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Old 10-30-2011, 08:24 PM
Location: Philadelphia, PA
42 posts, read 102,951 times
Reputation: 24


So, I have a dilemma that I'm hoping the native / local Delaware forum members can help me solve.

I'm male. Back in August, my boyfriend and I (that makes us gay! Gasp!) moved to Dover from Easton, PA and Philadelphia, PA, respectively. He moved here to teach math at a public school outside Dover; I'm self-employed and moved here because he did. Our hope was that Dover would live up to its reputation of being a friendlier, more tolerant place where people sort of stay out of your business and let you live your own life.

To some extent, we've certainly been impressed by these qualities in some of the people we've met here. However, more frequently, we've been chased through parking lots by people yelling "******" and other expletives at us, and he's had students say the same thing to him in class while they've been relatively un-disciplined for doing so.

Our perception of the Dover / Kent County area now that we've been here for a few months is that it's a bit too "southern" for us to feel totally comfortable. We judged Delaware through the New Castle County lens, and that just isn't what we've found here.

We're considering looking for jobs (for him, at least) in the greater Wilmington-Newark area so that we can be closer to our friends and families in PA, and hopefully live in higher-income areas with more tolerant minds.

The question is: is that what we'll actually find there? Or is our search for friendlier, more tolerant people, being conducted in vain?

And, for what it's worth: where does a high school math teacher find a good job / good school district in New Castle County?

We want to love Delaware, but we need your help!
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:15 PM
Location: Ocean View, DE
1,793 posts, read 3,144,925 times
Reputation: 1199
I'm so sorry to hear about the idiot encounters you have endured while residing in Dover. Some people just don't have any class or manners. It's a shame you are unable to move to the DE beaches given they are very gay friendly, but I can see that my area is obviously not geographically desirable for you or your boyfriend. People here--both natives and transplants (area is mostly transplants)--are very tolerant and gay friendly. I can assure you that the schools here are very tolerant as well; I work for a school district in Sussex and have never seen a gay teacher ostracized.

Hopefully, the other members here can advise....best wishes for you both!!
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:31 PM
Location: Newark, DE
23 posts, read 40,729 times
Reputation: 28
Me and my partner moved here 4 yrs ago and have had no issues at all being 2 openly gay males. Our neighbors are warm & friendly. We've each made alot of friends in DE and I'd like to think we've shown them a certain side of gay people. I've heard and actually believe it when I head south that outside NCCo people tend to be rural and not very tolerant type. I'm sorry you guys have had a rough go in Dover but def give Wilm/Newark areas a try? alot of people in northern DE are transplants, they come here for work which is how we ended up here.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:43 AM
Location: Philadelphia, PA
42 posts, read 102,951 times
Reputation: 24
You know, we considered moving to the beaches because of Rehoboth's reputation, but that puts us a bit further from home / PA, and the employment situation is a little less certain. But definitely, if there's anywhere outside New Castle County that screams tolerance, it would be Rehoboth Beach!

Thanks for the kind words; I think we are going to end up looking in the Newark area, so long as a school district has an open position and he manages to be selected for it. We really do love most things about Delaware, but we're just not okay with hearing the "other f-bomb" on a regular basis! And for what it's worth, the people we have met and become friends with have been completely awesome and accepting. They're the glimmer of hope that keeps us from heading back to PA entirely (not that PA is some kind of dreamboat, either).
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:56 AM
13 posts, read 38,982 times
Reputation: 23
Default Ideas

It might be worth considering a move to a different part of the city. A more urban hip area. The students who are making insulting comments about homosexuals, should be sent immediately to principle's office and suspended. Hate crime is not permitted, perhaps the principle needs reminded of the perils of allowing discrimination to go unquestioned. It would certainly be a help to the gay students who are no doubt also the brunt of the bullying.
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:23 PM
681 posts, read 1,333,739 times
Reputation: 255
Guys, I am a teacher (in NJ) and know a fair bit about the educational system in the region. We also own a condo in RB so I know the landscape of DE. Unfortunately, DE has a HORRIBLE reputation for public schools. Schools are largely integrated and transient with some degree of migrant workers so you aren't getting kids form the 2 car garage suburbs. I do not know any teachers in DE who rave about the public schools. You are also nera the Dover AFB and, not to generalize, but the military hasn't the best history of being tolerant to GLBT folks and "apple trees make apples". I DO have some gay freinds in Milton and plenty in RB but I cannot vouch for the schools being all that much better. DE is alot like Louisiana and Florida as far as the setup but schools are as good as their administrators so you may have a bad hand right now.
My suggestion is that you hang in for the short hall and consider a move to the NJ burbs in the next 2 years or so. You COULD look into the Cape Henlopen school district and see what goes on down there and make the move to Rehoboth where you will be more than comfortable and safe.
Good luck!
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Old 11-01-2011, 02:36 PM
Location: Greenville, Delaware
4,726 posts, read 10,465,649 times
Reputation: 2598
My partner and I have found northern New Castle County to be very progressive and accepting in the four years we've now lived here.

