GLBT in small town Maryland.
April 28, 2012 1:38 AM   Subscribe

I am thinking of moving to the small town of Crisfield, Maryland. I am a (male-to-female) transsexual, and I am wondering how locals will deal with someone like me relocating to their area. Any tips, suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you.
posted by LittleMissItneg to Human Relations (12 answers total)
The eastern shore may not be the most progressive area. Especially that close to Delaware. It will be much more small town middle america then progressive blue east coast state. That said I really haven't been far of 13 in the area so the people maybe great. But I would approach with caution.
posted by ihadapony at 5:20 AM on April 28, 2012

Agree that is it a more small town conservative area. But one thing to think about is that there a few artistic communities sprinkled around eastern shore, which I imagine might be more progressive. Not sure if you are only considering Crisfield but it might be worth exploring the area a little bit if you have some flexibility in your location.
posted by seesom at 6:16 AM on April 28, 2012

You will be bored out of your mind in Crisfield. Go toward the ocean. Ocean City, MD, perhaps. (50 min from Crisfield).
posted by boots77 at 7:33 AM on April 28, 2012

Is there some reason you're considering Crisfield in particular? I mean, it's probably inexpensive when it's not tourist season there, but it's pretty depressed economically and, as boots noted, there's not necessarily a lot of ways to have a social life as somebody new in town.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 8:47 AM on April 28, 2012

Or Berlin. Berlin, Maryland, I mean.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 8:47 AM on April 28, 2012

I went to the University of Maryland and the eastern shore folks that I knew were very socially conservative. There was a barely hidden undercurrent of racism and homophobia. This was 15 years ago--and only college freshman--so take that for what it's worth. That being said, I would explore other options if they're feasible.
posted by jewzilla at 9:15 AM on April 28, 2012

I think people need more information about why you are considering there. Also, where you are currently.

I saw in a past question you were looking at cheaper areas in the US to purchase a house outright in cash. I'd strongly recommend renting somewhere and getting a real feel for the area before purchasing. With homes in the 20,000-50,000 range there isn't a huge swing in how much you are going to pay for them anyway. Also, it's not like the market is exactly skyrocketing up anywhere, especially in not so rich areas such as Crisfield.

As far as what I think: I was born in MD. I lived in MD for a majority of my life (just left there a few months ago). I'd say the more you distance yourself from DC the more bigotry you will encounter. In my experience, a lot of people that are native to the eastern shore aren't very understanding of anything that different from their own lifestyles. There is a very bud light, truck, redneck, "anyone who doesn't agree with you is a faggot" type feel. And if you are actually gay there is a "what the hell is wrong with you?" feel.

Anyway, the above certainty isn't a rule and I haven't spent a great deal of time in Crisfield but it's something to definitely think about. At the very least a week driving around a bunch of areas close to an area you like the idea of will give you a pretty good feel compared to what anyone can tell you online.
posted by zephyr_words at 1:26 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

There are a lot of areas of Maryland that are shockingly conservative, homophobic, and racist. Do you have a compelling reason to move there?

Based on some of your past questions it sounds like you might be just choosing locations at random based on cheap housing costs, but if you are trans and non-white, you should consider that you will do a lot better in a more urban area with higher housing costs. (And even in an urban area, you'll want to be careful about what areas you choose, since many cities have areas with cheap housing where you might be uncomfortable too.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:29 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am a little mystified by your strategy. Buying a house in a small town you have never visited seems like an enormously foolhardy idea for anyone. For someone currently living in another country, who is a citizen of a third nation entirely, it seems doubly foolhardy--what happens if your visa expires and you can't get it extended? Then you've sunk a bunch of money into a house you can't live in, and that money's tied up until you sell the house, which could take months or years, and meanwhile you're paying a lot of money for homeowners' insurance (because insuring unoccupied homes is really expensive), taxes, etc.

