Though it has long been seen as a mecca for gays and lesbians north of Boston, in recent years Lynn has seen a wave of new residents who seem determined to bring an even further sense of tolerance while helping to be part of the downtown’s renaissance. “I’ve never found it so easy to create community,” said Kevin Sampson, 38, who bought a condo in downtown Lynn six years ago with his husband, Mario Hernandez. “I can walk down the street and know everyone.” Due to cheaper rents than Boston or Cambridge, inexpensive downtown lofts and condos for purchase, a commuter rail that takes people to Boston in a half-hour or less, and natural resources such as Lynn Beach and Lynn Woods, a growing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community sees itself as pioneers in revitalizing the city’s downtown. “No one says, ‘Lynn, Lynn, the City of Sin, anymore.’ That’s old hat,” said Robert Muise, who has lived in the city for over 25 years and manages Fran’s Place, a gay bar that has been open for more than 75 years. Muise, 57, has spiky blond and red hair, and performs as a female impersonator under the stage name of Tish at Fran’s.
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