The Issue: LGBT-Friendly Policies in American Cities
Homosexual people generally face more hurdles to happiness and success than their heterosexual counterparts do. According to facts published by the American Psychological Association, gay men on average earn 32% less annually than similarly qualified heterosexual men, 64% of homosexual individuals make less than $25,000 per year, and termination of an employee based on sexual orientation remains legal in 31 states. Furthermore, the typical neighborhood of a gay male couple has a violent crime rate that’s 27% higher than that of straight married couples. Despite all this, gay-friendly neighborhoods and public policies can be a real boon to local economies. Courting and nurturing a vibrant gay and lesbian community, according to the Urban Institute, is correlated with a city’s economic growth.
The Campaign: Keeping Boystown Beautiful
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by The Northalsted Business Alliance to carry out a neighborhood beautification program. Every $10 raised will help the organization keep Boystown clean, secure, and green through initiatives ranging from trash removal to landscaping to refurbishment of business facades.
The Northalsted Business Alliance
One weekend every summer—June 21 and 22 this year—the Chicago Pride Fest celebrates the community with a street festival filled with arts and crafts vendors and musical performances. While the work of The Northalsted Business Alliance may shine its brightest during this and other special events, its influence can be felt throughout the year.
The organization represents more than 80 member businesses that call the LGBT-friendly neighborhood home, including everything from bars and restaurants to the local outposts of Starbucks and Fifth Third Bank. Working with these, the Alliance strives to keep the neighborhood safe for all residents and visitors, orchestrating urban-planning efforts to keep the sidewalks clean, defending green spaces, and maintaining the neighborhood's status as a thriving, growing community. Through these endeavors, the organization has collected praise from such media outlets as Out Traveler Magazine, which called Boystown "the best gay neighborhood in the world.”