Monthly Archives: January 2015

Underrated LGBT-Friendly Cities

Posted on January 26, 2015 in Buying a Home

When someone mentions moving to a city that’s very supportive of its LGBT citizens, many people immediately think of San Francisco, Seattle, or New York City.  However, while these cities do have large LGBT communities, there are actually a number of other cities out there that are just as welcoming, if even not more so, than the ones that immediately come to mind.  Here are a few of these underrated LGBT-friendly cities.

There Are Many LGBT Friendly Cities Popping Up All Around the USAlbuquerque, New Mexico, may often get passed over in favor of Taos and Santa Fe, but the city is actually home to many gays and lesbians.  It has a number of gay clubs and restaurants, plus it’s got some amazing sites—the Sandia Mountains are amazing, especially when viewed from the aerial trolley.

Columbus, Ohio, has a large LGBT community, especially in the German Village and the Short North neighborhoods.  There are several different gay sports clubs, art galleries, and even a thriving gay nightlife community.  The fact that the city is home to Ohio State University doesn’t hurt any since it brings in many younger, more open people.

No one would ever think that Salt Lake City would be on a list of gay-friendly locales, but the Utah capital is actually very different from the rest of state.  It’s features gay nightclubs, gay-friendly bed and breakfasts, and the Hotel Monaco, a popular LGBT hotel.  The Sundance Film Festival, which has shown a number of LGBT films, is also held in the city.  Even though the conservative Mormon Church is based out of Salt Lake City, many of the people there are very open and welcoming.

Detroit, Michigan, is mostly known for its failing auto industry and the fact that crime rates are fairly high.  That’s enough to send many LGBT people packing, but for those who are willing to stick it out, the city is quite diverse and welcoming.  The suburbs of Royal Oaks and Ferndale have especially large LGBT populations, but Detroit itself is very gay-friendly.

Another Midwest city that’s very open to LGBT people is Kansas City, Missouri.  Many gays and lesbians don’t think of Kansas City as a place to settle, but there are benefits to living in the city.  It does have an active LGBT community, but it’s much more low key.  The city’s pride parade and other events draw good sized crowds, but they’re not huge, over-the-top events like you’d find in some cities.

Thinking about moving to one of these areas?  There are many gay and lesbian realtors spread throughout the U.S. who can help you!

Smaller Cities that Love LGBT People

Posted on January 19, 2015 in Buying a Home

When you usually think of welcoming, open places to live, you probably think of large cities.  New York, San Francisco, and Seattle are known for their large, diverse populations.  Smaller cities, on the other hand, are more associated with close-minded groups of people who dislike change and don’t want to live near anyone who isn’t like them.  However, there are some small cities that are surprisingly LGBT-friendly.  Here are a few of them.

Eureka Springs, a small mountain city in Arkansas, is the state’s gay capital.  The town has a permanent population of less than 2,500 but because there are many tourists there year-round, it may seem somewhat larger at times.  Eureka Springs hosts a Diversity Weekend four times every year, and there are many different gay and lesbian-owned shops, restaurants, and hotels spread throughout the town.  Even if you don’t want to live there, it’s a great weekend getaway destination.

Portland, Maine, has a very large LGBT population.  In fact, it’s one of the largest in the New England area.  The city hosts Frostbite ME, a winter LGBT pride event.  While few people would think of a city of 65,000 as a “small” city, but it is when compared to Boston, New York City, and some of the other huge metro areas nearby.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a small college town located a little over 30 miles from Detroit.  As with many college towns, Ann Arbor is very open and welcoming, and its population is fairly diverse.  The gay bars and clubs here have long lists of regulars, and some have been in operation for decades.  The different LGBT groups are great ways for residents to meet new people and, in many cases, give back to the community or work for LGBT equality.

There Are Small Cities All Around the US that Are LGBT FriendlyOne name many people may be surprised to see on this list is Bloomington, Indiana.  Why would any gay or lesbian people want to move to Indiana?  Bloomington is actually very welcoming.  Like Portland, Maine, Bloomington is on the larger side—around 70,000 people, mostly thanks to the fact that Indiana University is located there.  There are a lot of diverse people in Bloomington, and you’ll find a large number of LGBT-owned stores and restaurants.

