San Francisco, CA Most Luxurious Gay Neighborhoods

San FranciscoSan Francisco is one of the gay capitals of North America and perhaps even the world, however the privilege in living in such a sophisticated and LGBT friendly metropolis can be quite expensive especially if you want to live right in the heart of downtown in the financial districts. This residential area is among the cluster of towers between Grant Avenue and Washington Street and the waterfront and includes landmarks such as The Transamerica Pyramid and the Embarcadero that is on the edge of the waterfront.  As of April 2013, an executive condo, home or townhouse (there are not that many single homes) in this glamorous place of steel and glass and winding waterfront walkway goes for the median sales price of $1,600,000.00.

Mission Bay is the second most luxurious neighborhood. This is a newer revamped neighborhood with warehouses and land redeveloped from the rail yard of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. This is a wealthy gay-friendly neighborhood with luxury condos and high-end restaurants. Many of the people who live here have very high annual incomes of over $120,000.00 and work in the city’s biotechnology industries.

The SOMA Neighborhood is also an amazing luxury enclave. SOMA is an acronym of South of Market and it contains many individual tight-knit communities including South Beach, Mission Bay and Rincon Hill. The neighborhood runs perpendicular to Market Street, which is south of the Financial District and towards the water.  This area’s economy is driven by many gay local businesses and it is the home of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and San Francisco’s rave, pun and independent movie scenes. This area has been developing since 2000 and it is now a paradise of revamped warehouse spaces, exhibition spaces, condos and apartments. This is also the location of San Francisco’s famous Folsom Street Fair and the Weird Street Faire. The median sales price of a home is $700,000.00.

Pacific Heights is one of the most well-known posh areas of San Francisco and there was a famous thriller starring Melanie Griffiths and Michael Keaton made with the same name in 1990.  The film gave viewers a great glimpse of the renovation boom going on at the time. It is located on top of a ridge that is sometimes called the Gold Coast. The hilltop neighborhood offers glorious vies of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz and the Palace of Fine Arts. The median sales price for a home in Pacific Heights Spring 2013 was $950,000.00.

If you are looking for a high-end home in a really great LGBT neighborhood in this grand and stylish city then it is best to consult with a resident gay realtor in San Francisco who can show you the properties available. To learn a little more about the area in general visit the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce website at www.sfchamber.com.

Gay Las Vegas – Focus on Paradise Palms Haute Mod Homes

BradyIf you are looking for the funkiest, well-preserved mid-century homes in America then try searching in the LGBT friendly neighborhood of Paradise Palms in Nevada. The reason this neighborhood is so special is because it has been spared the constant tearing down and rebuilding of property that goes on just outside downtown Las Vegas. This is one of the few areas in the United States where you can find true mid-century designs that “Mad Men” kind of feel. In fact the enthusiasm for retro homes has had many renovators taking homes that were degraded by eighties and nineties revisions and restoring them. This is done by painting the homes in their original avocado, lime and orange colors and by restoring architectural details such as carports and decorative screen wall.

The building shape is usually long with a wide rectangular front and flatter slightly gabled roof with a low thirty-degree peak. Some styles feature large windows that are sealed with glass blocks instead of the usual panes of glass. Many have tiny windows and a delicate asymmetry that is so serene and visually pleasing that they almost seem Japanese in style.

Some retro homes in Las Vegas do not need a lot of restoration and still have the original glass tile, marble countertops and sleek linear cabinetry that was part of the original design.  It is not uncommon to find homes that have been updated inside with modern bathrooms and finished basements. Some sellers have been making these homes more attractive by relandscaping the front of the home and installing cement screens and round bushes that are more reminiscent of styles of landscaping that were popular during the fifties and sixties.

When these super sophisticated desert homes were built Atomic age touches and car culture were in full swing. Fear of the nuclear bomb had many of these homes looking like reinforced bunkers with chunks of colorful granite embedded in granite as the facade for the home. In many Las Vegas mod homes the main entrance of the home is a large double or triple garage that juts forward from the home with the front door being recessed further back or even beside the house.  Tiny, tiny windows and elaborate wrought iron gates often screen the front facade of the entire house, supposedly for security.

