In the expansive landscape of Alaska, one city stands out for inclusivity – Juneau. Recognized by the 2022 Human Rights Campaign, this city has proudly garnered a perfect score of 100. The evaluation took into account multiple facets including substantial non-discrimination laws, effective municipal services, and assertive LGBTQ+ equality leadership. This admirable score positions Juneau as a beacon of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community.
With a pulsating LGBTQ+ community thriving side by side with increasing patronage for arts and culture, Juneau transforms into more than just a city – it becomes a welcoming haven. Its perfect municipality equality index scorecard speaks volumes about the city’s commitment to harboring an inclusive environment. From supportive communities to LGBTQ+-friendly establishments, culture, and arts, this city is a testament to how acceptance and diversity can nurture a rich social ecosystem.
Building a sustainable business takes time and commitment. In addition to ensuring a company has reliable supply chain partners to deliver products and services, an enterprise must also foster a positive reputation and build trust and loyalty. Being LGBTQ+ friendly sends a powerful message of inclusivity and equality. It relays that a company values and respects people of all sexual orientations and gender identities creating a more hospitable environment. It also attracts a diverse customer base that can lead to increased patronage and revenue.
Furthermore, being LGBTQ+-friendly aligns with the principles of social responsibility. It demonstrates a company’s commitment to making a positive impact on society and advancing human rights. For example, Juneau’s major income earner is tourism. Hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals in the city are inclusive and adopt welcoming policies or provide information about local events and resources. The Silverbow Inn is one such Juneau hotel that embraces LGBTQ+ groups.
Alaska’s capital has also several LGBTQ+-friendly bars, restaurants, and businesses where members of the community can gather and socialize in a welcoming atmosphere. Juneau is a foodie paradise and LGBTQ+ visitors can check out The Rainbow Bar & Grill, Red Dog Saloon, and the Triangle Club Bar for dining, clubbing, or simply unwinding at the end of the day.
Art Galleries, Theaters, and Cultural Organizations
The art and cultural sector of the city is another area that is growing with the presence of a number of institutions and organizations that promote artistic expression. For instance, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council supports local artists and cultural events. To illustrate, the annual Wearable Art Show showcases the creativity of local artists and designers.
Its main selling feature is that it presents unique, artistic, and unconventional fashion pieces. There is also a runway show where models display wearable art pieces. On the other hand, the Perseverance Theatre is a professional theater company that produces a wide range of plays including those that explore LGBTQ+ themes and issues. For history lovers, the Alaska State Museum offers an opportunity to explore the history and culture of Alaska including LGBTQ+ history.
Reach out to the Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance (SEAGLA), an organization that supports a social network for gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and queer people in Southeast Alaska. It offers community resources and events for the LGBTQ+ community. The city’s welcoming spirit is evident with the Juneau Pride Center, another entity that proposes resources and camaraderie to the LGBTQ+ folks.
Pride Fest and the Alaska Pride Film Festival are two significant events that bring people together. Likewise, the Juneau Community Foundation has supported more than 40 arts/culture organizations and projects since 2005. Generator Juneau, Juneau Symphony, Skagway Arts Council, and Juneau Lyric Opera Endowment Fund are some examples of societies and bodies that receive grants from the foundation.
Local Artists, Performers, and Advocates
Several local artists and performers in Juneau also used art as a means of expression and activism. 27-year-old Chloey Cavanaugh is the owner of Black and White Raven Co, an LGBT+ and indigenous enterprise. She uses her art to support the community, especially the youth. In addition, she also promotes her identity as part of the Tlingit, a Native American tribe.
In the past, three activists from Juneau were given the Lifetime Achievement Awards during the annual Pride event in 2019. Lin Davis and her wife, Maureen ‘Mo’ Longworth fought for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community for decades spanning 32 years of advocacy work. Twenty-seven of those years were spent in Juneau. They also lobbied for domestic partnership rights.
Another activist, Margie Thomson, who is the coordinator for counseling, health, and disability services was the recipient of the Mildred Boesser Equal Rights Awards in recognition of her contributions to the transgender support group. Boesser who passed away in 2015, was a staunch supporter of the LBTQ+ community.
While nature and outdoor activities may be seasonal in Juneau, it is home to several LGBTQ+ events. Its blooming art and cultural scene is a compelling reason to visit the city that is welcoming to everyone regardless of affiliation.