Monthly Archives: April 2019

Living in Fire Island

Posted on April 24, 2019 in Buying a Home

There are a number of islands located off the coast of New York that serve as home to New York City and its famous communities. While the city sits on Long Island, the largest island, there are a few others that also have thriving communities. One such island is Fire Island, home to many LGBTQ residents. Fire Island only has around 300 permanent residents, but during the summer, thousands of gay and lesbian tourists flock to the location.

Towns on Fire Island

Living in Fire IslandFire Island is almost 31 miles long, which means it’s big enough to be home to a number of communities. The island features three main towns: Babylon, Brookhaven, and Islip. It also has several smaller villages and hamlets. Because it’s a tourist destination, you’ll find a number of rental properties, hotels, and bed and breakfasts on Fire Island.

The LGBTQ Community on Fire Island

Fire Island has been inhabited since 1795, but the LGBTQ community didn’t move into the area until the 1930s. In 1938, a hurricane hit the island, destroying much of what was built. Many people decided to move inland and sold their property, but the area of Duffy’s Hotel was still mostly intact. This small village became the center of the LGBTQ community, which began to grow and thrive on Fire Island. It wasn’t long after this that many LGBTQ people, especially gay men, started visiting Fire Island in the summer.

The biggest event on Fire Island is the large Fourth of July celebration. It has become tradition for drag queens to take the ferry to The Pines from Cherry Grove. This event is a recreation of the trip Terry Warren, a drag queen, took in 1976. A restaurant in The Pines refused him entry. When he told the story to friends he knew in Cherry Grove, they all decided to dress in drag and take the ferry to “invade” The Pines on July 4. Today, the parade from the ferry ends at the Cherry Grove Hotel and is attended by thousands of people.

Living on Fire Island

If you’re thinking about asking a gay or lesbian real estate agent to find you a home on Fire Island, there are a few things to consider. First, do you want to live in a small, quiet area, or do you want access to larger restaurants and shops? The small villages are very quiet, and tourists normally don’t spend a lot of time there. Cherry Grove, Ocean Beach, and the other larger towns do offer more amenities, but they’re also often crowded in the warmer months. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

The Chicago LGBTQ Community of Edgewater

Posted on April 11, 2019 in Buying a Home

If you’re looking for an outstanding LGBTQ neighborhood in Chicago that offers amazing views, Edgewater may be the place for you. It’s not as well-known as Boystown, Chicago’s most famous gay district, but that may actually be what you want. Boystown is something of a tourist stop for LGBTQ visitors, and in some ways, it has become too focused on orientation and gender identity. Some people just want to live a quiet life that isn’t defined by being part of the LGBTQ community. For those people, Edgewater is an excellent choice.

The Beach in Chicago?

The Chicago LGBTQ Community of EdgewaterWhen people think of the Windy City, they don’t think of living on the beach. However, as the name suggests, Edgewater does sit on the edge of the water, specifically Lake Michigan, and has several beaches. These beaches may not see as many hours of warm sunshine as beaches in Florida or California do, but residents use them through most of the year.

History of the Neighborhood

Edgewater began in the 1880s as Lake View Township, an escape for some of Chicago’s elite. They wanted a place to get out of the center of the city and enjoy the summer. By the 1890s, the population had jumped from a mere 2,000 to a fairly large 45,000. In 1885, the northeastern part of Lake View Township was renamed Edgewater. A few years later, the City of Chicago began annexing Lake View Township and Edgewater in order to provide more public services to the growing neighborhoods.

Edgewater soon made a name for itself by becoming Chicago’s only electric lighted neighborhood in the early 1890s. This quickly led to Edgewater becoming one of the most prestigious areas in the city. Large homes were built on the lake, though even the houses built inland were fairly large and luxurious. While a number of these historic homes have been demolished over the years, the area known as the Bryn Mawr Historic District includes a number of more historic properties. Most homes in Edgewater today are more modern single-family houses or are apartments or condos.

The LGBTQ Revival

The neighborhood of Edgewater went through a revival starting in the 1980s, and about ten years later, it started to become a popular community for lesbian couples. One reason for the influx of LGBTQ and lesbians in particular was the Women and Children First bookstore, which moved from nearby Andersonville to Edgewater. Soon, a number of lesbian bars and other businesses opened in the area. The neighborhood even gained the nickname of Girlstown.

Today, while rising housing costs have led to some lesbian couples moving out of the area, Edgewater still has a good number of same-sex couples. You can find many homes for sale here, some more modern and some fairly historic. A gay or lesbian real estate agent can help you find the perfect home in Edgewater.

Stereotypes About LGBTQ Homeowners

Posted on April 2, 2019 in Buying a Home

Finding a property that has enough space for your hobbies or reflects your personality and interests is certainly going to be important in your house hunt. You’re unique, and you want a home that matches who you are. If you have a real estate agent who hasn’t helped many LGBTQ clients, they may also have certain preconceived notions about what you want in a home. While it’s possible a few of these stereotypes are true about you, it’s just as likely none of them reflect your interests or who you are.

Lesbians Need a Garage or Workshop

Everyone knows lesbians are good with power tools and love to build things, right? That’s definitely not the case, but an agent who doesn’t know any better may start showing you houses with two- or three-car garages or large workshops. While these spaces may be great even for those who don’t build things (extra storage is always nice), it may not be a priority. The best thing to do in this case is to make it into a joke: “Oh, yes, my single hammer and two screwdrivers will look great in this 500 square foot workshop.”

Another related stereotype you may find from agents is that you’re looking for projects. They may be under the assumption that you’ll want to remodel whatever home you buy when you’re actually looking for something that’s move-in ready and requires no work at all.

Gay Men Entertain

Some agents may assume that same-sex male couples love to entertain. They will show you homes with large open floor plans, big kitchens, and amazing outdoor spaces. You may love all of that, but you may also be the type who doesn’t really do big gatherings. Maybe you only ever have a few friends over at a time and never host family events. That’s perfectly fine, and you can certainly let your agent know that you don’t host large viewing parts of RuPaul’s Drag Race every week.

Along those same lines, you may mention that you don’t need a giant closet for your huge wardrobe of designer clothes or space for dozens of pairs of shoes. Your preferred outfit may be a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

Working with a Gay or Lesbian Real Estate Agent

If you want to avoid these stereotypes completely and work with someone who is more likely to understand your needs, you may want to work with a gay or lesbian real estate agent. These agents are more prevalent than you might think, even in more conservative areas. They can assist you with finding the home of your dreams without making you feel uncomfortable.