Author Topic: Advice on places to live  (Read 338 times)

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Offline TreeA

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Advice on places to live
« on: February 13, 2021, 02:05:59 pm »
Hi all! First message here.

A few months ago my spouse came out to me as transgender. I feel very supportive, but suspect that won't be the case with their family, so we've been discussing some contingency plans. Here's where we're at:

We currently live in Vermont, which (reading online) is supposed to be one of the more accepting rural areas, with a larger amount of services and support. If that's the case, I can only imagine how bad it might be in other areas.

My partner's family live in SE Michigan. Our plan is to move there in the near future, have a child or two with support from their family, and then for them to come out publicly and transition. We will likely continue living near family if all goes well, but we don't know whether their family will be extremely hostile, or what kind of discrimination our children may have in the area.

When my partner was growing up, their family made a scene publicly, several times, about them being gay. There was talk about sending them to a "gay reeducation camp" for "conversion therapy" - talk which only ended when they went back in the closet about things. Also, from being mixed race, they experienced a lot of bullying and discrimination growing up as well.

Since marrying an apparently cis white man and presenting as a cis-het couple, their relationship with family has never been better, but we know how tenuous that might be.


So, my question:

What are people's experiences, growing up and living in different areas?

Has anyone grown up or lived, during or after transition, in or near the Detroit metro? If so, what was your experience?

Ann Arbor looks, on paper, to be a relatively safe and accepting place, and may be a place we try out. Anyone know how this area is?

If things don't work out in Michigan, what are some of the better places in the country to live as a gay, trans, mixed racial couple? Especially if my partner may not be able to easily pass at first, or ever?

I understand west coast cities are supposed to be relatively LGBTQ+ friendly, but I don't know if that still applies once you start getting out into the country.

Some other factors that are important to us: we're into gardening and homesteading-lite, so areas with climates that are friendly to gardening and have long growing seasons are preferable. We also prefer having a bit of land - no city living. I could see us living on the outskirts of a city, or at the edges of a small satellite town. Even suburbs are usually too built up for us. Lastly, we'll probably rule out climates that are too hot. Michigan's summers are just about as intense as we'd *prefer*.

I greatly appreciate any feedback!

Offline AllieSF

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Re: Advice on places to live
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2021, 02:44:06 pm »
Hello Tree,

What a wonderful person and partner you are to accept, and more importantly, proactively support your spouse.  You are a somewaht rare treasure around our neck of the woods.

I grew up in a northwest Detroit suburb.  It is a wonderful place to live during a couple of the seasons unless you also like the cold and messy Winters and Springs.  There are a couple of Detroit suburbs that are very LGBTQA+ accepting.  Ferndale is one of then and I think that Warren may be the other.  There is an active social group there that has a few big social gatherings a few times a year, Covid time excepting.  However, you sound like you want further out of the burbs.

For me accepting and tolerating depend on a lot of different things in my opinion.  One is presentation in the chosen gender or label, and the other is the ability to actually blend in in that sector.  That can take care of going out and living life  such as shopping, dining, drinking and just being out.  The next important thing is how you together relate with others and that is your personalities.  This again is my opinion, if your spouse can blend into society and has a decent midwestern personality being friendly, happy, communicative and helpful to others, I think that you can fit in just about everywhere.

I am a MtF transgender woman finishing up my physical transition in the next year or so and have been living full time since whatever date is at the bottom of my post. I also live in one of the most accepting and beautiful places to live in the US, the San Francisco suburbs.  I transitioned here socially with no problems, except for my adult children.  That has improved greatly and I think that they accept me as I am, though they would have preferred that it never happened.

I believe tolerance and acceptance is what you make of it and how you handle it.  I also believe that no matter where you live, except for a few non tolerating areas, and I really do not know where they are, you presentation and personalities will make it work or not. I think that is what is most important.  What to do now?  My recommendation would be to transition in place and see how it goes.  You will learn a lot about those who you consider acquaintances and friends and that will help you to decide to move or not.  Where to move? Being close to family is important to me and most other people.  So, living in the country area around Detroit sounds good to me for you.

I do wish you both the best as you move forward.  This site will help both of you because it has so many different sections that touch all areas of coming out, transitioning, surgeries, hormones, etc.. This path you both are on is not a race track to see how fast you can go.  Some run it, others walk it and other walk or run to the next location to adapt to their new surroundings and to decide if the want or need to continue down this winding and sometimes difficult route.  The end is where you both decide is right for you at that moment.  Making a mistake is OK too.  Most start out slowly, get comfortable with their new self, and then may get a sense of urgency to move quicker.  It all varies for each person.