One great feature of these Brady Bunch style homes is that many of them have sunken living rooms with railings that lead to a bar area. It is also common for these homes to have sliding glass doors that open onto a back yard with a wide lot.

The rarity of these homes, especially ones so intact, makes them great property investments plus these homes were built with large families in mind so they are quite spacious and well laid out. To find a Paradise Palms style of home in an LGBT friendly neighborhood in Las Vegas, Nevada contact a resident gay realtor. For more information about the many very cool areas to live in, economic development and the attractions in Las Vegas take a look at the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce website at www.lvchamber.com.

Does Your City Provide LGBT Workplace Protections?

A Broken Bargain Report CoverThe Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the Center for American Progress (CAP), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a comprehensive new report examining the myriad hardships and barriers facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers across the country. That report, called A Broken Bargain, puts together for the first time all available information about LGBT workplace issues. According to the report: If fairness and equality are part of America’s basic workplace bargain, this bargain is clearly broken for LGBT workers. This broken bargain, in turn, can create an untenable situation for employers.

One of the initial findings from this report unearths the unique demographic characteristics of LGBT workers in the United States. For example, the report finds that:

  • LGBT workers are racially and ethnically diverse. One in three LGBT respondents (33%) in a 2012 Gallup poll identified as people of color, compared to 27% of non-LGBT individuals.
  • LGBT workers are geographically dispersed. As many as 4.3 million LGBT people live in states with no state laws providing employment protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
  • LGBT workers in the United States are at a higher risk of poverty than other workers. Among the hardest-hit by the broken bargain for LGBT workers are those who are parents, together with their children.

In creating this comprehensive resource, researchers then examined the one-two-three punch that LGBT workers in America face: discrimination in employment, fewer benefits, and higher taxes, simply based on their LGBT status.

Workplace Discrimination: LGBT workers can put their job prospects at risk if they disclose that they are LGBT while looking for work. All too often, when a worker identifies as LGBT at work, they are subjected to a hostile work environment where they could hear anti-gay slurs and verbal ” and sometimes physical ” harassment. In addition to job and workplace discrimination, LGBT employees face wage disparities that make it harder for them to provide for themselves and their families. In 2012, a meta-analysis of 12 studies examining wage disparities among gay and bisexual men concluded that they earn 10 to 32 percent less than similarly-situated heterosexual men. This means if a gay or bisexual man had a salary of $30,000, his heterosexual counterpart could make approximately $10,000 more, which could be used to provide for himself and his family.

Fewer Benefits: LGBT workers still experience unequal benefits even if they are permanently employed. Under federal and most state laws, health coverage extended to married opposite-sex couples can still be denied to same-sex couples. Because the federal government does not legally recognize same-sex marriages under DOMA, LGBT employees do not have equal access to federally mandated unpaid leave to provide care for same-sex spouses. For example, a lesbian would not receive the same leave to provide for her ailing partner, while her heterosexual counterpart would receive the mandated leave to provide care to his wife. Unfortunately, this is one of many examples of how LGBT workers have fewer federal and state benefits.

More Taxes: When employers elect to offer family coverage to LGBT workers, most of them have to pay thousands of dollars in extra taxes on the value of the family coverage, although heterosexual workers get the same benefits tax-free. State marriage and parenting laws, combined with the federal government’s lack of recognition of same-sex couples, mean that LGBT workers pay more taxes because they cannot use the “married filing jointly” status. Consider an LGBT family with one working parent who has a taxable income of $60,000 a year and a stay-at-home parent who has no income. The inability to file a federal tax return as a married couple costs the LGBT family $2,902 in additional taxes.

Finally, A Broken Bargain includes a series of policy and legal recommendations to business leaders and politicians. If enacted, these recommendations would finally place LGBT workers on equal footing with their non-LGBT counterparts. Going forward, those working on advancing LGBT workplace equality will now have a seminal and comprehensive guide to turn to for research  and resources when making the case for laws like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would finally make it illegal in all 50 states to fire someone for being LGBT  it’s still legal in a majority of states.

With momentum building around marriage equality, it’s time that lawmakers start considering other aspects of LGBT equality as well, including workplace equality. Only by instituting the right laws and policies, such as those outlined in the report, can we fix the broken bargain for LGBT workers.

