The Top Cities in Arkansas for LGBT Individuals

Posted on March 13, 2017 in Buying a Home

While Arkansas may not be one of the states leading the charge for LGBT rights, there are definitely some welcoming cities here. Don’t let the fact that Arkansas is located in the Bible Belt deter you from moving to the state. There are definitely some great places to live here. If you’re considering Arkansas for your future home, you’ll want to talk to gay or lesbian real estate agents about moving to one of the following cities.

Little Rock

The Top Cities in Arkansas for LGBT IndividualsLet’s start with the capital of the state. Little Rock has been on Advocate.com’s list of the Gayest Cities in America, reaching as high as number 11. That’s pretty impressive. The city is quite liberal, and you’ll find a number of LGBT-friendly organizations, businesses, and churches. Living in one of the largest cities in Arkansas also puts you near many different event centers, shopping malls, and other amenities.

Eureka Springs

People considered Eureka Springs to be the Arkansas’s gayest city. You’ll see plenty of rainbow flags flying as you walk down the streets. Eureka Springs is a major tourist destination, and it’s full of cute bed and breakfasts, novelty stores, and theaters. The city’s position as one of the top LGBT areas in the south hasn’t had any noticeable effect on tourism. There are still plenty of people visiting Eureka Springs even after it became the first Arkansas city to support same-sex marriage and enact a domestic partner registry. Eureka Springs doesn’t have just one pride festival—it has four! You’ll have nothing to fear moving to this Arkansas city.

Fayetteville

Fayetteville is something of a college town since it’s the location of the University of Arkansas. With a younger demographic than other towns, it’s no surprise that Fayetteville is quite welcoming. In fact, the city has been called “Gay-etteville” by many of its residents because of how supportive its citizens are. The Ozark Land Holders Association, one of the oldest lesbian communes in the U.S., can be found in Fayetteville. You’ll also find a number of different drag shows, gay bars, and other LGBT-owned businesses.

Hot Springs

Hot Springs has a good sized LGBT population and is another tourist town like Eureka Springs. This town has a number of LGBT groups and events. It is classified as a national state park, which means that the area is one of the most beautiful in Arkansas. The city does have a number of anti-discrimination legislation on the books, too.

If you’re thinking about making the move to Arkansas and have the freedom to decide where you’re going to live, these four cities are great options.

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Gay Ghetto

Posted on February 28, 2017 in Buying a Home

Are you thinking about living in a gay ghetto? That’s the slang term for a neighborhood that’s mostly populated with members of the LGBT community. Often, the businesses in or around these areas are also owned by LGBT individuals. There are a number of reasons you might want to live in one of these areas, but there are a few reasons why you may not as well. Here are some of these pros and cons.

You’re Among Other LGBT Individuals and Allies

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Gay GhettoSome people simply feel more comfortable living among other LGBT individuals and families. You won’t have to worry about hiding who you are from your neighbors. You can proudly fly a rainbow flag from your home and display your Human Rights Campaign bumper sticker on your car without fear of being vandalized. You may find that you have a lot in common with your neighbors, too.

Your Children Won’t Be Bullied

Chances are, your children will be in school with at least a few other kids who have LGBT parents. This means that there’s less of a likelihood of your child being singled out and bullied. Many of these schools even have at least one LGBT person working there as a teacher or in the administration. Most also have a gay-straight alliance and a PFLAG chapter.

You May Pay More

Many LGBT neighborhoods are undergoing gentrification. That means property values are likely to increase, meaning you’ll pay more to buy a house in these neighborhoods. While that does mean that everything in the neighborhood is likely to have been remodeled and renovated, the bottom line is that some of these areas are simply no longer affordable for middle-class families.

You May Not like the Location

Some cities only have one small gay and lesbian community, and it may be located in an area of the city you don’t want to live in. For example, you may have to choose between moving into a gay ghetto or a much shorter commute to work. You’ll then have to decide if living in a gay neighborhood is more important to you than the commute or other things.

