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Old 11-02-2012, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
38 posts, read 28,549 times
Reputation: 19
Default How is LGBT Denver?

I'm 21 and I've lived in Tennessee all my life and the most I've traveled is to Myrtle Beach, SC. Once I graduate massage school in March of next year (638 hours) and get my license, I want to find somewhere more progressive and more interested in holistic health than the general Southern area to begin my career as a clinical massage therapist and build up a clientele base. Plus I'd like somewhere bigger than Knoxville, but not an enormous city. I'm kind of a country boy at heart. So I've been doing relocation research as I attempt to find my future home by next summer merely through online resources.

I was really considering Seattle, WA and Portland, OR due to their LGBT laws and rights (and I could even get married in Seattle - my goal is to marry and have a family). But despite the nature and outdoor activities available in those locations, I'm not sure I can handle the gray and wet. And the more I looked into Denver, the more enticing it got. I read there is plenty of sunshine, beautiful geography, a varying climate, and lots of nature and outdoors!

But how is the gay population and the acceptance of LGBT folks? Is it accepted, normal, or still viewed as something strange? What about the state as a whole? Based on living here, how do you predict things such as civil unions, marriage, gay couple adoptions, hospital and funeral rights, etc. will evolve in the coming years? And, more personally, do you think a young gay male massage therapist with a love for holistic health, nature, dogs, reading and writing would thrive in Denver and move towards his career and marriage/family goals?

Thanks for any information, help, and/or opinions, y'all!
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Berkeley in Denver, CO USA
6,270 posts, read 4,472,386 times
Reputation: 6072
Default Horrible

It is so bad here that Tim Gill had to create Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado | Committed to Colorado

It is so bad here that John Hickenlooper said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's support for gay rights isn't new | The Spot

It is so bad here that Michael Hancock did this Denver Mayor Michael Hancock Tells Personal Story Of Brother's Battle With AIDS, Defends Colorado's Civil Unions Bill (VIDEO)

It is so bad here that Denver Lesbian Wins City Council Race | Advocate.com (she lives 2 blocks from me)
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,730 posts, read 2,772,167 times
Reputation: 1301
I'm gay and my partner is from Tennessee. We love living here for the most part and both think you would probably be fine. One thing to note is that marriage between same-sex partners is banned in Colorado, though there are efforts to recognize civil unions instead. Either way, this isn't a huge issue for my partner and me, but for some people it is.

Also, if you're into gay stuff, there's a huge pride event every year, gay sports activities, the mile high freedom band, a gay chorus, etc., at least here in Denver.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Englewood, Colorado
12,406 posts, read 3,966,399 times
Reputation: 3841
Somewhat young gay Denver resident here - I also happened to have gone to college in Portland, so I can speak a bit to the Pacific Northwest. Right off the bat, it seems to me Denver would be a good fit for you.

Denver does have lots of sunshine, beautiful geography (at least within a short drive), EXTREMELY varied climate, and an abundance of outdoor activities. Certainly not everybody falls into this, but Denver tends to have an outdoorsy oriented culture, and it's reflected in the gay community. If you like to hike, bike, ski, rockclimb, etc, you'll have no problem finding a date or a group of gay friends who share that interest. You'll also find the gay bars pretty packed during Broncos games (Denver is a Broncos football town). Denver also has a nice arts scene and a highly educated population - things also reflected in the gay community - so your love of reading and writing will fit right in.

Lots of people in town have dogs, so you're good on that front unless you have a pitbull - Denver (and some of the suburb cities) has a strictly enforced pitbull ban. Not as many businesses and restaurants allow you to bring your dogs as some other places I've lived (such as Portland), but the number that do seems to be increasing. There are plenty of dog parks around town, plus you can always take them up to the mountains and let them run around.