Considering a move to one of these smaller cities?  A gay or lesbian real estate agent will be able to help you find the best place for you and your family to settle.

The Top LGBT-Friendly States

Posted on January 13, 2015 in Buying a Home

While the name “United States of America” makes this country sound like a unified nation, when it comes to LGBT rights, the states are anything but united.  The people of some states were quick to accept their LGBT brothers and sisters, while others have passed bans that make them second-class citizens.  If you’re considering moving and want to find a home that’s much more LGBT-friendly, here are a few states that many gay and lesbian real estate agents recommend.

The Number of LGBT Friendly States is Growing AnnuallyIt might surprise some people to learn that California tops the list of LGBT-friendly states after the hard battle against Prop 8, but while it was a struggle, California has granted LGBT people may different rights.  Same-sex couples can get adoptions, have IVF treatments, and marry, plus there are a number of laws protecting people on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.  Transgender people can also change their gender on official documents without having gender reassignment surgery.

The state of Washington is another great place for LGBT people.  Both domestic partnerships and same-sex marriage are legal, plus transgender people can change official documents without surgery.  The state has also provided benefits to the partners of state employees since 2001.  The only thing California has going for it that Washington does not is that Washington has no laws against organizations that try to change the sexual orientation of minors.  The state legislature attempted to pass such a law in February of 2014, but it failed.

Oregon takes third place on this list, giving the West Coast a clean sweep of the top three spots.  All LGBT people now have the right to marry, enter into a civil partnership, and adopt children.  IVF and surrogacy is legal for same-sex couples.  The state also has a number of anti-discrimination laws on the books to protect LGBT people.

Jumping to the other coast, Connecticut takes the fourth spot on the list.  The state has passed laws making it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity and sexual orientation.  Same-sex marriage is legal, and the state has extended benefits to same-sex partners of state employees.  Transgender people can easily change identification without going through any surgical process, too.  Like Washington, though, there are no laws banning gay conversion groups, nor does Connecticut allow for civil unions—as of 2010, all civil unions were changed into marriages, even if those in the civil union did not want to be married.

These four states offer the most rights for LGBT people, but many other states are moving in the right direction.

Relocating to Iowa

Posted on January 3, 2015 in Buying a Home

If you ask a gay or lesbian Realtor about moving to Iowa, you might expect some sort of joke in reply.  What’s in Iowa?  You might be surprised to learn that Iowa was actually one of the first states to offer a lot of same-sex rights.  It was the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage, but even before then, the state had made a number of steps forward.

Iowa Has a Growing LGBT CommunityWhile some states continued to classify sexual conduct between two consenting same-sex adults as a crime well into the 1990s and 2000s until Lawrence v. Texas struck them down, Iowa had actually repealed all of similar laws in 1978.  Since then, it has been something of a refuge for LGBT people, although the state isn’t the first choice for many because of its location.  In 2003, all domestic partners of state employees became eligible for benefits, and on April 3, 2009, the state began recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.  Less than a month later, the first same-sex marriages were performed in the state.

If you’re going to move to Iowa, there are a couple of major cities that have large LGBT neighborhoods.  Des Moines, the state capital, is one of them.  The East Village area of the city is a growing neighborhood for young professionals and LGBT people.  There are even a number of gay bars that have popped up in the area, plus new condominiums and other apartment buildings have been added or remodeled in recent years.  Those who move to Des Moines often do so for jobs in the financial industry, publishing, or insurance—all three have major presences in the city.

Iowa City is another good choice for those looking for an LGBT neighborhood.  It’s more of a college town, however, because the University of Iowa is located there.  Expect the population to be younger than that of Des Moines and other areas, especially during the school year.  However, since the younger generations do seem to be more accepting, this means that LGBT people in the city have no problem fitting in.  The gay district of Iowa City is even located near the University.  It’s called the Brown Street Historic District, and it features some really nice older homes.  However, once people buy a house there, they tend to stay for life.  If you see one open up, you’ve got to get with a realtor quickly or it will be gone.