It was extremely hot outside. We were in a black Ford Focus (probably, but maybe a black Kia Soul). We were travelling from Austin, Texas towards Shreveport, Louisiana. We had opted for the backroads because we don’t like the monotony of interstate. We had made it to VERY east Texas, almost Louisiana, somewhere south of Flowery Branch. It was about 2 in the afternoon and had been quite some time since we left Austin and were getting hungry. I opened YELP and looked for a good bar b q restaurant nearby. I found a place that had gotten rave reviews and directed us there.
Now, we are white. I am almost translucent with how white I am. I am straight. I am cisgendered. My wife fits all of those categories too. We might not fit traditional gender roles, but when one thinks of prejudice, they would never think we were victims of it.
But on this day in East Texas, we were. We were. We were eating our lunch and I suddenly felt uneasy as a big truck backfired in the parking lot and a man in his mid 40’s and his three sons walked in. The man in his mid 40’s was wearing overalls, work boots and not much else. His three sons (all teenage boys) were similarly dressed. I gave Bec an eye to encourage her to finish her meal quickly.
Then it happened. The boy who appeared to be around 15 years old yelled loud enough for the entire room to hear, “You reckon that’s a boy or a girl?” I felt the entire room’s eyes on us. We had payed for our food and we left quickly. Now, there are others who have more severe stories of discrimination, but that day we felt othered. My wife was embarrassed and pissed off. We had been traveling. We didn’t look or smell great. My wife was probably wearing androgynous clothing that wasn’t overtly feminine or masculine. And we were othered. I felt the tension in the room and I was mad at the 15 year old boy who had screamed that loudly. I was mad.
Now, this very week, legislation is being voted on in Georgia that dehumanizes an entire demographic (a large ATL Metro demographic). This legislation (similar to the one in Arizona) would allow organizations/businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual preference. I’m not sure if they would give lie detectors at the door to figure out who was lgbtqiq or if they would just guess, but I know this: if this legislation passed, there are institutions in my county that would use it to hurt my lgbtqiq brothers and sisters. It would be a severe reversion from the strides we have made in the past decade concerning civil rights. Call your Georgia legislator today and tell them to vote “NO” on HB 1023 (Georgia House) and SB 377 (Georgia Senate). I can’t live in a state the legislates hate and cannot/will not vote for any legislator that encourages this bill.