When I was younger — much younger — I spent a lot of time at the state capitol in Jackson. I was the kind of kid who loved debate tournaments, who adored sparring with words since I was too small and doughy to spar with my fists. Not surprisingly, I loved the annual Youth Congress event, when teenagers like me took over the capitol building and made it ours for a few days, a place where we could pass fake laws, swivel ourselves sick in fancy leather chairs, and generally annoy the crap out of each other so long as we followed Robert’s Rules of Order.
But even then, even in my most precocious years, I knew deep down that I was no match for the Good Ol’ Boy network. Because even among the social outcasts of the debating and forensics circuit, I was an outsider. I just couldn’t walk the walk — not without swishing, anyway. I made people uncomfortable. I made them suspicious.
Eventually, I left. I went to New Orleans — a place close to home but worlds apart, a place where I could do and say and love as I wanted. I’ve never regretted it.
Last week, your legislators, sitting in the same dull, indistinct capitol building as I once sat, twisting in the same high-backed chairs that I once occupied, breathing at least a few of the super-gay molecules of air that I once breathed in those blandly imposing chambers, passed a “religious freedom” bill. In fact, they passed it by a wide margin.
The purpose of the bill is to make LGBT people like me feel even more unwelcome — as if the ironically nicknamed “Hospitality State” needs to make that point any clearer. When I heard it had passed so easily, I felt betrayed. I felt, “How could this happen? How did it come to this in my home state?”
But I’ve finally accepted what you and your peers knew years ago: Mississippi is not my home. I once resided there, but it was never, ever my home. And my efforts to pretend it was home led to the anguish I’ve experienced over the past few days.
So you know what? Screw you.
I realized long ago that I didn’t have time for fuckups. Over the past decade or two, I’ve done a surgeon’s work, cutting junkies, alcoholics, drama queens, and more out of my life. Hell, I turned my back on my own mother, the woman who raised me, because she’s such a complete wackjob. Leaving behind a couple million assholes who don’t want me and my kind around? Piece of motherfucking cake.
And for any of you who feel “besieged”, like you need this bill to protect you from being “forced” to accept homosexuality, know this:
1. Like the Higgs-Boson particle, homosexuals exist, whether you can see them in your backyard or not. We don’t care if you accept us because we are flesh and bone.
2. The discomfort and queasiness you’re experiencing, that’s not from being bullied or “forced” to do anything. No, that’s the feeling of the ground shifting beneath your feet. It’s the spreading chasm that separates you and your 1950s values from the dirt and clay beneath your streets, which are spinning into 2014. You wanna live like the Amish and hide from the modern world, that’s your problem.
3. If I were the schadenfreudy type, I’d say something like, “Oh, so you feel out of place now? About time, assholes.” But I’m not. I don’t feel vindicated. I don’t feel sorry for you either. Or empathy. I feel nothing for you. You’re rocks to me. Tired, predictable rocks — the kind you see on the seashore, the kind that look like they’ve been around forever, but have, in fact, been shaped by the environment as the world has passed them by.
And just for the record, I’m not the only one leaving you behind. You know why there was no hue and cry from the corporate community when your “religious freedom” bill passed like there was in Arizona? Because Arizona has a goddamn corporate community. What the hell does Mississippi have anymore but a few lumber mills and a couple of second-rate casinos on the ugliest beach in America? Wasteland.
I’m done. Fuck you. Fuck y’all.
P.S. I still have a farm in the center of the state. Christians not welcome.