Any young couple would face the tough decision of where to start a family, but it can be exceptionally difficult for couples from the LGBTQIA+ community. Although you may like living in a particular place, there are differences in laws guiding each state. According to Move.org, California is the best place for the member of the LGBTQIA+ community to start a family in the whole of the United States, while the worst state ever is West Virginia.
California, also known as the Golden State, has 21 pride centers, 81 businesses that were recognized in the report generated in 2018 on best places to work in 2018 by the Human Rights Campaign. The second-best place to relocate to and starts an LGBTQIA+ family is the city of Lincoln, Illinois. The third-place here in Hawaii, due to its famous pristine beaches, and then the next on the list is Connecticut, Maryland, and Nevada.
The major criteria here include hate crime, conversion therapy for minors, discrimination, pride centers, the population density of LGBT+, the number of businesses supporting LGBT, as well as general equality in each state while compiling the list. Let’s look in-depth into each of these states.
What does LGBTQIA+ mean?
LGBTQIA is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. The term has been in use since the 1990s and is gotten from LGB which is used to replace “gay” when making reference to the LGBT community starting in the mid to late 1980s. Some term the LGBT+ to be “LGBT and associated communities”. In some cases, LGBTQIA is used with intersex, asexual, and queer added to it. LGBTQIA+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer or Questioning, Asexual and many other related terms (like pansexual and non-binary) as gotten from Wikipedia.
5 Best States to Relocate to Start an LGBTQ+ Family
When it comes to starting a LGBTQ+ family life in a place, you have to look before you leap, so you don’t violate some state laws. How do you know if a state allows your way of life? You need to research different states to know. Where do you start? We have done the work for you. Here is a list of states we researched to support LGBTQ+ Family:
In Maryland, the laws and policies favor LGBTQ+ family as same-sex can apply for joint adoption in the state. The population of LGBTQ+ in Maryland is large, and the policies are positive just like other states on this list. Every essential consideration we sought after is addressed by the anti-discrimination and hate crime laws. The anti-discrimination law offers protection to LGBTQ+ individuals in 5 important areas such as housing, credit, employment, public employment, and public accommodations while the hate crime laws provide coverage for gender identity and sexual orientation. Other cities in Maryland also provide the best locations. These cities include Rockville, Baltimore, College Park, and Frederick.
- 9 businesses are listed on the best places to work in 2018 by the Human Rights Campaign
- The population density of LGBTQ+ is 3.9% and LGBTQ+-identifying individuals totals 182,041
- There are two pride centers in Maryland
- For every 1000 households, there are 5.81 couples of same-sex.
- 20.3% of 12,538 same-sex couples that reside in Maryland are raising children
- The average price for a home sale is $270,100
If you plan to relocate to New England, then be ready to settle in Connecticut. The state provides the highest security and maintains equality-related policies even though it has the lowest population density (3.5%: 98,811 individuals) for LGBTQ+ in our list of top 5. The state will have to do some work before you can be allowed to adopt even though it permits joint parenting for same-sex couples.
However, the state will not allow any LGBTQ+ individual to adopt a child. The state’s anti-discrimination law offers protection to LGBTQ+ individuals in 5 important areas while the hate crime laws provide coverage for gender identity and sexual orientation. There is nothing compared to being safe in your new home, and the state’s policies aim at offering protection to your rights as well as your family. There are other cities in Connecticut that present you with the best locations, and they include New Haven, New Britain, Stamford, and Hartford.
- Connecticut has one pride center
- The average price for a home sale is $251,300
- 9 businesses are listed on the best places to work in 2018 by the Human Rights Campaign
- 17% of 7,852 same-sex couples that reside in Connecticut are raising children
- Conversion therapy is not allowed for minors
- For every 1000 households, there are 5.72 couples of same-sex.
The state’s anti-discrimination law offers protection to LGBTQ+ individuals in 4 of 5 important areas while the hate crime laws provide coverage for gender identity and sexual orientation. The scenery in Hawaii is enough to relocate your LGBTQ+ family there. Talk about the white sandy beaches and the clear blue water. It is also one of the best choices due to its laws and policies that focus greatly on equality. Couples of same-sex are permitted to apply for adoption in Hawaii. The population density of LGBTQ+ in Hawaii is one of the topmost on our list at 3.8% of the entire state’s population. This implies that, presently, Hawaii is home for 42,581 LGBTQ+ individuals. There are also some cities in Hawaii that provide the best locations, and these include Maui, Hawaii, and Honolulu.
- Availability of many laws and policies (positive) that supports equality for LGBTQ+ individuals in Hawaii
- The average price for a home sale is $599,950
- Hawaii has one pride center
- 15.8% of 3,239 same-sex couples that reside in Connecticut are raising children
- For every 1000 households, there are 5.95 couples of same-sex.