Preston Mitchum is a policy analyst for LGBT Progress.

Gay Neighborhoods ~ A Safe Haven From Fear and Discrimination

As President Obama designates June as National LGBT Pride Month, it is easy to see how the times have changed in just a few decades and how the discrimination of many is slowly changing for the better. For all of us, pride shouldn’t fall solely into a celebratory three or four-day weekend, let alone a designated month; rather, our pride should be celebrated daily and embraced as a part of our being.

This week, it is fitting that our celebrations will echo throughout some of the District’s most historic neighborhoods. Places like Dupont, Logan, U Street, and Shaw will erupt in the celebration of LGBT Pride. It is within some of these neighborhoods that the LGBT community of D.C. has called home.

This weekend, more than any other, it is important to recognize the significance of a neighborhood or place in shaping our lives. For gays, a neighborhood can translate to a safe haven from fear and discrimination. Our example here in D.C. isn’t the only one; hence, look at places like Boy’s Town in Chicago or Chelsea in New York City. These communities, and many more, have provided members of our community an escape to a place where our lives could be better understood, and we could truly be ourselves. The idea of place not only shapes where we come from, but also who we are.

Every community takes pride in its past, and our community has been shaped in many ways as a transition from impoverished places to vibrant, diverse communities that are leading the way in art and culture. You see, our communities are constructed with the aspiration that we can all achieve for the better if we come together and build on ideas that are beyond just ourselves. Like any other group of individuals, we all seek a safe, secure place to call home that we can interact in and shape for the better.

Each of us defines pride in unique ways. For some of us in our community, we express pride through our property. Homeownership gives us pride in celebrating our vibrant communities and acts as a medium to embrace the people we are. As home prices have steadily increased due to the influence of gay gentrification over several decades, we have vastly improved the standard of living and the beauty of the communities that many of us call home. Even now as the heart of the gay community in D.C. continues to move from its origins in Dupont Circle, we can take pride in rehabilitating a community for the better and continuing to do so in communities across the District.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Dupont is located in the heart of Dupont Circle at 1606 17th St., N.W., at Q Street. As a member of one of the great communities that the LGBT movement has built up, Coldwell Banker is honored to provide many of us with one of our proudest possessions; that is, our property that we call home.

As we celebrate Pride this weekend, let us remember that our pride is not limited to weekend celebrations, lavish parties or even the most fabulous parade float; rather, our pride is celebrated every day without hesitation through our community, actions and love.

Here’s to pride; here’s to us.

By KEVIN McDUFFIE & TIM SAVOY

Rochester New York – Gay Lifestyle in the City of Prosperity

RochesterRochester is a large city of 210,565 people that is now known has a major center for the development of technology, medical research and higher education. Big corporations like Kodak, Bausch & Lomb and Xerox have major facilities here.  The schools here are rated as being some of the best in the country and it has been called the third best place in America to raise a family by Forbes magazine in 2010. This lovely city, located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario  also has a low jobless rate and a median housing price of $83,186.

At the south end of the city are some gorgeous cliffs that has created a line of hills and this is where the well-heeled live in the tony neighborhoods of Highland park Pinnacle Hill and Cobb’s lake. The Genesee River with its beautiful waterfalls and gorges is also nearby making this a healthy, hike-oriented city to live in as well. The city also enjoys four distinct seasons with a colder winter and a humid summer.

Equally classy and pricey is the Upper Monroe neighborhood, which consists of seventeen streets that weave around a beautiful woodland called Cobbs Hill Park. This is a great place for homeowners who are wall protected in every way by The Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association that is dedicated to improving home values n the neighborhood.

If you are wealthy then you might want to consider buying a home in the lake front community of Charlotte, which borders on Lake Ontario. It is home to Charlotte Beach, which is still swimmable, and Pier 45 that boasts many fashionable shops, grocers and restaurants.

A prime gay area in the city is the culturally and ethnically diverse 19th Ward that includes a posh new development full of shiny new condos called “Brooks Landing.”  The homes here were built in the sixties and very upper class with leaded glass, hardwood floors, gardens, wide driveways and open porches.

A less expensive area of town is Corn Hill, which is considered to be one of the city’s best locations for artists and LGBT individuals to settle down. This is one of the nation’s best preserved Victorian neighborhoods. The community is tight and runs several art ad musical festivals in the area every year.

