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Kingsport - Johnson City - Bristol The Tri-Cities area
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:03 AM
 
2 posts, read 14,293 times
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I'll be moving to tri-cites within the month and wanted to know how gay life is there? Not really into bars, but looking for other gay folks in area who are interested in meeting for dinner, movies, kayaking, etc. Thanks for your help!
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Kenai Peninsula, AK
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Umm it's okay. How old are you? Will you be at ETSU or anything? It's much easier here to meet people who are gay through school or something like that.

You won't be harrassed and in general the people here are very live and let live, except when it comes to actually "giving you" your civil rights. But otherwise, not a big deal. Johnson City has ETSU and Kingsport has Eastman, and both of these bring in people from all over the world.
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:57 PM
 
Location: New York City
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I agree with Jabogitlu's post about being easier to meet people there if in college or a setting such as that in the tri-cities. There are a lot of gay people in the tri-cities, believe it or not. But, overall the area is very unaccepting towards gay people. Johnson City is by far your best bet--since ETSU is there.

The area on the whole is super conservative, and has a large fundamentalist Christian population of church-going folks. You will probably meet a few more people in this area that will be judging you based on your sexuality, than say a more liberal or larger city area of the country. But, that'll happen in a lot of areas, so it is what it is until people are educated.

My advice would be to join a gay group or support club in the area and meet people that way, too.
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:28 PM
 
Location: Kenai Peninsula, AK
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There are a few of them. The two that pop into my head are PFLAG Tri-Cities and LGBTies (an ETSU group). Also, if you're religious, the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton (First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton ) is a very welcoming congregation. There's a UU church in Gray as well, and maybe another in the area, not sure.
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:36 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post
There are a few of them. The two that pop into my head are PFLAG Tri-Cities and LGBTies (an ETSU group). Also, if you're religious, the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton (First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton ) is a very welcoming congregation. There's a UU church in Gray as well, and maybe another in the area, not sure.
Yeah, the UU Church--great point. I belong to the UU (or did for a while anyway) in Stamford. There is one in Gray that offers tremendous openness and welcoming of all types of backgrounds, regardless of belief. It is a great place to make friends--gay, straight, whatever. Forget to mention that.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:40 AM
 
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Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. I'm 50 years old, so not looking for crazy night life, but am looking to meet a nice network of friends. Someone mentioned groups in the area, as well as suggesting I attend the Unity Church (I had planned on doing just that). Are there any social groups that do outdoor things or book clubs, etc, in the area. Someone mentioned that there was a significant gay/lesbian population in the area....are they married/closeted or actually "living" a gay life?
I'm not flamboyant, just a regular normal kind of guy.
Anyway, thanks again for your help.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Kenai Peninsula, AK
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What exactly is a gay life? I've heard for years that Johnson City is "little San Francisco" but to be honest I don't know that many gay people here.

I'm going to go completely off the PC radar here, but oh well. I've observed that gay guys tend to be either affluent, educated and (relatively) wealthy, or uneducated, poor and socially immobile. Unfortunately greener surroundings like Nashville, Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah, Miami and Birmingham tend to draw away the Tri-Cities' affluent and educated gay population. I won't elaborate but I probably don't have to.

Things are changing somewhat and there's quite a few young gay men here who are "out." Of course, ETSU draws most of them in, and they will disperse after they graduate.

But back to raw demographics, I work with at least ten gay people out of a workforce of 120 or so. Most of them are over 30 and in stable relationships.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:40 AM
 
Location: In transit...
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I would also recommend visiting www.meetup.com to look for social groups in the area.
And if you can't find a group you like, you can always start one
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Daytona Beach, FL
18 posts, read 40,743 times
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Re gay-affirming churches, there possibly may be another one coming to the JC area eventually. International Christian Community Churches, a small gay-affirming and majority-gay denomination based in Asheville, said last fall there was interest in launching an ICCC church in the JC area. Keep a watch on International Christian Community Churches for developments.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:35 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Originally Posted by EastTennMan View Post
It's quite horrible in East TN. Believe me. I survived for less than a year. Seriously,I've lived all over the country, and it was the worst. I find some comments in here interesting, considering what I have read recently.

Mainly closeted. Lots of married/bi guys on the scene. Apparently, the parks are popular (how very 1990). Did not see this "stable" life ANYWHERE. Yes, First Pres E-ton is quite nteresting. Couldn't pay me to go there - not into wiccan social gatherings. But, a "large" population? Not "out" - anyway. I had a few dinners, but the guys were all Baptist-bred, and really messed up........
I totally believe this, EastTennMan. I grew up in the tri-cities in the 70s/80s, and when I was leaving in 1990, being "gay" there meant you had a disease! It was awful. Now that I've been living away for 20 years, my family is mostly still there, and my younger sister says she has seen some improvements, but of course, she is not into the gay scene as you may have been there.

What you said in your second paragraph is not surprising at all, considering the area's "bible thumping" roots. That's where a lot of the messed up folks come from, those homes that still consider gay life a "sin" and those doing it "hellbound." The problem is the huge influence the fundamentalists have over the region and its long-time folks that live there.

I am optimistic that through time and education, the area will continue its path to change. It sounds harsh, but as older generations pass on, attitudes will change and acceptance will become more the normal state. It's happening in other states/regions where gay marriage has become legal (think Iowa, New Hampshire, DC, Connecticut, Vermont, etc), and will take some time, but I think it will happen over time through education and activism.
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