Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Gay and the Country...

More ramblings about living in the country.

Coming from a more metropolitan area into a rural setting, there has been a shift in how one lives in private and in public.

I was/am a gender activist fighting for human rights – the right to be gay, the equality of female, the awareness that gender is not only a two party system.

Now I live out in the boonies where there isn’t an audience for my thoughts except for my partner and dog who listen in support as I rant and rave.

In fact, when we do go out in public, we are reverting back to being aware of how we communicate to one another. Shopping in the local grocery store, we are aware when we slip up and say, “Hey Babe, did we need some tomatoes?” Or walking down the aisle and we affectionately put our hand upon the other’s shoulder to direct a question. Or in introduction, it has become, “This is my friend, (insert partner’s name)”. It’s not even a direct communication that we live together and it’s out of the question to say “partner” or “girlfriend”.

The horror stories of the past and still seeing the stories in the present of how gay couples are subject to terror and harassment make us aware of our mannerisms. The recent incident in North Carolina underlines the present day reality. There are also a lot of hunters in this area so the chance of easy violence seems real.

We are pretty quiet people anyways so making a stink in the public forum isn’t our style. But it is nice to have the freedom to walk around as any other couple does.

I am aware that my truck has references to Stonewall and has a quote from Audre Lorde. Ironically, it says, “Your silence will not protect you.” I refuse to be so paranoid to take the stickers off. Yet I am aware that they are there.

In many ways I feel like I am letting down my activism side. This is the reality of being out in a rural setting. Am I showing cowardice by taking this stance? Am I a coward for not courting violence in the name of human rights? Is it okay that the activism I am comfortable with is the one that shows on an individual basis that the big, bad gay person as portrayed in the media is not so true, and we are human just like anyone else. I know it’s obvious, when in conversation with my partner and I at the same time, that there is affection between us and that we do live together and are building a life.

Is this a new form of activism that we show one by one that really…gay is okay. Is it a new form of activism that we build our lives, same as everyone else, carrying out the daily grind. Isn’t becoming a real part of society one in which the status of your relationship isn’t the forefront of every aspect in your life…that it is a sector just like liking mashed potatoes and hating lima beans? Like liking blonds instead of brunettes or choosing a partner who has a kind heart rather than a violent past?

I am fully aware that in the federal government, we cannot file taxes jointly because we aren’t seen as couples like heterosexual couples that had overindulged in a wedding. The benefits of heterosexuality are endless and that’s the biggest battle of all in facing equality. But in the daily grind of things, is it ok to be…to use social media as an outlet instead of using the corner picketing with signs? To maintain awareness of the world at large and to speak out when driven but to nurture hearth and home? Or is it living falsely to have your cake and eat it too when you live in an area where you would court violence if you choose to be blatant about your relationship status?

Or does it come down to being your authentic self regardless of which fence, or train track, you stand on?

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