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cutiecat565 t1_iywdduh wrote

Allentown is fine for LGBT+, but you'll probably like her sister city Bethlehem better. Definitely has a more artsy/creative crowd and vibe


itsallfornaught2 t1_iywpibl wrote

Is the implication that LGBT communities are more artsy/creative?


fedexboy123 t1_iywq9b7 wrote

I think the implication is that creative and artsy people are a more accepting crowd


Castor_and_Pollux123 t1_iywe4b9 wrote

Bethlehem might be better.


nutbrownale t1_iywu841 wrote

I was born in Bethlehem and been out of PA for 25 years. This warms my heart to hear.


31spiders t1_iyx1aq0 wrote


Sorry w Christmas right around the way I had to. I’m sure you (and everyone else born there) has heard this


ohsweetcreep t1_iywf360 wrote

If not just do your part in making it lgbt friendly by bringing in the gay


Purple_Routine1297 t1_iywfrhq wrote

On the west end, yes. That’s where my husband and I live, and we have quite a few LGBTQ neighbors. But like the others commented, Bethlehem might be a tad bit better.


Muscadine76 t1_iywfz88 wrote

It’s probably got the most visibly active LGBTQ community in SEPA outside of Philly.

Bradbury-Sullivan Center is a very active LGBTQ community center.

Stonewall Lehigh Valley is one of the few gay bars in the region.

There’s a pride festival every August, I believe.

You’ll see pride flags hanging here and there.


kelvra13 t1_iywtgo3 wrote

Lancaster's really good for it too, to my surprise


Muscadine76 t1_iywv0jz wrote

Yes, Lancaster has a fairly visible community but the gay bar didn’t survive the pandemic, and The Loop which will house some LGBTQ community resources is just getting off the ground. Reading has a surprising number of resources and events as well.


kelvra13 t1_iywybp7 wrote

my partner will not be thrilled to hear that


Baking_bees t1_iywp7pz wrote

Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton are all safe bets.

The spaces in between are suspect at best.


JacoDaDon t1_iywuz5l wrote


The latest data is from 2020 where there was a grand total of 5 “hate crimes” due to sexual orientation in the entire state.

To be clear, the term hate crime can mean anything from an insult to an attack.


Baking_bees t1_iywv97p wrote


But my lived experiences are that places outside of the three major cities are questionable at best. I don’t need to be injuried to know I’m unwelcome.


JacoDaDon t1_iywvshi wrote

I find that incredibly hard to believe. Did you get chased outta town by a pitch fork wielding mob or did you get a few comments and/or stares?

Your prejudice against millions of people you’ve never met who live in these towns you’re vilifying all across PA is very ironic.


Baking_bees t1_iywvz69 wrote

I find you incredibly annoying but here we are 🤷🏻‍♀️


JacoDaDon t1_iywxhf5 wrote

Hey, I’m not the one passing judgment on millions of people…that’s your thing


rootsdork t1_iywvps1 wrote

There is a lot of room between "friendly" and "hate crime"


JacoDaDon t1_iywx8wb wrote

What does OP even mean by friendly? There isn’t a single law on the books in PA targeting them in a detrimental way. Conversely, there’s plenty of laws protecting their rights as Americans. There’s no movements or rallies against them and crime stats prove they’re not being harmed.

The only places that wouldn’t be friendly to the members of the LGBTQ community are the hoods in Philly, Pittsburgh, Allentown & Reading and that’s because they’re not friendly for anyone.


rootsdork t1_iyx1vly wrote

Idk their original intent bc the comment is deleted.

It is a complicated question, but regional stats won't show up if you're looking at it at the level of PA laws. Also, like I mentioned, there's a lot of possible hostility before a hate crime. I've lived in a few towns in PA and they each have their own vibes and ways of accepting (and judging).

My PA hometown is currently institutionalizing homophobia and grappling with open antisemitism, at the same time that there's a vibrant queer community and a strong historical Jewish community. We don't have hate crimes, but there is a tension. The queer kids in my community are hurting, and being vocal about it. The synagogues have guards and threat assessments and drills for attackers. There are so many accepting people in that community, but there's still vocal hatred and signs of hate displayed clearly. And you'd probably be surprised where this town is located.

Some towns are really active in cultivating a welcoming and egalitarian environment. There are some towns with a greater density of pride flags and "everyone is welcome" signs. Those are obviously friendlier on the surface, but the specific culture can vary in how accepting they are. Some are really genuine, really walking the walk. Some people still deal with a lot of passive aggression from other business oweners for displaying queer flags. I've had convos with a few people who are defiant, but don't feel accepted by neighbors.

There are other towns who are accepting or who have a surprisingly robust queer community, but in that chill way where it's just not an issue but they don't bother to signal it. Tbh those communities exist in all population densities.

