23 June 2011

Texas: Big, beautiful, and kinda close minded...

Living in Texas is awesome. I very much enjoy living here and there really isn't anything missing from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro area; we have "The Gayborhood", plenty of bars and activities to choose from. We also have our very own Dallas Pride Parade (Tons of Fun - Highly Recommend!).

There is only one issue: Outside of the gay community, there aren't many people who are educated about the LGBTQI community, which leads to misconception about said community. First, some facts about Texas' stand on LGBTQI peeps first, to set the stage;

· Article I, Sec. 32. "MARRIAGE".

Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage." (Added Nov. 8, 2005.) *Cite Code Reference*

· In 1997, marriage licenses were denied to same-sex couples (Texas Family Code § 2.001(b)). In 2003, Same-sex marriage and civil unions were prohibited by statute (Texas Family Code § 6.204).

· Texas state law does not protect against employee discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (Texas Labor Code § 21.051).

· Since 1962, sodomy (look up definition in Merriam-Webster) was a felony across the United States. In 2003, Lawrence V. Texas invalidated sodomy laws in fourteen states (Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia).

· The current Republican Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, has been re-elected for an unprecedented third term. Perry is known for his socially conservative views on homosexuality. He has expressed opposition to gay marriage and condemned the Lawrence vs. Texas decision, calling Texas' sodomy law "appropriate".

· Romeo and Juliet laws (the laws which protect couples where one individual might be a minor) do not protect gay couples. In example, If a gay couple where the individuals are say 18 and 15, the 18 year old would be liable for statutory rape.

So, needless to say by the data shown above, Texas is a very conservative state. When I was first told that sodomy was illegal, I was a little taken aback. Living in "The Land of the Free", and growing up knowing that I have the ability to be whomever I want to be without fear of prosecution, I couldn't believe that something like that could be illegal. How about long fought battle of same-sex marriage? Even though I am a firm believer that, even though we can't marry yet, I can still love whomever I want and no one can take that away from me, it is still disheartening that I can't (legally) marry the one of love, and I am a huge wedding person. Looooove weddings. Is it so wrong that i want a special day for me? I didn't even know that LGBTQI aren't protected by law from employee discrimination until i looked it up for this blog.

Really Texas, really?

I have a friend named Justin, and Justin is your typical straight male. He is smart, and a good friend, but when it comes to gay people, he is so oblivious. I worked with him in one of my previous jobs, and when not busy, he would ask me all sorts of questions: how gay dating worked, my stance on gay marriage, etc. Once he even asked me if gay people masturbate. "Noooo, never…," I told him as I shook my head sarcastically.

There has been a lot of talk about "It gets better". I love the anti-bullying movement, especially the anti-bullying against the young gay community. In high school there was this guy named Ryan (the male cheerleader), and I remember being a freshman, and hearing about him, how he got beat up and why he got beat up. I was so scared. I was terrified that anyone would find out about my true identity and hid it from almost everyone. I told my best friends Chrissy and Paisley, and they understood me. Slowly as I started growing up, I started to feel more and more comfortable in my skin.

Even today I am a little reserved in public with a date because I understand how people react to gay public displays of affection. It's not that I don't want to get "beat up" (which of course I don't, but), it's that I understand Texas isn't ready for a more liberal atmosphere when it comes to LGBTQI people. I believe that Texas is an amazing place, but as the "belt buckle" of the "Bible belt", there will have to be more of an understanding of LGBTQI's and what we stand for. We are poised for an exciting new change in this country, we just need to stand up and as my roommate Erica says (throwing her hand up in the air), "Show that sassy side of you!"

- Gamal

1 comment:

  1. It's so frustrating for me that I have no desire to get married, but I can while people who want to so badly can't.


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