When the time comes to retire, LGBTQ people face a big question: where can they go and feel comfortable? While lots of communities tout themselves as ideal locations, not all of them are as friendly to queer retirees as they could be.
Not everyone wants to move for retirement–or retire at all. If you have a strong social network and like where you are living, you probably are happy to stay just where you are. On that basis, virtually any city with a large LGBTQ population would be a good place: New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Chicago, to name just a few.
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But for other people, it is an opportunity to live a more leisurely and comfortable life in a new location. If you’re one of those people and want your retirement years to be out and proud, there are plenty of places from which to choose. Here are ten locations–some expected and some not–that would be happy to welcome you.
San Francisco, CA
Of course. The equality capital of the U.S. is a great place to retire. Besides all the community resources available, the city offers a first-class health care system, beautiful weather (even with the fog), and a cultural feast for residents. The downside is the high cost of living in the city. The median cost of a house is staggering $1.3 million; state and local taxes can also take another big bite. But if money is no object, then San Francisco would be among the top choices for anyone.
The Texas city is best known for its hipster vibe and willingness to break all the Texan stereotypes. After all, the city’s slogan is Keep Austin Weird. With its decidedly liberal tilt, Austin has been welcoming transplants for years. Its Pride parade draws about 25,000 people and just as importantly the city even boasts its own Austin LGBT Coalition on Aging, with a range of resources.
Palm Springs, CA
In a list of places to visit and live, AARP Travel Center and Expedia described Palm Springs as “an iconic LGBT playground in the desert.” But for many, the playground is also their permanent backyard. Or, if the summer heat is too much, you can split your time there. The mild winter makes Palm Springs the perfect second retirement home for snowbirds.
Wilton Manors, FL
Florida has always been a magnet for retirees, but Wilton Manors has a special appeal for LGBTQ seniors. Part of the Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area, the city has one of the largest concentrations of same-sex couples in the nation. The Pride Center city offers a broad range of services and programs for seniors and is even part of a nationwide trend to build affordable housing for LGBTQ seniors.
It’s not surprising that a favorite destination is also a great place for retirement. What could be better than the Big Easy? More importantly, New Orleans has resources tailored to the needs of LGBT seniors, including an affiliate of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). Add that to the city’s charms and you have an ideal place to spend your retirement years.
Eureka Springs, AR
Want to live in a Victorian house but can’t afford San Francisco? You may want to consider Eureka Springs. Dubbed the Gay Capital of the Ozarks, this charming town of 2,000 proves that small-town Southern living doesn’t require you to be in the closet. The town hosts a diversity/pride event each spring, making it an oasis for those looking to get away from big cities.
Tuscon has a beautiful setting, warm weather all winter long, and all the cultural advantages that a major university brings. The city also has Southern Arizona Senior Pride, which offers everything from potlucks to grief support groups. On top of all of this, houses in Tucson are relatively affordable, which is especially attractive for seniors on limited incomes.
Toledo may not be the first place you think of for treating people equally, but the city actually has a perfect score on HRC’s Municipal Equality Index. The city is also affordable; the median housing price is just $77,000. Toledo also has an array of museums and cultural activities, as well as a sizeable Pride festival annually. No wonder it ranked high on SeniorAdvice’s list of LGBT retirement choices.
Western North Carolina may not be the first place seniors think about when it comes to retirement, But Asheville has long been a friendly haven. It’s not by accident that the advocacy group Campaign for Southern Equality is headquartered in Asheville; although the city has a population of just 90,000, it has the highest percentage of same-sex households in the state. With a vibrant arts scene and the Blue Ridge Mountains as a setting, it’s an idyllic retirement town.
No wonder Pittsburgh was on Amazon’s shortlist for its second headquarters. Housing is affordable, the cultural scene is diverse and the city has long been friendly. Thanks to its sizeable senior population, Pittsburgh has also lots of resources. That includes those focused solely on seniors, including a SAGE affiliate.