Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Best Cities in Florida for LGBT Living

Posted on October 28, 2016 in Buying a Home

Many cities in Florida are popular with LGBT people, but only three of these cities rated a perfect score in the 2016 Human Rights Committee Municipal Equality Index. This index rated over 500 cities across the country on a number of factors related to LGBT inclusiveness. Out of these cities, only 60 received a score of 100. In addition to its three top scoring cities, the state has a number of other cities that scored fairly high.

Orlando

the-best-cities-in-florida-for-lgbt-livingFor the third year in a row, Orlando hit a perfect score. The report was released only four short months following the nightclub shooting that made national headlines, and many feel that the index rating was simply another way of confirming the strength of Orlando’s LGBT community.

There are many things that put the city at the top of the list. The city has created a protected class for gender identity, protecting those citizens from discrimination. Orlando’s domestic partner registry has more than 1,300 registrants on it, one of the largest in the country. The Stand Up Orlando middle school program works to teach students, parents, and school staff about anti-bullying tactics and what to do in such situations.

Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors also celebrated its third year with a perfect score. The city is known for being a popular retirement and vacation spot for LGBT individuals. It was originally designed as an upscale neighborhood, and it has since grown into a city known for shopping, the arts, and community events. It’s a nice, quiet city for those looking for a great place to retire that is also very LGBT-friendly. Wilton Manors has been named one of the top five “gayest cities” in the country, too.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg rounds out the top scoring cities. The city created a number of ordinances and laws providing the LGBT community with protection from discrimination in 2003. Since then, they have expanded on those protections, most notably with the Points of Pride Proclamation delivered in 2014. St. Petersburg is well-known for its arts and for its beaches.

Other Rankings

Overall, twenty cities from Florida were ranked on the HRC’s index. That includes Coral Gables and Daytona Beach, both of which were added to the rankings for 2016. Cape Coral, with a 25, and Port Saint Lucie, with a 30, were the two lowest-rated cities. Many scored well over the national average of 55, including Tampa (86), Tallahassee (92), and Fort Lauderdale (80).

The Dallas-Fort Worth Area and LGBT Friendliness

Posted on October 18, 2016 in LGBT News

Dallas and Fort Worth are both known to be very LGBT friendly, but what about the suburbs? Is the DFW Metro, as it’s known, really the better place to live? National ranking recently released say yes, although there are a number of people who dislike Dallas simply because of the traffic. However, the Human Rights Campaign has given both Dallas and Forth Worth a score of 100 on their 2016 Municipal Equality Index.

the-dallas-fort-worth-area-and-lgbt-friendlinessThis index is the HRC’s survey of large cities to determine if those cities have policies and laws in place that protect their LGBT citizens. Many large cities actually rank fairly low on this index, while some of the smaller metro areas rank very high. As cities in Texas, many might assume both Dallas and Fort Worth would rank lower. However, the two are very LGBT-friendly. Fort Worth has greatly improved in the past four years, though. It scored an 83 in 2012. Dallas has received a perfect 100 for the second year in a row, a feat only achieved by one other Texas city, Austin.

Overall, though, the suburb cities in Texas averaged very low. College Station, Laredo, and Irving scored in the single digits: each of these three suburbs scored six out of 100. The next city on the list, Grand Prairie, scored a 12. McKinney, Killeen, and Lubbock didn’t do much better, scoring an 18. Out of the suburbs, only Plano showed any improvement. The city received a score of 14 three years ago, but its 2016 score was much higher. Plano was given 74 points, showing that the city has vastly changed in how it treats its LGBT citizens since 2013.

The other two major metro areas in Texas, San Antonio and Houston, scored a 95 and a 71 respectively. Following Houston, the next highest scoring city was El Paso with a 57. The other 18 cities the HRC ranked on their list fell below the national average of 55. Overall, Texas cities on the list averaged a 34.

The HRC examines the city’s non-discrimination laws; how the city treats its LGBT employees; if the city has an organization that focuses on LGBT rights; if the schools have anti-bullying policies; how the police and the LGBT community relate to each other; and how local community leadership speaks out about LGBT rights. In 2016, the HRC assigned scores to 506 cities. These included the capitals of each state, 200 of the largest cities in the US, and the most populous metro areas.

The Most Welcoming Cities in Michigan

Posted on October 8, 2016 in Buying a Home

If you’re moving to Michigan, you may be a bit concerned at first. After all, the state isn’t known for being one of the leaders of LGBT rights. However, there are a number of cities in the state that are quite open and progressive. While some of the smaller towns are more conservative, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a gay or lesbian real estate agent in larger cities. Here are some of the most open and welcoming cities in the Michigan.

Detroit

the-most-welcoming-cities-in-michiganThe most well-known city in Michigan and the home of the auto industry, Detroit was once the home to a major LGBT community called Palmer Park. However, it reached its peak in the 1980s. Many of the residents moved out of the area due to the increasing amount of crime. However, now that that is no longer an issue, Detroit is once again home to a good number of gays and lesbians. The city hosts the Motor City Pride festival every year.

East Lansing

Situated to the east of Lansing, East Lansing is one of the few cities to receive a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign. The city was given 100% on the HRC’s Municipal Equality Index in 2014. While it has dropped a few points since then, East Lansing still ranks highly on the list. East Lansing was one of the first cities in Michigan to pass an ordinance banning discrimination in hiring. The city holds many different pride activities every year, too.

Ferndale

Ferndale is another amazingly inclusive city. It’s considered a suburb of Detroit, and when many LGBT people left Palmer Park, they moved to Ferndale. The city has had several openly gay mayors and is home to many LGBT businesses.

Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor made news when it became the first city in the state to have a domestic partner registry. The registry was created in 1991, years before many other cities were considering registries or same-sex marriage. The city was one of the first to have an openly gay elected official. One of the few downsides to Ann Arbor is that housing costs are higher than the state’s average.

Pleasant Ridge

Not all of the most LGBT-friendly cities in Michigan are huge. Pleasant Ridge is a small town of about 2,500. However, it’s also very welcoming. The US Census shows that the town has almost 60 same-sex households per every 1,000. While that may not sound like much, it is the seventh-highest percentage in the state. For those who want to live in a smaller community, Pleasant Ridge is a great option.