The East End also has a sizeable number of gay residents and it is also where you will find all of the LGBT friendly cafes and nightlife. There is also a second-run film theater and many interesting boutiques and shops in this vibrant part of the city.

Housing prices are generally affordable in beautiful and progressive town that is known for its arts, research and intelligence. It is a good idea to consult with a gay realtor who resides in Rochester to find the best neighborhood for you to live in. For more information about the beaches, parks, trails, theater, music venues and other great things about Rochester then it is a good idea to check out the Visit Rochester site at www.visitrochester.com.

San Diego’s Vision ~ A Bike Mecca City

Gay Friendly San Diego is about to become “Bike Friendly San Diego” according to a story out today.

Fundamental changes in how our region moves to work, live and play are progressing fast in San Diego. Change like this is hard to come by, but we knew citizens and leaders would eventually stand together, working on solutions to the ailing public health, unstable local economies, and increasing costs of resources.

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition loves the direction San Diego is heading, with the inclusion Bikeof bicycling as one solution to improve the quality of life for all San Diegans.

We envision San Diego as the most bicycle-friendly region in the world. Far to go? Certainly. This vision requires positive adjustments to our culture, neighborhoods, and streets, re-designing them to foster bicycling as an everyday activity for transportation and recreation.

Our region can continue to create a comprehensive approach to transportation policy and design, regarding the bicycle as a genuine mode of transportation, removing obstacles and empowering all people to choose to ride whenever and wherever they like. Our vision simply includes the bicycle as one piece of the comprehensive transportation pie.

With this vision, San Diego County will have a connected network of safe, convenient bike facilities and proper, secure, end-of-trip accommodations for people who ride. Constant encouragement of good roadway behaviors through education programs will also foster understanding and respect for all modes of transportation. Our vision includes all people of ethnic, economic and cultural diversity.

The great news is our vision is on its way to fruition. From fundraising records, to expansion of community advocacy groups, the Bicycle Coalition continued its all-inclusive presence in San Diego this past year, all while moving forward with new initiatives and a new mission: to advocate for and protect the rights of all people who ride bicycles.

Local leaders at all levels and in all communities have stepped up to support cycling initiatives, including the City of San Diego’s new mayor, who pledged to make the city better for cyclists and launched CicloSDias, the city’s first open streets event happening in August.

To continue these great successes, we encourage our businesses, leaders and advocates to continue working hard to support comprehensive transportation progress. It’s well known that active transportation like bicycling contributes to improved public health, local economies and more efficient use of natural resources. All of these are good for a vibrant San Diego for all people.

May 1 saw the start of National Bike Month in San Diego and across the U.S. It’s a perfect opportunity to participate in Bike to Work Day on May 17, or head to South Park and Balboa Park for Bike Local Sunday and CicloSDias Mini on May 19.

Just getting your family or friends together to take a ride along San Diego Bay’s miles of walking and biking paths can help strengthen the movement. So, let’s go for a ride.

San Diego Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for and protects the rights of all people who ride bicycles. They promote bicycling as a mainstream, safe and enjoyable form of transportation and recreation. For more information, go to sdcbc.org.

By Andy Hanshaw, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition executive director This post originally appeared HERE in San Diego Uptown News

Vancouver BC – Emerging Gay Friendly Neighborhoods

The gay neighborhood in Canada’s Vancouver, British Columbia is in the west end of the city ~ the gay “strip” is anchored off of Davie Street which is a main street that stretches from Granville to Jarvis Street. This area is populated with many gay-friendly businesses as well as most of the famous gay hotspots in the city including Celebrities, Numbers, Pumpjak Pub, Fountainhead Pub, Numbers, Score, 1181 Lounge and Score.  There are also many gay-friendly Bed and Breakfasts that you can stay in while searching for gay real estate in Vancouver.

Vancouver’s gay neighborhood is exceptionally central to everywhere you might want to go in Vancouver. If you stroll a bit north on Davies Street you end up at English Bay and Sunset beach and the bustling business street of Robson and the artsy area of Yaletown are also just a short walk away.  At the end of Davie Street are Granville Island and the Kitsalano neighborhood.

