When gay and lesbian tourists next visit Philadelphia they’ll find something even more welcoming in the gay-friendly city.

In what represents a historic moment for the LGBT community and the City of Philadelphia, Mayor John F. Street has dedicated 36 new street signs that are permanently affixed with the rainbow flag to designate the ‘Gaybourhood.’

A dedication ceremony was held on Wednesday where locals sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow and shot rainbow confetti into the air.

The rainbow-branded street signs are an internationally-recognised welcome symbol that demonstrates a city’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.

Philadelphia’s ‘Gaybourhood’ has a concentration of gay-friendly businesses, bars, nightclubs, coffee shops and restaurants.

Two years in the planning, the effort to replace existing street signs with the new gay-friendly ones was championed by the members of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus, a non-profit organisation who are dedicated to helping Philadelphia get its share of the $54 billion gay travel market.

The rainbow symbol, sometimes called the freedom flag, was created by San Francisco Artist Gilbert Baker.

The six colours of the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

Philadelphia joins a short-list of other North American cities that have erected permanent rainbow installations in gay-friendly districts including San Francisco, Chicago, Montreal, and Toronto.

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