Monthly Archives: May 2018

Baltimore is a Great LGBTQ City

Posted on May 25, 2018 in Buying a Home

Considering a move East? Baltimore, Maryland, has a lot going for it. With over 600,000 residents in the city itself and more than 9 million in the Washington-Baltimore combined area, you’re sure to find many people who share your ideas and values. In fact, Baltimore has a thriving LGBTQ community that is very welcoming to new residents. If you’re thinking about a move to Maryland, here are a few reasons why Baltimore might be ideal for you.

Mount Vernon and Beyond

Baltimore’s gayborhood has traditionally been centered around Mount Vernon. Gay and lesbian real estate professionals have found, though, that the LGBTQ population of Baltimore is now much more spread out. Part of this may have to do with the GLBT Community Center’s move to the Old Goucher area. As the host of Baltimore’s pride festivities, this means the event relocated as well. Today, Old Goucher is considered the modern gay neighborhood, while Mount Vernon still has many LGBTQ residents who have lived there for years.

The Hampden neighborhood is another popular area for LGBTQ residents. In fact, it actually hosts its own pride event, HonFest, every year. Abell, Charles Village, and Waverly have all traditionally been welcoming neighborhoods, too.

A Top Retirement Destination

Another reason why Baltimore has a growing LGBTQ community is because it’s considered a top retirement destination. The city’s cost of living, number of highly rated hospitals, and mild weather make it a great place for those looking to enjoy their golden years.

The Cost of Living is Affordable

Living in the Washington, D.C. area is not cheap. If you don’t mind commuting an hour and a half or so one way, you can live in Baltimore and work in DC. You can also take the train, too, which gives you time to work, read, or just relax on your way to and from work.

The cost of living in Baltimore is actually lower than many of the large metro areas on the East Coast. While housing costs are a little higher than the national average, they’re still lower than homes in DC, New York City, and other nearby cities.

It’s Great Weather

Hate hot summers and cold winters? Baltimore weather tends to range between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s fairly comfortable. The city doesn’t get a lot of rain, either, although some winters have seen a good amount of snow.

Overall, Baltimore may be the perfect new home for you, especially if you’re looking for a comfortable city to retire to.

The LGBTQ History of New Orleans

Posted on May 14, 2018 in Buying a Home

New Orleans, or NOLA as it’s often called, is known for Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, and its interesting history with things such as voodoo. But the city also has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ community. Major gay and lesbian icons got their start in the city, including Ellen DeGeneres, jazz musician Tony Jackson, and playwright Tennessee Williams.

It Began as a Known but Invisible Community

in New Orleans’ history, the LGBT community was something of an open secret. Many people knew that some of their neighbors were more than just roommates, but it simply wasn’t talked about or really acknowledged. On the other hand, these same-sex couples and the communities they formed in New Orleans weren’t exactly discriminated against, either.

By the end of the nineteenth century, though, jazz was becoming more and more prominent. This actually brought some of the LGBTQ community into the spotlight. With that and the growth of the French Quarter in the 1920s, New Orleans soon became a refuge for those who identified as LGBTQ.

Life after Prohibition

In 1933, Prohibition officially ended. This led to a number of gay and lesbian bars opening in the city, providing the LGBTQ community with places to gather and celebrate together. Café Lafitte in Exile, one of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the U.S., opened in 1953 and became one of the hubs of the community. The Steamboat Club, one of the oldest social groups for gay men, started that same year.

The 70s and a Slow Burn

Unlike some cities, the Gay Liberation movement didn’t explode in New Orleans. One part of this was likely due to the arrest of Clay Shaw in 1967. Shaw was a prominent business leader in the city in addition to being an out gay man. While it’s uncertain if it was discrimination that prompted the District Attorney to charge Shaw with conspiracy to assassinate President Kenney, the outcome was that the LGBTQ community felt that speaking out was not a good idea. Shaw was acquitted later on, but the damage had been done. A fire at a gay bar in 1973 only made the community more hesitant.

The 1990s and a Reemergence of the LGBTQ Community

That changed during the 1990s, when more and more LGBTQ individuals started speaking up for their rights. The city passed a non-discrimination ordinance which was followed by more protections via executive order from the Louisiana governor. In 1997, hate crime laws were passed and New Orleans began offering domestic partner benefits to same-sex partners.

As the protections and acceptance of LGBTQ people in New Orleans have grown over the years, the city has become a hub of activities and events for the community. It’s a great place to live, too, if you’re looking to move to the south.

Eureka Springs – Arkansas’s LGBTQ Hot Spot

Posted on May 7, 2018 in Buying a Home

One of the last places you might expect to be a major LGBTQ hub is Eureka Springs. Hidden away in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, this little town of some 2,000 residents features a large statue of Jesus, a number of road signs featuring religious messages, and is near the Ku Klux Klan national headquarters. Despite all of this, the town is considered the gayest place in Arkansas. It’s one of the few places to have passed anti-discrimination laws and civil rights ordinances that protect its LGBTQ citizens. If you’ve never been to Eureka Springs before, you might wonder why it’s such a gay haven and why people travel from around the country to visit.

An Historic Community

While some towns have a few buildings or monuments on the National Register of Historic Places, the entire town of Eureka Springs is classified as a historic district. The old buildings, including the library, courthouse, and many of the other buildings, are well-preserved examples of the Victorian style. Many were built using old stone from the area and still look nearly the same as when they were built.

The winding streets, live entertainment shows, unique hotels, and cute boutique shops draw in thousands of visitors every year. The winding roads and gorgeous views also certainly don’t hurt tourism any.

Connection with the LGBTQ Community

Eureka Springs has been a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community for years. In addition to passing protective laws, it was the first town in the state to provide same-sex couples with marriage licenses, doing so in 2014. In 2015, after Arkansas passed a state law that invalidated all civil rights ordinances at the city level, the mayor of Eureka Springs said the city would fight if challenged.

So far, that has not occurred, but a similar citywide anti-discrimination ordinance passed in Fayetteville in 2015 was. The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the ordinance, which protected individuals based on both sexual orientation and gender identity, went against state law. The legality of the ordinance passed in Eureka Springs, along with similar ordinances in Little Rock and Hot Springs, weren’t addressed.

In addition to laws protecting its citizens, Eureka Springs has a number of events celebrating them. It holds four LGBTQ Diversity Weekends every year plus a Pride Festival every June. Many other events, including the annual Mardi Gras Extravaganza and the city’s Halloween Festival, are very popular with LGBTQ citizens and visitors alike.