The city of Vancouver has really changed in the last decade and it is also a city whose population is exploding. This has led to the emergence of several new neighborhoods that are being gentrified and becoming very hip, gay-positive and artsy neighborhoods.

One of these is Vancouver’s Chinatown, which has experienced a boom in urban development in the past ten years.  Famous old Chinese restaurants are interspersed with brand new art galleries and arts and crafts studios. The area also has many fun bars including The Union, The Electric Owl and the Jimmy Hendrix Shrine. On the main street and side streets of this neighborhood are many refurbished little Victorians and brand new loft spaces.

Another up and coming neighborhood in Vancouver used to actually be called “Junkie Central.”  Now it is boasting the brand new community moniker of Hastings Sunrise. Sometimes this area is also called the East Village. The center of the neighborhood is the ancient Waldorf Hotel with its Tiki Lounge, which has been reinvented to be a creative space complete with art shows, performance art and live bands. This area of Vancouver is where it is still possible to buy a whole small building and turn it into the space you life. The architecture is mainly Victorian to mid-fifties industrial in flair.

South Slope, also known as South Hill is a multi-ethnic area in south east Vancouver where there is still a great deal of affordable housing. It still has a lot of old world charm and the neighborhood has many hole-in-the-wall restaurants offering cuisine from Tibet, China, Japan, India and the Philippines.

Crosstown is also a desirable area of Vancouver to live. This is a neighborhood that runs parallel between the ultra-expensive Gastown neighborhood that is along the waterfront and Chinatown. This area is a mix of affordable lofts, Victorians and mid-century homes.

Urban development is happening fast in the hip city of Vancouver so to get the best deal it is highly recommended you take advantage of the good advice of a resident Vancouver gay realtor to help show you around and find the best property.

Gay Realtor San Diego – Neighborhoods & Housing

If you are looking for a LGBT-friendly neighborhood then gay realtor San Diego highly recommends that you start searching in the area of Hillcrest. This well-kept and trendy area is bordered by University Heights and Mission Hills to the North, Bankers Hill and Balboa Park to the south and North Park to the East. The pricier west part of the neighborhood is on a high ridge that boasts spectacular views of San Diego Bay.

One of the benefits of living here is that it is like a genteel small town but you can still enjoy all the perks of living in a huge bustling metropolis.  The weather is marvelous all year round with every day being a sunny one. It is a lovely, walk able area with quick access to downtown San Diego via State Route 163.

It is an area known for its tolerance and acceptance and boasts many LGBT-friendly restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs. It is also a very exciting place to live if you love the arts and culture.  It is the part of San Diego where the first Gay Pride Parade was held in 1975 and the Center for Social Services initially founded in 1980 still exists today as the LGBT Center.

Hillcrest started out as much older uptown neighborhood that consisted of Craftsmen homes and mid-century modern designs.  Since its establishment as a community in the seventies as a community for gays and lesbians most of those homes have been renovated.

This median sales price for a home in the Hillcrest Neighborhood in San Diego was  $425,000.00 which represents an appreciation of house values in the area of 3.7%. The average price per square foot for homes in Hillcrest was $391 in the January to April quarter (as of April 29, 2013). According to Trulio the average listing price for homes in this neighborhood from January 13th to march 13th, 2013 was $522,048.00 (as of April 29, 2013)

Hillcrest is also bordered by very desirable neighborhoods to live in — including Mission Hill, Bankers Hill, Park West and University Heights. All of these areas are part of the Uptown community planning area of the City of San Diego. Mission Hills is one of the pricier areas to live in because it is at the top of hill but it is very close to the thriving gay community in Hillcrest.  It is near the medical campus of the University of San Diego, which helps to contribute to the more socially aware and progressive attitude of the area.  The healthcare system is excellent.

Hillcrest and the neighborhoods that border it are mostly suitable for mature professionals. Many of the yards are larger and boast gorgeous mature trees and gardens.  The area, which has a dense population, is also known for having a high “meet and greet” factor. It is a historically respectful caf© society that is also devoted to preserving the original Spanish mission style architecture in the area.  Gay realtors San Diego now realize why this particular are is often called the city’s “hippest community.”

For additional information about the Hillcrest area and San Diego in general go to www.sdchamber.org.