There is a sense of peace to living around people who are open about accepting you and denying hatred. I don't think it's measured well in hate crime stats.


JacoDaDon t1_iz06p1v wrote

I think we can agree at the very least it’s a OP posted a loaded question deserved of a nuanced answer. . . which you did a tremendous job providing.

I don’t believe there’s any town or city or county in PA anyone can legitimately label “non-accepting” towards the LGBTQ community.

I don’t think there’s many or but closer to any towns tight-knit enough left that you’d be able to place a blanket statement like that over in today’s world — People just don’t know their neighbors like they used to.

I was annoyed by how many comments echoed basically the same sentiment:

Philly, Allentown & Pittsburgh are the only places LGBTQ individuals will be accepted — They should avoid the other 9.5 million people in the state.

A completely bullshit take, obviously.

I feel like the gay community sometimes has trouble accepting the fact that the straight community doesn’t find them special. I live in South East PA and here, they’re treated the same as straight people, meaning nobody really gives two f’s about them. A member of the LGBTQ community in the 80s would kill to be treated the way members of the community are today.

Since I’m 43, I lived through the times when gay bashing was much more very violent then today so from my standpoint as a straighty, today’s problem are minute compared to what they once were.

I can get down with everything you wrote and I agree with almost all of it. What I’m struggling with is the idea that your “hometown is institutionalizing homophobia.”

What do u mean by that?


Muscadine76 t1_izamdbd wrote

I’m not the person you were responding to but if I had to guess it would be something to do with school policies: attempts to ban discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms, and/or attempts to ban books with queer content from libraries and/or curricula are seeing an uptick currently.

Personally I lived 10+ years in a small town in a more rural part of the state. Our immediate neighbors were always friendly, though all were clearly not accepting, and we found specific social circles that were accepting. It’s also notable over our years there certainly the community as a whole became more visibly welcoming. When we moved there we were cautious about hanging a rainbow flag in front of our house but did do it - it was the only one in town at least that I saw. By the time we moved away last year there were a few Pride flags to be seen in the neighborhoods (some from allies), including at least 2 just in our neighborhood, and after a long process one of the local churches had declared itself open and affirming.

At the same time, by the time we moved the area was also was more visibly hateful-to-hostile - more Confederate flags and the like. Hostile symbolism representing social views that are not typically pro-LGBTQ easily outnumbered accepting by at least 2:1 by my reckoning, and you would sometimes catch even more glimpses of more private displays behind an open garage door or through a window hanging on a wall.

Arguably my worst personal experience while living there was walking in our neighborhood one evening with my husband and hearing a preteen girl who was playing in the street with her friends call us faggots. Yes, it was just an “insult” - I wasn’t afraid of her and in fact I read her the riot act about basic respect. But the bigger issue is: she didn’t just come up with it herself. The way she said it it was clearly normalized for her in her home and/or in school via peers (which still points to how children in the community are being socialized at home). Based on reports we heard about the state of LGBTQ issues in local schools, that was pretty certainly a factor.

We had a housemate for our last few years there who would sit on the front porch a lot, and regularly reported that people would shout something about faggots while driving by (because of the aforementioned rainbow flag). Being vigilant about our surroundings whenever we were walking around town was a necessity, especially at night.

So would I describe that town as LGBT “friendly” to someone who asked? No. Would I tell them there are friendly people and groups in the town? Absolutely. But it’s a situation where I could never in good conscience recommend an LGBTQ person live there, even if I would be happy to help them have the best experience living there if they had to or chose to.


Muscadine76 t1_iz4olw6 wrote

Hate crimes do not include “insults”. In order for something to be considered a hate crime in the US it first has to be a crime. In the US if the incident is solely verbal then that would mean either an accompanying threat of violence or if we want to define “verbal” broadly then something like vandalism.

Also, in the US hate crime reporting relies on both the victim reporting to the police (and a lot goes unreported due to distrust of the police) as well as the policing agency reporting to the federal agency. Unless it rises to the level of a federal crime, in PA most agencies would probably not report an incident as a hate crime, since PA does not currently have a hate crime law covering sexual orientation. That’s not to say you’re not correct that things are much better than, say, the 80s, and that it’s probably generally “safe” to live in most parts of the state - even if you don’t feel particularly welcome.

I want to say more about my own experience living in small-town PA for 10+ years but I don’t have time at this very moment.


ICanDieRightNowPlz t1_iywsxo8 wrote

Fuck em'. Go wherever in PA, you'll find your place. We aren't all assholes


iYogi21 t1_iywt66c wrote

Thank you!


