White Robes and Broom Sticks
We chose to accept a dinner invitation from friends for New Year’s Eve. Their home was located only about twenty miles from here, but in a county known for years and years as a KKK hub. Why a lesbian couple would choose that spot I have no idea, but as it’s our neighboring county, we often find ourselves there as well. For the most part, it seems people are just as friendly and just as rude there as anywhere else.
(I have to note that when I completed this post, I checked for possible pictures to add in the “WordPress Recommended Media Gallery.” Over half of what was “recommended” based on the content of my post, was pictures of the KKK, even though the above paragraph contained the only mention of it. A few fireworks and the KKK. Interesting, kind of like the news actually, grabbing the most abrasive content. Or perhaps more intuitive than I like to believe…)
New year’s Eve, however, we stopped at a couple of stores on the way to pick up some last-minute things for the family dinner we were hosting the next day. We stood in line at the checkout of one of the stores behind a couple, a man dressed in camouflage and his supposed wife. About halfway through their checking out, he turned and saw us. Really saw us. He immediately moved closer to his wife and put his arm around her. He then whispered in her ear, both of them giggling as she turned to steal a glance at us. I felt a little angry and even a little frightened. I realized this could still be a scary place, especially on a night when people would be drinking more than usual and in large groups.
As unpleasant as that was, the clerk running the register was as friendly as they had been rude. She was the best kind of friendly, not treating us with a strained overdone crooning, but with an authentic kindness we could assume was how she treated everyone.
Over the holidays, we’d seen parents pull their children away when they noticed us and watched eyes roll. We’d seen the jaws clinch and the heads shake. We’d also been smiled at and had doors held open for us. We’d been treated well, and respected at least as often as not.
We’d been embraced by neighbors and the family of our son-in-law. One of my grandsons gave Lee a measuring tape that said, “Grandpa’s” on it. The other gave him a pack of monogrammed handkerchiefs. He considers them his favorite gifts and now two of his most prized possessions. We spent the holidays with cherished family.
While the political state of affairs may not look as promising this year, progress can’t only be measured by the passing of laws that force equality. Progress also comes when one person, just one allows themselves to lay down a fearful belief or just for a second see someone they fear as a person, just a person, just like everyone else.
Old habits die hard. Even in my family thoughtless phrases are used and degrading terms slip. My grandsons hear things at school and especially the younger one, repeats what he hears not realizing the term he is using is used to hurt his grandparents. Nervous giggles are telling and speak volumes to children. Yet, the nervousness is a good thing! It means a new idea has butted subconscious heads with an old belief that lay hiding behind the best and most loving intentions. I know I have plenty of my own. I also know I can be way too sensitive for my own good.
Sing it with me, to the tune of “You’re So Vain,”
“I’m so gay…I probably think that stare is about me…”
I sincerely doubt we’ll be able to legally get married in Georgia this year, or even the next. I suspect we’ll continue to get stares and giggles and spastic head and eye movements sent our way. For the most part though, we’ll live our lives quietly, unequal but content and oh so grateful for each other, our friends, our families and for every little ounce of kindness. We’ll keep walking hand in hand and sitting side by side except for that occasional moment when we feel to do so could be unsafe. Thankfully, those moments are few and far between.
Last year, we had the joy of performing a Commitment Ceremony for two beautiful women.
Here they are.
Happy New Year Everyone