Again good luck,

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Offline Rakel

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Re: Advice on places to live
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2021, 08:39:51 pm »
Good evening TreeA,

I noticed that this is your first post here at Susan's Place. I would like to officially welcome you to our little corner of the internet.

Susan's Place is a supportive website for everyone with gender related issues. We are moderated because we have many members here who are underage. We have Terms of Service that specify 20 rules we all must abide by. I will post links to the Terms of Service below along with other important information.

Again, Welcome to Susan's Place.



Things that you should read


And now back to your original question.

Where is a good place to live ?

I live in Florida. We have many LGBT friendly towns here. Not all of them are large cities such as Ft Lauderdale/Miami, Orlando or Tampa Bay. I have several personal friends who live in rural small towns who get along just fine with the locals.

If living off the land is your vocation, Florida has a tremendously long growing season. The area I live in is just south of Miami and we have a large agricultural area here. Plant today and harvest in 3 or 4 months, then do it all over again the day after harvest. Gardens are all year round.

I have lived in many other parts of the US and every area has it's own charm and distractions. In my opinion, living in any area is what your make of it. Every part of this country has good areas. You just need to get out there and see what you like.


Retired Pharmacist with over 40 years experience in Hospital and Retail Pharmacies.
I still keep my professional licence active and in good standing.

Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Advice on places to live
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2021, 08:10:53 am »
Hi, TreeA.  Welcome.

I really don't know your country well enough to know what are the good areas.  I think in general university towns tend to be more accepting than industrial towns.

Don't rule out rural areas.  I live in a tiny fishing village, population less than 200.  The nearest town is a 25 minute drive, and it is only 8000 population.  So we're talking really rural.  All my neighbours are redneck farmers, fishermen or hillbillies.  I feared the worst when I came out.

Yet, surprisingly, nothing happened!  My coming-out was pretty public.  I stood up at the weekly coffee gathering and told them that henceforth I would be Kathy.  Same at the volunteer fire department a few days later.  Had I tried to slip under the radar, I think I would have had some pushback, but coming out openly like that produced nothing but acceptance.

Of course, it helps having laws in place to support us.  I understand that that is not the case everywhere.

I wonder if moving to be near your partner's family is wise.  It sounds like they could be hostile.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time; 2017-07-10 Legal name change; 2019-02-15 Approval for GRS; 2019-08-02 Official gender change; 2020-03-11 GRS!; 2020-09-30 New birth certificate; 2021-03-10 consultation for ongoing pain

Offline Oldandcreaky

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Re: Advice on places to live
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2021, 11:02:33 am »
I haven't lived in Michigan, but lived in Ohio and Wisconsin for half a century and they abut Michigan. Michigan is gorgeous and Ann Arbor is a great town. However, Michigan has been in the news for the last year or so for threats to its female governor and other elected officials. I think you'd be okay, but there is that mean streak in the state.

Florida has its appeal and Rakel's point about the never-ending growing season is persuasive, but I live in New England and several of my new neighbors have fled the ever-increasing congestion of Florida. Florida now strikes me as southern Cali, with its eight-lane highways that always bustle. If you like bustle, have at it, but if you prefer bucolic, look to some northern options.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 01:56:24 pm by Oldandcreaky »

Offline TreeA

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Re: Advice on places to live
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2021, 12:55:50 pm »
I appreciate the responses!

I grew up in Florida and, even if I were open to going back, the heat and humidity would rule it out for my partner - they're at a higher risk of heat stroke, and weather where it's much above 80 or where the dew point gets above 55-60F basically keeps them inside.

I imagine where you live is mostly what you make of it, but I'd imagine some places are just generally more open and accepting as well. I've found that's something very hard to find any real information on.

Offline RandyL

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Re: Advice on places to live
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2021, 01:01:36 pm »
Colorado is open and accepting along the Front Range where all the major cities are. But any agriculture has to be irrigated. Climate tends toward dry.

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Offline Virelai

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Re: Advice on places to live
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2021, 08:18:27 am »
I've been considering Michigan myself. However, I come from a different place - I live in a very conservative state that doesn't have any protections for transgender people in of itself. My current state of residence is really cheap to live in, so making a move to a true blue state is not feasible. Michigan is inexpensive a lot like my current state, but has some blue areas and good protections in place at least in those areas.

Ann Arbor seems fantastic. From what I understand East Lansing is also great. Other places I saw mentioned when I asked about good places for transgender people: Grand Rapids, Detroit suburbs (such as Ferndale), Mount Pleasant, Kalamazoo, Midland, and Holland.