Monthly Archives: February 2015

Moving to Tulsa

Posted on February 28, 2015 in Buying a Home

Are you set on moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma?  The state has, historically, not been the most LGBT friendly.  In fact, several state legislators have made national headlines after introducing bills that would severely restrict the rights of gay and lesbian citizens of the state.  Even after the Supreme Court’s decision that made same-sex marriage legal in Oklahoma, some legislators and others still attempted to curtain LGBT rights.

There is A Lot to Do if You Are Part of the LGBT Community of TulsaHowever, Tulsa is one of the more liberal cities in the state, and many gay and lesbian realtors would suggest living in the city if you have to move to the Northeastern part of the state.  Tulsa is one of the largest cities in Oklahoma, and it’s certainly one of the most progressive.  There are several different gay neighborhoods and a number of LGBT-owned businesses.

Unfortunately, while same-sex marriage is now legal in the state, there are very few other rights or laws designed to protect members of the LGBT community.  There are no hate laws on the books or anti-discrimination policies in place on a state level that protects people based on their sexual orientation or their gender identity.  The Tulsa city council has, however, passed nondiscrimination policies protecting city employees from discrimination passed on sexual orientation.

If you’re going to move to Tulsa, one community you may want to look at is Brady Heights.  This area has been called the city’s gayest neighborhood.  It’s a diverse and historic area that’s very close to the downtown district.  It’s also conveniently close to major highways, several universities, and more.  Living in Brady Heights gives you access to just about all of the best parts of the city.

Then there’s Florence Park.  This area has some older homes, many of which have been renovated over the years.  They still have their charm, of course, but they also feature many new, modern touches.  The neighborhood revolves around 15th Street.  You’ll find many nice restaurants, shops, and other businesses there.  There are even a couple of supermarkets in the area.  If you work around Florence Park, you may never need to go anywhere else in Tulsa.

Is it worth moving to a state that seems to reject its own LGBT community members?  Don’t give up on Oklahoma just yet.  There are a number of groups in the state fighting for LGBT rights.  The Oklahomans for Equality group is very active in Tulsa—they run the Tulsa Pride event and fight for equality across the state.  The Cimarron Alliance Foundation is another vocal group in Oklahoma.  While some may try to take away the hard-earned rights of Oklahoma’s LGBT population, they’re really just a very vocal minority.

LGBT and Moving to New Jersey

Posted on February 16, 2015 in Buying a Home

Thinking about moving to New Jersey?  A  gay or lesbian real estate agent is definitely a necessity if you are.  New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation, which means you’re going to need some help finding that perfect home.  There are so many people in New Jersey and such little space that it can be more difficult to find a good place to live without some assistance.

There are Many Locations Around New Jersey That Welcome LGBT Singles, Couples, and FamiliesFortunately, LGBT people in the state are protected in a number of ways.  Anti-sodomy laws were repealed in 1978, and state welfare agencies abolished anti-LGBT adoption policies in 1997.  In 1991, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination was amended to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.  It was then amended later in 2006 to include gender identity.  LGBT people are protected from discrimination in employment and in housing, plus there are a number of different hate-crime laws on the books.  In 2013, conversion therapy aimed at minors was outlawed.

What about marriage rights?  Civil unions were instituted in 2006, but the state did recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, at least in terms of allowing divorce.  Starting in October 21, 2013, New Jersey began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Reflecting the state’s fairly progressive views on same-sex marriage (at least when compared to many other states), there are a number of great cities in New Jersey where you’ll find major gay districts.  Trenton, the state’s capital, is home to the Mill Hill Historic District.  This district features restored homes, easy access to New York, and more.  Many LGBT singles and families live in the area as well as other parts of Trenton.

The entire town of Maplewood is a diverse, liberal little mountain village that’s only about half an hour away from New York City.  It was one of the first towns in the state to offer a domestic partner registry, and it’s great for people who want to live near a large metropolis but still want that small-town charm and relaxed atmosphere.

South Orange was the other town in New Jersey to create a domestic partner registry at the same time as Maplewood.  Like Maplewood, it’s also a very diverse community and is full of both historic homes and some newer colonial-style houses.  It’s also close to New York City and is a perfect little suburb for those who want a quiet town to raise their children.

