My husband and I have just moved to Athens, which means we've traded in rural near-middle Georgia for the home of the B-52's, which, since they had RuPaul in a music video, are among my favorite performers of whom I know one song (others being A-Ha, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Lambchop the puppet).
This means change for us, as we no longer need to be as paranoid about being ourselves in our own community. Did you hear about the county commissioner who uttered a racial epithet at a woman who dared insult the American flag, and then lied about it, and then refused to apologize, and then realized what a foreskin he was? He was ours.
The largest Jodi Hice sign I saw in all of 2014 was on our street. Confederate Flag Day was celebrated with the gusto of a Victory Over The War On Christmas, and this enthusiasm was ignited like Viagra in Charlie Sheen when South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capital. We loved living rurally, but we knew where we were and we knew not to fuck with it.
Luckily, our neighbors, whom we avoided like Hillary Clinton does reporters, kept their distance, even though we are in the well-established process of taking away all their religious freedom and guns with our foreign-born White House Islamo-Communist.
Much like Leonardo DiCaprio still has to write himself an Oscar acceptance speech, we had to be prepared to get our straight face on at any time, even though we never really had to use that talent.
This, along with my and my husband's 6-foot Caucasian frames, his muscles, my guttural foreign accent, and the seriousness with which we take self-preservation, kept us out of trouble. While I would love to tell you that we gave no fig for the potential bigots out in the wilderness, obviously we did. There weren't occasions where we pretended to be straight, but we were always prepared to do whatever it took to stay on the good side of the greater population.
Luckily, because of who we are, the fact that we're the G in our abbreviation, the fact that we're white, and the fact that we have no community out of which to be thrown, means we have it easier than others. Currently, we're the most socially acceptable of the nontraditional folks.
There are many people in the LGBT+ community who don't get that. The murder and suicide rate of our transgender friends and family is stunning in its grotesque scope, especially for black and brown transgender women. Even in cities that are supposed to be less dangerous for us. Society's un-embracing attitude toward any male-ish body that exhibits feminine qualities, from gentle schoolboys all the way to adult transgender women, results in death at an unacceptably high rate, and, failing that, a life of prejudice.
Breaking gender stereotypes has long been a core value of the LGBT+ movement, even when we decide that assimilating is easier than a full sexual revolution (borne out by results: we're free to attack the Middle East and partake in this country's outrageous healthcare system as equals now). We promoted our more socially acceptable side, with Wall Street's backing, and eventually a president's.
But, like the Human Rights Campaign, we found it easier not to rock the boat too hard, and to leave behind people who fucked with our mantra of "we're just like you, love wins." In the part of the state we just left, assimilation isn't just more convenient. In many respects it is a survival technique.
Although sometimes we pretend so that you won't hurt us, many of us are not "just like you." We just act like it when we're OTP.