I’m not all that sure how to start this post. Usually, I try to think of some clever anecdote or witticism, but I’m apparently not feeling it today. I’ve been sitting here for a solid three minutes trying to dredge up something worth mentioning from the last couple days and all I’ve been able to come up with is the following:
- I have a pretty decent bruise on my left forearm from a soccer game that I’m unnecessarily proud of.
- I haven’t showered since Wednesday. It’s now mid-afternoon Friday and nowhere near my record.
- Yesterday, I had a handstand competition with a couple classmates. Turns out actually being able to do a handstand was not part of the criteria for entry into said competition.
That’s inspirational shit guys.
If, for some reason, this post hasn’t already fulfilled your intellectual yearnings for the day, allow me to address what it is I actually meant to talk about – which is not that I had the best handstand, but that should definitely be noted.
Ok, for anyone who doesn’t already know: I am a girl. My girlfriend is also a girl. Imagine. In case one of you reading this has severe difficulty with cause and effect, this means that we are a gay couple. Please, don’t stop reading because you think I’m going political or something because I’m not. I don’t know enough about politics to make any kind of coherent political statements and, besides, what I do know of politics I don’t like much. So relax, no boxes, soap or otherwise. Just observations and the feelings that sort of coincide with them.
Jade (aforementioned girl who is my girlfriend who makes me part of a gay couple) recently moved to a small town (read: town with more car washes than non-chain restaurants) in Georgia. Long story behind the move, but it was something kind of too good to pass up, so now our gay relationship is also a long-distance relationship. It’s working out alright so far. She not-so-secretly likes having the bed to herself on week nights and I get to air my neuroticisms on a daily basis through text (I’m just not sure I can trust her to remember to lock the door every night if I don’t remind her).
The only issue, aside from the fact that, instead of both being poor in Charleston, we’re now being poor in separate cities, is the whole gay thing. To be fair, we’re both extremely terrible representatives for the gays. We totally support ourselves and everyone else who wants to be gay, bi, stick to dudes or whatever, but we couldn’t care less about Pride parades, festivals or anything else gay-themed that involves more effort than searching Netflix for any lesbian movies we haven’t already seen (note to directors: make more please). Being gay is just something that we are; it’s not something we focus on in day-to-day life. It’s not like I wake up every morning and think, “Meh, fuck 8 o’clock class. Also, I’m gay!”. To be fair, it is like the first sentence in that quote; that one’s right on.
Anyway. Gay = not an issue. Usually. Enter small town life in Georgia. For the first time since I finally (fiiinally) realized I was gay, I’ve started finding myself having to be acutely self-aware in public. Being gay in Charleston has never posed even a modicum of an issue for us. Holding hands on the street (when Jade concedes to do so): yup. Kissing in a restaurant (NOT making out. No one, gay or straight should make out in public. It’s awkward.): yes ma’am. Talking openly with our friends about aspects of our life as a gay couple: also affirmative.
Not so much here in good old Georgia. Aside from Jade’s soccer team mates, no one here knows we’re A) gay or B) together. And, for the sake of the remainder of Jade’s time here, it’s got to stay that way. The couple girls on her team who also happen to like girls have made it pretty clear to her that people here, as a rule, are not cool with it. Fun. So, when the two of us are in public, holding hands: out. Kissing: nooope. Talking openly about aspects of our life as a gay couple: only if we’re stupid. When my brother and his girlfriend come to visit and we all go out for dinner, they can walk arm in arm through the parking lot. But, after Jade’s team loses and she’s on the verge of tears, all I can do is give her a quick pat on the back or eyebrows start to raise.
I should make clear that neither of us has actually been (and hopefully will not ever be) subjected to humiliation, degradation or any kind of physical harm for being gay. We’re lucky, I know. But still. What I suppose I’m trying to get at, albeit in an exceedingly roundabout and probably less-than-coherent way, is that I just don’t understand what the problem is with two people who love each other showing that they love each other. It’s not like we want to have sex on a park bench or feel each other up in the movie theater (which would be extremely cliche); we just want to be able to act like a real couple.
And now I’ve run out of things to say. If you’ve read this whole thing though, please don’t take away the idea that I’m campaigning for massive change (although, in a lot of situations and for a lot of people, that would be really great). All I wanted to do was make the point that, whether I realized it or not, IFOGP (Inexplicable Fear of Gay People) is definitely alive and well here in Georgia and, no doubt, a number of other places in the United States. Just something to think about I suppose. Sorry I didn’t have a stronger ending there; I’m never very good at making stands.