And both of us were completely welcomed in our jobs, and completely out from the get-go. And as I started to work, I didn’t have one single negative experience about being gay. I was shocked, to say the least. When we finally found the house we wanted, we were told by our realtor, in one of those real estate agent whispers, “There’s another gay couple in the neighborhood.”
But we didn’t meet them right away. we did meet other neighbors and all were very sweet. One even came over with fresh flowers and strawberries from her garden to welcome us. I got the feeling that, although weren’t in Kansas, er, Miami, any more, this would be just fine.
I always thought being gay in the South was a secret you kept top yourself, so imagine my surprise when I read that the South is the new place for gay couples to raise children. According to the Census Bureau, child rearing among same-sex couples is more common in the South than in any other region of the country.
Now, I’ll admit to being shocked, but then, when you stop and think–something many of us, yours truly included, sometimes forget to do–parents want to raise their children in a safe environment, in areas where there are other children. Now I know that them there big cities have lots of kids, but some parents want the wide open spaces where their kids can run and play outside, and gay and straight couples are finding that the South is just the place.
Now, while these parents feel the South is the better place to raise their children, they are also reminded on a daily basis that they are less than, that they, and their children, don’t have the same government protections and privileges that their heterosexual counterparts enjoy.
But, wouldn’t it be great, if this new influx of gay couples, and gay couples with children, into the South, spurred a dialogue about being gay, and helped to erase some of the stereotypes that exist here. Stereotypes that are deeply rooted in the churches here; stereotypes that are hard to eradicate because gay people might not be as open, might still, in fact be closeted.
I always say, the more we come out and just live our lives, the more the world, and our neighbors, see us as not so different than themselves.
Which is exactly the case.