Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:34 AM
SecularMotion (7,556 posts)
'Pray the Gay Away': On Being Beaten with the Bible Belt
As my first year of graduate school rolled to a close, I decided to celebrate with a couple of friends. We opted for a quiet evening at home, a nice dinner, and a bottle of wine, so my friend Debbie and I headed off to the grocery store. I didn’t realize as we pulled into the parking lot that it would be a shopping trip that would stick with me for years to come.
After five years at Baylor University, a proud Southern Baptist school, I knew that the key to survival was conformity, a difficult task for a young man struggling with his sexual identity. I had altered my wardrobe shortly after arriving to match the unofficial school uniform of nice tan khakis and a button-down shirt. I frequently held my tongue, keeping catty comments that might be deemed as less than Christian to myself. I dated women – not often, but enough to be classified as “straight but shy”. On this occasion, walking through the store, I felt safe… one basket, one man and one woman. Who could question that?
What I failed to take into account was my shirt, a white silk shirt with some gold trim. Very trendy and GQ for the time, and a definite violation of the conservative code. As Debbie and I walked through the store, we approached two tall, frat-boy jock types, who looked at me with disdain and called out “Faggot!” as we passed. Despite Debbie’s assurances that they were assholes, I was panic-stricken. Would they be waiting for me in the parking lot? Was it something other than the shirt that had tipped them off? Had I been delusional in thinking that my five year masquerade was effective?
That was my last semester at Baylor. I transferred to the University of North Texas over the summer, a place where homophobia still existed in pockets, but they were small ones and I felt much freer to be the person I wanted to grow into being. That incident back at Baylor, though, was hardly the first time I felt that I was being held in judgment and that religion overrode common courtesy or decency to belittle me.
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'Pray the Gay Away': On Being Beaten with the Bible Belt (Original post)
Response to SecularMotion (Original post)
Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:38 AM
titanicdave (209 posts)
article..........and I know the feeling and completely understand........here in the Pacific Northwest, it has gotten exponentially better to be who I am and what I believe