Illinois is a great option to consider if you prioritize the community. It consists of the largest population of LGBT-identifying individuals residing there, having 385,142 LGBT individuals in its LGBTQ+ community. The adoption law for same-sex couples in Illinois is much easier than in other states in the country. Conversion therapy is also banned for minors in the state. The anti-discrimination law in Illinois offers protection to LGBTQ+ individuals in 5 important areas such as housing, credit, employment, public employment, and public accommodations while the hate crime laws provide great coverage for gender identity and sexual orientation so you can feel safe when you decide to relocate there. There are few numbers of cities recommended for settlement, and it includes Joliet, Chicago, and Aurora.
- Illinois has five pride centers
- The average price for a home sale is $201,500
- 48 businesses are listed on the best places to work in 2018 by the Human Rights Campaign
- 16.6% of 23,049 same-sex couples that reside in Connecticut are raising children
- For every 1000 households, there are 4.77 couples of same-sex.
This is expected, California is the leading state when it comes to the ranking of LGBT-friendly state. This state offers support and recognizes everything that concerns LGBT+ families. There are other cities recommended in California for better settlements such as Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, and San Francisco. The state’s anti-discrimination law offers protection to LGBTQ+ individuals in 4 of 5 (except credit) important areas while the hate crime laws provide coverage for gender identity and sexual orientation. The state also does not allow conversion therapy on minors. The state’s adoption law permits couples of same-sex to apply for adoption, making it a great option for you if you are looking to adopt a new family member in the future.
- California has twenty-one pride centers
- The average price for a home sale is $478,200
- 81 businesses are listed on the best places to work in 2018 by the Human Rights Campaign
- 16% of 98,153 same-sex couples that reside in Connecticut are raising children
- For every 1000 households, there are 7.8 couples of same-sex.
5 Worst States to Relocate to Start a Family of LGBTQ+
You don’t have to remove the following states from your list of considerations, even though they are categorized under the worst states for LGBTQ in our ranking. You may find them perfect for your budget due to the cost of living and other factors. There are few cities in each of the states that are conducive for your LGBTQ+ family if you need to settle in any of these states.
#5 North Dakota
Although there is much open space in this part of the country as it is the 3rd least populated in the United States. The protection for LGBTQ+ families here is not as serious as it is in any other in the country. The adoption policy is also not easy in North Dakota. Although LGBT individuals can apply for adoption, it might be difficult for couples of same-sex to apply for adoption due to legal restrictions on second-parent adoption. The anti-discrimination laws in North Dakota don’t cover gender identity or sexual orientation in any of the 5 important sections, neither does the hate crime laws protect crimes originating from LGBT-similar bases. Fargo is the best city in North Dakota for LGBTQ+ families, and its average home sale price is at $234,900.
#4 South Dakota
The equality law and policy in South Dakota is not as strong as it is in other parts of the country. This implies that there is not much protection for LGBTQ+ families in the state. There is no restriction on minor’s conversion therapy and both anti-discrimination and hate crime does not protect LGBTQ+ residents. Although you will find the scenery at Mount Rushmore amazing, there are no other factors that could encourage LGBTQ+ to move into South Dakota. In Wisconsin, it is easier for LGBT singles to apply for adoption than couples of same-sex applying for second-parent adoption via a private agency. Brookings is the best city for LGBTQ+ families to settle in when moving to South Dakota, and the average home sale price is $229,900.
This state doesn’t present poor impressions to LGBTQ+ families, unlike the last two states. Hate crimes here covers any crimes related to sexual orientation bases even though it doesn’t protect gender identity. Coverage is also provided for sexual orientation in the anti-discrimination laws within the categories of public accommodation, employment, and public employment. However, none of the five important categories cover gender identity. Adoption is very hard in Wisconsin. Although LGBT individuals can apply for adoption, it might be difficult for couples of same-sex to apply for adoption due to legal restrictions on second-parent adoption.
This should be taken into consideration if you plan to adopt in the future. However, there are best cities in Wisconsin for LGBTQ+ families to relocate to. Such include Milwaukee, Madison, and Appleton. The average home sale price in these cities is $177,700.
There is not much difference between Virginia and Wisconsin. Both anti-discrimination and hate laws don’t spell out any protections for LGBTQ+ families. The only exceptions here on anti-discrimination protections are for the public employees. There is also no restriction on minor’s conversion therapy in Virginia. Couples of the same sex can apply for joint adoption in the state. Best cities in Virginia for LGBTQ+ families include Arlington County and Alexandria, with average home sales price at $269,400.
#1 West Virginia
The majority of the laws and policies in West Virginia don’t state any protections for LGBTQ+ members. None of the hate crime and anti-discrimination laws spells out protections for any LGBT-related crimes. Conversion therapy is not restricted to minors in the state. Couples of the same sex in West Virginia are permitted to adopt even though there are no laws and policies in place for equality. LGBTQ+ families can settle in Huntington and Charleston as they are the best cities for them, with the average home sale price at $171,400.