I can't really speak to the holistic health community or its acceptance in Denver, but Denver proper (and Boulder) is very liberal, so I imagine it exists. Being pretty liberal, gay is very much accepted and viewed as normal in Denver. The suburbs are a mixed bag. The southern suburbs tend to be a bit more conservative and evangelical and get more so as you travel the 90 miles or so south down to Colorado Springs (home of Focus on the Family, etc). That said, I don't think you'll encounter any type of hostility for being gay anywhere in the metro area. I've know plenty of gays out in the suburbs, and I've never heard of any negative issues associated with it. Within Denver, the "gay neighborhoods" tend to be central and just east of downtown: Uptown, Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park, Congress Park. There's also a new-urbanism neighborhood they're developing in Denver called Stapleton (it's where the old airport was), and lots of gay families seem to live there. They even have have a facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/EveryoneInGaypleton/

As to legal protections for gay families, Colorado does not have gay marriage or civil unions - yet. Lots of Colorado is very open to gay people - Denver as I've said, Boulder actually legally married two gay guys in 1982, I think Aspen was the first city in the US to pass gay anti-discrimination ordinances back in the 70s - but it's still not very accepted in the rural parts of the state as well as down in Colorado Springs (Google Colorado's Amendment 2 sometime). That said, we almost passed civil unions last year. Colorado has a divided statehouse and a Democratic Governor who is very, very supportive of gay rights. Civil unions came before the statehouse last year, and it had more than enough votes to pass both the House and Senate: pretty much every Democrat and plenty of Republicans supported it. It passed the state Senate, but at the last second the Republican House majority leader refused to let the bill be heard - he actually shut the house down and let dozens of important bills die just so that civil unions couldn't be voted on. It got pretty nasty. The Governor attacked him in the media and even called a special session to try and force the house to vote on it. It didn't happen though. However, it's very possible both houses will be Democrat controlled after this election (they both were prior to the 2010 elections), and if that happens I imagine Civil Unions will be passed right away.

Quickly about Portland: it's green and lush, and it's that way because for 8 months of the year it never stops raining (and you never see the sun - ever). Being that way, I'd say it's even colder than Denver. I find 20 and sunny much more bearable than 43, dark, and damp. On the flipside, summers in Portland or Seattle are phenomenal. It's almost a consistent 80 degrees with low humidity, sunshine and no rain all in a gorgeous, blooming setting. It's very outdoorsy during summer, but unlike Denver most people hunker down in the city during the other 8 months. You also have the Ocean and coast (they say coast, not beach) nearby which you obviously don't have in Denver. As to the culture, it's even more progressive than Denver and is very hip. Way too many hipsters for my taste, and that's certainly reflect in the gay scene.

Lastly, another city you might want to consider is Salt Lake City (you heard me right - Salt Lake actually has a very vibrant gay community).

Poll: Majority of Coloradans back legal recognition for gay couples - The Denver Post

Last edited by Mike from back east; 11-03-2012 at 12:25 PM.. Reason: Merged 2:1
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
10,031 posts, read 11,313,508 times
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I'm gay and live with my partner in the Stapleton neighborhood, and we have kids. There have been zero issues for us here. It's very gay friendly and we have lots of other gay couple friends who also have kids. Being gay in Denver is a non-issue.

If you're into the whole "gay scene" (I was when I was younger and single), there are plenty of bars, groups, organizations, etc. It's a very gay friendly city with a good sized gay population. And I read an article in the Denver Post today that said 70% of Coloradans support legal recognition of gay relationships, about half of that 70% being for gay marriage and half for civil unions.

One positive thing for Colorado, gay couples can legally adopt children here. Also, Denver has a domestic partnership registry. We used it so I could get health insurance under my partner.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
38 posts, read 28,549 times
Reputation: 19
Awesome! Glad it's a LGBT-friendly place with people backing up our rights. Thanks for the information and the links! Hopefully marriage equality would hit Colorado before I'm ready to marry. I'm also pretty excited about "Gaypleton" haha. I checked them out on Facebook. Looks like more of a suburban for gay families though, am I right?

