Report: Idaho close to middle when it comes to “Gay Friendliness “

Here in the west it can sometimes feels like we live in the most homophobic states in the country. The deserts of isolation, small towns full of visible and vocal religious majorities, as well as the lack of LGBTQIA resources can add to a sense that equality will forever be out of our reach.

But states like Idaho and Utah, while far from being gay meccas, aren’t the worst areas to grow up and live in.  In fact, nationally speaking, we actually fall somewhere in the middle.

That picture and other hopeful tidbits come into focus in excellent report released this week by independent journalist Marie “Riese” Lyn Bernard over at Autostraddle.

Using several recent studies as well as some colorful maps, In The Divided States Of Gay America, Bernard concludes that there are currently four types of states when it comes to “Gay-friendlessness”:  The Winners, Up-and-Comers, Wild Cards, and Longshots.”

The winners: The east coast comes out big. “States like Massachusetts, New York and Vermont where gay people already have a healthy portion of civil rights as well as general social acceptance.”

The Up and Comers:  California, Illinois and Oregon.  Bernard points out, “pockets of religious extremism pose some threat, people over 70 are generally the ones blamed for present inequity.”

The Wild Cards: “States in which extreme social conservatism and relative social liberalism exist in close quarters” include Texas, New Mexico, North Carolina and Flordia.

The Long Shots:  Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas.  Bernard writes,”these are the people for whom Dan Savage’s It Gets Better video about his life in San Francisco is more a slap in the face than a comforting tome.”

So where does Idaho fall in all this? It’s safe to conclude that all depends on you view of whether or not the glass is half full or half empty.  While the national picture shows we have yet a long way to go before the LGBTQIA community achieves anything remotely compared to full citizenship, we also can also conclude that in the larger scheme of things, the road may not be as long as we sometimes think it is.

You can read the full report HERE.


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