The Welcoming Cities of New York

When people think of moving to New York, the first city that pops into mind is New York City. While it’s the largest and most populous city in the state, its cost of living may be much too high for some people. NYC is very welcoming and has many LGBT people living in it, of course, but it may not be right for you. If you’re moving to New York and want to find a place where you won’t feel like an outsider, but also won’t feel as if you’re always on the edge of being broke, here are a few suggestions.

Buffalo

The Welcoming Cities of New YorkBuffalo is only an hour away from Canada and Niagara Falls, making it a great location for those who may want to visit our neighbor to the north. Buffalo is home to the Pride Center of Western New York, which offers a good number of different programs and events throughout the year. The city also hosts Buffalo Pride Fest every year. The city has a growing arts scene, too. Your gay or lesbian real estate agent will be able to point you to an area of Buffalo that’s quite affordable, too.

Ithica

Ithica is home to two major educational institutions: Ithaca College and Cornell University. That means it’s the definition of a college town. This rural area is fairly quiet in places, and its home to a number of LGBT bars and other businesses. Farmer’s markets, food festivals, and other food-related events are fairly popular here, too. If you love outdoors, you’ll enjoy spending time hiking in the nearby hills and viewing the 100-plus waterfalls that are spread throughout the area.

Albany

Albany is the capital of the state, and it’s also home to the U.S.’s very first LGBT community center. That adds a bit of history to the city, and today, Albany continues to show its support to the LGBT community. It has a very active pride group that hosts Capital Pride every year. If you’d like to try something a little different, there’s the Big Gay Cruise down the Hudson River. That’s a lot of fun for those looking to network with others in the LGBT community.

Rochester

Rochester is the third-largest city in New York, and it’s also home to a couple of great universities. The city hosts the Rochester Pride festival every year, plus Rochester hosts the ImageOut LGBT film festival every year. If you’re looking for a larger city to call home, Rochester may be perfect.

By the Numbers – Best and Worst Places for LGBT Individuals in 2017

While many cities and states have become more welcoming of LGBT individuals over the years, there are still some places where lawmakers haven’t provided any protections for these people. Some, such as Texas, have actively worked to pass laws that restrict LGBT people. For example, Texas recently passed a law that allows child welfare organizations to refuse couples based on religious beliefs. But how rare is this? These numbers will help shed light onto the current LGBT situation in mid-2017.

Differences in States and Cities

By the Numbers – Best and Worst Places for LGBT Individuals in 2017First, it’s important to note that even when one state has a specific law regarding LGBT individuals, some cities within that state may actually offer many protections and be very welcoming. You do need to do some research before deciding where you’re going to move. Gay and lesbian real estate agents can help you learn more about any potential place to live.

Pro-LGBT Verses Anti-LGBT

When you compare states that have laws protecting the LGBT community verses those that don’t, it can be difficult to tell exactly how many are pro and how many are con. That’s because some have laws protecting things such as housing and employment, while others may have laws protecting adoption and employee benefits. Some states may even have laws, such as the one in Texas, that allows adoption agencies to discriminate, but then turn around and have strong hate crime laws.

However, overall, you can say that the states on the west coast and those in the northeast tend to have more protective laws than those in the south and Midwest, which tend to have more anti-LGBT laws in place. This isn’t always true, but it is something to keep in mind.

Hate Crime Laws

When it comes to hate crime laws, the Human Rights Campaign lists 20 states that do not have hate crime laws that specifically protect the LGBT community. Again, these are mainly in the south, but a cluster of states in the northern part of the state, including Montana, North Dakota, and Idaho, also do not have hate crime laws that address the LGBT community. Then there’s Texas and Tennessee, both of which most people would consider as more conservative, which do.

Discrimination

There are 29 different states with no laws preventing establishments from engaging in discrimination. The establishments in these states are free to refuse service to LGBT individuals. In 28 states, there are no protections for employment, meaning LGBT workers can be fired simply because of their sexual or gender preference.