Finding the Perfect Gay Neighborhood

Some cities simply don’t have an LGBT neighborhood. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any gay or lesbian people in the city. It simply means they live throughout the area. Even in cities with a neighborhood with a high concentration of LGBT homeowners doesn’t mean you have to live there. Find the house that’s perfect for you.

Greensboro and Charlotte Rank Highly for LGBT Inclusiveness in North Carolina

Posted on February 20, 2017 in Buying a Home

If you’re a part of the LGBT community and are considering a move to North Carolina, there are a few cities that top the list of the most inclusive and welcoming. Ten different cities in the state were recently included in the Human Rights Campaign study of how inclusive a number of the largest cities in the U.S. are. Out of the 506 cities in this survey, Greensboro and Charlotte were the top two.

The Overall Scores

Greensboro and Charlotte Rank Highly for LGBT Inclusiveness in North CarolinaOverall, North Carolina’s cities were mostly above-average, which some may find as surprising. While no city scored a perfect 100, Greensboro did come in with an 80, while Charlotte received a score of 73. Four more cities scored above the national average of 55: Durham (69), Chapel Hill (68), Raleigh (59), and Carrboro (57).

The remaining four cities scored below average. Winston-Salem came in at 44, Fayetteville scored a 23, Wilmington was slightly lower with a 21, and Cary was at the bottom of the list with an 18. Overall, the state average was a 51.

Charlotte and Transgender Rights

While Charlotte is noted as having a number of protections for its LGBT citizens, the city was also at the center of the controversial House Bill 2. This bill passed the North Carolina General Assembly earlier in the year and preventing a non-discrimination law passed by the Charlotte city council from going into effect. This law would have protected transgender individuals from using the bathroom that corresponded to their gender identity. The Bill negated all non-discrimination policies passed by city officials.

Despite the city’s policy being nullified, Charlotte city officials do remain committed to making the city welcoming to everyone. Community leaders do plan on working on other protections that will shield the city’s LGBT residents from discrimination.

Other Cities

While the HRC does use a number of factors to determine which cities are included in their annual survey, it does sometimes miss cities that others rank as very LGBT-friendly. Asheville, for example, is known as one of the best places in North Carolina for LGBT individuals. It’s home to a large pride festival and parade, plus it has a large number of LGBT residents. The ratio of those who identify as LGBT to the rest of the city’s population is one of the highest in the state.

While the HRC list is certainly helpful, don’t always assume that cities not on the list aren’t LGBT-friendly. Some of the best aren’t included.

The Best Cities for LGBT People in Oklahoma

Posted on February 13, 2017 in Buying a Home

Oklahoma is known for being a fairly conservative state, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have several great places for LGBT individuals and families. While it may only have a couple of large cities, each does have a number of suburbs. If you’re considering moving to Oklahoma and want to be sure you’re living in an area where you’ll be accepted, you want to consider either Tulsa or Oklahoma City.

Tulsa

The Best Cities for LGBT People in OklahomaTulsa is a fairly large city that’s home to around 400,000 individuals. It’s the most progressive part of Oklahoma. Here, you’ll find a strong LGBT area anchored by the Oklahoma Equality Center. This group works to make sure LGBT individuals and families have equal rights in the state. The center has a number of different events throughout the year, including the Tulsa pride parade and numerous charity events. The center’s Dennis R. The Neill Equality Center assists Tulsa residents and those from the surrounding area with counseling, business assistance, and more. The center also offers support groups for LGBT youth.

Another resource for young LGBT individuals in Tulsa is the Open Arms Youth Project. It provides assistance with housing, food, counseling, and other needs for young people who may have nowhere else to go or who are struggling with their sexuality.

Homes in Tulsa are quite affordable and accessible. From homes on the edge of the city to downtown lofts, you’re sure to find something that fits your needs and your budget.

Oklahoma City

The capital of the state, Oklahoma City is one of the largest cities in the country by space. It’s very spread out, especially if you count its large suburbs of Edmond, Yukon, Bethany, Midwest City, and Del City. The OKCPride organization hosts many different events every year, including the annual pride festival. Many of these events are centered around the Penn and 39th street and the LGBT clubs and other businesses located there.

