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queer-friendly + family-friendly + rural??

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi fellow queer parents,
I am a bit of a lurker her, but realized it might be nice to come out of hiding to ask some fellow MDCer's for feedback on queer-friendly (or at least liberal-minded) rural or small towns.

My partner and I currently live in Baltimore. I am a labor and delivery RN and Crimson is a child advocacy social worker. We have a 15 month old and are thinking about a move in 2-3 yrs. We would like to be able to buy a home and some land (at least a couple acres) and live relatively close to a small town or smaller city. We would consider Maryland, but any place that is affordable here is also not so gay-friendly. It would be fantastic to live where there are decent public schools and our son is not the sole child of a same-sex couple!

We are thinking about Western MA or upstate NY. I know, we will probably have quite an adjustment with the weather in New England. I am from the Seattle area and although it is wonderful, we have ruled it out due to constant grayness.

Does anyone have a recommendation for us?
Thanks so much in advance~Teresa

BTW, I posted similar threads in the NY and MA forums.

our family photos: www.flickr.com/photos/nateandfamily
post #2 of 24
We live in Western MA and think it's pretty perfect. It's not usual to find such an open-minded and queer-friendly rural area. We really love it here, and while we've thought of moving away (for jobs or schools or just a change), we can't imagine that we'd ever find anything even close to this experience. I think we'll be here forever.

The upsides of the weather: the change in seasons gives a sense of rhythm to the year that we really enjoy, it doesn't rain a whole lot, it's often sunny even when it's freezing out, no worries here of hurricanes or serious tornadoes, blizzards can be really fun . . .


post #3 of 24
Asheville, NC!
post #4 of 24
Brattleboro, VT. It's like a queer paradise over there.

BTW, I live in DC. Hi, neighbor!
post #5 of 24
I gotta second Lex on that one...Pioneer Valley, definitely. There are, of course, a ton of tiny little towns around here, and we're about 50 miles from Brattleboro.

You might want to try the tribal areas to get a sense of what's around here. Our tribal area is pretty big, and lot of difference, but you can get a sense.
post #6 of 24
Hey Teresa! I'm a fellow Baltimore dweller!! And I totally know what you mean about how hard it is to find a gay-friendly rural area in MD. We initially wanted to move to a more rural area to get settled before our kid (who's yet to be born by the way) is school age. But, we're giving up on that idea. I think we'll have to suck it up and stick to some of the more urban areas that are a little more friendly. Unlike you...we can't leave MD due to DP's job...so we're stuck for a while. I would definitely take a look at Western MA if I were you though. Never been myself...but I hear great things about it and would LOVE to live there one day!! Anyway...good luck!!
post #7 of 24
I second Asheville, NC. Also, Chattanooga, TN and Charlottesville, VA. All southern towns in not so gay-friendly states. But the towns themselves are surprisingly liberal.
post #8 of 24
We're in Ithaca NY. My partner is trans and this town is probably 20%+ gay and 99% gay-friendly. It's small enough to walk everywhere if you want to and large enough so that you don't know EVERYONE.
post #9 of 24
I recently moved from nova to south Jersey and love it here! We don't live in a rural area, but that definitely exists near here. There is lots of farmland between Philly and the shore, so it may be worth checking out. We have civil unions here and I was able to adopt our son no problem. Everyone has been open-minded and cool with us since we moved here, but I don't know if that will be the case in more rural areas. In our case, we picked an area with other gay families because we figured it would be easier for Noah overall, but I think as long as people are accepting, your kid will be just fine. If you are interested, check out http://www.lsnsj.com/, which is a social networking site for lesbians in south Jersey.
Oh, and also wanted to share my frustration with you about affordable and gay-friendly rural areas near DC. My in-laws live in PA, and on the drive from nova to their house over the years, we could see the change in political views as we headed northwest. Yikes.
post #10 of 24
If you want or can move to BC, Canada, I can make lots of suggestions ... but I'm actually responding to the whole queer urban / rural divide.
We live in a very small town, about 2,500 people spread across a 75 kilometre long valley, with a funky, young, queer friendly, nature-lovin' town centre at one end of the valley. People still hitch their horse to the post at the coffee shop ... it's that kind of town. Lot's of young families.
DP is genderqueer ... and it hasn't been a problem, other than when it confuses kids on occasion ("Is that person a boy or a girl?")

But we're thinking about moving back to the city.

We don't want to, but this town is very expensive to live in, and we have no family here. And the childcare situation doesn't work for shift workers (I'm a paramedic and DP is a chef at the near-by ski resort). There's also no pool, no ice rink, and very few resources.

That alone isn't enough to sway us, but what it might come down to is whether or not we can afford to keep our house, what with no childcare available.

