Category Archives: Gay Marriage

The History of the Gay Village

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, you may feel more comfortable living around other individuals, couples, and families who are also a part of the community. This often means moving into an area that has become known as a gay village, gayborhood, or gay ghetto. While you’re working with a gay or lesbian real estate professional to find your perfect home in one of these neighborhoods, you may find it odd that so many LGBTQ people decided to live together. Where did these gay neighborhoods come from?

The Gay Village Started in Germany

The History of the Gay VillageThe first neighborhood to be recognized as a gay village was in Berlin. The neighborhood of Schoneberg became popular with LGBTQ homeowners during the 1920s, several decades before the idea of the gay village even existed. Most LGBTQ people gathered in bars rather than certain neighborhoods.

In the U.S., the gay village didn’t become a recognized concept until the late 1960s and 70s. Thanks to the Stonewall Rebellion in 1965, the LGBTQ community became more recognized, leading to the appearance of more gay neighborhoods across the country. The shift from bar to community was a major transition for the LGBTQ community and helped to show that its members were just like anyone else—neighbors, co-workers, and families.

What Makes a Gay Village?

What exactly is a gay village, though? Is it simply a neighborhood where a certain percentage of homeowners or renters identify as LGBTQ? For some, that is enough of a definition. Most neighborhoods do have more identifying characteristics, though. Originally, gay ghettos were run-down areas that were fairly cheap. These parts of town were considered areas where “disreputable” people lived. Many LGBTQ people were forced to move to these areas due to threats of violence and intolerance in the more affluent parts of town.

Because many of these LGBTQ homeowners took care of their homes, many gay villages went through gentrification. Today, these older historic homes are often worth a lot of money. In Chelsea, New York, for example, home prices have dramatically increased since the area became a gay neighborhood in the 1990s. The same is true with areas such as Andersonville, Chicago; South End, Boston; and West Hollywood.

The Modern Gay Village

Fortunately for the LGBTQ community, there’s no longer as much antagonism as there once was. Today, while there is still some persecution towards LGBTQ individuals and families, it’s not as wide-spread, and fewer people are finding themselves run out of a neighborhood because of who they’re in love with. Because of this, there aren’t many new gay neighborhoods appearing. The gay village isn’t likely to vanish overnight, but there is, thankfully, less of a need for them.

Federal Law and LGBTQ Housing Discrimination

One of the worst feelings is being discriminated against. Sometimes it’s obvious. You know right away that someone isn’t treating you fairly simply because you identify as LGBTQ. Other times, it’s much more subtle. This can almost be worse than obvious discrimination because you’re left wondering if it’s actually happening or if you’re just imaging it. When it comes to housing, there are laws in place to protect you against discrimination. It’s important that you know these laws and your rights, so you understand how to battle discrimination if it affects you.

The Fair Housing Act

Federal Law and LGBTQ Housing DiscriminationThe Federal Fair Housing Act is the single legal document you need to understand when it comes to housing discrimination. This Act states that no one can be discriminated against based on color, race, sex, religion, national origin, familial status, or disability. While that doesn’t specifically say anything about gender identity or sexual orientation, the Justice Department has gone on record as stating that “sex” does include discrimination against transgender buyers and renters.

In addition to the Justice Department expanding this definition, the Housing and Urban Development department has also gone on record stating that the Act protects you from being discriminated against for “gender nonconformity.” This means that if you are biologically male, but choose to dress feminine, you cannot be discriminated against for not fitting the male stereotype.

Because the Act does mention familial status, many see it as protecting married LGBTQ couples or those who have chosen not to get married but want to live together. As with many laws, the way the Federal Fair Housing Act protects LGBTQ individuals and couples is still being tested and determined.

State Protections

Unfortunately, there aren’t sweeping state laws that protect LGBTQ homebuyers. Various states offer different protections. Some offer next to none, while others have passed legislation fully protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. Some states protect people based on sexual orientation, but not on gender identification. Then there are city ordinances that protect only those who live within certain metro areas. If you believe you’re dealing with discrimination in housing, it’s important to learn how your state and city offer protections. Speaking to an experienced legal expert is recommended.

