Surrounded by non-lesbian women alllll weekend!

08/19/00: Working the Macon Pride booth alone at this weekend's Georgia Women's Show is a pretty intriguing experience for me. Here I am, average looking plain white woman standing alone in the middle of a room full of yuppie housewives with "lesbian" stamped on my forehead.. you can just feel the sneers and actually hear their whispers sometimes. It's rather invigorating too to stand there and defy them with them having no alternative but to accept me where I stand. Last year our booth was tucked in the back corner of the arena and we saw hardly any traffic at all. But this year, wow, we're up front in the center of the building, on the first row, totally unavoidable no matter which way you turn.

For the most part, people come up to the booth not knowing it's for gay resources and it takes them a minute to actually look up at the big red 8-foot banner that says "Resources for Lesbians and Gays in Middle Georgia". With most of them, the words register silently and they just keep on moving, no judgement at all. But some will not suppress their opinions, giggles, sneers, gasps, etc. They try to catch themselves and compose themselves I guess to keep from being so blatantly rude, but I say for every five of those responses, I get a thumbs up and a wink from a passerby, which in my book negates the sneers. The most important and obvious success of this event is that it's forcing people to think about it. Yay!

Some of the observations I made today, during the busiest day of the event, are that

  • people I grew up with, from the neigborhood, have no qualms about approaching the Macon Pride booth to find out if I am who they think I am. I didn't expect this. I've been out to my family for years, and out in general too, but I never made the effort to go back to all the acquaintances I've had throughout my life, because I didn't care about their opinions of me. My name has been printed all over the local editorial pages as my signature in defense of lgbt misinformation or denigration somewhere around town. I've been on TV as the spokesperson for the LGBT community many times, so I'm pretty out in my hometown. I was taken aback that these people in my past came up to say hi to me, after confirming who I am, and they even came back by the booth to say goodbye. Pretty damn neat.
  • my current "friends," most of which are gay or lesbian, take one look at the banner, then me, then dart their eyes to avoid contact, then turn to miss approaching the booth altogether. Yea, these are my "friends" around here. I suspect they do not feel comfortable with the prospect of outing themselves in this setting, and surely waving at me or smiling, or even coming up to the booth to see our new brochures is just tooooo revealing of their secret lifestyles. Right. Listen folks, most of those people there don't give a shit about whether you're gay or not, or what booth you're standing at unless it's their own. The ones that do give a shit certainly have the power, don't they?
  • many women there ARE lesbian, and somewhat obviously so, as evidenced by the pretty blue HRC stickers on their vehicles. I saw you, all 20 of you. And you saw me too, and the banner, the booth, and our purpose. So, what I can't figure is why you avoided the booth. Surely you'd have some interest in the actual presentation of and for the local gay community, since you live here and in the surrounding counties. What is it, that I'm not a brand-name activist with an official HRC endorsement? Nice, upscale middle-class women you are, and I'm sure your contributions to HRC are helping someone, but maybe you don't care that your money doesn't help the local community the least bit. Change occurs at home, sweeties. Care to explain why you're snubbing us, so I don't continue to imagine these and other explanations off the top of my head?
  • most of the people that did stop, say hi, and pick up a few pieces of literature were straight for the most part, feeling comfortable enough to gather info for someone they care about. Unless it's proven otherwise, these cats could be straight for all I care, I'm just glad they're taking the info with them to share with somebody.

    Well there you have it. It's definitely an experience I didn't expect, but I am having a good time and I look forward to more opportunities to do this.

  • ..the end..