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Old 09-14-2011, 12:31 PM
 
5 posts, read 5,420 times
Reputation: 10
Default Winchester Area Gay Isolation

Hello,
I did a search before posting this question and did not come up
with anything exactly addressing my inquiry.

I am a middle-aged gay woman who is planning on moving to
the Winchester area along with my retired parents. The area
seems like a good fit in many ways. Currently I live in a large
city in a very conservative state but it is a Western state and
the conservativism here is more of the Libertarian variety and
there is not much focus on social issues. I am a traditional
person but I am also a gay woman. I belong to a mainstream
church and have never been one to belong to gay groups but
I do not want to end up being isolated if I do move to Northern
Virgina. Since Winchester is a ways from D.C. I was wondering
how it is for gay women, especially a little older gay woman. Or
I guess I should say gay people in general even though I hate
to generalize!

I have never posted here before and I am really looking forward
to getting to know your state and your area.

Thank you to all and anyone who anwers my inquiry.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Roanoke VA
1,984 posts, read 3,715,913 times
Reputation: 750
Default Conservative State

Basically, the conservatism that is expressed in this state is mostly of the bad kind, namely southern Baptist or fundamentalism on social issues. In the west there is less of that and Gay people are seen more as human beings and not
people your mother warned you against. Although Winchester, in the northern
part of the state is closer to Washington DC it is NOT Washington DC. I think it is a charming little town, especially the downtown area. I wish they had a train (LOL) to DC as driving in that area is impossible! I am sure you are aware of Virginias' homophobic crusade against Gays as it regards marriage equality and
job discrimination. Many straight people on these posts feel they speak for Gays and deny Virginia is homophobic toward Gays but it is not true at all.
For me, I would live closer to Washington as a Gay person or even move there!
It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! I wish I could be more positive but good luck in your plans!
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:41 PM
 
5 posts, read 5,420 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you roanoker 4. The information you provided is indeed helpful. I kind of suspected it but was hoping the relative closeness to D.C. might make the area less as you decribe. This will not
deter me completely but it is something I must consider. Thank you again for taking the time to write your reply!
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Newport News, VA
1,045 posts, read 1,218,605 times
Reputation: 456
I think that the homophobic folks in Virginia are more in the public eye and have loud voices. But I do not believe they are in the majority in most parts of the Commonwealth.

On many social issues, liberals in conservative parts of Virginia keep their mouth shut out in public and do not plaster their cars with liberal bumpers stickers. I see such conduct as in invitation for someone to vandalize such a car or to harass such an individual. There are some conservatives, who despite their Bible toting and quoting, have no problem committing such sins/crimes simply because they disagree with another person's opinion.

I think of Winchester as part of Northern Virginia. I think you will be fine as long as you don't go around boldly advertising your sexual orientation. If you want to flaunt it (so to speak), as Roanoker 4 has advised, D.C. is a better option.
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:38 PM
 
5 posts, read 5,420 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you TN Lily. I dont "boldly advertise" my sexual orientation or anything else personal for that matter. The media does seem to focus on the ugly side of people and I know there are hateful people but I like to think that most people just want to get through their lives and mind their own business, whatever state they live in. I appreciate your reply!
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Newport News, VA
1,045 posts, read 1,218,605 times
Reputation: 456
You are most welcome.

I think you are right -- most people want to live their lives and get along with others.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:20 PM
 
3,169 posts, read 3,238,918 times
Reputation: 2296
have you considered Charlottesville? It might be a better fit for you and your parents. More expensive but might be worth it if you're making a major move like this.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Winchester
1 posts, read 1,002 times
Reputation: 17
Default Winchester Gay Isolation

Hi!
The reason I am responding to your inquiry is that I am in exactly the same boat. I don't make a habit of posting on the internet but when I read your post it hit so hard to home that I felt compelled to respond.

My parents have been living in Winchester at least 10 years. They lived in Charlestown prior for another 10 years. My brother has been in Winchester for about 20 years and an aunt and grandparents lived in Winchester-Charlestown before anyone else.

So, I've been hanging around this area for one reason or another since a pre-teen. I am now almost 50. I am from upstate NY as is my immediate family. I had refused to live south of the Mason-Dixon line, having enjoyed the openness of being a lesbian in upstate NY.

You don't realize how affirming it is to drive down the street and see pride flags on front porches, churches and business' or stickers on cars...until you find yourself realizing that you haven't seen either. Such is the case in moving from upstate NY to Winchester.

I moved here a week ago. I was layed off partially in June and ran out of time and funds as I had not yet landed a full time job...so that by September I knew I could not financially support myself starting with October...and moved to Winchester to live with my parents.

So here I am, an out lesbian since age 18, who has not lived at home since age 19, having lost most of my self-identity (independent person, health care provider) and now living in Winchester where no one has ever looked or thought like me.

I think Winchester is one of the most beautiful areas in the country. My parents are wonderful and give me their full support as well as empathy for how I feel about the things I've mentioned.

That being said, the isolation of being a lesbian in Winchester is palpable. I had been living on Long Island the past 4 years. Close proximity to NYC's liberalism does not transition to Long Island which is conservative. However, I was out at work, with my neighbors and once in a while I'd see a pride sticker. I was not afraid of being out, there were plenty of other out gay people around me, and straight people in my life gave as much thought about my being a lesbian as they gave to the color of toe nail polish I was wearing.

In Winchester, instead of being gay presenting as much an obvious part of who I am as my hair color, it is something only mentioned after the person has become a trusted family friend. My family is not homophobic, but the culture here is.

I think Winchester is a wonderful place to live and relocate with your parents. But be aware, if you are used to seeing yourself reflected back to you by your community, you won't see it here. I wish you well.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:57 AM
 
5 posts, read 5,420 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you for your reply loveautumn. You are the 2nd person to mention Charlottsville. A larger city may indeed be a better fit for me. I appreciate your comment and suggestion!
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:49 AM
 
5 posts, read 5,420 times
Reputation: 10
Kidro, I am sorry things have taken a tough turn for you. I too am facing some of the same issues.
I hope you find a new position in VA and that you adust. I also sent you a private reply. Good Luck to you also and thank you for telling me your personal experience of Winchester. It sounds like you have a good family network so that is major plus and may, at least for now, off-set the culture change and adjustment process of moving from NY State to Winchester.
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