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Gayest US town? Surprise: It's Salt Lake City

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Gay and lesbian activists protested outside the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2009.

Forget San Francisco (18th) or New York (not even on the list) — the gayest city in the U.S. is Salt Lake City, Utah, according to The Advocate, the gay and lesbian newsmagazine.

Rather than rely on the U.S. Census tabulation of gay and lesbian populations, which inevitably yield San Francisco as No. 1, The Advocate used different measures to establish "per capita queerness" — including a city's number of teams entered in the Gay Softball World Series, gay bookstores, openly gay elected officials and semifinalists in the International Mr. Leather Contest, which is held every year in Chicago.

"While those unfamiliar with the Beehive State are likely to conjure images of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, far-less-oppressive-than-it-used-to-be Salt Lake City has earned its queer cred," the magazine says.

Among Salt Lake City's charms: the Sundance Film Festival, which brings LGBT film buffs flocking to the city.

Read the full story at The Advocate

"If we were having a more scientific survey, I don't know that we would choose these as indicators," Valerie Larabee, director of the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City, told the Salt Lake Tribune.

But "all humor aside, I think that our city has come a long way," Larabee said, noting that Salt Lake City was the first municipality in the state to pass anti-discrimination ordinances based on a sexual orientation.

"If we were to rate the cities that have made the greatest amount of progress over the last 10 years, I think we certainly would rank among the top," she said.

Orlando, Fla., was second, thanks to annual Gay Days at Disney World and "more gay softball teams than you can shake a Louisville Slugger at."

And Knoxville, Tenn., has managed to produce a "robust gay scene" despite being in what the magazine calls a state with a legislature that "has been an unmitigated disaster for our rights." It ranks eighth, thanks to "gay-affirming churches" and a thriving LGBT club scene.

Here's the complete list from The Advocate:

1. Salt Lake City, Utah
2. Orlando, Fla.
3. Cambridge, Mass.
4. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
5. Seattle
6. Ann Arbor, Mich.
7. St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minn.
8. Knoxville, Tenn.
9. Atlanta
10. Grand Rapids, Mich.
11. Little Rock, Ark.
12. Portland, Ore.
13. Austin, Texas
14. Long Beach, Calif.
15. Denver
16. Washington
17. New Orleans
18. San Francisco
19. Pittsburgh
20. Salem, Ore.
21. Madison, Wis.
22. Eugene, Ore.
23. Oakland, Calif.
24. Boston
25. Kansas City, Mo.

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