zxcv wrote:To clarify the geographic areas grae313 referred to: the "south" in the US refers generally to the geographic southwest quadrant of the country.
I think telling your story may help at some schools, but it's unlikely to be a decisive factor in your admission. Where physics grad programs most value diversity is in groups typically unrepresented in physics in the US (i.e., racial minorities other than asian and women). Foreign applicants are usually considered in an different pool from domestic applicants, and I'm not sure that diversity is as valued in this group.
No, I was definitely NOT referring to just the southwest quadrant. The southeast quadrant is probably much worse.
Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina... not what I would call gay-friendly states. I would add all of the rural mid-west to that as well.
kinda like this
On a slightly more serious note, it's perhaps more informative to look by county, because even in red dominated states, often times the urban areas and *especially* the university areas are almost always blue.