In 2013, TravelNerd highlighted cities lesser known for their thriving gay communities (compared to New York City or San Francisco), but still excellent LGBT destinations. Eugene is in the Top 10 Destinations for Gay Travelers!
Back in the 60s, Eugene put the "counter" in "culture." Today, the city is home to year round festivals, events and ongoing activism that make for a vibrant and varied place to live and play. We take pride in our personal and political diversity, and inclusivity is more than just the buzzword of the moment. Along with our outdoor recreation, abundant natural beauty and noteworthy artist gatherings, inclusivity is a defining feature of our community.
Eugene is uniquely enriched by the University of Oregon, which at 20,000 students makes a significant contribution to the city. In 2006, the UO was named one of the top 20 schools in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, according to The Advocate. The guide highlights the University's positive environment, programs and services and strong LGBT student support. Nominations were gathered from 680 campuses across the country!
From the energy of the University to dynamic happenings such as the internationally-recognized, über-hip Oregon Bach Festival; the happily iconoclastic Oregon Country Fair and the très chic Oregon Truffle Festival, the cultural scene attracts culturally-invested seekers from near and far.
From cozy bed and breakfasts to full-service luxury hotels to relaxed hostels and dormitories, the region offers a solid and diverse selection of lodging. The great majority uphold inclusive hospitality as a service standard, and some establishments actively promote themselves as gay-friendly.
Eugene has a long-term love affair with running, which has earned it the nickname "Track Town USA." An expression of that passion is the LGBT community's "Frontrunners / Walkers" group. The metro area is nestled between two rivers, and the LGBT Kayaking Club and Rainbow River Women Social Group take advantage of the waterways. Miles of well-maintained bike paths wind through Eugene - Springfield, which is recognized as a green destination, supportive of alternative forms of transportation, recycling and sustainable living.
Golf is also a big regional draw with courses along the Oregon Coast and nestled in mountain valleys. The area hosted the USGA Women's Amateur in 2008. Eugene also has a Women's Rugby Club and a weekly LGBTQ Tennis group, as well as a wide variety of gay-friendly outdoor groups year round.
Eugenians love to dance! Every night of the week there are multiple dance venues around town, where "no-partner-required" lessons are often available. You will find everything from Latin to swing to ballroom to hip hop to disco. There are a number of long-standing dance clubs that welcome visitors, including "Lez Dance," "Spin Cycle Squares," and the "Emerald Empire," which is supportive of all-position dancing.
Eugene's thriving arts scene includes contemporary music venues, theater companies, symphony and chamber music groups. Art groups and art walks showcase local museums, galleries, artisan markets and antique shops. From glass blowing to beer brewing, from Alpaca farms to wine-tasting tours, from classical ballet at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts to the varied and diverse entertainment in coffee-shop environments like Cozmic Pizza; there is always something interesting going on.
The city boasts an HIV-POZ Social Group, a weekly gathering with LGBTQ-themed movies, and a Lesbian & Gay Parenting Group that hosts numerous events throughout the year. Mother Kali's Bookstore frequently offers Poetry Slam, Drumming Circles and Political Organizing. The Sorumundi Lesbian Choir performs statewide, and WYMPROV, Eugene's Own Improv Troupe Since 1991, generates scathingly brilliant entertainment at special events. A calendar of ongoing community events can be found at www.queereugene.com.
The City of Eugene includes protection of sexual orientation in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation. The City of Eugene, as well as the UO, are both members of the Fair Workplace Project, wherein hundreds of Oregon businesses have pledged to support ALL their employees, including those who are LGBT. Statewide, public (non-federal) employers must offer equal benefits for same-sex domestic partners. Domestic partner registry is available in the city, and has been since 2002.
The PRIDE Annual Celebration, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Queer Business Network, Citizens Alliance of Lane County (CALC), Lesbians of Color, The Lesbian Connection (TLC), and an active PFLAG Chapter are all local resources engaged in creating community support and awareness. The UOs Standing Committee of LBGT Issues is a vital organization as are The Outlaws, the Lesbian Gay Law Student Association. On the secondary level, many schools have GLBTQ Youth Groups, representatives for Gay/Straight Alliance, and HIV Alliance Prevention.