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Packing up boxes to move

Whether you’re looking for a fresh start, heading somewhere for work, wanting to move to a safer community, or you’re just up for an adventure, it’s exciting to move somewhere new. There will always be considerations when packing up your belongings and heading to a new community.

However, for an LGBTQ+ individual, it can feel like these considerations are doubled.

Not only is it important to find a place that feels safe and accepting, but it’s equally important finding a location that feels like home. That feeling is essential for your mental well-being and will make the experience of moving to and living in a new location less stressful and more hopeful.

What are some of the most important things you should consider when you move somewhere new? How can you feel empowered as part of the LGBTQ+ community before, during, and after your move?

It's All About the Location

The motto isn’t only used by real estate agents and those looking to open a successful business. Location is hugely important when it comes to choosing a place to live. You might find your dream home in a city that isn’t accepting, or in a location where the cost of living is out of your price range.

It’s important to decide where you want to live before you begin your house or apartment hunt.

Unfortunately, some parts of the country aren’t as LGBTQ+ friendly as others. While times continue to change and people are becoming more accepting, you might want to consider heading to a city that already accepts and empowers the LGBTQ+ community. Some of the best cities in the U.S. that promote inclusivity include:

  • West Hollywood, CA
  • Portland, OR
  • Austin, TX
  • New York City, NY
  • Boston, MA

By moving to an inclusive city, you’re less likely to run into safety issues. You’ll also have an easier time finding housing and won’t be at risk of experiencing discrimination based on your identity or preferences.

Make the Move Less Stressful

Moving is often considered to be one of the most stressful life events a person can go through. One 2020 survey found that 45% of Americans think it’s the most stressful event in life.

As someone in the LGBTQ+ community, that stress can feel ten times heavier if you’re nervous about acceptance, a new job, leaving friends, or moving away from the security of your family for the first time.

While you might not be able to remove all of the stress from the moving process, there are things you can do to make it a more enjoyable and less overwhelming experience. Some of the easiest ways to take that extra stress away include:

  • Decluttering your house
  • Deciding what to take/donate/throw away
  • Hiring a moving company
  • Researching your new community ahead of time
  • Having a job lined up

It’s important to be able to effectively manage stress, too. You may not be able to control everything, so knowing how to stay calm when things don’t go according to plan will make a big difference. Practice self-care throughout the moving process by staying physically active, eating well, and leaning on your support system as you prepare to go.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Heading to a new community can make anyone nervous, but that’s especially true for someone in the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, you'll never really know the kind of people you’re going to find until you step out and get to know them.

Whether you are moving to one of the cities listed above or are following current moving trends, it’s important to make your new location feel like home. Decorating your place and bringing your belongings is one thing, but you’re not going to be confined to your house or apartment 24/7. While it can be a little scary at first, immersing yourself in your new community will break down barriers and open new doors to opportunities and relationships.

Something as simple as going to local parks is a great way to meet people (bonus points if you have a pet!). Or, take a class, volunteer, or head to local events that interest you. Doing so will give you the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and develop new friendships.

You’ll also feel more comfortable in your new community if you become an advocate for safety. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors. By promoting a safe and inclusive neighborhood, you’re letting your local community know that you care about their well-being, and when everyone looks out for each other, you’ll experience the difference a positive community can make. Host community gatherings, get to know the people around you, and help to uplift the people in your neighborhood. It can be hard to put yourself out there, at first. However, when you’re promoting a strong sense of community and togetherness, you’ll quickly establish a circle of friends.

Moving should be an exciting experience, but it’s completely normal to feel a little nervous about the process. Keep these tips in mind from start to finish, and you’ll have an easier time overcoming those nerves and feeling confident and happy in your new home.

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Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.

Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.