Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Largest U.S. Metro Areas with the Highest LGBT Populations

Posted on March 25, 2015 in Buying a Home

Gallup has once again compiled a list of the top large U.S. metro areas with high LGBT populations.  The organization does polling like this on a fairly regular basis, and the results are sometimes unexpected.  It’s true that some cities on this list may be surprising, but some are exactly where you’d expect them to rank.

There Are Significant LGBT Populations All Around the United StatesNumber one, for example, is the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area.  The poll shows that 6.2 percent of the population self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.  The city has always been considered a must-visit destination for many in the LGBT community because of its openness and acceptance.  Some people visit and fall in love with the city, resulting in its high LGBT population.

However, San Francisco’s lead over second place is actually not as high as it once was.  The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area reported a 5.4 percent LGBT population, meaning less than a point separate the two.  Gay and lesbian realtors won’t be surprised at this—the Portland LGBT community has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years.  The city’s welcoming nature combined with its creative atmosphere makes it a very attractive place to live for many.

Third place on the list may be really surprising.  It’s not LA, Boston, New York, or Seattle.  Instead, it’s Austin, Texas!  Many people think of Texas as being a very conservative, anti-LGBT state, but the larger metro areas are actually very welcoming.  Austin has a thriving LGBT community, and it nearly pushed Portland off the list for second place—the two are separated by 0.1 percent.

New Orleans follows Austin, which may be surprising to some people, but those who have been to New Orleans understand.  This is the city that puts on Mardi Gras, after all.  It’s a very friendly place with a number of LGBT-owned businesses and, of course, gay bars.

But what about the other end of the list?  Which of the top 50 largest metro areas has the smallest LGBT population?  Birmingham, Alabama, was on the bottom of the list with 2.6 percent.  This isn’t really surprising considering how conservative Alabama is.  The fact that the state is actively fighting against the Supreme Court’s mandate to allow same-sex marriage makes it clear why few LGBT people want to live there.

Other metro areas at the bottom of the list includes Pittsburgh (3.0 percent), Memphis (3.1 percent), and, surprisingly, San Jose (3.2 percent).  Many people think all cities in California are home to many LGBT people.  While San Jose is home to many technology companies that have vocally supported LGBT rights, it’s also a commuter city—many LGBT people live outside of the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro and commute to work every day.

2015’s Gayest U.S. Cities

Posted on March 17, 2015 in Buying a Home

With more states now recognizing same-sex marriages and providing more protection from discrimination, 2014 was a banner year for LGBT rights and recognition.  Of course, there’s still a lot of work to do, but more and more gay and lesbian realtors are being approached by out couples than ever before.  If you’re looking for a new home, here are the gayest U.S. cities for 2014.  This list was created using an equation that factored in same-sex households, the number of LGBT elected officials, the number of gay events and associations, bars, and more.  Even concerts by Lady Gaga were used to help determine how gay a city is!

The United States has Amazing Gay Communities Everywhere, And the Numbers are Growing Very QuicklyWashington, D.C. has ranked at the top of LGBT-friendly lists for years, and it’s no surprise that it ranked at the top of this one.  With more than a dozen LGBT elected officials, several gay neighborhoods, and more, the city is definitely a great place for young and upcoming gays and lesbians.  However, it’s not a cheap place to live.  Many who get jobs in the nationals capital end up living nearby and commuting.

Pasadena, California, is another city with a high ranking.  The city is close enough to Los Angeles for commuting and enjoying everything the huge city has to offer, but it’s far enough away that it’s a little quieter.  The city has a several gay bars, welcoming churches, out and proud elected officials, and even a popular lesbian book club.

Seattle, of course, is well-known for its welcoming attitude.  There are many LGBT people who live in this large Washington city.  Gay neighborhoods like Capitol Hill are full of great restaurants, fun clubs, and much more.

Going back to the East coast, we have Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Like Pasadena, Cambridge is located close to Boston, but far enough away that it still has that quiet, small town feel.  The city has been on the cutting edge of LGBT rights—for example, transgender people have been protected from discrimination since 1997.  The city also elected the first lesbian African-American mayor in the country.