Avoiding Discrimination

If you want to avoid discrimination in your search for the perfect home, one way of doing so is to use a gay or lesbian real estate agent. These agents understand what it’s like to be the target of discrimination and will go out of their way to make certain you’re treated fairly.

Should You Come Out to Your Real Estate Agent?

When buying a house as a member of the LGBTQ community, do you have to come out to your real estate agent? Should it matter what your orientation is or if your agent knows? It shouldn’t matter, although it does leave you open to discrimination, especially if you’re not working with a gay or lesbian agent. However, whether or not you do come out is up to you.

If You’re Married, It’s Important

Should You Come Out to Your Real Estate AgentIf you’re married, you’ll have to disclose that information when you’re applying for a mortgage. You’ll also want to have both of your names on the deed to the property. This means that your agent will need to know about your relationship. You’ll also have to come out to your lender and to the title company. The easy part about this is that you’ll “come out” in your paperwork. You don’t need to have any kind of conversation with anyone—they will see that you’re married on the loan information.

It’s Helpful in Some Situations

It can be helpful for your real estate agent to know that you’re looking for homes in the gay district or that are near LGBTQ businesses. Knowing that you’re a part of the community also means that your agent will know to show you homes in more accepting neighborhoods rather than those that tend to lean more conservative. Every piece of information you can give your agent will help them narrow the search and find homes that are absolutely perfect for you and your family.

It Depends on the Area

Of course, some cities and states are more conservative and less welcoming than others. If you’re looking for a home in one of these areas, you may not want to immediately come out to your agent. Even if you’re looking at homes with your partner, your agent may not immediately assume that you’re together. Some agents simply won’t care either way, and even those who aren’t supportive of the LGBTQ community will often be professionals. That’s not to say discrimination doesn’t exist—it does—but don’t assume that you will automatically be discriminated against.

If you’re single, there’s really no reason to say anything to your agent unless you want to. The same goes if you’re in a relationship, although your behavior towards your partner may give it away. If you’re at all concerned about being the victim of discrimination, find a gay or lesbian real estate agent. They’re more common than you might think.

Posted on September 20, 2018 in Gay and Lesbian, Gay Marriage, Gay Realtors, Realtors

What to Look for in a Gayborhood

If you’re ready to talk to a gay or lesbian real estate agent about moving into a gayborhood, you may be so focused on the overall area that you don’t stop and consider other aspects of where you’re moving to. Yes, it can be great being surrounded by other LGBTQ neighbors, but sometimes, a gay village has too many downsides to truly be the right place for you to move. Here are a few factors you should always take into consideration before you move to one of these neighborhoods.

Is it Conveniently Located?

What to Look for in a GayborhoodGay districts are often located in great parts of the city, but sometimes those locations simply aren’t that convenient for you. If you have to commute 30 minutes or aren’t in the right school district, you may need to weigh living in a gay neighborhood against being located closer to work or school. Even if you think the commute won’t be that bad, you may find yourself considering another move in a few years because you’re tired of it.

What Are Your Neighbors Like?

Many people love the idea of living near other LGBTQ individuals and families, but don’t stop and consider what their neighbors are really like. For example, some people aren’t comfortable or don’t see the need to make a big deal out of their sexuality. If you’re one of these people, are you really going to like living next to someone who has rainbow flags hung everywhere? If you like living on a quiet street, will you want to be near people who throw dinner parties or come home late at night after the clubs close?

Don’t simply look at your neighbors as LGBTQ people—look at them as the people they are. If you drive through the neighborhood and hear a lot of noise or see a lot of cars parked up and down the street on the weekends, you may not be happy there.

Do the Homes Meet Your Needs?

This is perhaps the most important question—are the homes in the gay neighborhood what you really need? You don’t want to buy a home that’s too small or too large for you and your family. You also don’t want to purchase a home that costs more than you can afford. Sometimes, moving into the gayborhood simply isn’t financially a good idea. When that’s the case, you shouldn’t hesitate to look elsewhere.

Wilton Manors – A Gay Village for Retirees

Wilton Manors in Florida is home to a very large LGBTQ population. Many of these individuals are retired individuals and couples who have moved to Florida to spend their golden years in peace. The city has the second highest percentage of LGBTQ residents to total population (behind Provincetown, MA), with 140 out of every 1,000 identifying as a member of the community. This 14% is much, much higher than the national average of 1.1% of the U.S. population, so if you want to spend time with other LGBTQ people, Wilton Manors is definitely one of the places to go!

