Boston has famous institutions that include Symphony Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Faneuil Hall. Boston also has its “Freedom Trail” – a walking tour marked right on the sidewalk that directs visitors to key historic sites.
But you can’t visit Boston without visiting its gayborhood: the South End (though other neighborhoods with above-average gay populations include The Fenway (home to the Red Sox’s venerable Fenway Park) and Back Bay, with Jamaica Plain particularly popular with lesbians).
Massachusetts has been carrying the torch for the LGBT community for over a quarter of a century. In September 1992, Governor William Weld issued an executive order allowing state employees to register as domestic partners. He also appointed a Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth to make schools safe for LGBT youth. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a state case, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, concluded that it is unconstitutional under the state constitution for state agencies to restrict marriage to only heterosexual couples. Although there were attempts to amend the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, all failed. Today, same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, a U.S. Supreme Court decision rendered June 26th, 2015.
A few years after Wisconsin in 1982, Massachusetts in 1989 became the second state to add sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination statutes. On February 17th, 2011, Governor Deval Patrick issued an executive order banning discrimination by the state and its contractors against transgender employees. On July 1st, 2012, a law became effective that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in credit, public and private employment, and union practices. On October 1st, 2016, public accommodations was added.
In June 1996, Massachusetts amended its hate-crimes legislation to include sexual orientation and in June 2012, it added gender identity. Anti-bullying legislation was enacted in May 2010 and it requires schools to adopt policies that protect students from being bullied and to report and investigate incidents of bullying. Bullying laws have gained attraction these past few years in other states and they are quickly being adopted. Massachusetts also allows a person who has completed sex-reassignment surgery to amend his or her birth certificate.
Boston, a city that has a progressive history of LGBT protections and a large LGBT community, offers a thriving gay night life.
Club Café (Clubcafe.com) has been a fixture in the gay community since 1983. It combines a restaurant, bar, lounge, and a dance club. Sometimes it offers package deals that include a drag show with dinner. It is a great place to socialize and meet new people.
Jacque’s Cabaret (Jacques-cabaret.com) is a charming place that is known for its wild drag shows and crazy karaoke.
Paradise (Paradisecambridge.com) is known for its sociable go-go boys, creative DJs, strong drinks, and an awesome bi-level design.
Finally, Marquis Leathers, an adult shop, has a unique place in the Boston gay community with a large collection of gay adult videos that could also be considered a historical collection of gay adult videos.
Massachusetts has a lot to offer any visitor, even if the trip is nothing more than a 72-hour stay.
With travel being affordable and short from Baltimore and frequent deals on lodging accommodations (check, for instance, Priceline.com, Kayak.com, Hotels.com), there’s no excuse to not place Boston on a travel bucket list for 2017. With Massachusetts’s history, including its LGBT history, and Boston’s tourists attractions and gay clubs, the Commonwealth is a must-visit to not only learn about history, but also to show support for a state that has led the fight for LGBT rights.