Category Archives: LGBT News

The Best Cities for LGBTQ Entrepreneurs

Posted on July 23, 2018 in LGBT News

Are you thinking about starting your own business? Being an entrepreneur can be risky anywhere, but for those in the LGBTQ community, it can be even more of a risk in some parts of the country. If you open a business in a conservative area and people later learn you’re LGBTQ, they may stop shopping with you or hiring you for your services. On the other hand, there are some cities where LGBTQ businesses are flourishing. Here are some tips for determining if you’ve found one of the best places to start your business.

You’re in One of these States

The Best Cities for LGBTQ EntrepreneursAccording to a report from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, about half of all of the LGBTQ-owned businesses are in one of these five states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • New York
  • Texas

These states are known for being great places for small businesses and startups, but they’re also known for being home to many large corporations and Fortune 500 companies. Many of these companies are dedicated to hiring a diverse workforce and to helping small businesses by outsourcing work to them or by making them part of a larger supply chain.

The NGLCC Has Certified Businesses in the City

Another thing to look for is if there are NGLCC-certified businesses in the area. While only a small number of LGBTQ-owned businesses have sought certification, it can be helpful to know that there are other businesses owned by members of the community in the area. It’s also important to remember that most of these certified companies are medium-sized business. Those that bring in less than $1 million dollars a year rarely seek certification.

Are there Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals in the Area?

Another thing to look for is LGBTQ real estate professionals. If you can find one of these experts in your city, they can often help you network with other LGBTQ professionals. They may also be able to help you find commercial property to lease for your business.

Look for LGBTQ-Friendly Places to Live

Any city that’s ranked highly on the HRC list of top LGBTQ-friendly cities could be a good choice for your new business. Just remember that starting a business and looking for a place to live are two different things. For example, San Francisco is very welcoming to LGBTQ people, but it’s a very expensive city. Opening a new business there will require much more startup capital than a business in Texas would. Keep that in mind when considering where you want to start your company.

Greenwich Village – a LGBTQ Neighborhood with History

Posted on June 2, 2018 in LGBT News

Most LGBTQ people looking to make a name for themselves in the theater have a common dream: to star in a play on Broadway. That means moving to New York City. While NYC is pretty much considered an entire gay neighborhood in and of itself, it does have one special area that played a major role in LGBTQ history: Greenwich Village. This district, a part of Lower Manhattan, is considered a Bohemian neighborhood and the home of both Beat and the LGBTQ rights movement.

The Stonewall Riots

On June 28, 1969, a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a popular LGBTQ hotspot, led to a series of riots as members of the community, drag queens, and their supporters stood up to the authorities and stated that they had done nothing wrong. The situation spiraled out of control, with protests occurring several nights after. The residents of Greenwich Village quickly formed activist groups and, for one of the first times ever, LGBTQ people stood up and demanded the right to be open about who they were without fear of any legal repercussions.

One Year Later

The year following the riots was a major turning point for LGBTQ rights not just in New York but around the country. The idea of forming activist organizations spread to Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other major cities. LGBTQ newspapers began publication, increasing visibility of the community. In June of 1970, on the year anniversary of Stonewall, the first pride marches were held.

Greenwich Today

Today, the neighborhood of Greenwich Village is defined as the area between Fourth and Sixth Avenues and between Houston Street and 14th Street. It’s a fairly small neighborhood, and a good portion of it is taken up by Washington Square Park. Because it’s so small, it’s also a very tight-knit community. The streets are fairly narrow, and many of them are lined with trees that look gorgeous during the fall. Most of the homes here are either apartments or brick townhouses that have stood for decades.

Like all neighborhoods of New York, Greenwich Village isn’t cheap. Any condos, apartments, or houses that cost less than $1 million are considered major bargains, and gay or lesbian real estate agents with such listings usually don’t have them for long. You can usually expect to pay at least $1.5 million for a home here. Most of these homes have been kept up and renovated over the years due to gentrification, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. The chance to live in the area where the fight for LGBTQ rights may be worth more than money.

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.

Top Cities for LGBT Individuals to Fall in Love

Posted on September 20, 2016 in LGBT News

Does it seem like you’re looking for love in all the wrong places? Ever since same-sex marriage was legalized, many LGBT couples have tied the knot. Getting married is more than simply declaring that they love each other—it also gives these couples a multitude of legal protections, including joint ownership of their property, medical visitation rights, and much more. But for those who are single, being invited to wedding after wedding seems like it’s rubbing salt in the wound, especially if they have been dating a lot but haven’t yet found the right person. For those who are looking to fall in love, Match.com has analyzed information from their online dating system and determined that these are the cities that have the highest potential for matching up life partners.

top-cities-for-lgbt-individuals-to-fall-in-loveOf course, you can find love anywhere, so you don’t necessarily need to contact a gay or lesbian real estate agent and start making plans to move right now. But if you are thinking about a move, these are cities you might consider for a number of reasons, not just because you might find “the one.”

