Jan. 22nd, 2012

TN

Jan. 22nd, 2012 10:32 pm
coolerbythelake: (Default)
My parents hint that they want me to move to Tennessee sometimes. They do so half-jokingly, but they are still laying some subtle guilt trips. My brother has lived near them for a long time, but he'll be moving to Dallas in the Spring. So, when they go on trips, they won't have him around to take care of their lawn or check on things around the house.

It seems like every month or so there is another crazy bill coming out of the Tennessee state government, though. The state legislature overturned a Nashville city ordinance that required companies that do business with the city to not discriminate against LGBT people. They are still pushing the "Don't say gay," bill. A Chattanooga state legislator put up a bill that would make it illegal for transgendered people to enter the bathroom of their choosing (I don't think it has a co-sponsor in the state Senate, though, so that bill is likely to go nowhere).

On the sidelines, there are other issues, too. The guys who were behind the Obama Waffles were from Franklin, TN, the sister city of where my parents live. Sarah Palin visited all of *three* places on her most recent book tour, and one of them was my parents' CostCo. And now there's this: The Tennessee Tea Party is petitioning the state government to change history textbooks so that, “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

The Scopes Monkey Trial took place in Tennessee less than 100 years ago. That's only three generations removed. We are only one generation removed from the Civil Rights movement. I think about those things sometimes. How racism has seemed to linger and mutate in parts of the South. Literacy tests just seem to have turned into more palateable Voter ID laws, but both keep minorities and the poor away from the ballot box.

If they want to go that way, they have the right to (the racist has the freedom to be a racist, right?), but it is sad and I want nothing to do with it. I feel really happy walking around the city of Chicago, knowing that I'm gay and that I can just be myself.

Yes, Chicago and the North have our own issues of race and class but at least I don't feel like homophobia and racism has such a stranglehold on the populace up here.

I can't really share those kinds of things with my parents, though. At least I don't feel like I can share those issues with them at this time. I'm not sure they would understand, or they would say I am over-reacting and that most people aren't really like that. Anti-gay rhetoric doesn't seem to be lightening up down there, though, and I like where I am well enough up here. I think they will have to deal with me being several hours away for a good while.

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