The New York Times reports today on new Census data showing that gay couples are moving to communities of all sizes rather than staying in huge cities with traditionally large gay populations. Small cities and towns like Pleasant Ridge, MI, New Hope, PA, and Rehoboth, DE now have higher percentages of same-sex couples than famously gay stomping grounds like San Francisco. A lot of these smaller towns are gay meccas too (Provincetown, MA ranked number one) but they're often plopped in the middle of states and cities that don't have the most enlightened reputations.
There's been some debate as to whether these numbers are accurate, as there's no way of knowing whether or not people are "coming out" on Census applications. Still, this trend is good news for gays and lesbians. It means that the country is becoming more tolerant, and that the threat of violence and discrimination is slowly dissipating. A majority of Americans now think same-sex couples should be accepted into society, and about half of them are in favor of gay marriage. As Slate points out, it may be more difficult for single LGBT people to live in more far-flung locales, because it's harder to find a support system or a date, but same-sex couples are increasingly assimilating in all kinds of settings.
These numbers poke another hole in the idea that gay people must be urban radicals who have a subversive "agenda," a view that still pops up allthetime among social conservatives. It's not only homophobic, it's total bullshit, too. The highest-profile recent pushes for LGBT civil rights have centered around the two most traditional institutions around: marriage and the military. And same-sex couples move to small towns for the same reasons opposite-sex ones do—better schools, less noise, less crime. Let's hope this helps prompt an overdue realization from people afraid of a gay takeover: "They're just like us."