Stop It with the Jokes! Really? No Way!
By Jamie Kirk
Sometimes we hear things or experience things, and literally, in the back of our minds we think “you’re kidding me right,” or “stop it with the jokes,” or even “are there cameras in here?”. But just looking at some of the life buckets below, I could not help but think, I was dreaming this when I wrote it.
Not so long ago two members of the same sex could not get legally married in Georgia. The same-sex couple could be partnered, dating, etc. forever, but did not have legal rights to get hitched. However, in 2015, because of Obergefell v. Hodges, all counties in Georgia began immediately (or were willing to) issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Crazy, right?
Same-Sex Home Ownership
Maybe not in Georgia, but the story I am gonna share is from a buddy in Virginia. He and his then bf of like two whole months wanted to rent an apartment. Well, the Leasing Agent was not “authorized” to approve an application for two “mens” that were applying for only a ONE bedroom. No reason given, no explanation granted, kinda just a no. They were only trying to rent a dingy apartment. Insane, right?
Medicine and HIV Prevention
Like a thousand years ago it seems, if you are over the age of 40, about 20 years ago, when your pager went off, or your landline rang, at an odd time of night; you could rest assured, someone you loved was in the ER with pneumonia. Funny enough, it was often the dead of summer, and you think “how did so and so get a cold – soooo random.” But then you quickly realized the person had contracted THE HIV. Obviously, the person was being careless, reckless, not a Christian, and certainly deserved some form of punishment for all their sins. Access to medicine was based on who you knew, who you were, where you worked or the type of insurance you had. The ability to get well was dismal and unexpected. Fast forward to 2018; there is something called prep (Truvada) that helps prevent getting the infection by taking a daily pill. A pill to help stop the spread of this deadly disease. A pill! No Way!
Culture/Day to Day Stuff
RuPaul, who (in my best southern drawl) is a man in a dress, just won an Emmy. There are shows on network tv that doesn’t cut to camera when two ladies kiss. When the tv comedy SOAP had an alternative lifestyle character named Jodie Dallas in 1977, some brands refused to buy commercial time. To turn on the TV and see a commercial with an interracial same-sex couple with a kid, probably makes the average household in Edge Hill, Georgia, want to throw up. This is just TV. However, there is cool stuff happening all around us too. Look at that rainbow thingy square at 10th and Piedmont or the fact that Woofs is a gay sports bar or get this; Atlanta has a Supper Club with Female Impersonators. Groundbreaking, right?
The Coming Out Party
Oh wait, there is no party. A few years ago, you had to schedule a press release, hire an agent, make sure your granny had already died, so the news wouldn’t kill her, let the office gossip know, get the sticker that said “I’m here, I’m queer – get used to it”, placed on your Volkswagen Jetta, and then you could officially be the gay you were born to be. There were many, many steps. All because you wanted to avoid what people were already saying behind your back. Now, you can carry a purse to class at Morehouse (I’m told ), and when you’re on a date, you can both sit on the same side of the table and, it’s ok to say “my partner and I” instead of “me and my homeboy.” The ability to live freely and express your sexuality is something folks take more or less for granted now. Incredible, right?
There are so many more examples of how younger people can’t even comprehend or imagine being treated unfairly because of who they love. The cases are shocking to those who didn’t endure any of the scenarios above. But for those that did, while reading this you might have had a bit of resentment, a hint of anger, a small amount of rage, but overall, you likely gave a sigh of relief and smiled, if only for a minute.