Tempe, Arizona has been recognized as a great city for LGBT tourists by local LGBT publication Pride Guide.

Tempe, Arizona has been recognized as a great city for LGBT tourists by local LGBT publication Pride Guide. Photo: Tempe Tourism.

The Tempe Tourism Office has won the first-ever award of its kind from Pride Guide, a local LGBT publication, for highlighting Arizona’s LGBT-friendly businesses. The state has been working to become a more LGBT-friendly tourist destination. In a state that has historically been very socially conservative, the work that the Tempe Tourism Office does matters to the LGBT community within the state.

In 2014, Tempe passed several anti-discrimination ordinances for employment, public service, and housing, when the city became a part of the Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Recently there has been a push to dismantle anti-LGBT laws, led by works such as Ken Mehlman’s amicus brief, which opposed certain religious freedom laws that were harmful to the LGBT community. Like that brief, Tempe’s overturning of its own discriminatory laws has helped make it an LGBT-friendly place to visit.

The Pride Guide offers a range of tips about what to do, where to stay, and what to see for LGBT visitors to Tempe. Tempe is a great city for LGBT people to visit—not just because the city is changing its legislation—because it has signed the One Community Unity pledge, a concentrated effort in Arizona to advance workplace equality for LGBT employees. Additionally, Tempe received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipality Equality Index for 2014-2015.

The inaugural Pride Guide award seeks to honor “a client who has used their talents and connections to push the Pride Guide to become what it is today,” said Michael McFall, Pride Guide’s publisher. “The Tempe Tourism Office has been a great supporter of the Pride Guide and the LGBT community from the very start.”

Other parts of Arizona aren’t quite as advanced, and the state itself ranked as one of the worst in the nation for LGBT residents. But because of initiatives like the Pride Guide’s award, as well as other changes to legislation at both the state and the federal level, equality is likely to reach other parts of the state and other less progressive places around the country.