Thursday, July 14, 2011

Valley View

Our state government might be shutdown. Our business climate might be lousy. Our weather might be gloomy most of the year. Our sports teams might range from pathetic to mediocre. But as the Star Tribune reports today, there's one area where we continue to lead the way. Minnesota sees 50% rise in number of gay couples:

Minnesota has seen a quiet surge in the number of same-sex households over the past decade, and the trend has moved beyond the core of the Twin Cities into many suburbs.

The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday released its second-ever count of same-sex partners in Minnesota, and the numbers detailed a dramatic picture of change:

• A 50 percent jump in same-sex households, a rate of growth five times faster than households overall. The census counted 13,718 same-sex couples in 2010, accounting for about 1 percent of all couples statewide.

•A pronounced spreading-out of traditional "gayborhoods." Minneapolis accounts for nearly one in four same-sex couples, towering over the rest of the state in sheer numbers, but its dominance is fading. Neighboring Golden Valley now claims the highest concentration among cities of ample size. A lesbian Realtor who lives there greeted the news in two words: "Not surprised."

•Although other states are also seeing big jumps, the Twin Cities could well retain its 2000 position as the gay mecca between the coasts. Only a sprinkling of state numbers have yet been reported, but it's known that Hennepin County by 2010 was roughly equal in concentration to Sonoma County north of San Francisco, the second-highest-ranking county in California.

As a resident of Golden Valley, I greet this news with three words: "Sort of surprised." It's also interesting to consider that the Twin Cities emergence as a "gay mecca" coincides with an increase in immigrants arriving here whose religion considers the real Mecca to be their holiest city. We’ve been told over and over that “diversity is our strength” so I guess this can only mean that our community will be getting stronger and stronger. Yup, can’t foresee any problems emerging here.

Jacqueline Day has lived with a partner and children and sold homes in Golden Valley for many years. Day said the suburb appeals to her and her clients.

"It's comfortable for us here: a progressive city that's been welcoming, and the word spreads."

Anne Dykstra
[can't make that name up], 72, a human rights commission member in the city, said she thinks straight people in Golden Valley are aware of the changes. "We've got an aging population here, which in a way flies in the face of the usual canard that older people won't accept gays, and I find that interesting."

Yes, interesting.