I was going through the photo tours and saw that there are a whole lot of suburbs in Denver... More than I'm used to in Knoxville. Our suburbs are small areas nestled in some trees, but the Denver suburbs look like large flat or slightly hilly spans of generally alike houses. It looks like they go on forever. Are there really that many boring, long stretches of suburbs? One day if I settle in Denver and want a house, are there better options than those sorts of blah suburbs?

Last edited by BornJuju; 11-05-2012 at 02:24 PM..
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Berkeley in Denver, CO USA
6,270 posts, read 4,472,386 times
Reputation: 6072
Default Trees

Quote:
Originally Posted by BornJuju View Post
photo tours...suburbs in Denver... More than I'm used to in Knoxville. Our suburbs are small areas nestled in some trees, but the Denver suburbs look like large flat or slightly hilly spans of generally alike houses.
Trees. Or lack of.

I moved to Denver from a Boston suburb (Sudbury) 30 years ago was stunned by the terrain and layout.
Trees are the major difference.

If you went to Boston and cut down every tree between it and Worcester, you would see:
a. some dense cities (8 houses to the acre)
b. some open space
c. one million houses sitting on 1-2 acre lots.

Here, you see:
a. some dense suburbs
b. some open space
c. and completely empty land (I exaggerate slightly) at the urban area edge (drive east of Aurora)

Another difference that Easterners don't appreciate are the vast differences in scale.
Tennessee is less than half the size of Colorado.
How many places in Tennessee do you still measure land in "sections"?
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
38 posts, read 28,549 times
Reputation: 19
That's what looks weird in a lot of photos! Trees! So obvious I didn't even pay attention. Do trees just... not grow? Or could someone, if they so choose, plant their yard full of saplings?

Living in Colorado, is gardening viable? Both vegetable gardening (when I'd own a home one day) and landscaping with flowers gardens? Or is it really that dry that there just aren't many trees (or flowers)?

I apologize for my ignorance. Like I said, I've never really been out of Tennessee, so the concept of living somewhere that's not full of trees and mountains is still a little strange to me. :P

Oh, and what do you mean by measuring land in "sections"?
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Englewood, Colorado
12,406 posts, read 3,966,399 times
Reputation: 3841
Quote:
Originally Posted by BornJuju View Post
That's what looks weird in a lot of photos! Trees! So obvious I didn't even pay attention. Do trees just... not grow? Or could someone, if they so choose, plant their yard full of saplings?

Living in Colorado, is gardening viable? Both vegetable gardening (when I'd own a home one day) and landscaping with flowers gardens? Or is it really that dry that there just aren't many trees (or flowers)?

I apologize for my ignorance. Like I said, I've never really been out of Tennessee, so the concept of living somewhere that's not full of trees and mountains is still a little strange to me. :P

Oh, and what do you mean by measuring land in "sections"?
Denver's a semi-arid steppe climate - it's very dry (next to no humidity). Lots of people who move here complain about dry skin and sometimes even get nose bleeds from the dryness.

I just looked at precipitation stats: Knoxville gets about 50 inches a year whereas Denver gets 15. Pretty much every tree you see in the Denver area was planed - they only really grow naturally along streams and rivers.

You can certainly grow trees and vegetables here - you just have to water them constantly (well not trees really, you water trees until they're established and then they do fine on their own).

Last edited by hammertime33; 11-05-2012 at 03:03 PM..
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Berkeley in Denver, CO USA
6,270 posts, read 4,472,386 times
Reputation: 6072
Default There are mountains in Tennessee?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BornJuju View Post
I've never really been out of Tennessee, so the concept of living somewhere that's not full of...mountains is still a little strange to me
There are mountains in Tennessee?
Methinks not.
"At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee,"

"Evergreen sits at an elevation of 7,220 feet" and is an exurb of Denver.

You might want to read up on a few of Colorado's mountains - 14ers.com • Home of Colorado's Fourteeners and High Peaks
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