Monday, February 25, 2013

Mississippi Fear


Moving day is coming up fast. We've got stacks of boxes, truck rental reservations, and sleeping arrangements. I'm nervous. This will be the first time I've lived outside of Utah. The first time I've been to Mississippi. The first time I've been a minority in pretty much EVERY possible way.

People keep saying, "Could you have picked a worse place to move?" Mississippi is THE SOUTH. And people in the THE SOUTH are apparently "slow-minded," "conservative," and "judgmental." I've been told not to show any public affection to my lovergirl. To be careful about who I tell I'm gay.

It makes me nervous. And scared. I've never met a whole lot of opposition with my orientation or my relationship. We've been whistled at a few times while holding hands on a walk. We've had to be patient with our families' processes. But I've never been harassed or physically harmed. I'm not even sure I've ever been called a dyke.

This fear is driving me crazy.

But when I think about it, if I were in any other state and moving to Utah, I'd hear the same thing. This is the Mormon Capital. They hate the gays so much that they funded all the campaigning for Prop 8. It's a completely Conservative state.

Then again, Utah has one of the largest gay communities in the country. Utah has equal housing opportunities. And even the Mormons have begun to change their harsh views on gays and lesbians.

In a simple google search for "Jackson, Mississippi and gay" I found an article called, Illegal To Be Gay In Mississippi, Police Shut Down An LGBT March.
"Mississippi is notorious for basic human rights violations," said Bob Gilchrist, the event organizer. "It's a shame that, in 2012, the state is still maintaining that reputation."

"Police reportedly [told] LGBT mississippians that it's 'illegal to be openly gay in the state.'"

What else can I do? If it's illegal to be gay in MIssissippi?

Sometimes I feel helpless. I feel like I have to give in to the system. I have to let myself be brow-beaten into conformity, and I have to climb back into the closet to protect myself from physical harm--or from jail as the case may be. 

And other times I feel empowered. I feel like everything will be okay. That people will come around. I even feel sometimes as though I need this or maybe Mississippi needs me. Here's the thing, though, whenever I look at this photo: 



I can't help but say "amen" and wish so hard that I have the courage to stop being afraid and to speak out. To act like an American with freedom of speech and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

I don't want to live in fear. All I want is to love and be with my best friend for the remainder of our lives. I want to live happy and carefree, not worrying about what someone may think or what someone might do. 

Mississippi, I don't know why you're calling my name, but ready or not, I'm coming. 

Write on!

2 comments:

  1. My motto for this past year has been, "Change people's minds." If I hear someone doesn't like pie, I'm going to make them the best, most delicious, juicy, mouth-watering pie... so good they'll have to like it. I like to see people change their minds about things when it means they become less narrow-minded and totalizing. You are a tough one. I wish you all the best. Have fun in Mississippi and keep writing so I can keep reading!! ;)

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  2. It's a scary one for sure. New place. New people. New landscape and culture and weather and bugs. But I'd say there's definitely a reason we're going to Mississippi, and I can't wait to see what it is. :)

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