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.