Gay families calling the Bronx home

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It is a statistic surprising even to those it describes: Same-sex couples in the Bronx are more likely to have children than those in any other New York City borough, according to a study released last month, and perhaps more than any county in the country.

For Ron and Greg Poole-Dayan, whose 7-year-old twins were born to a surrogate mother, it’s a matter of geography. Their home in Riverdale puts them a bit closer to family, as well as the Berkshire Mountains, where they go hiking.

For Carmen Quinones, a recovering addict and a substance abuse counselor with four children, the Bronx offered an affordable haven when she got out of prison 14 years ago.

For Julian Rodriguez, it was never a question: He has lived in the borough since he was 3. “I feel more comfortable because the demographic is more what I’m used to, with my neighbors playing dominoes and the Spanish music,” said Mr. Rodriguez, who has two daughters from a previous marriage. “I feel like I’m at home with my culture.”

There may be as many reasons for same-sex couples to settle in the Bronx as there are same-sex couples there — almost 3,000, according to a demographic snapshot by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. Forty-nine percent of those couples have children. Many said they chose the Bronx for similar reasons as their straight neighbors: affordability, space, racial affinity, familiarity.

The Bronx, home to 11 percent of New York City’s 26,000 same-sex couples — a fraction of the borough’s 1.3 million people spread across 54 square miles — is hardly a gay mecca (Rosie O’Donnell’s cruise line has yet to make Hunts Point a port of call). Gay and lesbian couples generally do not gravitate there, as they might to neighborhoods perceived to be more gay-friendly, like Park Slope, Brooklyn, or Chelsea in Manhattan. In fact, many say there are fewer support services, and more harassment, in the Bronx than elsewhere.

Read the full story from the New York Times.


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