Another organization located in Oklahoma City is OKC Youth United. This group provides young LGBT individuals with support, housing, and other needs. The LGBT community as a whole is spotlighted by The Gayly Oklahoman, a free weekly newspaper available at many businesses in the city.

Housing in Oklahoma City is quite affordable, especially in the suburbs. Downtown lofts and homes in areas such as Nichols Hills are a bit more costly, but even so, many are less than the national average.

Senior Housing to Open in Wilton Manors

Posted on January 31, 2017 in Buying a Home

Many senior citizens in the LGBT community find themselves with a dilemma as they age. Some simply don’t feel welcome in senior centers and assisted living facilities. Part of this has to do with age and how older generations are not always as accepting of LGBT individuals as younger people are. Others simply do not want to give up the homes they have worked so hard to purchase. They may have discussed selling with a LGBT real estate agent, but the idea of giving up their freedom doesn’t always sit well. Some don’t even want to move into assisted living because they see it as a step towards a nursing home.

Senior Housing to Open in Wilton ManorsBut there are a number of other options, one of which is to look for affordable senior housing that caters to those in the LGBT community. Once such housing project was recently announced by Carrfour Supportive Housing. This project will be built in Wilton Manors, Florida, and is being developed alongside The Pride Center, the local LGBT community center. The resulting apartments will be called The Residences At Equality Park and will have 48 units of different sizes.

The complex will provide those over 55 with affordable housing and even some security features they might find in an assisted living facility without giving up any of their freedom or individuality. The only other qualification for moving into the complex is that individuals must meet income guidelines, which include making no more than 60 percent of Broward County’s average income. Current, the median income is around $35,000.

This income guideline addresses another issue many seniors have about their home. Once retired, most live on a very fixed income, but some also continue to pay on their mortgage. This can make their finances very tricky, especially if they don’t have much in savings. Those in the LGBT community may find it even harder to deal with finances and with retirement if they have no family to lean on or get help from. In the end, they may end up losing their house and find that they’re unable to afford any other housing alternative.

With The Residences, however, that will no longer be an issue. The developers are also planning to address the homelessness epidemic of those with disabilities and illnesses—34 apartments will be set aside to house individuals with these needs. The complex will be finished in 2018.

The Most Welcoming Cities in Oregon

Posted on January 23, 2017 in Buying a Home

Many people know Oregon as a very welcoming, LGBT-friendly state. Its people elected the first openly bisexual governor, and there are two gay justices on the state’s supreme court. Many flock to Oregon every year to vacation in Portland and on the coast, but what if you’re considering a move here? As many gay and lesbian real estate agents will tell you, Oregon has a good number of great cities for you to live. While many would assume Portland is the place to be, it’s not the only city you should consider.

Eugene

The Most Welcoming Cities in OregonEugene was named by The Advocate as one of the country’s top LGBT cities in 2012, and it continues to rank highly. Eugene has a long history as being a haven for LGBT individuals dating back to the 1960s. The Eugene/Springfield Pride Festival is one of the biggest in the area, plus Eugene has its share of LGBT-owned businesses, bars, and clubs.

Astoria

Astoria sits on the Columbia River on the Oregon/Washington border. It’s a couple of hours from Portland, and it’s a great home for those who want to be near a large metro area but don’t want to live in it. Astoria was originally a fishing town, but today, it’s home to many restaurants, museums, shopping centers, and coffeehouses.

Corvallis

Corvallis sits in the Willamette Valley to the north of Eugene. It doesn’t have the long history of being a major LGBT city, but it has become very popular recently. Part of this is due to the fact that Oregon State University is located here. Corvallis has held a pride festival yearly since 2009 that the university helps sponsor along with major companies such as Hewlett-Packard. If you want that college town vibe, Corvallis may be a good option for you.

Salem

Often confused for the city that held the witch trials (Salem, MA), the Salem of the West Coast is the capitol of the state. It has a very vibrant and lively LGBT scene that is growing. With a gay chorus and several gay sports teams, Salem has become a popular place for LGBT individuals and families to put down roots. In 2002, the city voted to add laws protecting transgender individuals and to ban discrimination on both orientation and gender identity.

