Where to move for… LGBTQI communities | Life and style

Lambeth, south London – as close as possible to the magnificent Royal Vauxhall Tavern (though with all those skyscrapers going up next door, for how long)? Last year, the Office for National Statistics “experimentally” mapped the UK’s population identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (though not trans or non-binary) down to local authority level for the first time, and found Lambeth had the country’s highest proportion, 5.5%, against a national average of 1.7%. Southwark came second with 5%, and, no surprises, Brighton & Hove third with 4.8%. Inner London boroughs as a whole had 3.1%, and Manchester 1.7%, with the lowest, around 0.4%, in North Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Northamptonshire, confirming studies that for decades have shown the safest havens for LGBTQI communities to be in cities.

The study had some surprises, though: Cambridgeshire (1.8%) and Devon (1.3%)… who could say why? Northern Ireland (the last part of the UK to decriminalise gay sex, and where gay marriage is still illegal) had the highest proportion of gay men, but the lowest proportion of lesbians.

Last year, ILGA-Europe put the UK fourth behind Norway, Belgium and Malta as the best place to be LGBTQI in Europe (with Scotland the best place within the UK). It would have been higher, were it not for Northern Ireland. Work to be done.

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