Amherst and Northampton: A Lesbian Paradise!
I nervously moved to the sleepy town of Amherst, Massachusetts almost six semesters ago, not sure what to expect. I was somehow under the impression that the town was literally in the middle of nowhere with absolutely nothing to do and that I'd be bored all the time. I wasn't out to anyone (even myself), and even though my dad's side of the family all went to school here I somehow had no clue about Amherst's hippie-liberal vibe.
Now, I really love this tiny little town. Having lived in the liberal bubble of Massachusetts my whole life, I've found Amherst even more queer-friendly than other parts of the state (except Northampton and Provincetown). I'll be sad when I have to leave for grad school.
Hello queermos! Emily and Mareika here. We really like Northampton and you should too. Northampton is known as the lesbian capital of the world (we have no reference for this) because it is basically a lesbian commune on a larger scale (this may or may not be true).
In all seriousness, though, the city is extremely queer-friendly. Actually, we always do a double-take when we see straight couples holding hands because there's that many queers. If you like butches with babies, or gay dads with four kids, or quirky people of every kind, you will like Northampton, aka Noho. A lot of people you will meet in Noho are in undergraduate or graduate school. They are probably very smart and they probably listen to NPR (station 88.5).
Overall, Northampton is queertastic. There's a lot of gay families, and people of all ages. It's very economically diverse, but not so much racially. Even though it's the lesbian capital, there's still a ton of gay boys, and they have their own event/info site too...no, not grindr. There's an extremely large trans community, both trans men AND women. There's no tension or exclusion among the G, L, B, and T communities. Cohabitation is happy and peaceful! Even the non-queer people (which must be like 40% of the population) have shared interests in things like veganism and organic things and local and feminism. It's way cheaper to live here than in bigger cities, and it's cheaper to go for a bigger house/apartment. One- or two-bedroom ones are kind of expensive because the landlords want to over-charge Smith students. There's lots of apartments with good access to Main Street AND there's a bike trail that goes just about everywhere. And lastly, just in case you were worried about your rights, Massachusetts was the first state to pass marriage equality, and there's also a bunch of gender expression and identity laws -- Northampton and Amherst even have nondiscrimination statutes that cover public accommodations.
Read the full story at Autostraddle.com