Melbourne named fourth most LGBT-friendly city in the world, Sydney dethroned

By on November 11, 2022 0

Melbourne may not have the weather, gorgeous beaches or a gay district like Oxford Street, but it was just named the fourth most LGBTQI-friendly city in the world.

Sydney was dethroned as Australia’s most LGBTQI-friendly city and didn’t even make the top 10, in the study by Big 7 Travel website.

“Victoria’s state capital, Melbourne, is Australia’s cultural hub and home to a friendly and fun gay scene,” the study said.

Toronto, with its vibrant gay nightlife, “positive public attitudes, gay-friendly neighborhoods, Pride celebrations and legislation” came in first. Next come Berlin and San Francisco. Sydney was the 11th most LGBTQI-friendly city in the world. Auckland’s Kiwi neighbor was ranked 28th.

Victoria scores high on the Equality Index

Melbourne Pride 2022. Pictured: Suzanne Balding.

Big 7 Travel said its list of the 30 most LGBTQI-friendly cities was based on several factors, including the Gay Index Rating – the country’s safety for LGBTQI people; Equality Index Ranking – LGBTQI-friendly laws, size of its Pride celebrations and whether or not the city had a gay village or gay community.

Melbourne scored a high 98 on the Equality Index, with the study indicating that “LGBTQ+ communities are extremely protected and supported by law” in the state of Victoria.

Harriet ChingEqualities Minister and one of two gay ministers in the state, said the government had worked very hard to meet the needs of the LGBTQI community.

In 2016, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews issued a historic apology to the LGBTQI community – Victoria became the first government in the world to apologize to the LGBTQI community for historic convictions under laws criminalizing homosexuality.

A series of LGBTQI legislative reforms have been passed in recent years. The state changed the law to allow same-sex adoptions, made changes to birth, death and marriage certificate laws to make it easier for trans people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates without suffering surgery, amended the Equal Opportunity Act to protect LGBTQI students in religious schools, and passed a “world-leading” law banning conversion practices.

Melbourne’s bustling gay scene

Drag performer Dolly Diamond at the opening of the Victorian Pride Center in July 2021. Photographer: Gabriel Jia.

The study noted that in Melbourne, the “gay scene is spread across the city, with South Yarra and Prahran being home to gay clubs, LGBTQ+ bookstores and gay-owned restaurants”.

“St. Kilda and artsy Fitzroy are both suburbs of the city. They are residential areas but still have a great selection of pubs and gay bars. St. Kilda in particular is known to have a scene thriving lesbian,” the study states.

St Kilda is also home to Australia’s first LGBTQI community centre, the Victorian Pride Centre.

Sydney to Oxford Street

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2020 in Oxford Street. Photo: Ann-Marie Calilhanna

Sydney, according to the study, was a favorite destination for gay travellers, but noted that the state of “New South Wales has some way to go with some freedoms and laws“. The state scored 88 on the Equality Index.

“Sydney celebrates its gay community throughout the year. You will often see a rainbow flag outside bars, restaurants, shops, bookstores and other spaces, especially in the western part of Oxford Street.

“There are a few gay areas in the city, but this is (Oxford Street) the main one. Apparently one in 10 gay men living in Sydney are within a mile of Taylor Square, the epicenter of the Oxford Street gay scene,” the study noted, adding: “Australia as a whole is one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly countries in the world.”

Here is the ranking of the 30 most LGBTQI friendly gay cities in the world:

  1. Toronto
  2. Berlin
  3. san francisco
  4. melbourne
  5. Brighton, United Kingdom
  6. Madrid
  7. amsterdam
  8. London
  9. New York City
  10. Montevideo
  11. sydney
  12. stockholm
  13. Barcelona
  14. Copenhagen
  15. Cologne
  16. Reykjavík
  17. Lisbon
  18. Buenos Aires
  19. Brussels
  20. Sao Paulo
  21. taipei
  22. Tel Aviv
  23. Valletta
  24. Bogotá
  25. Puerto Vallarta
  26. Dublin
  27. Zürich
  28. Auckland
  29. Salzburg
  30. Oslo