are there really any more questions why so many gays are both living and visiting Fort Lauderdale?