Monthly Archives: December 2014

Relocating to Michigan

Posted on December 12, 2014 in Buying a Home

Michigan has been in the news recently due to the Michigan House of Representatives passing a bill that would allow health care workers and others to refuse to provide services to LGBT people and others based on their personal religious beliefs.  While as of December 11, 2014, that bill has not yet passed the Senate or become law, it’s still an alarming look at how the state views its LGBT residents.

While Living LGBT In Michigan Can Be Difficult In Some Areas, There Are Many Welcoming Communities to Choose FromIn fact, Michigan is the site of the first major loss to LGBT rights—on November 6, 2014, the ban on same-sex marriage, which had been struck down by a district judge, was upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  With all of this in mind, many people may ask why anyone would want to move to Detroit.

There are actually a good number of LGBT people living in the state.  Four cities in the state are on the list of the top 25 cities in the U.S. with the highest same-sex population.  Lansing and Ann Arbor were on the list of mid-sized cities, while Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge were on the list of small cities.  According to the studies done to determine this list, Lansing has 12.34 same-sex couples for every 1,000 households.  That may not seem like a lot, but it’s more than many people in Michigan would want to think about.

There are, of course, LGBT people in other areas of Michigan, too.  Grand Rapids, Michigan, is home to The Network, a group focused on bringing inclusion and acceptance to the West Michigan area.  They focus on providing resources, education, and support to everyone in the area so that the people of West Michigan can find common ground and join together in a community.

If you ask a LGBT realtor where to live in Michigan, Lansing will be at the top of that list.  The capitol city of the state holds a pride parade every year in June.  Even though it’s where many of these discriminatory laws are beginning written and passed, Lansing is surprisingly LGBT-friendly.  The city even cut ties with its sister city of Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2013 because of the stance Russia took against LGBT rights.

As you’d expect, Ann Arbor and Ferndale are also often recommended for LGBT people who are considering a move to Michigan.  Plymouth is another option.  The city has a very open business community, and many gay business owners move to Plymouth to set up shop.  Traverse City, which is often found on “Most Livable” lists, is another diverse place.  The city is beautiful, and there are many activities held by local gay groups.

So Michigan may currently look like it’s LGBT-friendly, and it’s certainly a challenge living there due to the current laws, but there are welcoming areas of the state.

Moving to Kansas City

Posted on December 6, 2014 in Buying a Home

Are you thinking about moving to Kansas City?  It’s a little city that straddles two states, Missouri and Kansas.  With a population of over 2.30 million people, you can expect to meet a good number of LGBT people.  You can also expect to find some of the world’s best barbecue, attend incredible theater and musical performances, and watch a KC Royals game or two.

Kansas City is a Great Option for Those Seeking LGBT Friendly Places to Call HomeWhen you first start talking to a gay or lesbian real estate agent about moving to the area, one of your first questions will be about how welcoming the city is and what legal standing LGBT citizens have.  Kansas City is unique due to the fact that half of it is in one state and half is in the other.  This means that different laws apply depending on where you live.  Those who live on the Kansas side are able to get married thanks to the fact that the Supreme Court declined to hear cases from the Tenth Circuit of Appeals.  While it’s true that, as of December 2014, not all Kansas counties are issuing marriage licenses, this is expected to be clarified soon.  Wyandotte County, the county in which most of the Kansas side of Kansas City is located, does issue same-sex licenses.

Missouri, however, is in the midst of a legal battle.  The same-sex marriage ban was struck down in November of 2014, but the ruling was stayed.  The attorney general has appealed the ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The state does, however, recognize marriages performed in other states, so those who are legally married in Kansas will be considered married in Missouri.

While the marriage situation is a bit uncertain in both states, Kansas City welcomes the LGBT community.  The city hosts a large pride festival that crosses the state line.  This huge three-day event takes place in June every year and draws people from both states.

Many of the gay districts in Kansas City are actually situated on the Missouri side.  One of the most well-known is Old Briarcliff.  This neighborhood sits only a few minutes from downtown.  One of the biggest draws is the NAGS group – the Northland Association of Gay Society.  If you enjoy spending time with others, you’ll want to join this neighborhood group.

That’s just one of the different neighborhoods popular with gays and lesbians.  The Historic NorthEast, Brookside, Longfellow, and Westwood Park are all welcoming, diverse areas that many LGBT people call home.