For Men

Men looking to find another man to fall in love with should, according to Match, start in many of the usual places. Cities such as San Francisco, New York, LA, Boston, Miami, and Washington, D.C. all made the list here. But there are a few cities you may not think of that, according to online dating users, are full of gay, bi, and trans men looking for others. New Haven, Connecticut and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for example, may not be two cities you’d think of when thinking about major LGBT hubs.

But a couple of the cities on this list may surprise some people. Dallas, Texas, for example. Many assume Texas is conservative all the way around, but it does have some very liberal areas. Dallas is home to the huge Cathedral of Hope, the largest inclusive church in the country. Atlanta, Georgia, is another city some may not think of as welcoming, but it is.

For Women

For women, the list is even a little stranger. There are cities in Massachusetts (Springfield and Worcester) plus Palm Bay, Florida; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Toledo, Ohio, all states that have been fairly progressive. Dallas is on the list, too, along with Austin, Texas (another liberal area). Then there’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, a city located in a very conservative state. New Orleans, Louisiana, may make some wonder, too, but again, it’s a very liberal city surrounded by some quite conservative areas.

The Evolution of LGBT Rights

Posted on June 20, 2016 in LGBT News

While the LGBT community continues to battle for equal rights today, we’ve come a very long way since June 28, 1969. That’s the date many use as the beginning of the LGBT rights movement. It’s the date of the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. This movement started with police harassing gay individuals at the bar, but it’s resulted in so much more than just protection from harassment. Let’s take a look at how LGBT rights have evolved over the years.

The Evolution of LGBT RightsExactly a year after the Stonewall Riots, the very first pride parades were held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. While much smaller than the weeklong festivals found in some cities today, these parades were the first time the LGBT community took a large public step forward and demanded equal treatment.

The next major milestone came in 1973, when the American Psychological Association voted to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. This showed that there truly was no connection between being gay and being mentally ill.

The first LGBT elected city official, Harvey Milk of San Francisco, was assassinated on November 27, 1978. Milk was a major fighter for LGBT rights, and his legacy has continued to live on long after his life was cut too short. Later, in 1987, Representative Barney Frank, a congressman from Massachusetts, came out publicly. He was the first member of either house to openly announce that he was gay.

Unfortunately, the mid-1990s were not a good time for LGBT rights. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” prevented LGBT members from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces. In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act prevented the federal government from recognizing any marriages between members of the same sex, denying them a number of legal protections. It would be declared in June of 2013, however.

Of course, the largest step forward for the gay rights movement began in 2004, when Massachusetts recognized same-sex marriage. Following that move, the issue became a polarizing one, with some states following Massachusetts and others amending their constitutions to prevent same-sex couples from marrying. This battle came to a head in 2015 when the Supreme Court voted in favor of the right to marry in Obergefell v. Hodges. While most people recognize this case as the one that made same-sex marriage legal, it did much more than that. Now able to become full legal spouses, LGBT couples no longer had to fear being barred from hospital rooms or losing their home if their partner died. They now don’t have to do any extra paperwork to be equal partners in real estate or when applying for a mortgage.

However, the fight continues today, and while LGBT citizens certainly have more rights today than they did even ten years ago, there are still more areas of the law where discrimination and inequality are present. Hopefully it won’t take another 50 years to change that.

Anti-LGBT Bills and Their Effects

Posted on April 18, 2016 in LGBT News

When state legislatures start considering bills that many find to be anti-LGBT, no matter what their authors may claim, gay and lesbian real estate agents begin to get nervous.  If these bills pass, LGBT people and their supporters often boycott the state and certainly won’t consider a move there.  But it’s important for the LGBT community to know about these bills, even if they do mean a loss of business for Realtors.  Let’s take a look at some of the most recent bills that would affect LGBT citizens in negative ways.

North Carolina

Anti-LGBT Bills and Their EffectsNorth Carolina has been the center of attention for not one, but two different bills.  The first, HB 2, is known as the bathroom bill.  It would require all students attending state-funded schools to use the bathroom that matches the gender found on their birth certificates.  This bill actually nullified an ordinance passed by Charlotte, NC, that banned discrimination based on orientation and gender identity, plus it prevents other cities from passing such ordinances in the future.  The bill also prevents cities in the state from raising their minimum wage higher than the state’s set minimum.

Many large companies that operate in North Carolina, including Bank of America, Dow Chemical, and PayPal, came out against the bill.  The NBA also stated that they may consider moving the 2017 NBA All-Star game from the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte in response.

A federal lawsuit has been filed over HB 2 that lists the state’s governor, attorney general, and other officials and cites that it violates federal laws that ban sex discrimination.

