Just take a walk down one of our streets—any street will do—and you’ll see what we mean. Our people represent just about every walk of life, belief, and experience you can imagine. Here, our abundance of cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and religious identities don’t just coexist: they interflow and interweave to create the unrivaled, welcoming atmosphere we’re known for. Without diversity, there would be no New Orleans.
For LGBTQ people, both those who are visiting and those who are spreading roots here, our top priority is making sure you are safe, respected, supported, and free. Free to express yourself. Free to thrive personally and professionally. Free to celebrate and convene without fear or stigma. And most importantly, free to lend your voices to that incredible symphony of sound and rhythm, the one that pulses like a heartbeat and drives our community ever forward.
This guide will give you a look at some of the tools, resources, and opportunities New Orleans has to offer LGBTQ people.
We welcome you to experience New Orleans with pride. We hope to see you very soon.
LGBTQ travelers want two things: to feel safe and to have fun. These New Orleans & Company initiatives show that you can find both in our city.
When you see our Everyone’s Welcome Here sticker displayed in a storefront, you know you’re among friends. This colorful badge means that a business has joined our citywide initiative to embrace people of all experiences and identities. When businesses take our inclusivity pledge and display our sticker, it won’t just change the way people see that establishment - it will change the way people see and experience our city.
A city as inclusive as ours has a lot to offer LGBTQ visitors and locals, which is why our online LGBTQ Insider hub includes travel tips, family guides, can’t-miss attractions, and more. This resource is regularly updated with new information and even more opportunities for inclusive and welcoming community engagement.
As part of the Office of Human Rights and Equity, Mayor Cantrell launched an LGBTQ Taskforce dedicated to assessing current LGBTQ services and policies and making recommendations for improvements and new developments. The Taskforce is composed of LGBTQ representatives who collaborate with the city to align available services with challenges that are most important and pressing for queer residents and visitors.
In 2021, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed R-21-406. The resolution urges representatives at the state and local levels to review their policies and remove any barriers that could inhibit transgender and gender non-conforming people from obtaining gender-affirming identification. The Council heard the guidance and testimony of representatives from the Real Name Campaign, the Forum for Equality, Louisiana Trans Advocates, and True Colors United.
You don’t have to wonder how you can support LGBTQ businesses in the Greater New Orleans region. The Gulf South LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce is a network of queer-owned and allied businesses that work together to foster a more inclusive, more visible professional ecosystem. Use their directory to find LGBTQ-owned businesses, meet Chamber members, and discover how LGBTQ businesses impact and improve our city in this handy guide.
At a time when legislative attacks against LGBTQ people are becoming increasingly common, organizations like Forum for Equality are organizing, mobilizing, and making positive change. This grassroots organization has been advancing LGBTQ civil rights at regional and state government levels since 1989, in addition to educating and engaging local communities.
Did you know that 1 in 3 transgender and gender non-conforming people in Louisiana reported experiencing homelessness in their lifetime? House of Tulip was formed in response to this reality and provides zero-barrier housing to TGNC, as well as connects community members to gender-affirming services.
If you notice anti-LGBTQ laws being discussed or passed in state legislatures, you may ask yourself if boycotting a destination within that city is helpful in getting those laws to change. Our position, as well as IGLTAs, is that these types of boycotts will likely do more harm to local communities than the state government as a whole. Instead, we invite you to visit those municipalities that are fighting for LGBTQ inclusion, while also donating to groups fighting back against those laws like the ACLU, Louisiana Trans Advocates, and HRC NOLA.
We turn commitment into action. At Beloved Community, our mission is to build sustainable change. We do so by supporting regions to further their collaborative journey for racial and economic equity, and by centering our most marginalized populations as we advance towards the beloved community.
This looks like empowering teams to drive change through equity audits and thought partnership; guiding leaders through capacity-building sessions + equity work plans; and curating customized frameworks for operationalizing equity commitments.
Every year, the Human Rights Campaign releases a comprehensive study called the Municipal Equality Index. The MEI evaluates and scores more than 500 cities across the nation for their municipal policies, laws, and services for LGBTQ people. Here’s a brief look at how New Orleans ranked in the 2022 MEI.
New Orleans’ LGBTQ Equality Score: 100/100
“Laissez le bon temps rouler. It’s in everything we do in New Orleans. Celebration of life and diversity. Our members and businesses in the regional LGBTQ community invite you join us in advancing a society of tolerance and diversity in business as in life.” — Andrea Romero, President, Gulf South LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce
“New Orleans is one of the first places in the entire south where it has become and continues to be safe to be your authentic self, and one of the first places to possess any form of service specifically for LGBT people…those businesses that serve our community tend to do so not only as a place of business, but a place of sanctuary and muster. We possess real allies here—folks that recognize us as equals and not just an income source or some easy political lever. That’s not something we have been able to take for granted, and it’s once again something we increasingly can’t take for granted in many places in this sector of our country.” — Michael Fletcher, Treasurer, LGBT Community Center of New Orleans