Why Atlanta is Good Home for LGBT Families

Posted on February 9, 2015 in Buying a Home

Thinking about moving to Atlanta, Georgia?  If so, you may be surprised at how welcoming and LGBT-friendly the city is.  Even though it’s one of the largest cities in the south (and, in fact, the U.S. as a whole), Atlanta has a long history with the LGBT community.  In fact, it’s been called the Gay Capitol of the South because of how open and friendly it is.

Atlanta Is Still One of the Top Places for LGBT Families to Live Within the United StatesWhen your gay or lesbian realtor tells you that there are many LGBT people living in the city, you may think they mean there’s a gay district with a few people flying rainbow flags.  You’d be surprised to learn that according to the 2010 Census, 12.8 percent of everyone who lived in Atlanta identified themselves as LGBT.  While the list changes often, at one point Atlanta had the third-largest percentage of gay and lesbian residents out of all major cities in the U.S.

The LGBT community in the city is, as you’d expect, very visible and vocal.  Atlanta hosts an annual LGBT-owned business expo that attracts entrepreneurs from around the nation.  And this isn’t a recent event, either—it started in the 1980s and has been held every year since then.  Atlanta Pride is the largest pride event in the Southeast, and the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce was the very first LGBT CoC to be established not only in Georgia but also in the United States.

One of the largest partners in the fight for equality is located in Atlanta: The Coca-Cola Company.  They are a Gold sponsor of the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian CoC and one of the major sponsors of the city’s pride festival.  The company is also one of the biggest employers in the area, and a number of LGBT people in Atlanta work for Coca-Cola.  The company has been named one of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality by the Human Rights Campaign for a number of years.

In addition to working for Coca-Cola, those who work for the City of Atlanta may sign up for the city’s domestic partnership registry.  Atlanta opened the registry in 2004.  In addition to offering same-sex partner benefits, the city is also one of a handful in the state to protect all of its employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  While Georgia’s same-sex marriage ban is currently in effect, it has been challenged in court.  As of the end of January 2015, proceedings in the case were suspended until the U.S. Supreme Court makes its ruling in the same-sex cases they will consider during the 2015 session.

Gay Life in Alaska

Posted on February 2, 2015 in Buying a Home

With its lack of sun, constant cold, and incredible snowstorms, you might think no one in their right mind would want to move to Alaska.  While it’s true that the northern-most U.S. state isn’t exactly at the top of many people’s list of places to live, the people there love their state.  Alaska hasn’t been one of the states we’ve heard that much about in the fight for LGBT rights, but that doesn’t mean there’s no gay and lesbian community there.  In fact, Alaska does have a good number of LGBT people.

Living in Alaska is Becoming Friendlier for LGBT Individuals and CouplesAs one might expect, most of the LGBT community is based out of the larger cities of the state, especially Juneau and Anchorage.  Juneau’s gay and lesbian population may not always be the most active group, but the city does have an active PFLAG chapter, host pride events, and more.  The people in Alaska may be more on the conservative side politically, but they also value independence and truth.  Most are welcoming or, at the very least, tolerant of those who live their lives differently.  The City of Juneau was one of the first cities in the state to extend domestic partner benefits to spouses of same-sex couples.

Anchorage is about the same.  Because it’s a larger city, it has more resources and activities for its LGBT population.  You’ll find a few gay bars and clubs there, plus the city is home to the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Anchorage.  There are several gay and lesbian realtors in Anchorage and in Juneau who can help you find a home in Alaska if you’re considering a move.

If you do move to Alaska, what rights will you have?  Even though the state didn’t make a huge splash in the same-sex marriage battle, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t involved.  In fact, there was a challenge to the state’s 1998 constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage.  It was filed in May of 2014.  On October of 2014, a judge declared the ban unconstitutional.  While this decision was appealed, the Supreme Court later denied a stay and marriage licenses were issued.  A later appeal to the Ninth Circuit was denied.

In addition to same-sex marriage, the state does support adoption by any adult regardless of their orientation.  While LGBT parents have had some difficulty in second parent adoptions, now that same-sex marriage is legal, many anticipate fewer issues.  Finally, the state does prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, but there is no protection based on gender identity as of the end of 2014.