The History of Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors – A Gay Village for RetireesWhile it may not play as big a part in the struggle for equality as gay villages in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, Wilton Manors still has an interesting history. It’s a somewhat young city—it was incorporated in 1947. Despite that, it quickly became a haven for LGBTQ individuals. As more and more LGBTQ people moved to Wilton Manors, related organizations came into the area. This led to the funding of the Wilton Manors Pride Center, a branch of the Stonewall National Museum, and the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center. The city’s police department features LGBTQ officers and a liaison officer, plus a number of elected city officials, including at least one mayor, have identified as members of the community.

Senior Living

In addition to the condos, apartments, and single-family homes that retirees can purchase in Wilton Manors, the city is also home to an LGBTQ senior housing complex. This development features more than 50 housing units, all of which are priced for the limited income retirees often find themselves with. They also offer extra features to help those in need, including assistance getting to doctor’s appointments and other locations.

A Great Location

While Wilton Manors isn’t a huge city—it has a regular population of a little over 11,000, although that number greatly increases during vacation season—it is located near Fort Lauderdale and Oakland Park. Both of these cities are also home to a number of LGBTQ individuals and families, plus they offer many different shopping and dining options. The city is also considered a part of the Miami Metro Area, and thanks to several major highways, it’s easy to get to travel to many of the events Miami hosts.

Pricing in Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors does have a wide range of housing prices. Those who qualify for living in the senior living center may find that their housing costs fit nicely into their budgets. Those who are looking to purchase a home, though, may end up spending $500,000 or more depending on where in Wilton Manors they want to be located. A gay or lesbian real estate official can assist you with finding a home that fits your needs and your budget.

Things Straight Real Estate Agents Might Not Understand

There are many great real estate professionals out there, and chances are any of them will be able to help you find the perfect home. However, there are some things that gay or lesbian real estate professionals will understand right away while straight agents may not. Here are a few things these real estate experts might not grasp right away and why going with an LGBTQ agent might be a better option for you.

They May Not Realize You’re a Couple

Things Straight Real Estate Agents Might Not UnderstandSome straight real estate agents might assume you’ve brought a friend, or worse, your brother/sister, to look at the property with you. They won’t realize you’re looking for a home for the two of you. Correcting them can be a little stressful since you never know how they will react. An LGBTQ agent may ask if you’re together rather than assume you are.

They May Not Look for Family Homes

Another thing a straight real estate agent may do, often unconsciously, is assume that you won’t be starting a family. They may look for smaller homes for the two of you that simply won’t work for children. If you’re planning on starting a family either through adoption or surrogacy, it’s important to let them know upfront that you need a home that will support this. Some may assume that since the two of you can’t biologically have a child together, you’re not planning on a family.

They Sometimes Fall into Stereotypes

While even LGBTQ real estate professionals can do this, it’s more common for straight agents to stereotype gay and lesbian couples. They may assume that lesbian couples want a large shop for their home improvement projects or that gay men want very fashionable houses with a lot of color and extravagant décor. They might show you homes that play into these stereotypes at first, which can be frustrating.

They May Assume You Want to Live in the Gay District

If the city you’re moving to has a gay district, a straight real estate agent might assume that’s where you want to live. You might not have any interest in that area. A good agent, no matter what their orientation, should ask you upfront what part of the city you’re interested in or if there are any particular areas you need to be close to.

Overall, a straight real estate professional may simply make some assumptions. Often, they aren’t actively discriminating against you or purposely doing hurtful things. If you want to avoid any misunderstandings, though, working with a gay or lesbian agent will help you get your housing search off on the right foot.

Capitol Hill – Denver’s Gay Ghetto

When most people think about gay neighborhoods, many think of sunny California or busy New York City. Few people would name Colorado as a gay-friendly state, but Denver actually has a very active LGBTQ community. The Mile High City is home to a great gay neighborhood called Capitol Hill. This part of the city is not only the focal point of Denver’s LGBTQ community, but is also a major epicenter for artists and musicians, especially those in the alternative punk genre.