ICanDieRightNowPlz t1_iywu5mc wrote

Living about 25 minutes North from Pittsburgh isn't bad. Neighbors aren't too nosey or anything. Wouldn't matter anyway, no one cares that much. If you're looking for a friend, I'd be there. I know of ignorant people, but no one around here would harass you. Only behind your back, if that makes you feel better.


theviolinist7 t1_iywp102 wrote

The entire region is pretty LGBTQ+ friendly. Allentown has the Bradbury Sullivan LGBTQ Community Center, which has a lot of events, support groups, programs, meetups, etc. Bethlehem has the more artsy and foody scene, which is nice (it's a great restaurant town), and there's a lot of colleges in the area, which also makes it more LGBTQ+ friendly. There's also Lehigh Valley Pride every year, and the pro sports teams have an LGBTQ+ night as well. I live in Bethlehem, which I like better than Allentown (but there are nice things in Allentown too!). Obviously, it's hard to escape homophobia no matter where you go in the world, but as an out genderqueer person, I feel safe and welcomed here.


grayzee227 t1_iywtq98 wrote

Yeah it is. But as a Lehigh Valley native and someone who goes to college in Bethlehem... I agree with the comments. Bethlehem is def LGBT friendly.


thisoldbroad t1_iyxigdl wrote

I live in Allentown. The correct answer is YES.


JacoDaDon t1_iywu0ya wrote



alkaliphiles t1_iywv1o8 wrote

my hometown in Texas ain't


JacoDaDon t1_iywv9i7 wrote

That’s subjective.


kelvra13 t1_iywy803 wrote

but that would defeat your point wouldn't it, that EVERYWHERE isn't actually gay friendly


JacoDaDon t1_iywyzsn wrote

Please explain to me how an entire town, city, or county isn’t LGBTQ friendly.

Can’t wait to hear your justification for stereotyping people you’ve never met.

Isn’t that what the LGBTQ community has worked so hard to put an end to…stereotyping?


kelvra13 t1_iyx0916 wrote

have you been to small rural towns in the US?


JacoDaDon t1_iyzqgvk wrote

Many of them. There’s weirdos everywhere you go but there’s also decent, kind, accepting people.

What if the question was presented this way:

Is Philadelphia accepting of white people?

Would you say no?

Have you ever been to Nicetown, Hunting Park, Strawberry Mansion, Fairhill, Alleghany West, Frankfort, or North Central Philly? Be a white person and walk through those hoods. Let’s just say you wouldn’t get the warmest of welcomes. Still, you wouldn’t say Philadelphia isn’t accepting towards white people. You see what I’m saying?


kelvra13 t1_iz02xsb wrote

I'm actually in strawberry mansion all the time, never had an issue. So, no I wouldn't say Philadelphia is unaccepting of white people, also these aren't exactly the same thing, because white people as a demographic aren't marginalized


insofarincogneato t1_iywsn2a wrote

Why would you think an entire town could be a monolith for a singular experience? Even the small rural conservative town I live in has a business with a pride flag in the window.... There's good and bad everywhere. Typically places with higher population have more diversity. More diversity leads to acceptance of ideas. It checks out that there's gonna be more acceptance for LGBT+ folks there compared to other places but maybe less than other places.

This is a bit of an odd question to me.


kelvra13 t1_iywtqs7 wrote

because shit like sundown towns still exist here in 2022. It's not unreasonable to ask if you're going to be safe and welcome in a specific place. Or whether or not you'll be able to find your community in your town


insofarincogneato t1_iywvxx0 wrote

Everyone's experience is different, how can you say what someone's experience will likely be? This isn't black and white.


kelvra13 t1_iywy190 wrote

you're being intentionally disingenuous


insofarincogneato t1_iyz61o4 wrote

No, I'm not. What agenda would I be pushing to do that? My experience in a town isn't going to be same as anyone else's. I simply asked what the criteria is to qualify a town as LGBT friendly. It's really not hard. At the end of the day it's a generalization. How many shitty people do you have to meet opposite of a community of LGBT support groups before you can call the whole town anti LGBT?


iYogi21 t1_iywt4xx wrote

If your question is to me, it is because I am part of the LGBT Community as well as if I can say, “Is Allentown Indian (from India) and British Friendly?”


insofarincogneato t1_iywtkcc wrote

How can enough people in a town share the same idea enough to be able to answer that question? Like, what ratio of LGBT allies to homophobes are you looking for?


iYogi21 t1_iywtwu4 wrote

You are joking right? 1. I am not asking the entire town because not everyone in the tow is on Reddit. 2. I am only asking those that are either LGBT friendly themselves, part of the LGBT themselves or ally’s.


insofarincogneato t1_iywvcdk wrote

Yeah, and as someone who's non binary I'm asking how do you quantify that?

Define your requirements that need met in order to call a town LGBT friendly. You act like it's black and white, like every experience is the same. What's the criteria to define if a town is LGBT friendly or not?

It's really a simple question.