These four cities are only a few of the choices you have in Oregon. If you’re considering a move to the west, but don’t want to deal with the high cost of living you’ll find in California, a move to Oregon may be the right option for you.

Montana’s Most Welcoming Cities

Posted on January 16, 2017 in Buying a Home

Are you thinking about moving to Montana? If so, you’ll be pleased to learn that despite what you might think, the state really is welcoming to LGBT individuals. This is especially true about several of the state’s largest cities. You can find gay and lesbian real estate agents in these areas who can point you towards the best neighborhoods and tell you about the various LGBT activities and resources available. Here are some of the cities in Montana where you might want to start your quest for a new home.

Helena

Montana’s Most Welcoming CitiesHelena is the state’s capital, and while the elected politicians there may be mostly conservatives, the city itself is actually very welcoming. The city has a number of antidiscrimination laws in place and hosts a number of LGBT events every year. There’s a lot to do and see in the city, too, making it a great place for those with families.

Bozeman

Bozeman is a college town and is the home of Montana State University. Like many college towns, the average age tends to be younger than usual, and young people tend to be more open and accepting of the LGBT community. Bozeman does have antidiscrimination laws on the books that protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment. These rights extend to city contractors and employees.

Bozeman is very close to Yellowstone National Park and a number of other parks, ski resorts, and wildlife refuges. If you love the great outdoors and want to spend time hiking, camping, and exploring, living in Bozeman will give you those opportunities.

Missoula

Missoula stands out from all of Montana’s cities because it’s the only one the HRC has given a perfect score to on their annual Municipal Equality Index. Missoula has nondiscrimination laws, transgender health care benefits, and LGBT representation on the local city council. The mayor of the city has publicly pledged to protect the rights of LGBT individuals, and the police department works closely with the FBI on hate crimes.

Like Bozeman, Missoula is also a college town. It also sits on I-90, which gives you a direct connection to cities such as Seattle in the west. As with Bozeman, the city is also near a number of national forests and wildlife areas, including Glacier National Park.

These are just three of the great cities you could live in if you want to move to Montana.

The Most LGBT Friendly Cities in Colorado

Posted on January 9, 2017 in Buying a Home

Thinking about moving to Colorado? If you are, you’ll find many amazing cities to consider. Everything from the capital, Denver, to a number of smaller towns can provide you with outstanding views and great homes to select from. However, if you’re a part of the LGBT community, there are a few cities that stand out for their incredibly welcoming attitudes and legal protections. Your gay or lesbian real estate agent can help you check out homes in any of these cities.

Denver

the-most-lgbt-friendly-cities-in-coloradoThe state’s capital is also one of the friendliest places for LGBT individuals and families. It has a number of non-discrimination laws on the books and has had domestic partnership benefits for years. The mayor’s office has a LGBT liaison, and the city has worked to add a number of anti-bullying policies to its school system. The city’s support of its LGBT residents is nothing new, either. Denver held its first pride parade in 1975, and today, it has the third largest LGBT pride event in the U.S.

Colorado Springs

Most would suspect Colorado Springs would not be on this list since it is the seat of Colorado’s most conservative county. However, it’s actually very welcoming to LGBT people. In 2013, it was even named as the country’s 13th most friendly gay town by The Advocate. The city has several out elected officials, laws protecting LGBT citizens, and a number of gay clubs.

Boulder

Boulder is another large city in the state, and it’s very liberal. While it no longer hosts as many major LGBT events as it once did, it’s still a welcoming place for LGBT individuals to call home. The city doesn’t have a permanent gay bar anywhere, but there are a number of pop up bars that appear and vanish the next day.

Grand Junction

On the western side of the state is Grand Junction, another welcoming city. It’s an interesting mixture of liberal and conservative individuals who embrace ideas from both sides of the aisle. The city has several gay bars and holds a number of events throughout the year, though, so it’s clear that many in Grand Junction side with the LGBT community.

Fort Collins

Finally, there’s Fort Collins. As one of Colorado’s college towns, it’s full of many young people who are open-minded. It’s home to many different LGBT advocacy groups that promote different activities and causes. If you’re looking for someplace a little smaller than Denver or Boulder, Fort Collins may be perfect.