Ranking Criteria for Best and Worst States for LGBTQ+
This ranking shows the best and the worst states members of the LGBTQ+ community can live. With great focus on the safety of LGBTQ+ individuals, we take into consideration such factors as the status of hate crime laws in the states, the law on conversion therapy for minors, as well as anti-discrimination laws. We also consider the population density of LGBTQ+ in each of the states. We prioritize safety and equality over factors related to the community when ranking the states.
Anti-discrimination law provides protections to vulnerable communities from treatment based on bias, which is unjust. The laws offer protections against discrimination in 5 important sections
- Public accommodations
- Public employment – a set of different protections is required by state employees because the employment section only provides cover for the staff of private companies. Some laws from certain states offer you protection from discrimination on gender identity or sexual orientation in each of the 5 sections. At the same time, only a few or none is covered in some other states’ anti-discrimination laws.
Hate Crime Laws
Hate crimes are used to find out and prosecute crimes started by different types of bias. However, the preferences are different from one state to another. Some states included gender identity and sexual orientation, while others do not.
Even though most states allow adoption for LGBTQ+ individuals, some states do not define where they stand on this. LGBTQ+ families are not even mentioned or considered in the statues of some states, making the adoption process difficult for their LGBTQ+ citizens.
LGBTQ+ Population Density
There is a difference in the population density of the LGBTQ+ community in each state. You can easily figure out how the social life, resources, and sense of community of an area would be from the LGBTQ+ population therein.
Laws for Conversion Therapy for Minors
Conversion therapy is aimed at re-orientating LGBTQ+ minors on their gender identity or sexual orientation. Some states, therefore, have laws that restricted the practice of licensed mental health workers. Such law is not available in most states; however, most cities within the states do have restrictions on conversion therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I determine if I should hire professional movers for my upcoming relocation?
If you are planning to relocate to another state, you are probably considering whether to hire professional movers. Many families ask whether the cost of hiring movers is justified, and the answer depends on your circumstances.
Those who are moving from a small apartment may not have too many possessions. In such instances, it would take you a day to pack up all your belongings, while you may only need one other person to help you load some heavy furniture into the back of a U-Haul.
But if you have a large home and are relocating, such a process is very daunting to handle on your own. It would take you days to pack up everything, while you may have a number of heavy furniture pieces and appliances to move that are best left to the professionals.
When should the cost of living factor into my relocation decision?
Cost of living is one of the factors that everyone should consider when they are relocating, but with a caveat: If you are choosing between two cities with different costs of living, you must also assess the salary you would earn in those cities.
If your salary is significantly more in the city with a higher cost of living, you may save more money through that move, compared to earning less in a lower cost of living area.
Individuals who have fixed salaries, because they work from home or run their own business, should definitely consider moving to an area with a lower cost of living.
How should I manage my possessions if I am downsizing homes during my upcoming relocation?
Downsizing is a reality for many individuals and families, especially if you are moving from a suburban home into a city. The first step during any downsizing is to decide what items you can do without.
Create a list of all your possessions and then divide them based on items you want to keep, and things you are happy to donate or sell. You would be surprised at how much you can downsize through that simple step.
If you still have too many items to fit in your new home or apartment, self-storage is a good option. You can arrange with the moving company to have some possessions dropped off at a storage facility, before the rest of your possessions are unloaded at your new residence.
I have a lot of valuable furniture. How can I ensure it does not suffer damage during a move?
Trusting professional movers to handle your furniture is a good way to keep it safe. If you are packing everything yourself, you may want to consider wrapping up your furniture in a protective layer so that it does not suffer any scratches or dents during transit.
Bubble wrap is a great way to protect furniture, while heavy blankets and comforters also work very well.
If I am relocating from a warmer state to an area with harsh winters, how should I prepare my family for our first real winter?
One of the biggest differences between parts of the United States is the weather. If you are moving from a state like Arizona to Massachusetts or New York, you will definitely experience winter in an entirely new way.
Ensure the place where you are moving has good insulation and a quality heating system.
It is also smart to invest in proper winter clothing before the coldest months arrive. Most winter clothing is on sale during the late winter and spring, so you can get some great deals on sweaters, jackets, snow boots and thermal pants.
Everyone is looking for a place in the world, most especially when looking to start a family. Make sure you find a moving company by using Moving Feedback network regardless of which state you find perfect for moving your LGBTQ+ families too. You can also check our list of the best state to state movers for the right company to partner with. Which category does your preferred state fall into on our list? Is your current community comfortable for LGBTQ+ families? Leave a comment in the comment section below for our readers to tap from.