Living the LGBT Life in Connecticut

Thinking about moving to the northeast? Connecticut is one of the most beautiful states in New England, and it’s also one of the friendliest towards the LGBT community. The state was the second in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, so that should tell you right off that you’ll be quite welcome there. There are also hate crime laws that protect people on the basis of sexual and gender identity, employment protection laws, and more. Same-sex partners can enjoy full state employee benefits, too. While these protections are statewide, there are still some cities that stand out as amazing places for those in the LGBT community to live. Here are a few of these places.

New Haven

Living the LGBT Life in ConnecticutNew Haven is home to Yale University, and that means this city is full of college students during the school year. It also means it’s an incredibly welcoming place to live. The city’s parks are gorgeous, while the harbor provides a great backdrop to many of the events in New Haven. Many in the LGBT community live near Wooster Square, which is also the city’s “Little Italy.” This part of the city features a number of art studios and small boutiques. The city hosts a large pride festival and other LGBT-friendly events. Housing is also quite affordable.

West Hartford

West Hartford is its own city, but many consider it a large suburb of Hartford. It’s a quiet, residential area where the median age is older than many locations. The crime rate here is incredibly low, while the school system is considered one of the best in the state. Like New Haven, you’ll find a number of gay and lesbian real estate agents here to point you to new homes.

South Norwalk

South Norwalk is known as a fairly up and coming city in Connecticut. It has a thriving LGBT community thanks in part to the many corporations that have their headquarters there. Xerox, Priceline, Pepperidge Farms, and Diageo all have their headquarters here. Homes in South Norwalk aren’t cheap, but they’re lower than what you’d find in some of the other large cities in New England.

Westport

Finally, there’s Westport. This is another city that’s really liberal. Crime is low, and while a lot of celebrities have lived in Westport or have vacation homes here, you’ll still find that homes are fairly affordable.

Ready to move to Connecticut? These cities are definitely great places to start your search for your new home!

Where to Live in New Mexico

New Mexico: the Land of Enchantment. The American Southwest is a gorgeous setting, and it’s a great place for you to start your new life. Moving to New Mexico for work, school, retirement, or simply for a change of scenery can be a big change. If you’re moving for work or school, you may not have an option as to where you live. But if you get to decide where you’re moving and are a member of the LGBT community, you may want to find a city that’s going to be welcoming.

Santa Fe

Where to Live in New MexicoSanta Fe is the capital of New Mexico, and it’s rated as one of the cities with the highest quality of life overall. The city hosts its annual Pride Parade every September, and it’s attended by people from around the state. In addition to having a thriving LGBT community, Santa Fe is also known for its unique architecture, art galleries, and other boutique stores. Home prices are fairly affordable, too.

Albuquerque

The second major city in New Mexico and the largest in population, Albuquerque is known for its amazing arts culture. The city is also home to a number of museums and other amenities. Its school system is also surprisingly good, and classes have a low student to teacher ratio. However, home prices are fairly high, so be ready to pay a bit more for your housing here.

The LGBT community in Albuquerque is thriving, which should come as no surprise. The city hosts its own pride festival every year, and many visit the city even when it’s not Pride time.

Hobbs

But both Albuquerque and Santa Fe are fairly large cities. Hobbs, on the other hand, is a bit smaller. If you’d rather have that small-town feel, it might be a better fit for you. The city has a very low unemployment rate, plus it features some of the best little coffee shops, restaurants, and boutique shops around. The city is very welcoming, and there are a number of LGBT families and individuals making their lives here.

Other Great Places to Live

There are several other great cities in New Mexico you might consider if you’re set on moving to the state. Grants, Eunice, and Corrales are all good options, as are Socorro and Bernalillo. No matter where you plan to live, contact a gay or lesbian real estate agent first to assist you in finding the home that best fits your needs and budget.

Should You Look Outside the Gayborhood?

