Whether you’re just visiting a new city or have moved in but never really connected with anyone, you can locate the city’s gay and lesbian community and get in touch with others like you.
Only a few cities have a gay and lesbian neighborhood. In most, resources are spread throughout the area.
Many cities no longer have a gay and lesbian newspaper or community center, so you won’t find a publication to pick up or any central resource for locating gay and lesbian churches, nightclubs and self-help groups.
Most large cities have businesses and organizations that serve the gay and lesbian community if you can locate them. Here are four ways of getting in touch with a city’s gay and lesbian community.
1. Get a copy of the city’s weekly newspaper.
While most cities have a daily newspaper, many also have a weekly alternative newspaper that covers entertainment, live music and the nightclub scene in the town.
While alternative newsweeklies don’t specifically serve the gay and lesbian community, they often list bars and organizations. There might even be a gay section of their club listings that could put you on the right track quickly. Gay groups may also advertise in the paper.
2. Look for letters you recognize.
Some gay and lesbian organizations use only their initials to avoid drawing unwanted attention. For example, you can always find friendly and welcoming people if you locate the local chapter of Parent, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays — but you need to know that they usually use the acronym PFLAG.
There are many gay and lesbian churches around the country, too, and some of them are part of a denomination called Metropolitan Community Churches. They use the initials MCC.
3. Locate places where people post notices.
Upcoming events or organization meetings are usually posted several places around any city, but you have to locate the few places in town with bulletin boards or where notice boards are allowed. These often include organic grocery stores like Whole Foods and bookstores. Art galleries may post notices too.
As a bonus, the staff at these kinds of places are usually gay or gay-friendly and can help you find your way around if you’re willing to ask.
4. Search for “gay” plus the city name.
If you’d rather do your exploring online, the simplest way to start is to perform a search for the word “gay” plus the city name. For example, if you search for “gay Fort Worth” you will, of course, get this site.
While this type of search won’t always get you the most comprehensive resource about city’s gay and lesbian community, it’s a good starting point.
You Can Connect if You Want
Gay and lesbian businesses and organizations are no longer underground in most cases, so you can find them easily enough once you connect with the right resources.
While the absence of gay newspapers and high-profile community centers in many cities complicates things, gay establishments usually want to be found and make ever effort to put themselves in front of potential customers and members.
By keeping your eyes and ears open and putting yourself in situations where you’re likely to find what you’re looking for, you can get in touch with the gay and lesbian community in any city.