In addition to its earthquakes and the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is widely known for its high population of gays and lesbians. How did so many gay people come to call the city by the bay their home? The answer may surprise you...
As it turns out, the military is the main reason so many gay men settled in San Francisco. During World War II, the United States armed forces "sought out and dishonorably discharged" homosexuals. Many men who were expelled for being gay were processed at San Francisco bases.
This site agrees, stating San Francisco was indeed a point of departure during World War II. Gay men often stayed in the city after completing their military service. Since then, San Francisco's gay and lesbian population has continued to grow.
In the 1960s, an activist organization called the Society of Individual Rights (SIR) gained steam in San Francisco and made many advances in gay rights. Additionally, the 1978 murder of gay city supervisor Harvey Milk inspired residents, particularly those in the city's Castro district, to speak out for gay rights. Today, San Francisco has the highest concentration of gay men, women, and same-sex couples in the country and possibly the world.