My husband and I have spent months looking at scores of houses in numerous neighborhoods. We are trying to purchase our first home and it is proving difficult to find the best location for a young married gay couple to start a family.
Many LGBT people flock to the comfort and safety of the nearest gayborhood and I definitely understand the inclination. Immersing yourself in a like-minded accepting community alleviates a lot of potential grief. We currently live in the suburbs of Los Angeles, so the nearest gaytropolis is also one of the most well-known. The city of West Hollywood is a beautiful area laden with rich LGBT history, but it is most definitely not for us. First of all, it is a prime example of the direct correlation between the gayness of the neighborhood and the cost of houses. Simply put, we (and most other people) cannot afford to live there.
Although, even if we could afford it, we still probably wouldn’t move there. Not to hate on WeHo, because it is a place that I have a profound historical respect and admiration for, but it definitely has a Stepford Husbands thing going on and while we want our children to be safe and comfortable, we also want them to know that not everyone looks like a model.
So it appears that we will be living in Straightville USA, but maybe we won’t be alone. According to a 2008 study by the Williams Institute, gay and lesbian couples are spread out across the entire country in urban, suburban and rural areas. Perhaps it is just as well, as Maia Spotts illustrated, the streets of the new gaymunities are not completely void of anti-gay sentiment.
Still, living in a predominately straight neighborhood does present some concerns. This is the house that we are going to raise our children in. We cannot afford the fancy progressive L.A. private schools where children of gay parents are prized. Our children will be in regular public schools and will more than likely be the only ones in their school with two dads.
It becomes easy to forget what the rest of the world can be like when you live and work in accepting places. I find myself fearful at times that certain locations could provide a dose of anti-gay reality. Each house and neighborhood that we tour, I wonder what the other people are thinking — maybe they are thinking "there goes the neighborhood?" Or perhaps they subscribe to the stereotype that LGBT neighbors increase the property value?
We are officially asking for the help of other LGBT individuals and families. Where do you live? Is it safe? Do you feel comfortable there? Let us know in the comments section.