Ohio Not Okay, Say Some Gays

The majority of local gays may enjoy living in Columbus, Ohio, but not everything’s peachy keen:

[A survey of about 3,400] found that:

• More than half the participants were in committed relationships, and 80 percent want the right to legally marry in Ohio.

• Nearly 60 percent said they had been called names, threatened, stalked, intimidated or had personal property defaced because of their sexual orientation.

• More than half said they had experienced discrimination; among that group, two of three reported workplace discrimination.

• Thirteen percent either had not been tested for HIV or did not know their HIV status.

None of these are good things, of course…

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  • Charley

    Number one rule for LGBT’s living in homophobic states like Ohio and West Virginia. 1. Fight or Flight? Flight is best, relocate to a gay friendly environment where you will be accepted by your fellow citizens. Otherwise, you may be the next statistic at the morgue.

  • Ian

    Living in Ohio myself, Cleveland actually, I can attest that everything published in the poll is accurate. This is one of the most discriminating states in the Union. Not only that, but there is no value placed on people in general. Ohio is nothing but a SLAVE state. The reason why they don’t want to recognize gay couples is because there is a fear it will somehow cost somebody money.

  • Kablamo

    Crap. I never felt threatened going around in Cleveland. Granted my college town (Oberlin) was probably the most liberal enclave in the state, but I spent some amount of time outside it in Ohio. I think its a generational shift. Same was true growing up in rural Oklahoma, I never felt threatened or out of place.

  • GayBobVT

    I grew up smack dab in the middle of that great gay triangle of Toledo, Dayton and Ft. Wayne, Indiana (Lima, OH). I moved to Vermont 20 years ago and other than yearly visits to the family, haven’t looked back. Should I have stayed and made attempts for the rights I have here in Vermont? Maybe – but I certainly don’t regret the move.

  • Bob R

    We moved from Miami, FL to rural Southeastern Ohio, not far from a major university about 18 months ago. Although we’re older and partnered, neither of us have been made the least bit uncomfortable. As a matter of fact we’ve been made to feel very welcome here in our area of Ohio. We go out a lot to eat and shop in both Ohio and West Virginia. Is there homophobia around? Yeah, I’m sure. Although we haven’t seen it yet on a personal level. Day to day living was far worse in Miami, a city that I grew to despise and describe as a sewer.

    I’m sure there are problems in Ohio, but I’m not sure it’s so much better in other areas of the country. For the first time in my life I’m very happy where I’m living and feel very safe. My partner has family in the area and he turned me on this place. Before coming here with him, I’d have never even thought of moving to the foothills of Appalachia! When I came here with him two years ago, I fell in love with the country.

    So far everyone has been friendly and nice to us. For the first time in years we have neighbors who speak to us and offer help with finding our way around the area and adjusting to the seasons. This is the first time in at least 15 years I was able to open my door to “trick or treaters” without fear of strong armed robbery or home invasion. We don’t announce we’re a gay couple, but you’d have to be pretty dense not to figure it out pretty quickly. Besides, our home is the most fashionably decorated house in the neighborhood!

    We don’t worry about our physical safety or our home being broken into, cars vandalized, profane verbal assaults or even the rudeness we suffered almost daily in Miami. I’m white and my partner is brown (Mexican-American) and we feel much more accepted here than we ever did in Miami. So maybe we’re just the exception? I’d like to think we aren’t. I would never go back to Miami, or Florida. Even for a visit! Besides, I really like the change of seasons. About every 90 days it’s a totally new adventure. And killer hurricanes are no longer part of the mix.

    If I were a teenager or young guy just starting out, I’d probably not like it here. From my limited experience so far, finding jobs in anything but healthcare and social work is pretty hard in Ohio. NAFTA has not been kind to the State and jobs are scarce. But I’ve learned that there are always trade offs in life. At one time, Miami was a nice place to live. There are some good memories there, but they’re from a long time ago. Even the club/bar scene has changed there and not for the better in my opinion. Of course here, there really is no club or bar scene! So, life is where you make it I guess. We are happy to be in Ohio at this time and in this place. Anyway, I sure don’t regret the move from Miami.

  • Alec

    Ugh there’s no responsibility to stay in these states, although the reason has less to do with their anti-gay policies (MI fits right in with IN and OH in this category) than with the lack of job opportunities. I moved to CA from MI for law school and despite the daily horrors of the administrative state I plan on staying. Great weather, lots of diversity.

    That being said, I do miss the Midwest in a lot of ways. Fortunately, plenty of midwestern transplants out here.

  • conrad

    can anyone tell me what gay marriage has to do with the rest of the statistics? cause gay marriage isnt going to do shit to stop homophobic bashers (which often include cops and lawmakers) for beating and murdering us… it isnt going to cure aids. and it certainly isnt going to make things better, but more likely much worse…

    gay marriage is a total sham.

  • ggreen

    I can say with certainty, 90% of the assholes I have met in my life have been born or at least lived in Ohio (especially in proximity to Columbus and Cleveland). There must be something in the water there leads the folks to have an unrealistic expectation of the rest of the world while feeling Ohio is more sophisticated that the French Riveria, Milan and Monaco combined.

  • Walker Evans

    I think your tolerance milage may vary by city in any state that you choose to live in. To make a blanket statement about the entire state of over 11 million people as being “homophobic” is insulting to those of us who live in Ohio and are tolerant and accepting people.

    Furthermore, I live in Columbus, which is extremely tolerant for the GLBT community. The vast majority of our most vibrant urban communities (The Short North, German Village, Olde Town East, etc) have been built largely in part by our gay community over the past 40 years.

    Columbus was ranked in 2007 by The Advocate as one of the best cities for gays to live in the US.

    A gay columnist on About.com listed Columbus as the country’s most Underrated Gay City.

    Our governor has also addressed gay rights multiple times in his first year in office by restoring protection for gay workers and passing bills that strengthen gay rights.

    Lastly, the visitor’s bureau in Columbus embraces our strong diverse community and proudly recognizes our gay friendly amenities and gay civic leaders.

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