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One man's 'heartening' is another man's 'heartless'

by Jeremy Hooper

Tn-10-2Responding to some new polling data that shows a majority of Tennesseans are still opposed to marriage equality, Focus on the Family's Jeff Johnston today makes the following statement:

It’s heartening to know that, despite years of rhetoric by gay activists, the people of Tennessee believe the truth," he said, "that God designed marriage to between a man and a woman.”

Words to which this Tennessee born and raised writer responds:

"Living in fear that others would find out my secret.  Hearing jokes with punch lines involving he death of 'fags.'  Being told by anti-gay leaders that I was hell-bound.  Feeling that I would never know the same happiness as my heterosexual peers.  Being shunned and even wholly cut off by members of my immediate family.  Being told that despite my sharp mind and strong performance, I would always be "broken" even if I cured cancer, won an Oscar, and negotiated world peace on the same day.  Not being able to truly date until I was 19.  Feeling like the only place I could be out of the closet without fear was in a late night gay bar.  Being shocked whenever I met a fellow gay person who was still close with their family rather than when I met one who wasn't.  Seeing my friend murdered in a hate crime when I was 22.  Having the aforementioned incident fill me with soul-numbing terror.  Still not having the ability to share my rich and rewarding adult life with my parents. 

Somehow I, one who came up as gay in Tennessee, don't find the stagnant nature of the state's homophobia to be all that "heartening," Jeff.

But you keep up the good work, buddy.  There are many more young queer Volunteer Staters who too will become stronger adults because of the anti-gay bias that they're forced to overcome as kids.  If it doesn't kill them, that is."

-Jeremy Hooper/ Good As You 

Tennesseans Stand Behind Traditional Marriage [CitizenLink]

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Your thoughts

I suspect part of the reason that so much anti-equality sentiment still exists in Tennessee is that good people like yourself have been compelled to leave the state for safer harbors. I'm sure I would have. A vicious cycle really. Happily I was born a Seattlite.

Posted by: GayMormonBoy | Mar 10, 2008 7:25:12 PM

I cry for you. I just feel so bad. No one should have to endure that.

Posted by: dave b | Mar 10, 2008 10:20:15 PM

Dave: Well, the good news is that there is no need to cry for the current version of me. My life is like a dream.

Who we should all cry for are the countless many kids who will have to endure similar and worse, and who may not have the strength or opportunities to overcome it all. I was lucky.

**I also have to add that despite the hardships we would later face, my parents gave me a great childhood.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 10, 2008 10:34:01 PM

I suppose you're right - I just feel bad.

And the kids who hear the likes of Sally Kern spew her vitrol - it just makes me sick.

I cheer you on for all of your work - and tell your parents that they need to be extremely proud of you!

Posted by: dave b | Mar 10, 2008 11:04:18 PM

First let me say that I love your Blog.
I left my home state many years ago because of similar hatred. Whereas I am not proud of my cowardice I am happy that after 20 years of being out I am now able to take one more step towards equality here in New Hampshire. I am hopeful that someday all of us will be able to take this step.

Posted by: Christian | Mar 11, 2008 9:16:15 AM

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