I personally think that many cities in Colorado are great places to live and the state, for the most part, is trans friendly. Yes, we have discrimination here – and hate crimes.
But a jury in Greeley, a relatively rural town about an hour north of Denver, brought back a historic hate crimes verdict in the murder of trans woman Angie Zapata. And the prosecutor on the case, Ken Buck, who fought for that verdict and made it a point to learn about trans people along the way, is a conservative Republican now running for the U.S. Senate.
Our statewide employment non-discrimination act (ENDA) and our public accommodations law cover trans people. We have one of the oldest gender centers in the country. And Colorado Springs is one of the first cities in the country to require training on transgender issues for its city workers, starting with the police department (thank you, Nancy-Jo and Crystal Ann).
I’ve lived in Denver for 20 years and will probably stay here the rest of my life. But if I had to move out of Colorado for whatever reason, here is what I would look for when considering where to live:
> An urban area: Obviously, large cities have more diverse populations and tend to have more progressive and open-minded residents. But not everyone is progressive and open-minded, and certainly, in a large city, there is more opportunity to be victimized – for being trans or just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
> Trans-friendly laws: Anti-discrimination laws in housing and employment are great things to have, and they reflect either the direct will of the voters or the will of the politicians put into office by the voters. They will not necessarily protect you from covert discrimination, however. If an employer wants to fire you for being trans, he or she will find another (legal) reason, and discrimination is hard to prove. But they will protect you from overt discrimination, and hopefully make employers or landlords think twice before firing you or kicking you out.
> A gender center or trans-friendly resources: Is there a specific center for trans people? If not, do the local “LGBT” organizations have programs for trans people, or is the “T” reflected in the organization’s title only?
> A solid and active trans community: You don’t have to hang out with them, but if there is one, it demonstrates that trans people find the city worth living in – and okay to be out in. Denver, Colorado Springs, Seattle, Portland, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, New York City, L.A., and D.C. are just some of the places I’m familiar with that have strong trans communities.
> Non-trans-specific features that are attractive: I wouldn’t move to an area I didn’t like just because of the trans community. If you like the ocean, look at a seaside town. If you like the mountains, look for mountains nearby. Look for things that are a good fit for your specific personality and lifestyle.
Okay, readers – what other things should a trans person look for when considering a move? And what specific locations would you recommend?
[Note: It is with a heavy heart (and a stressed-out head) that I must change my posting schedule for a while. When it rains, it pours, and I suddenly got slammed with freelance assignments that I must complete in addition to my day job. This is a good thing – I need the money. But it means I will be working nights and weekends. So I am temporarily returning to my old posting schedule of Mondays and Thursdays. Please don’t forget me – I’m still here (and very grateful to have work and to have readers).]