Trans in the red states

An interesting read that Andrew forwarded to me. Good for its own merits, but also because of what it got me thinking about.

On Friday evening Sherry and I were talking about a couple people who work at the local Sobeys. Young guys who are pretty visibly gay and just… doin’ their thing. And, as Sherry noted, charming the old ladies all over the place. Heh. Neither of us remember many, if any, gay kids that comfortable in their skins at that age when we were in high school.

Sure, I know at least three people I went to high school with who are now out, but they didn’t come out in Grey County. And sure, when I got to theatre school in Toronto plenty of people were outer than out (in some ways being merely heterosexual seemed to make you rather less cool…), but that was a societal microcosm, too. I’m sure for some of my fellow students, that first taste of personal freedom was absolutely intoxicating.

The article made me think, too, of an old high school friend who married her wife in Hanover after same-sex marriage was legalized here. Caused a bit of a stir, I’m told. But hey, it’s a small town, and there’s only so much new gossip to talk about. I suspect things settled down pretty quickly after that. After all, she’d been out and been living there (and working at a job where she interacted with lots of folks) for years.

Sure, there are people who are virulently hateful, but I’ve found that more often than not in small towns and rural areas, it’s simply a matter of ignorance a lot of the time, of not being exposed to people who live differently than you do. And once that’s out of the way? Everyone just goes back to doing their thing. They might not agree with it, but there’s also a certain… decorum to be observed.

As the article notes, it’s still not always accepted, or even safe, to be trans or gay or in any way different in a lot of “red” areas, but at least there are hopeful stories, too. Of people getting exposed to different ways of life early, as kids, so it doesn’t seem like a big deal by the time they’re adults.

This is a good part of why passage of measures like Proposition 8 in California, while angering and depressing, didn’t make me despair too much. We are learning. We are changing. Even amongst the cornfields and blue collars, and the day will come.

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