Georgia

In nearby Georgia, another highly contested bill has made waves.  This bill, HB 757, is one of those bills that claims to simply protect the religious liberty of faith-based groups.  It allows them to deny people service and employment based on their orientation or gender identity.  The bill passed both the House and the Senate, putting pressure on Governor Nathan Deal.  As more and more companies, including Disney, stated that they would pull out of the state should the bill passed, he announced on Monday the 28th that he would veto it.

In addition to Disney stating that they would stop filming in the state, companies such as SalesForce and Unilever both stated they would reconsider doing business in Georgia.  The NFL also said they would reconsider Atlanta as a possible Super Bowl host.

LGBT Seniors and Affordable Housing

Posted on April 11, 2016 in LGBT News

While it’s becoming easier to find nursing homes and assisted living facilities that are very welcoming to LGBT seniors, in some areas, it’s still difficult for the elderly to find places where they’re comfortable living out their golden years.  But a number of cities are seeing new properties going up that are aimed specifically for LGBT seniors.  One such project was recently approved in Sacramento, California.

The Project

There Are Many Affordable Housing Options Being Opened Up to LGBT SeniorsThe proposed housing project, which was recently approved by the city council, is the first in the area aimed specifically at the aging LGBT population.  It will be built on vacant lots that have had no development on them since the early 80s.  We completed, there will be 53 units ready to rent at affordable prices.

A Growing Trend

Projects like this one are a growing trend in the real estate business.  In Chicago, another LGBT-friendly community opened several years ago.  These communities are aimed at addressing several different issues.  The first is housing discrimination.  While a number of states and cities have passed ordinances banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, not all places have this protection in place.  It can also be difficult to prove that discrimination took place.

However, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s research does show that discrimination does exist: opposite-sex couples were clearly favored over same-sex couples in at least 16 percent of cases that were examined in a 2013 study.  Housing communities such as these remove the discrimination issue completely.  For seniors, it can be even worse—the Equal Rights Center did a study in 2014 that showed 52 percent of elderly LGBT people faced discrimination.

Another thing these senior communities address is the issue of acceptance.  In a number of conservative areas, even when LGBT seniors are able to move into one of these communities, they may feel unwelcomed by their neighbors or be slighted by the staff.

Income

The third issue addressed by these communities is income.  Many seniors are on a fixed income, yet senior retirement centers continue to become more and more expensive.  These communities are dedicated to keeping housing costs low so that seniors can afford to live there, buy groceries, and still have some money left over to enjoy their retirement with.

These LGBT community housing centers don’t discriminate on orientation—straight seniors can move into them, but everyone must meet specific income and age requirements.

Best LGBT Organizations in the U.S.

Posted on January 13, 2016 in LGBT News

When considering a move to a new state, some LGBT house hunters like to see what some of the top gay and lesbian organizations have to say about their new home.  There are some organizations out there that rank states, cities, and businesses by according to how welcoming they are.  These same groups may also be more visible in certain cities, which is great if you enjoy volunteering with a charitable organization.  Here are some of the best LGBT organizations in the U.S. that you might want to work with or listen to when selecting a new place to live.

The HRC

The LGBT Organizations Around the US and the World Are Accomplishing A Lot of Good for the LGBT CommunityThe Human Rights Campaign is perhaps the most visible LGBT group.  They do a lot of work for equality, including supporting LGBT candidates, homeless shelters, and more.  You’ll find that the HRC is always needing volunteers, but you’ll also find that they want you to pay yearly membership dues, and the group does spend a good amount of money on fundraising.  Still, they’re a very visible organization that does a lot of good.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project focuses on suicide prevention and crisis counseling.  It seems like we hear about another LGBT teen committing suicide every day, and that’s what the Trevor Project seeks to stop.  They operate a free crisis hotline staffed by trained counselors, plus a confidential online chat service for those who have questions about their sexuality or gender identity.  While the crisis hotline requires volunteers to be trained, the online service accepts volunteers.  If you live in one of the seven major cities that have a Trevor Ambassadors program, you can also volunteer that way.

The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute

This institute, also called the Victory Fund, provides funding for the LGBT leaders of the future.  The group operates a number of educational programs and after-school programs.  They have also partnered with President Obama before he took office to help him identify LGBT people who could fill key positions in his administration.  Best of all, the Institute is very careful about how they spend their money: less than ten cents of every dollar given to the Victory Fund is used for administrative costs.  They are by far the most efficient LGBT group as far as budgeting goes.

CenterLink

CenterLink helps support new and existing LGBT community centers.  They help new centers do the paperwork and find funding to get up and running, and they assist existing centers by providing training and spreading information about new programs and funding sources.  You can volunteer with CenterLink directly (especially if you live in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where they are headquartered), or you can work with a local LGBT community center that works with CenterLink.