Finally, the top five gayest cities in the U.S. for 2014 wraps up with Atlanta, Georgia.  The city is definitely the gay capital of the south.  With many gay bars and restaurants, a number of LGBT events, and the huge Atlanta Pride parade, it’s no wonder many gays and lesbians in the south choose Atlanta for their home.  Real estate prices are also fairly reasonable, especially in some of the older neighborhoods.

The Gay Community and Wisconsin

Posted on March 9, 2015 in Buying a Home

Wisconsin has been something of a paradox when it comes to LGBT rights.  A constitutional amendment passed in 2006 banning same-sex marriages, but it only passed by 59 percent, and every year following that, more and more people changed their stance on the subject.  However, it wasn’t until the case of Wolf v. Walker that the ban was challenged.  A district court judge declared the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, a decision upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  When the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, same-sex marriage became officially legal in the state on October 6, 2014.

Wisconsin As a Whole is Very Welcoming to Those in the LGBT CommunitiesPrior to this, Wisconsin did have a domestic partner registry.  However, the rights given to same-sex couples who registered were very limited.  They received only 43 different spousal rights as opposed to the 200 plus rights that different-sex married couples enjoyed.  Since 2009, the state has also provided benefits to the same-sex partners of state employees.  Unfortunately, the registry did nothing regarding parental rights, but joint adoptions by same-sex couples were granted in some jurisdictions.  However, since same-sex marriage became legal, this has no longer been an issue, and LGBT parents have enjoyed the same adoption rights as opposite-sex parents.

When it comes to discrimination laws, you might be surprised to learn that Wisconsin was the first state to make it illegal to discriminate against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation when it came to housing, credit, education, employment, and public accommodations.  The state passed these laws in 1982!  However, as of March 2015, there are no laws that touch on gender identity.  Some cities, including Milwaukee, Madison, and Appleton, have passed their own citywide laws preventing discrimination based on gender identity.

As you can see, Wisconsin is surprisingly open to LGBT rights in some ways, yet at the same time, the state did pass a constitutional amendment preventing same-sex marriage and only relented due to the court system.  While gender identity is still not protected at the state level, Wisconsin did elect Tammy Baldwin as one of their two senators.  Baldwin serves as the first out LGBT person to serve in the U.S. Senate.

It might seem like a gamble, then, to move to Wisconsin.  However, most gay and lesbian realtors will tell you that the state has plenty of friendly, welcoming neighborhoods.  The views of most people have become more and more open towards the LGBT community, especially in the larger cities like Milwaukee.

Living in Montana as a LGBT Person

Posted on March 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

Montana – most people think of it as a big, empty state, and that’s not entirely wrong—a good portion of the state is open plains or mountain ranges.  The Big Sky Country state is home to some incredibly beautiful places, though, including Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. It’s also home to a number of LGBT people.

There is More to Montana for the LGBT Community than Most People RealizeIf you’re going to move to Montana, you’re certainly going to want to work with a gay or lesbian real estate agent. That’s because you’re going to want to find a home that’s perfect for you while also being close to a good sized city. You may think that you want to live an hour or so out from civilization, but it does become a chore to drive to the grocery store. You also want to make sure you’re in a location that’s LGBT-friendly.

A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was passed in 2004, but that amendment was overturned on November 19, 2014, following the outcome of Rolando v. Fox. The state began issuing marriage licenses because an injunction against the enforcement of the marriage ban went into effect immediately following the end of the case.

When it comes to adoption, Montana does allow single individuals to adopt, but makes no comment either way on same-sex couples adopting or on same-sex second parent adoptions. The courts have not become involved in a case that touches on the subject, so there is no precedent to follow.

The state does prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, but that protection extends only to public employment. Several cities have passed additional laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. If you’re considering a move to Montana, you may want to look at these cities: Helena, Butte, Bozeman, and Missoula. In fact, all of Missoula County has passed ordinances protecting people on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. The state does not, however, include either orientation or gender identity in its hate crimes statute.

So as you can see, moving to Montana does require some thought. One place you may consider is Ferndale. Ferndale is one of the most welcoming cities to the LGBT population. It even has a few gay bars. The area is fun and the people are very friendly. While it’s not in Missoula County and, therefore, doesn’t have some of the extra protections available to citizens there, most LGBT people have had no problems living in Ferndale.