When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed legislation last May ensuring equal protection for LGBT people in the workplace, he made a statement that echoed down the coast and across the country.
For a city most outsiders associate with NFL before LGBT, Nutter’s hope of making Philadelphia “one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world and a leader on equality issues," sure would seem like joke. But if that’s a joke, the city and its tourism industry are laughing all the way to the bank.
Within the better half of the last decade Philadelphia has pulled itself up by its rainbow bootstraps to transform itself into a mecca for gay travelers. The city now boasts a booming LGBT tourism industry, mostly with the help of a gay neighborhood once known for windowless bars and red lights.
With the help of some citywide economic initiatives overt the past decade, the predominantly LGBT area within Washington Square is now home to some of the finest shops and restaurants in town.
From Chestnut to Pine Street, the area known as the Gayborhood is bustling day and night with coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants, and bars, all catering to a vibrant LGBT clientele. And when any cities claim to be LGBT “friendly,” Philadelphia has gone above and beyond, rolling out the welcome mat down its cobblestone streets. Attracting visitors also attracts wallets and purses, a trend that has not been ignored by developers looking to profit off of the area’s gay-friendly focus. The city, which calls for visitors to “get their history gay and their nightlife gay,” is definitely cashing in on a culture shift being proudly pushed by Mayor Nutter. Read more on the gay changes here.
And whether he’s being influenced more by dollar signs or rainbow flags, it can only benefit LGBT residents, business owners, and travelers. Lets just hope the Gayborhood doesn’t outgrow itself, and all its boyish charm. Philly's new LGBT ad will never top the old one. Watch them both below: