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05/02/2008

Queer in Big Orange Country: Still a little Rocky

by Jeremy Hooper

Knoxville Sunsphere10-1This humble scribe spent his college years in the rolling hills of Knoxville, TN. And while I'd be lying if I said I'd found K-town free from the same perils and trappings that are all-too-common among southern American cities, I'd also be disingenuous if I didn't acknowledge the wonderfully open, accepting community that gives the city a healthy progressive heartbeat. Not only was it a pretty good place to drink study and learn the meaning of the term "gravity bong" come of age, but it also wasn't so bad of an incubator for a young gay who's trying to figure it all out.

So since I have such an interest and opinion in the area's queer attitude, I was very interested to see that The Metro Pulse, Knoxville's local alternative paper, is this week running a feature that simultaneously details both the increased visibility of the city's gay teens, as well as the all-too-persistent harassment that many of them still face. Because that's exactly what Knoxville is to me: A somewhat dichotic mini-metropolis wherein LGBT folks can feel incredibly loved and welcomed in McKay's book store, and then immediately feel lousy and even scared while traveling just a little further down Kingston Pike. It's a town whose good gay vibes will ultimately overpower the bad, but whose current state is still in a bit of flux. A charming city with the right elements, but not a clear schematic showing them how to put those elements in the right places.

Check out the Metro Pulse piece here:

Out in School [Metro Pulse]

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Your thoughts

Very nice piece, thanks for sharing Jeremy. .... and here is the meat! Only teens can be this brave.

"And even if the school community could create a non-discriminatory environment, LGBT students would still face a greater community where homophobia is one of the last-sanctioned forms of discrimination—and where hundreds, maybe thousands, of LGBT adults are still hiding their sexual orientation at work, at church, and in their community.

Odds are against them, but individual LGBT teens are not giving up. “I’ve come this far, and I’m not going back,” says Colton McLain, 17, an openly homosexual male at Central High School. “I know it’s going to take a while, like it did when women couldn’t vote or blacks had no rights. But one day it’s not going to be like this. It’s going to be much better. And I’m going to be a part of that.”

Posted by: LOrion | May 2, 2008 10:42:14 AM

and then at the end.

In the first comment there is a link to
Letter to Louise... a Biblical Affirmation of Homosexuality..
long but well written, I hadn't seen reference before. It could
very easily help many Christians understand, if they could read it
with an open mind.

http://www.godmademegay.com/

Posted by: LOrion | May 2, 2008 10:59:14 AM

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