Wouldn't it make more sense to come to the US and find a community you want to live in first?
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:46 PM on April 28, 2012

I am thinking of moving to the small town of Crisfield, Maryland. I am a (male-to-female) transsexual, and I am wondering how locals will deal with someone like me relocating to their area

I have family from the Salisbury area and have spent a good amount of time there. Communities are insular, even proudly so. Homophobia is still deeply ingrained. I'm sorry to say that most of the locals would react with confusion, fear, and/or suspicion toward a MTF transsexual.
posted by desuetude at 8:38 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

You need a better approach than simply looking for cheap property. Cheap property is cheap for a reason: fewer people want to live in those areas. These places are often economically depressed, small towns and rural areas where you would be more likely to experience homophobia and racism. These places may be more difficult to find friendships and dating opportunities for people of any gender and sexual orientation.

Now it's possible to find more progressive areas with cheap property, but throwing a dart at a map isn't a good way to find them. Do research on that front.

From your other questions it looks like you want to move to the US by buying property and I'm not sure it works that way. Talk to a US immigration lawyer.

I'm going to advise dropping the property aspect and focusing on what I assume is your goal: to relocate to the US. It sounds like you have some savings built up. I would look into two options:

1) Pursue an education in a highly in-demand field. Skilled immigrants have an easier route. I know for awhile that nursing was a popular way for Filipinos to come to the US but I'll caution that at least in my mom's state of Alaska (she teaches nursing) they have too many nursing students graduating for available jobs in the local hospitals. So do your research and find the most current information you can.

2) Pursue a job with a multinational corporation with major offices in the US. Work your way up in the company, go for foreign assignments, aim for a management career, and see if you can get sent to the US that way. You will need at minimum an undergraduate university degree for this path, and something in a technical field like engineering is useful, so you can combine this with step one.

There are other approaches as well. Have immediate family in the US? See if you can get a visa that way. Or marry a US citizen.

I don't mean to be discouraging but there are practical approaches more likely to meet with success than just randomly looking for places with cheap property.
posted by 6550 at 12:05 PM on April 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Being somewhat local to me...Crisfield is a nice area with a great nearby park, ferries to two islands, and a few wonderful restaurants. It is also a fairly conservative town as it is the jumping point to and from Smith and Tangier island. These islands are primarily Methodist and the church is influential to the point where they are also "dry" islands...meaning alcohol is pretty much a rarity.

Crisfield also has a decent church presence with a little more variety on denominations than its island neighbors. During the off-season (prior to Memorial Day) it is pretty evident that the entire town is dead until after 11am or so...then becomes a bit busier as people leave church and go on with their day. The mail boats to the islands don't leave until 12:30. Watermen often start earlier in the day crabbing and fishing.

Think of it this way. It is a relatively small bayside town after miles or rural road with some tourist appeal, but is largely quiet and closed down during the off seasons. It is a fairly conservative town, which in other words means you're more likely to run into the conservative types than not. Not that it is a bad thing...or that all conservatives are intolerant, just you will likely find the area more prone to judge, and less welcoming than let's say, Rehoboth or O.C. Also, it is a decent drive to get from Crisfield to anywhere that feels more civilized (Princess Anne, Salisbury, etc).

All said however, it *could* work for you as long as you anticipate the likely challenges mentioned earlier in this thread. For example, you could look towards joining a nice accepting church right from the start, integrating yourself better within the community. You wouldn't want to become reclusive which can be a real pain in a small town where everyone pretty much knows everyone else. Even without being a transsexual would have to deal with a "come heres vs. from heres" mentality for anyone that was not born in the's silly of course, but also a realistic expectation.

So Crisfield is somewhat unique in this respect in how its religious history has evolved. If you're looking for property in the area that is near water but less of a conservatively influenced community...perhaps look at the Tyaskin/Bi-valve area near Nanticoke River? Or somewhere around Vienna? There's a few nice harbor/river towns around the peninsula.
posted by samsara at 10:39 AM on April 30, 2012

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