Violence against gay and lesbian people in the United States is unfortunately a real concern. Just for holding hands in public with the people they love, gay and lesbian Americans have been denied service, pushed, shoved, beaten and killed. It is entirely reasonable for gay and lesbian couples thinking of visiting various parts of America to ascertain whether they will be welcomed there, shunned there, confronted there, threatened there or attacked there.
In order to help gay and lesbian couples identify friendly and unfriendly places to travel in Maine, I’ve gathered election results for the 16 counties of Maine and created a map that shows those couples where support for gay and lesbian equality is highest and where it is lowest.
The counties most friendly to gay and lesbian equality in the November 3, 2009 Ballot Question 1 vote are the southern Maine counties of York and Cumberland and the coastal counties of Hancock and Knox. These are the communities in which gay and lesbian couples holding hands are most likely to encounter welcome and least likely to encounter harassment or violence. The other counties of Maine contain a majority of voters hostile to equality for same-sex couples. Gay and lesbian visitors to these other counties in Maine are more likely to encounter harassment or violence when traveling there, and may wish to take that under consideration when deciding whether or not to make a visit.
In the days to come, I’ll provide more detailed data burrowing down to the town level. Which towns in Maine are safest for gay and lesbian tourists? Which Maine towns are most dangerous?