If you’re considering moving to a city that has a gayborhood, should you only consider living in that area? There are some LGBT people who love having neighbors who are a part of the community, while there are others who don’t really care one way or another. While living in a neighborhood that is predominantly home to LGBT individuals and families does have its advantages, there are also reasons why you shouldn’t immediately discount the rest of the city. Here are some reasons why you might want to look outside of the gayborhood.

Housing Prices May Be Lower

Should You Look Outside the GayborhoodGentrification has led to many gay communities becoming unaffordable to some. If you’re only looking in the gay ghetto, you may discover that you’re going to have to pay a little more for your home than you might want to. Looking at other neighborhoods can save you a lot of money, especially if the style or size of the home you’re looking for isn’t available in the predominantly gay area.

Your Commute Could be Less

The gay neighborhood in the city you’re moving to might be two or three times longer from the gay neighborhood. If you don’t want to drive that far, you may want to avoid the gay neighborhood. Some of these areas are a part of the downtown area, and driving in and out of there can be difficult in the mornings due to increased traffic.

Consider the School District

Many people would say that moving into the LGBT district is a plus as far as schools go. The school that serves that neighborhood is more likely to have students with LGBT parents and teachers who are not likely to discriminate. However, if you have a particular school in mind for your kids, you may want to live in that school district instead of trying to transfer.

Where Do You Want to Live?

Just because you identify as being an LGBT individual doesn’t mean that you have to live near other LGBT individuals and families. If you find an amazing home that you fall in love with and the only reason you may not want to buy it is because it’s not in the LGBT neighborhood, don’t let that hold you back. Live where you want to live, and don’t feel like you have to live in one of these neighborhoods. In fact, some cities don’t have gayborhoods, and they’re none the worse for it.

Does South Carolina Have Any Welcoming LGBT Neighborhoods?

Some in the LGBT community may think twice before moving to South Carolina, but while it’s true the state does have a well-deserved reputation for being fairly conservative, it’s also true that there are places with thriving LGBT communities, too. There are actually some great cities that welcome LGBT families and individuals with open arms. If you’re headed to this state, here are some of the places you should consider making your home in.

Charleston

Does South Carolina Have Any Welcoming LGBT NeighborhoodsOne place to start your search for a great home is in Charleston. This city is home to some 130,000 people, and its LGBT community is fairly strong. The city has anti-discrimination laws that protect employment rights, plus the city’s crime rate is quite low. Charleston homes feature great historic architecture that any gay or lesbian real estate agent is sure to point out. Another bonus is the economy, which is going very strong thanks to the IT industry.

Rock Hill

Rock Hill is a suburb of Charlotte, and it offers everything you’d want from a small town. Since it’s only about 20 minutes from Charlotte, though, you have access to all the large city has to offer. Rock Hill is known for having a very large LGBT community—in fact, it’s one of the largest in the south. With many festivals, outdoor activities, and more, Rock Hill is a great option, especially for those seeking lower home prices than what Charlotte offers.

Spartanburg

For those who love the nightlife, Spartanburg has it all. Nightclubs, live music, theme parties, and everything else you might want. Spartanburg is also fairly small, with only about 37,000 people living there. It’s connected to Upstate Pride SC, though, so it has a great LGBT community. The historic district here has many different great homes ranging from small bungalows to large houses.

Anderson

Anderson, also called the Electric City, features one of the first hydroelectric plants to be built in the U.S. If that’s not enough to make you move there (and honestly, it probably isn’t!), the city is also known for its outstanding school system. LGBT parents may be especially interested in the many private school systems in Anderson. The city is also home to more than 20 international companies and several hundred manufacturers, so there are many jobs here.

These are just a few of the amazing cities in South Carolina. Don’t let the state’s reputation drive you away—there are some great places to live here.

Where Are LGBT Individuals Vacationing?

