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Old 07-14-2009, 03:07 PM
 
6 posts, read 21,849 times
Reputation: 12

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My family will probably be moving from San Francisco to metro Detroit this fall. We are two moms (white) and two elementary school age kids (one black and one biracial). My partner is in final negotiations for a job in Detroit.

I'm getting the impression that we would not be welcome anyplace except maybe Ferndale and Royal Oak. My understanding is that Ferndale schools aren't great, and both of these towns seem to be mostly white.

I am very concerned about leaving a diverse place where our family is accepted (although we won't be the norm, no matter where we go, so we're OK with that!) to come to a place where we might be unwelcome and maybe actively harassed. And even leaving the gay issue out of it, the crime statistics and economic distress in the area are a bit terrifying.

What do you think? Are there places in the metro area where we can settle down to raise our family and not always be looking over our shoulders? What's our best bet for schools and neighborhoods?
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Hamtramck, Detroit, Michigan
60 posts, read 274,384 times
Reputation: 32
Maybe Lafayette Park?
Lafayette Park, Detroit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Michigan
266 posts, read 854,417 times
Reputation: 127
I grew up in Troy, lived in Royal Oak for many years, and am moving to Ferndale within the month. All of these areas are very diverse! Royal Oak and Ferndale have plenty of gay folks (though Ferndale has more gay-centered businesses) and I can't imagine anybody I know in Troy giving someone a hard time about that. As far as the racial mix of your kids, even 25 yrs ago Troy was extremely diverse and I had friends who were black, white, Asian, Indian, etc etc etc. I didn't go to school in Royal Oak or Ferndale but I see all kinds of people walking around the neighborhoods and the downtown areas. Very liberal and diverse, I seriously don't see there being a problem with skin color or sexual persuasion in either town.

I don't have kids but I know Troy's schools are considered very good! From what I've heard lately, you're better off in the Troy High district than the Troy Athens district. I went to Athens and all my classmates have been very successful, but my 20 yr reunion is coming up so it was a long time ago that I went there! Also Troy is kinda boring if you're used to San Fran. No downtown whatsoever, but several snooty malls where you can hang out if you're into that sort of thing. Although they do have some nice parks and for the kids.

Royal Oak might be a lot more fun for you adults, plus I think the schools are decent and I know there are a ton of parks (not to mention an excellent zoo). It's centrally located & close to freeways, making it easy to see the attractions in downtown Detroit, or head upstate for some rural fun (camping, canoeing, etc), or go visit one of our beautiful lakes. I don't know what the crime stats say but I never had any problem of any kind living there, and I know many people who are very happy and safe living there now.

Ferndale is kinda like Royal Oak's younger, hipper little sister. It's only a few miles south of Royal Oak, separated by the I-696 freeway, and the housing is less expensive. There are a lot of fun things for adults to do at night, but I don't see as many activities for kids and I hear the schools are not great. If you have a very large pile of money, you might consider Pleasant Ridge which is a sliver of gorgeous homes sandwiched right between Royal Oak and Ferndale. That area is small but just beautiful!! Don't know a thing about the schools though.

I seriously think you would have a lot of fun and wouldn't encounter any discrimination in any of these towns. Another place you might consider is Ann Arbor - very diverse population, excellent downtown, plenty for the whole family to enjoy. Do you or your partner have a job here that you're moving for? Ann Arbor isn't super close to the Royal Oak/Ferndale area, and traffic can suck so you probably want to find someplace close(ish) to work.

Is there any way you can schedule a visit before you move, to explore the metro area and see where you feel most comfortable? Are you planning to rent for a while or buy right away?
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:21 PM
 
6 posts, read 21,849 times
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Jeannie and Cherry, thank you for your replies!

My partner is in the final negotiations for a job that is in downtown Detroit, so although Ann Arbor would be great for us, it seems to be too far away ... we hear the commute can really stink.

We are concentrating on the Royal Oak area, because it does seem diverse. It's nice to have that confirmed here.

My partner and I are both from Michigan originally (she is from Flint, and I'm from Kalamazoo), and we've lived in SF for more than 20 years. So I'm really aware that my fears/prejudices about the area are out of date, and that things have probably changed for the better. Again, very nice to have that confirmed!

Anyone else want to weigh in about the best places for our family to live?
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:26 PM
 
6 posts, read 16,061 times
Reputation: 13
Hi! We moved from the DC area to Detroit due to my husband's job. We moved to a town called Plymouth, which has excellent schools. It has a cute little town (think a town square straight out of Back to the Future) with shops and restaurants. Plymouth seems pretty gay-friendly. (In fact, we bought our house from a gay couple who were moving out of the state for job reasons.) Full disclosure, it is not very racially diverse, but everyone seems very welcoming.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,708 posts, read 79,963,134 times
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Ferndale or ann arbor. Anywhere else you will be a curiosity or a target.
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:08 AM
 
Location: Michigan
266 posts, read 854,417 times
Reputation: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
Ferndale or ann arbor. Anywhere else you will be a curiosity or a target.

Just wondering when you lived in Royal Oak, Troy, or Plymouth and noticed gay and/or multiracial people being a curiosity or target? I have friends who are gay and "not-white" who live in R.O. and Troy and have never had a problem, but I can concede that others may have had a different experience. Please relate your personal experience that causes you to make this statement.
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:01 PM
 
190 posts, read 681,853 times
Reputation: 145
I have friends (gay and straight) in Ferndale and all of them love it there. My best friend's children both went through the schools and did well, the youngest just graduated a year ago. Both attended Roosevelt on Pinecrest in elementary school. My friend really liked the close nature of the area, you might take a look and see what you think.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:35 PM
 
Location: 48205
380 posts, read 692,857 times
Reputation: 326
If your partner's job is in Detroit, although I absolutely loved living in and would recommend Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor is a 45-minute to an hour commute. With that said, I agree Royal Oak and Troy are good options. These areas are culturally and lifestyle diverse, have great commutes and good school systems. Farmington Hills is another great option.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
328 posts, read 1,398,850 times
Reputation: 176
Default As a gay man...

Quote:
Originally Posted by teejuris View Post
If your partner's job is in Detroit, although I absolutely loved living in and would recommend Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor is a 45-minute to an hour commute. With that said, I agree Royal Oak and Troy are good options. These areas are culturally and lifestyle diverse, have great commutes and good school systems. Farmington Hills is another great option.
As a gay man who grew up in Metro Detroit, I believe that Ferndale, Royal Oak, or Ann Arbor are your best options. Aside from Plymouth, absolutely do not consider Wayne County area. I grew up in Wayne County (in Taylor, the "Downriver" area), and it is very much a working-class, socially conservative area.

I think that RO, Troy, Ferndale and Ann Arbor would be a good match for you.

Please keep in mind that even in the most liberal area of Michigan, it will be nowhere near as liberal or as culturally excepting as San Francisco (and this is coming from someone who lives in Boystown in Chicago, so I know what I'm talking about). It's sad to say that even in Metro Detroit there are a lot of very conservative, uptight people, and a lesbian couple with biracial children would be totally too much to handle.

Good luck on your move! You will love the beautiful 4 seasons we have in the Midwest, and the cost of living will shock you...in a good way!!!
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