Whether you’re already a parent in the LGBTQ community or you’re considering parenthood soon, the environment in which you raise your children is a significant consideration. You may already be familiar with some of the challenges of gay parenting in the suburbs, but it’s becoming more common to raise different kinds of families in unexpected places.
If you’re wondering how to find an LGBTQ community in the suburbs or you’re simply exploring your options, there’s much to think about when moving to the ‘burbs.
Determining the Cost of Living
Regardless of region, LGBTQ individuals and families are often more comfortable in cities — the political climate is more liberal, more diversity exists, and people from all walks of life accept and make space for each other. However, recent years have seen the cost of living skyrocket in some of the nation’s largest cities. Coincidentally, some of the top-rated cities for LGBTQ families have recently fallen prey to inflated prices, making it much more challenging to raise a family.
For example, New York City will run you an average of $3,411 for a two-bedroom apartment — which is almost required if you have a child. These inflated costs have driven many people to surrounding suburbs that still sit within the larger metropolitan area. But the outskirts of big cities can still be extremely expensive, and you might realize it’s time for a complete change of pace.
Rural and suburban areas offer lower costs of living, larger homes for less, more space for kids to play, and less hubbub to deal with on a daily basis. If you’re thinking that sounds more like your speed, you’re certainly not alone.
Diversifying the Suburbs
The suburbs have become much more diverse in the last few years. After same-sex marriage became legal, more LGBTQ couples have migrated out of cities to find a slower pace of life. Additionally, more are taking steps to plan families and have children, paving the way for different kinds of families to shape small communities. Of course, relocating to a suburban area can come with its challenges, such as:
- Less diversity and fewer LGBTQ peers
- More conservative political beliefs
- Homophobia or lack of awareness in the community
No one should have to deal with the unfortunate realities of ignorance or prejudice, but they do exist, and some non-urban areas harbor these issues more than others. However, by researching locations, communities, diversity and other statistics beforehand, you can find a suburban community that’s friendly, welcoming and feels like home.
Locating the Best Place for Your Family
No two families are alike. You will likely have your own unique priorities for the place you want to raise your kids. While some parents prioritize exposure to large communities, art and culture, others stress space, freedom and connection to nature. Here’s the good news — because of the increased migration of gay couples to the suburbs and more rural areas, there tend to be pockets of progressive communities, even in some of the most conservative or rural places.
While moving to a progressive blue state might be a top priority for some, it isn’t always feasible for every family. Rest assured, you can still live in the suburbs in a slightly more conservative area. Of course, the safety and comfort of your family should be a top priority — so explore some of these small towns with the best LGBTQ communities, and consider choosing suburbs outside the most LGBTQ-friendly cities.
Finding an LGBTQ community in the suburbs may not be quite as easy as locating one in an urban setting, but it certainly isn’t impossible. When you move to a new area, try to find the most LGBTQ-friendly neighborhoods. Paying attention to community events and businesses there can help you get a head start.
Additionally, look online for resources in your local area and see if there are any through your child’s school. You may be surprised at what you find. Plus, consider starting your own LGBTQ parents group — you could be the first in your community to make a space for other gay couples. Check out the National Network of LGBTQ Family Groups for support in coordinating a parents’ club.
Gay Parenting in the Suburbs
Gay parenting is not without its challenges. In addition to those that come along with any parent’s journey, there will unfortunately always be challenges to deal with — like homophobia, lack of education, or even people who want to push their parenting agenda on you.
However, you deserve to live in a location that suits your tastes, fits your family, and offers the lifestyle you deserve. Whether you’re just beginning to plan your family or you already have a child or two, finding a place to call home is a journey that’s as unique as your family.