My Life in Paradise

because I only wish I could make this sh*t up…

Southern Politics….or….Southern Politics

Yeap ok we all know I went and did it..  I fell in love with another human and agreed to get married..’ and at some point in the next 48 hours I’ll order our Save The Date cards and some very cute personalized thank you notes with both our names on them!!  My/our Christmas cards went out with both our last names on them.  My subscription to Saveur magazine came with what will be my last name this time next year in front of my name.  It’s all little freaky and at first I went who the fuck……oh….that’s me….in a year….  I even set a date!  That was a huge step honestly.

Love conked me on the head in rural south east Virginia.  Virginia is a beautiful state with an variety of people from liberal allies to omg KKK conservatives.  I love our home in the South.  It’s 200+ years old, the garden is huge and I have my own bathroom with wainscoting and at least 20 towels.  I do miss living there.  I miss the warm nights on the porch and I miss some of our kookey neighbors.  I don’t miss the relative isolation from queer community, being 5000 miles from my parents and close friends or being 2500 miles from my California friends.  I know Hawaii is 2500 miles from California, but somehow I feel closer in Hawaii than in Virginia.

I swear I’m getting to the point!

Lately the South has been in the news a lot mostly for not so good things.  In Mississippi the first out gay mayoral candidate was murdered in what can only be described as a horrific hate crime.  Mississippi was also harangued for it’s voters rights or lack there of.  The usual suspects of Virginia politics were being dumbshits.  Delegate C. Todd Gilbert’s  refused to acknowledge LGBT oppression and the State of Virginia did not pass a bill protecting the states LGBT employees.

A colleague and dear friend of mine known fondly as Our.Gay.Boyfriend, pointed out something that stopped me in my tracks.  I was literally about to put a piece of Mr.Monster’s incredible chicken curry in my mouth and had to put my fork down.  NOTE: Our.Gay.Boyfriend was born and raised in Mississippi and many times has been my cultural advisor on everything Southern that I still don’t understand like pimento cheese..  WTF!

“You know, change the accent and the state and everything that people are so shocked about from the South happens in just as many other states.”

(The.Our.Gay.Boyfriend is also my fiance Mr.Monster’s secret husband, funny story I’ll tell it some other time.)

He’s right.  Racism, classism, homophobia and sexism happen in California, New York, Montana, Florida and just about every other state.  I’m not sure if the south has a more concentrated number of assholes or if we as a society like to pick on them for their accents.  I might even go as far as to say I think if you add up all the liberal towns in the South it’s more liberal than Montana.  California has a very conservative red center.  In Nevada Las Vegas is actually more conservative than Reno.  Oregon is quite conservative especially eastern Oregon.  Only two voting districts in Florida are considered Democratic.

There are many southerners in my life all of whom are pretty liberal and very few of who still live in the South.

When I say many I mean:

  • my fiance
  • my father (not my step-dad and not so liberal)
  • three of my closest friends (one whom died earlier this year, but he’s still around commenting on my life from time to time with his laid back drawl.  I love you UnkleMike and I miss you so very much.)
  • several colleagues
  • a plethora of acquaintances

So it’s late and this post is a little disjointed, but what I think my point is, is that while we can make generalizations about certain geographic locations (the South) it is important to look beyond the assumptions.  There are good people in the South doing great social justice work.  Whole town are coming together to take a stand against homophobia, like the tiny town in Appalachian Kentucky that passed a gay rights law, Covington, Lexington and Louisville have similar laws.   A couple of dear friends of mine LadySnow and Grant are very active in Jacksonville advocating for LGBT rights and there have been wins.  Like it or not the South is changing. What are we going to have to say when the South comes all the way around and equality for minorities is the norm there?  People have the capacity to change, even Southerners, they just do it one at a time.