Defining the Neighborhood

Capitol Hill – Denver’s Gay GhettoCapitol Hill is almost a perfect square. To the north is Colfax Avenue/Highway 70. Its southern border is Seventh Avenue, while the east and west sides of the neighborhood are defined by Downing Street and Broadway respectively. Some people define Capitol Hill to also include the neighboring Cheesman Park, but the city officially defines that area as its own neighborhood. There’s also a North Capitol Hill that sits above Colfax Avenue, but it’s more often called Uptown.

It’s Got Everything from Sun Rise to Sun Set

You can start your morning in Capitol Hill by getting coffee at one of the trendy little cafes that dot the neighborhood. Then it’s off for some light morning shopping at one of the boutiques before lunch. During the evening, there are a number of concert venues and bars where you can party the night away. Cheesman Park and nearby Civic Center Park may not fall within the neighborhood, but they’re not far, and both hold a number of different festivals. Several clubs in the area cater to the LGBTQ community, of course.

A Neighborhood in Gentrification

While it’s something of a stereotype to say that all LGBTQ neighborhoods go through gentrification, it is true of Capitol Hill and, in fact, most of central Denver. Many of the historic homes in Capitol Hill are large and fairly elaborate. That’s because the area was originally home to some of Denver’s high society families. Following the 1893 Silver Crash, however, some of these homes were demolished and cheaper apartments were built. Capitol Hill was then solidly middle class until the 1950s, when it became a fairly poor area.

Since then, Capitol Hill has slowly been rebuilding. The gentrification effects peaked in the mid-2000s, and today, those cheap apartments have been replaced with luxury condos. Despite this, some of the older housing is still quite affordable. On average, Capitol Hill isn’t as expensive as some of the other neighborhoods. One of the local gay or lesbian real estate agents can help you find a home in this area that fits your budget.

A Brief History of Pride Month

Many people know June is LGBTQ pride month, but few people really understand what exactly that means. Why was June picked, and is there any special significance to pride other than showing off your love of the LGBTQ community?

Pre-Pride Events

A Brief History of Pride MonthPrior to the creation of Pride Month, there were a number of different movements and activities. The first pride parades were held in June in 1970 on the anniversary of the famous Stonewall Riots. These marches were held in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. They weren’t called pride parades or pride festivals, and they were much more serious than many of today’s events. Marking the anniversary of Stonewall soon became a widespread event. In 1971, there were many more events across the U.S. and even in London, Paris, and Stockholm. The number of marches continued to grow every year after that.

The Transition to the Modern Day Pride Event

Up until the early 1980s, pride marches were mostly focused on increasing the visibility and awareness of the LGBTQ community and the discrimination the community faced. However, around the turn of the decade, these events were slowly changed from commemorative marches to the, pride type festival that we know today. They became more organized by groups that weren’t as radical and were looking to create a positive, inclusive event.

The Creation of Pride Month

However, the Stonewall Riots were still recognized as the root of what Pride festivals were all about. Since many of these festivals were held on or near the anniversary of Stonewall, June naturally became the month associated with LGBTQ pride. While these events were held through the 1980s and early 90s, it wasn’t until 1999 that June was officially declared “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” by President Bill Clinton. However, it’s important to note that only two presidents have officially named June as pride month. President Clinton did so in 1999 and 2000, and President Obama officially declared the month “LGBT Pride Month” In 2010 through 2016.

What Does Pride Mean?

Pride is more than just an excuse to through a street party or ride on a float. It’s a celebration of LGBTQ culture and a way of recognizing and honoring the struggles the community has faced. While same-sex marriage might be legal now, LGBTQ individuals and couples still face challenges with discrimination in employment, housing, and much more.

Are you ready to show your pride this month? The gay and lesbian real estate professionals here at GayRealEstate.com are!

Posted on June 30, 2018 in Gay and Lesbian, Gay Marriage

Provincetown – The Gayest City in America

Data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau declared Provincetown, Massachusetts, to be the Gayest City in America in 2011. Most people weren’t that surprised when the 2010 census data showed that more same-sex couples lived in P-Town than anywhere else in the U.S. Overall, the data showed that there were 163 same-sex couples for every 1,000 households in the city. Even though this information comes from the last major census in 2010, anyone who lives in or visits Provincetown can see that things haven’t really changed that much.