Want to know where some of the best places to live are for members of the LGBT community? One tip is to check out where they’re vacationing. While it’s not always true, some gay and lesbian real estate agents have found that cities with a growing LGBT tourism industry do tend to be much more open and welcoming. No one wants to vacation in a city where they’re going to be looked down on because of their sexual orientation. Some people get enough of that in their day-to-day lives—they don’t want to deal with it on vacation, too. So where are LGBT people spending their vacations in 2017? Here are some of the top spots.

Palm Springs

Where Are LGBT Individuals VacationingCalifornia is always a welcoming destination for LGBT people, so it should be a surprise that Palm Springs is on the list. What is interesting is that it’s the California city of choice this year, not San Francisco. There was a time when Palm Springs seemed played out – people were bored of it. Then the Coachella Music and Arts Festival moved in and brought the crowds back. What’s great for those looking to buy a house is that Palm Springs is just as welcoming as San Francisco or LA but is more affordable. It’s still fairly pricy, of course, but if you live on the outskirts of the city, you’ll find prices aren’t as bad.

Denver, Boulder, and Other Cities in Colorado

The entire state of Colorado has become very open and relaxed. In fact, few people realize that a county clerk in the state actually issued some marriage licenses to same-sex couples back in 1975! The state has become known for its laid back, live and let live attitude that prevails in most of the larger cities. It’s also seen in vacation towns such as Telluride and Aspen. Living in those areas may not be for everyone. The huge influx of visitors during the tourism season is a lot to handle. However, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and other locations may fit all of your needs.

Orlando

Orlando, Florida, is often on lists of the best LGBT areas to visit or live in. Last year, the city made headlines with the tragic shooting at the Pulse Nightclub. This mass shooting was the worst in the country’s history. Despite this, Orlando hasn’t lost its status as one of the best places for LGBT people to visit or live. In fact, the community became even stronger after the tragedy. Orlando offers a lot to its residents, and in some parts of the city, you’ll hardly ever see tourists.

The LGBT Life in Chicago

Life in Illinois can be very rewarding. The state has a very diverse population, and there are many cities here that are very welcoming to members of the LGBT community. Few people realize that Illinois is actually the sixth-most populous state in the country, which means a lot of people are packed into what is a fairly small area. While most of these people live in or around Chicago, there are some smaller suburbs and neighborhoods that might be a great fit for you. If you’re looking for a place to live in this state that ranks highly with the LGBT community, here are a few places to consider.

Boystown

The LGBT Life in ChicagoThe large metropolis of Chicago is to the Midwest what New York City and LA are to the coasts. You’ll find just about anything here, including many jobs and educational opportunities. You’ll also find Boystown, the oldest official gayborhood. Your gay or lesbian real estate agent can fill you in on the history of this unique area. If you want a gay community that is active year round, not just at pride time, you’ll find that here. There are a number of different activities held throughout the year. The population is quite diverse, too, but as the name would suggest, Boystown is more of a mecca for gay men than it is for lesbians.

Andersonville

For gay women, Andersonville is the lesbian answer to Boystown. It’s actually another neighborhood in Chicago, and it’s only a few miles from Boystown. This area was originally home to a large number of Swedish immigrants, and their influence remains in the architecture and food. The area is also home to a great bookstore and many other small businesses.

Evanston

The college town of Evanston is one of Chicago’s suburbs, so it’s not as densely populated. Here you’ll find Northwestern University, which means the population of the area tends to increase during the school year. The LGBT population, though, does remain fairly steady throughout the year. Evanston may be ideal for those who want to remain close to all the Chicago metro area has to offer but don’t want to live in the larger city.

Oak Park

Another smaller town to the west of Chicago, Oak Park is a quiet and friendly space. It’s known for its arts scene, and you’ll find a number of boutique galleries and other small businesses here. The population is fairly eclectic, so you’ll fit in, no matter what your lifestyle.

