America is a land of contradictions. The land of the free, the brave, you can say or do what you like, that is if you aren't gay, black, hispanic, or female.
So imagine my surprise when doing some online research for a trek planned for November to the Old North State, to the city of Durham North Carolina, to find a check box for info on Gay and lesbian (GLBT) culture. I was taken aback for a second, pleasently enough however.
I checked the box and now will see what they have to send me. I will be sure to let you know. Now the reason for my surprise is the reason I am going to North Carolina in the first place. I will be visiting friends of mine there and they have indicated a far less friendly place for us queer types. I am sure they are relaying the real state of affairs.
Now back to the surprise, what will they tell me about GLBT culture in the Tar Heel state. How many clubs, groups are there? How do I contact them? Is it safe to be out at night or for that matter to go to the local diner for lunch? Do I have to pack my plaid shirt and sh-t kicker boots? Or can I wear something more fashionable without fear of ridicule or worse?
Durham may in fact be an island of progressive people, even if it is limited in its progressiveness. It may be a shining light if you will for hope. They obviously believe there is a queer market and they want a piece of us.
Ontario you may not be surprised to know does this as well. But then in the land of the "good" you expect that. The government here is even advertising the benefits for GLBT health Care practioners relocating they practice here.
Back to NC and the attitude toward GLBT folks, its interesting to note that in this year's congressional race, incumbant Miller is up against Vernon Robinson, the indefatigable yet unsuccessful conservative candidate for public office in North Carolina. Mr. Robinson, (I wonder if he is related to Svend, he moved to Canada as a kid from the USA), raises lots of money to run his anti gay and smear campaigns. His ads are pretty bad even by American standards.
The money Robinson raises is largely raised outside the State of North Carolina. He has obviuosly struck a cord with some folks that know he won't be elected but give him money so his "hate" agenda can be broadcast far and wide in this Democratic house seat.
So first hand I will experiance Durham North Carolina and tell you what I think of the place and maybe just maybe this will be a good news story or I will come back with tar on my heels.