As a gay man born and raised in the super conservative south, South Carolina to be precise, Trai has been front row to see his small hometown blossom with numerous gay men and women living openly and proudly. Thankfully, the United States has made huge progress on LGBT+ rights over the past two decades, largely from landmark rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2003, same-sex sexual activity became legal nationwide when the Supreme Court struck down criminal punishment for sodomy as unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas.
In perhaps the most high profile case regarding LGBT+ rights, the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal nationwide in 2015, making the United States one of seven countries to date to legalize gay marriage nationally through court decisions. Similarly, adoption cases made their way through the federal court system and to the Supreme Court in 2016 and 2017, when it became legal for same-sex couples to adopt in all 50 states.
The latest landmark ruling by the Supreme Court which advanced LGBT+ rights occurred in 2020, when the Court prohibited employment discrimination for gay and transgender individuals.
With respect to other LGBT+ rights, men who have sex with men can donate blood with 3-months waiting period and LGBT+ can serve openly in the military. While transgender individuals can change their legal gender on federal documents such as their passport and social security records, rules for state level documents like birth certificates vary by jurisdiction.
Overall, the United States continues to make progress regarding LGBT+ rights although it often feels painfully slow. On the plus side, gay culture is extremely visible in the United States, with huge gay prides and festivals in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and of course in the arts and entertainment worlds among others. In addition, the country has fabulous gay beach/resort towns from Key West to Provincetown and Palm Springs to Miami just to name a few. As such, we would consider the United States one of the most LGBT-friendly destinations in the world. Check out our posts below as we highlight some of our favorite destinations in Gay U.S. of A!