A Great Place to Live and Work

Provincetown – The Gayest City in AmericaProvincetown is only home to around 3,000 people, but its summer population can hit 20 times that. It’s a major tourist location thanks to its beaches, artist community, and LGBTQ-friendliness. With its location on the very tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown entices people from around the world to spend at least a few weeks here during the summer. It’s relaxed, even when all of the tourists are in town, making it a great place to escape to and recharge.

Of course, if you’re living here, you may feel like you’re being invaded in the summer. It can seem more crowded than you’d like, but as a local, you’ll know where to go to escape the tourists. You also have the advantage in being on your home turf!

The History of Provincetown and the LGBTQ Community

Provincetown really started to grow in the 1960s. It attracted a good number of hippies thanks to its rural charm, cheap property, and gorgeous waters. While it was already attracting some vacationers, it wasn’t a major tourist destination yet.

In the 1970s, the secret of Provincetown reached the LGBTQ community, and many started moving into the area to both visit and to look for homes. While there had been a higher than average gay and lesbian presence in the town for years, it wasn’t until the 1970s that it really became an LGBTQ tourist destination. In fact, the Provincetown Business Guild was actually created in order to bring in more LGBTQ tourism! Today, the guild has over 200 businesses.

Provincetown Today

If you’re thinking about moving to P-town, you’ll need to have a nice budget. Gay and lesbian real estate agents point out a cheap condo is still $350,000 or more, while a single-family home starts at half a million. If you want beachfront property, be ready to pay in the millions.

The LGBTQ Community and Adoption in 2018

Many LGBTQ individuals and couples plan on someday having a family. For a number of these couples, that means adoption. Even for two same-sex female couples who have a child through artificial insemination, the non-birth mother should still legally adopt the child to make certain her rights are not questioned at any point. This is usually done through what’s legally called a second parent adoption. This allows a co-parent to share legal rights with the other parent, regardless of their marital status. If you’re thinking about moving to another state, you need to understand the adoption laws in that state before you make your home there.

Challenges to LGBTQ Adoption

The LGBTQ Community and Adoption in 2018

The LGBTQ Community and Adoption in 2018

Unfortunately, LGBTQ adoption rights have been challenged in a number of states. There has yet to be a court case similar to Obergefell v. Hodges to establish a federal decision on same-sex couples and adoption. This means that each state can pass its own laws regarding adoption and LGBTQ couples. In some states, laws have been passed protecting the right of all people, regardless or orientation, to adopt. In other cases, states have refused to pass any sort of non-discrimination law or have even actively worked to take away the rights of LGBTQ couples to adopt.

Where Your Rights Are Protected

If you’re ready to start a family, here are the states that offer protections based on both orientation and gender identity:

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • California
  • New Mexico
  • Iowa
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut

There are a few states that have protections based or sexual orientation, but not gender identity. They include Montana, Arizona, Michigan, and Virginia. Virginia, however, has recently passed laws that allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples, walking back those protections.

Challenges to Adoption

There are a number of states that have worked to prevent same-sex couples from adopting. Nebraska, for example, has often used what some have said is the state’s policy regarding two unrelated adults from adopting children to deny LGBTQ couples. Others have challenged this policy, saying that it has only been applied to same-sex couples. No firm decision has been made in this case as of 2018. Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota have passed laws allowing adoption agencies to claim “religion exemptions” for allowing same-sex couples from adopting.

Recently, Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma legislatures have also considered bills that have been introduced as “child welfare” laws. Despite the name, these laws aren’t really aimed at improving child welfare. Instead, they focus on restricting same-sex couples from adopting. In Oklahoma, the bill was passed and signed into law by Governor Fallen on May 11, 2018.

While the laws are always in flux, currently these are states that LGBTQ couples may wish to avoid if they’re considering adopting. You can always ask your gay or lesbian real estate agent to point you towards resources regarding adoption in the state you’re planning on moving to.

Posted on June 11, 2018 in Fair Housing Laws, Gay and Lesbian, Gay Marriage