You already knew that Alexandria was a great place to live. Beautiful homes, great schools, and outstanding public parks make this Northern Virginia city a standout. But Alexandria is making news for more than just its standard level of excellence. The Human Rights Campaign recently awarded Alexandria the designation as the second-place best city in America for LGBT equality. This is particularly special because the state of Virginia still trails behind more progressive parts of America in not having a statewide LGBT non-discrimination law on the books. 

The Human Rights Campaign examined and gave points to 506 United States municipalities based on 44 criteria, which included local nondiscrimination laws, providing transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees and offering LGBTQ-inclusive city services. Of a possible 100 points, Alexandria scored 86. It lost out only to a Northern Virginia neighbor, Arlington, which earned 93 points and the designation as the most LGBT-friendly city in America. The HRC called Alexandria an "All Star" city for "advancing LGBTQ equality without relying on state law” and referred to both Alexandria and Arlington as “beacons of hope” in Virginia, a state that scores below the national average on overall LGBT-friendliness. Virginia cities averaged only 49 points, which is below the national mean of 53.

Of special note in Alexandria is the much-loved Del Ray neighborhood, which was recognized by the Washington Blade as one of five places nominated for "Best Gayborhood" in the DC area. Del Ray prides itself on its cozy, quaint small town feel, and bears the motto of “the place where Main Street still exists.” It may be a traditional neighborhood in many ways, but it is stunningly progressive in the area of LGBT equality. 

After the 2016 election, Del Ray passed a statement of inclusivity that covered all individuals regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Many of its restaurants fly a rainbow flag in the window, indicating LGBT friendliness. The city weathered a storm recently when racist flyers appeared on doorsteps. The community rallied to reject the hateful message and affirm its inclusivity, a show of strength that could serve as an example to many other neighborhoods around the country. The other Virginia nominees for Best Gayborhood are Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and Shaw.

Washington Blade's "Best of Gay DC" awards also acknowledged Del Ray for Best Local Brewery, Best Caterer, Best Chef, Best Ice Cream/ Gelato, Best Pizza, and Best LGBT Event for NOVA Pride.