Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Smiling Faces. Beautiful Places. For Heterosexuals Only.

There are some lovely places in South Carolina. I even know some lovely people from there. Mac Daddy and I have spent lots of time in Charleston and Myrtle Beach and had a grand time. I've been golfing in Hilton Head. I've spent lots of money at the outlets. The palmettos are splendid, the Battery architecture divine, and the food scrumptious.

It's the people who leave a bad taste in my mouth. Rather, the politicians. And the "family values" lobbyists.

Apparently South Carolina does not want gay tourists. Their money is like Monopoly money, I guess. Apparently discrimination and intolerance are woven into the state creed. Read all about it here.

Why are family friendly and gay friendly still mutually exclusive? Bird has a friend with two moms. They're a family and gay. And for the record, they are awesome parents and amazing women. I'm lucky to count them among my friends. Bird thinks it's cool that his buddy gets to have two mommies. I think it's a fine lesson at an early age. It's not like they're telling their son to not play with Bird because his parents are heterosexual. Gasp!

I've worked in marketing for over 16 years. I've worked in the tourism industry and even worked with the gay market segment for a fortune 100 worldwide financial services company. My desk has been covered in tourism research, budget proposals, signed estimates, and invoices. There is always someone on the client side approving the work and writing the check. Like any job, there is a checks and balances system to ensure the direction and delivery of the work is appropriate, on target, on budget, on time, and um, what the client wants. Yeah, I'd add what the consumer wants too (it's the most important element, actually!), but unfortunately, clients rarely care about that. I love how this whole campaign got through the system with none of the powers that be knowing about it. Sounds like South Carolina has some infrastructure issues to iron out.

And here's my favorite part from a high school principal who'd rather quit his job than approve a gay/straight alliance club at his school:
“Our sex education curriculum is abstinence based,” Walker wrote in a letter to the school. “I feel the formation of a Gay/Straight Alliance Club at Irmo High School implies that students joining the club will have chosen to or will choose to engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, opposite sex, or members of both sexes.”

Can someplace explain this sex ed math to me? How does being gay equal having sex? Somehow all those straight kids aren't thinking about the birds and the bees? Are only gay people having sex? How exactly do we explain those 9100 teen pregnancies in South Carolina last year to girls ages 10 to 19?! No, you don't need reading glasses from the Walgreens aisles; it says 10. As in FIVE YEARS OLDER THAN MY SON! And isn't the word "straight" inherently setting up the the opposite to have a negative connotation?

Hmmm...seems to me that South Carolina has bigger fish to fry than gay people eating off the same forks and sitting in the same horse drawn carriages as the rest of us? Do you suppose restaurants have a separate set of dishes for brown people? Where does it stop? For that matter, where does it begin? What makes this attitude and blatant intolerance OK? What really irks me is that this mentality is not leaking its way into the next generation, it's being poured into their minds. Nevermind that South Carolina has one of the lowest literacy rates in the country. What are we going to do about it? Knock, knock. Does anyone care?

And we wonder why sterotypes are not so far from the truth.

Look, I'm brown. Don't think for a minute that I'd stop and ask for directions at a podunk gas station in South Carolina. I've gotten "the look" at boutiques on King Street, and that's with a Fendi bag on my arm (no doubt the lousy retail shop girls making all of $6.14 an hour thought was a fake). My point is that ignorance ignites racism. Stereotypes go both ways. Perhaps my vitriol isn't helping matters, but damn it, I'm mad. After all, South Carolina still sells t-shirts that say something about "the War of Northern Aggression." The rebel flag flies high. Seriously, get over it. There's another war going on right now folks, that's not just in any way.

I'd like to see the looks on the jowled faces of Oran Smith and David Thomas once the Wiccans show up toting cauldrons, chalices, wands, and incense. Wouldn't it be delightful to hold a Wiccan esbat to celebrate the next full moon in Columbia?

Perhaps secession was not such a bad idea. What do we do with the incorrigible state to my south? Apparently it doesn't want to play by the rules.
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Anonymous said...

When I hear about stories like this one, I am so utterly disappointed. It seems like basic stuff, right? Bigotry of any kind is absolutely unacceptable. Period. Treating one human as lesser than another is NOT ok, even if it's masked as "protecting family values". Please, don't insult me. (Oh, well, I guess its too late for that, huh?) I've got a family, I've got values, but this "pro-family" crap is NOT protecting my values, it's threatening them. As the bumper sticker on my trusty Saturn reads: "Hatred is not a Family Value." Seriously, stuff like this completely fires me up. I am so damn tired of it.

Anonymous said...

you know, i am constantly amazed by this. i still am amazed over the fracas 8 years ago over the state of florida not allowing this amazing couple to adopt this child simply because they were gay. since when is this legal?

i guess i have grown accustomed to bigotry as being covert, not overt. honestly, i will never know which is worse, though i have experienced both (because of my gender and my culture.) certainly not as much as the GLBT community does, though, i'm sure.

i smell a lawsuit somewhere. and i'm not even a lawyer, nor do i play one on TV.