Baltimore – A Welcoming City for the LGBT Community

Posted on January 3, 2017 in Buying a Home

If you’re considering a move to the east, one city you may want to consider is Baltimore. One of the largest cities in Maryland, Baltimore has been named as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the United States. According to the Human Rights Campaign, Baltimore ranked the highest as far as equality in healthcare goes, featuring multiple hospitals that all met or exceeded their standards for healthcare. The city’s amazing pride parades and festivals are also outstanding, even among lists that include the pride events in New York and San Francisco.

According to NerdWallet, which conducted a survey of cities in the U.S. for the past three years, Baltimore is the fifth-most welcoming city for LGBT individuals. Their study looked at how many people in the city identified as members of the LGBT community, how many hate crimes were reported, and how the HRC ranked the city. Baltimore came in behind San Francisco, Portland, Austin, and Providence.

What the Study Shows

baltimore-a-welcoming-city-for-the-lgbt-communityAccording to the assessment, almost four percent of Baltimore’s residents identified as part of the LGBT community. The city has very few hate crimes, too. In fact, in 2013, there were no hate crimes committed against LGBT people. The rest of the state has very low numbers of such crimes – only seven occurred in the entire state. Maryland has passed a number of a laws supporting the LGBT community and providing them with a variety of protections.

Where Should You Live?

A gay or lesbian real estate agent can point you to a number of different neighborhoods in Baltimore that may fit your tastes. However, if you’re looking to live in a gay neighborhood, you can’t go wrong with Mount Vernon. The HRC identified its annual pride festival, Baltimore Pride, as one of the absolute best. The area is also known for the various clubs, restaurants, and other businesses owned by LGBT individuals. It’s a safe community where you can settle down and raise a family.

Of course, it’s not the only gayborhood in Baltimore. The city definitely has a few other locations you might want to check out. There’s Federal Hill, for example. This neighborhood is located in the center of the city, so you can easily get to any part of Baltimore quickly. Patterson Park is another good option. It and adjoining Fells Point were the earliest gay districts in Baltimore. While they may not be as large now, they’re still very popular.

Questions LGBT Couples Should Ask Before Moving

Posted on December 9, 2016 in Buying a Home

If you’re in a same-sex relationship and are considering moving somewhere new, there are a few different questions you need to ask yourself. While your gay or lesbian real estate agent will be able to provide you with a good amount of information about your new location, they may not be able to answer everything. Of course, you have to know the right questions to ask in the first place. Some of these questions you’d think to ask, but some you might not.

What protections does your new city and state offer?

questions-lgbt-couples-should-ask-before-movingAre there protections offered for the LGBT community in the state, county, or city offered? Often, even the state doesn’t have hate crime laws or anti-discrimination laws, the city or country will. Make certain you know what protections you and your family will have. It can make all the difference and may be an indication of how you’ll be treated if people learn you’re a part of the LGBT community. Of course, that’s not always true, so don’t assume that no hate crime laws means that people will not accept you.

Do local businesses offer LGBT protections and benefits?

Do local businesses, especially those you’re considering working for, offer same-sex partner benefits and support LGBT rights in general? If you’re moving for work, you probably already know how your company is, but if you’re not certain about your employment after you move, you may want to do a little research into local job opportunities.

Is the city highly ranked by the Human Rights Committee?

The HRC ranks more than 500 cities every year on their list of how welcoming and supportive they are. While not every city is on the list, all of the state capitals and many of the larger cities are. You can get a good idea of how welcoming a city is by looking at their HRC scorecard.

Does it have a gay neighborhood?

While not a deal breaker, a city that has a gay neighborhood or gay ghetto is usually more welcoming and accepting than cities that don’t have one of these districts. Of course, so cities are so welcoming that there’s no real need for a gay neighborhood. LGBT individuals and same-sex couples live throughout the city in all neighborhoods. You don’t have to move into this area, but there are often welcoming LGBT businesses and schools in these neighborhoods, so they’re worth checking out.