The Most LGBT Friendly Cities in Nebraska

Nebraska may not necessarily be considered one of the most exciting states, but it does have its charms. The state sits on the Great Plains and is home to a number of different Native American tribes. Nebraska is split into two areas: The Great Plains and the Dissected Till Plains. The Great Plains area covers the western part of Nebraska and is home to many ranches and agricultural centers. The eastern part of the state is classified as the Dissected Till Plains and is categorized by its rolling hills. The larger cities in the state, including Lincoln and Omaha, are located here.

If you’re moving to Nebraska, where might you want your gay or lesbian real estate agent to take you? There are a number of different cities that are welcoming to LGBT individuals and families. According to a recent census, there are almost 130,000 LGBT families in the state. That puts Nebraska as the 36th gayest state. While it’s in the lower half, some might find it surprising that Nebraska is ranked so highly. A survey of these households has determined the most LGBT friendly cities in the state.

Omaha

The Most LGBT Friendly Cities in NebraskaThe largest city in Nebraska, Omaha sits on the Missouri River. It’s the center of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area that includes the nearby city of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The greater Omaha area is home to more than 1.3 million people. There are plenty of gorgeous homes that have a nice view of the Missouri River, but those are the more expensive properties. The suburbs have a number of much more affordable homes.

Lincoln

The capital city of the state, Lincoln is the second-largest city and the anchor of the Lincoln Metro Area. It’s home to the University of Nebraska, which attracts a good number of students to the area. Because of this, there is a good sized LGBT community centered around the university area. As far as homes go, the city is a mixture of new developments and older, historic homes. The downtown area is primarily older houses, while the eastern and southern parts of Lincoln are more modern.

Valentine

While it’s a fairly small town, Valentine holds the record for the highest percentage of LGBT households. There are less than 3,000 people living in the town, but more than one percent of its citizens identify as LGBT. If you want that small town atmosphere, this is where to go. Of course, you will have to make a dive to one of the larger nearby cities for some necessities, but for some, it’s worth it.

Which Idaho Cities Are the Most Welcoming?

Idaho may not sound like a very appealing place for anyone to move to, but the state has much more to offer than just the potatoes it’s famous for. Idaho has acres of gorgeous landscape that practically glows under some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see. With great housing costs, a lot of outdoor activities, and some welcoming towns, you won’t find a better place for peace and quiet than Idaho. Of course, Idaho does have its pockets of conservative people, but many of the towns and cities here are pushing for equality and protection for all. Here are a few of these great places to live.

Boise

Which Idaho Cities Are the Most WelcomingThere’s no better place to start the discussion than with Boise, the capital of the state. It’s the most populous city in Idaho, too, with a little over 200,000 residents. Boise is also one of the two central cities of the Boise-Nampa metro area, so living there puts you at the center of everything Boise, Nampa, Meridian, and the other cities in the area have to offer.

Boise was named the 12th city on the Advocate’s “Queerest Cities in America” ranking, so you know it offers a lot to the LGBT community. You’ll find everything from the International Gay Rodeo Association to a huge pride celebration in Boise. The first gay bar in Idaho opened in the city in 1976, and since then, the LGBT community has only grown. In 2012, Boise passed anti-discrimination policies, making it one of the first cities in Idaho to do so.

Pocatello

Located in the southern part of the state, Pocatello is another very friendly town in Idaho. It’s much smaller than Boise, but it still ranks #2 on the list of Best Towns in Idaho for LGBT rights and freedoms. The town passed its own anti-discrimination laws right after Boise, and the majority of the town’s residents voted to keep those laws in place when they were challenged.

Lewiston

The third city on our list is Lewiston. It’s located in what’s called the state’s Banana Belt. This area’s unique geography guarantees that it’s fairly warm all year round, even while other parts of the state are freezing. This means it’s perfect for those who love doing activities outdoors. Golfing, sports, hiking, and many other activities are found year-round in Lewiston, plus the city is known for being a haven for LGBT individuals and families. The nearby town of Clarkston, Washington, is also known for having a great LGBT reputation.