I like Dover as a place to visit, but it is undeniably small townish. I know and have met many gay and lesbian persons who work in state government in Dover, though they all seem to commute there either from New Castle County or from the Rehoboth Beach and Lewes area of eastern Sussex County. I agree with the assessment of Dover being mildly Southern in culture, though I don't think anyone on this forum has agreed with me when I've made that observation in the past. I also have to say that my partner and I have never had a negative experience when visiting Dover.

I hope things work out for you guys somewhere in Delaware. I like this state a lot and after all, LGBT persons have more statutory civil rights in DE than they do in PA as a whole.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:31 AM
Location: Philadelphia, PA
42 posts, read 102,951 times
Reputation: 24
The better civil rights arrangement in Delaware is one of the primary reasons we came here, and we thought that such things meant the state was more tolerant as a whole -- in everyday life. That seems not to be the case entirely, and perhaps we shouldn't have made such a general assumption, but it is what it is.

My boyfriend LOATHES the public school system in Delaware, and he wasn't really aware of how it worked until he was already employed by a district here. To add insult to injury, the district he works at apparently has lackluster discipline, no matter what the students do -- which makes it pretty hard to teach, even if you aren't being called out for your sexual orientation.

As for moving to New Jersey, the cost of living -- and the property tax -- is prohibitively expensive, I think, for a self-employed person and a public school teacher. That's really our big bone to pick with New Jersey. And while Pennsylvania is better on taxes, it's worse on gay rights. Sigh. Maybe we should just move to Massachusetts and be done with it! lol.

I really do appreciate the encouraging stories of tolerance in other areas of the state -- and this area, too. We're really trying to give Dover a chance, and really trying to give the state itself a chance by looking into other areas. It's just a bit jarring to have hateful things yelled at you in a public space, and it's something neither of us has ever had happen, so we're not totally sure how to deal with it and avoid it. It's looking more and more like we'll be moving to northern New Castle County. Which is totally fine with me -- I'd love to be closer to Philly (and a real gayborhood?)!

Are there any districts to avoid (or stick to) in that area that anyone knows of? Not that it much matters in Delaware, it seems. People come to school from everywhere.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:50 AM
7,573 posts, read 11,029,924 times
Reputation: 15731
I'm really surprised to hear all of this, having been in Kent County, Delaware all of our lives. It's been over 50 years since I've been out of high school; we had a few gay and lesbian teachers and never thought anything about it! And, our school was small compared to what we have now. Same for our children, who went to Caesar Rodney, and Smyrna schools. I really thought society had become more accepting of everyone. Wonder why Delaware has become less tolerant, and less progressive over the years? Or has it?
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:59 AM
Location: Greenville, Delaware
4,726 posts, read 10,465,649 times
Reputation: 2598
I suspect the OP and his partner have been encountering some ugly, vociferous but decidely minority bigotry. I don't think this is something you would encounter in DE outside of some particular settings. HS kids, of course, can be very cruel -- that's nothing new (middle school age is actually the worst IMO), but the very advances made in terms of the integration of openly gay/lesbian persons and couples into public life has, I think, in some ways sharpened expressions of bigotry by a minority of persons who have "issues" of various sorts.

As to northern New Castle County, all I can say is that in general you'd just want to avoid the less well-functioning school districts like Colonial and Christina, if possible, and avoid living in sketchier neighborhoods. There are many decent suburban neighborhoods outlying the City of Wilmington, as well as the Trolley Sq and Forty Acres neighborhoods within the City proper (some housing in the adjacent and posher Highlands is also affordable). In Newark I'd personally choose to live near UD, I think. I'd avoid New Castle (Old New Castle is charming, but the rest of the city is a bit scary, as well as low on amenities). I woudn't choose to live in Middletown myself, but we know a couple (gay) who live there, as one commutes to Dover for his state job and the other works in Newark -- they seem happy enough there.
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