So we've been looking at pros to the urban life () ... our queer city neighbourhood in Vancouver, lots of good childcare options, lots of good alternative school options, lots of friends and family to take the baby now and then, lots of other queer parents, lots of art programs and free events in the parks, a good transit system, pools, that sort of thing.

Mind you, we live very rurally, so perhaps a midsize town would have more to offer? We just love it here. Love it. We went 4x4ing yesterday, and didn't see another soul the whole time. Just lakes and trees and mist and leaves and a bobcat and a couple of deer ... sigh. We don't want to leave.
post #11 of 24
We live in a quite rural area in upstate NY, just minutes from the border of Western MA--and we moved here four years ago from Seattle (after being there for 10 years) and have family/went to college in the Baltimore/DC area. Soooo... my thoughts on your situation:

1/ Rural areas in this area are kind of like micro-climates, politically. We haven't had any issue with being out where we are and our 5 y.o. is in a public school district that doesn't have a lot of queer parents (I don't think there are any others in her school at the moment), but where they are open to us, and our insistence on inclusive language for all families. I'm not sure that this would be the case, though, in every school district, for example, that borders ours.

2/We are part of a Quaker intentional community where we are, so they are very open and supportive of our family; however there's not an active and visible queer community locally like we were used to in Seattle--we miss it! Lots! And we wish we lived closer to Noho so that we could be more a part of that community (it's about 1.25 hours away).

3/I don't find the weather here much worse than Baltimore, though the winters are definitely longer and colder, and there's more snow. We are far enough east, though, that we are not in the path of lake effect snow--west of Syracuse (Rochester, Buffalo, etc.) is a different story. It's definitely not as gray as Seattle, but being this far north does make the winter days shorter, like Seattle.

4/To get what you're looking for, I'd look for places within 20 miles or so of Northampton or Ithaca (or maybe Burlington or Brattleboro--I'm not as familiar with those!) . It doesn't guarantee that your son won't be the only child in his class with queer parents, but it does give you both the rural and the access to a liberal town and queer community.

Good luck!
post #12 of 24
Originally Posted by Raene View Post
We're in Ithaca NY. My partner is trans and this town is probably 20%+ gay and 99% gay-friendly. It's small enough to walk everywhere if you want to and large enough so that you don't know EVERYONE.
I was just popping in here to mention Ithaca! It's really a liberal paradise, and the rural areas just outside of town are beyond beautiful.
post #13 of 24
I'm in Canada, and don't have kids, but I want to chime in and say that DP and I live in a tiny (1200 people), rural, agricultural, anglo-saxon, etc etc. community and have been there for about 4 years now. I was scared to move out there because, coming from a very large city with a large queer population, I was afraid about persecution from "ignorant country folk". To be honest, although we're not exactly a rainbow-flag-waving couple, everyone knows who and what we are, and nobody cares one bit. In fact, we've found people to be very helpful, warm and friendly, without exception. Nobody's every screamed "DYKE" at me while I'm walking around town: or when I'm running errands with DP, or written rude grafitti on my door, unlike when I lived in the big, "progressive", city with the big queer population.
post #14 of 24
I'm in Upstate NY, in a small town north of Syracuse. I've had no problems, and we are not the only lesbian couple in town, though there is not an organized gay community here. Going down to Syracuse or Ithaca there is more of a community.

I agree with Simcon that the rural communities are microcultures here. From one town to the next can be a totally different experience.
post #15 of 24
My partner and i and our 3 kids live in Ulster county in upstate NY. I highly recommend looking into the Kingston, New Paltz, Woodstock Rosendale area.
post #16 of 24
My ILs are in Lewis County about 2 hours North of Syracuse, honestly, I'd avoid that little area (Beaver Falls/Lowville) but maybe I'm just missing the awesome people with open minds there?

I think I'd go near Brattleboro, VT if I could go anywhere I wanted....
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Wow, lots of great info from everyone. Thanks so much for all the replies, that narrows things down a bit for us. I am usually just a lurker here on the forums, but I can certainly see the appeal of being a little more active in postings. My partner and I don't know too many other same-sex couples that are parenting and this seens like a great way to get some sense of community online!
post #18 of 24
I went to Woodstock with my partner a few months ago and we got some really negative looks. I don't think that's the best. Here in Ithaca you can hold hands and no one thinks twice about it.
post #19 of 24
why am I here? Because I love MDC so thoroughly that I lurk on every single board, Hey Queer Parents!!!:::jo y:

LOL. Okay I vote for Ithaca NY, my home town. It's grrrrrrreat! And exactly what you're looking for.
post #20 of 24
Keep Bloomington, Indiana on the radar!
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