Cities are weird.

radiosilence95's picture

I have just returned from my three-day trip to Chicago. My mom, my sister, my mom's friend, her seven-year-old son, and Brittany all tagged along, and it was a great time, even though the kid is really obnoxious and spoiled because his mom is too exhausted by motherhood to be a decent mother. But for the most part Brittany and I did our own thing, away from the rest of them. My poor sister, who babysits the kid sometimes, was stuck with him usually, and he picked on her mercilessly. Yes, the trip would've been slightly less annoying without him.

But, y'know, I'm not about to let a bratty seven-year-old (I really dislike 99% percent of children, in case you didn't know) ruin an amazing vacation. We went to a science museum, a planetarium, Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower), the aquarium, and Navy Pier. And it was awesome! But I would never dream of living in a big city. Chicago's streets in certain areas smell like sewage, there are people up your butt all the time, and there are homeless people begging for change everywhere. Brittany and I were standing outside of a pizza place and this hobo started pointing his fingers like guns at us and made shooting noises. So we went back inside.

I mean, Chicago's a cool place to visit every once in awhile, and I would absolutely love to go there for Pride, but to stay there any longer than a week would just wear on my nerves. A simple semi-country gal like myself couldn't handle it.

Brittany and I had a great time together. Thing is we had to share a bed in our hotel room and I thought it would be really uncomfortable but it wasn't. Except one night when we were sleeping facing each other she wrapped her leg around my legs and I was like oh sweet Jesus have mercy but other than that it wasn't a problem and it didn't seem to bother her one bit. So at least she's not the kind of girl who thinks that lesbians are horny sex predators who will try to get it whenever they can.

So I have no idea when we'll see each other next. I mentioned another trip to Six Flags with my dad in July. And I mentioned maybe cruising around town and the surrounding area looking for antique shops to look around in. But I don't know. I just really don't know.

On the topic of my father and his girlfriend, things have been looking up. His girlfriend sent me a text after getting my thank-you card in the mail. In it I wrote that I was sorry for dismissing her and never giving her a chance. In her text she said that all was well, that she was so glad to know that, that the past is in the past and we can finally move on. So on Father's Day when I came back to his house after my mom took us to our grandparents', I found him sitting on the porch with his girlfriend. So we all sat down and had a looong conversation that lasted three hours.

We talked about a lot of things. How my mom has spent six years of her life pitting me against my father and his girlfriend, how horribly intolerant her family is, my sexuality, my college situation, just everything really. And it was a really good talk. And a necessary one. His girlfriend and I are a lot more comfortable around each other and I see her in a new light. She's not the "other woman" anymore; she's a human being with a big heart. I'm so glad we've come to an understanding. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, as the cliche goes.

Also, a topic for debate: When I told Brittany that the LGBT club at my college holds a gay prom, she claimed it was reverse discrimination since it discouraged straight students from attending. Do you agree with this? To be fair, if any school held a straight prom, a lot of people would probably be really pissed off. Why is it okay for the gay community to exclude themselves but not okay for heterosexuals to do the same? Is "heterophobia" a real problem? Are we encouraging a rift between straights and gays when we create clubs and social functions for us alone?

Comments

jeff's picture

Well...

To be fair, it is difficult to judge the reality of living in a city while visiting as a tourist. I live in New York City, and stay away from many of the touristy areas, so it is always important to remember that people tend to stay in specific areas when visiting. Often, they are the areas the locals avoid. Like, unless I'm going to a Broadway show, I am never in Times Square. When I was in San Francisco, I hated going to Fisherman's Wharf, and that is the hub of tourist activity there. I live on a quiet, tree-lined street on the Upper West Side, I'm half a block from Central Park, but decidedly north from where most tourists stop and turn back around. I've had people visit and run from theater to restaurant to seeing friends to a bar to another show and on and on, and then complain they could never handle living in a city and keep up that pace. Well, we don't keep up that pace, either. We live here. We don't have to run around to quickly fit it all in. ;-)

As for the gay prom, the need there is that LGBT people are not welcome everywhere and when they are allowed at an inclusive prom, they are still sort of outcasts, in that people will look at the two guys dancing, since they never saw it before, or wonder if the two girls are going to kiss during the slow dance, etc. Acceptance may be happening, but we are still on display to some degree.

So, until society is at a place where it is so commonplace to be LGBT that it is boring, it is nice to have a place where we can go and just feel normal, without being a spectacle, or different. So, when heterosexuals complain about it, it is from a slightly-clueless place, and yes, when they get their shit together, we'll cancel our prom. We're waiting... ;-)

Just like minority scholarships aren't anti-white, they are just for a specific audience, for a specific reason. Based on systemic forces that have been pervasive for a long time. It's hard for anyone with a clue to argue a case for hetero discrimination in society.

Anytime there are issues to sort out within any subset (female democrats, religious gays), it is usually because of the treatment and issues they face from the larger group, not that they are trying to isolate themselves. They are just reflecting the isolation that is already there.

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"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles

radiosilence95's picture

Ah. Good point. I did hit

Ah. Good point. I did hit some very tourist-y places and I just felt so closed in. Walking in the city is pretty neat though, and once you get used to the hectic traffic and the hobos it can be relaxing in a way. Plus I'm almost certain I'll have to live in or at least commute to a big city since I'll be pursuing a job as a psychologist, more specifically, a therapist at a homeless shelter for gay teens, if possible. I highly doubt many smaller towns have shelters for LGBT youth.

Another good point. Brittany's argument, one that I understood and mused over, was that hosting a gay prom would make homophobes say, "See? I told you they all just want special attention" or something along those lines. Regardless of what straights think, I can't wait to attend a dance where I don't feel so out of place and uncomfortable, and take a girl with me without fearing judgment. I know schools have come a long way in regards to tolerance and open-mindedness and whatnot, but there's still a long way to go.

jeff's picture

Well...

You will also find more homeless people near the more touristy places, since they make more money there. And, yes, places like the Ali Forney Center in NYC (http://www.aliforneycenter.org) are typically in large urban areas, although to be fair, when a gay teen in bumfuck Ohio runs away from home, he is more likely to go to NYC than a slightly more tolerant place in Ohio. A lot of teens see NYC and SF as gay meccas, until they move here and realize how expensive it is and nothing is set up for them to start a life here, etc.

You really can't make decisions based on how it will affect homophobes. It is sort of a lazy form of debate, similar to when the NRA says gun control laws shouldn't be passed since criminals won't follow them anyway. It sounds reasonable, but then why have any laws, if they are contingent on criminals following them?!

As much as we highlight when gay couples are voted cutest couple or whatnot at prom, I have to think that in some cases it is more like overcompensation? Like, let's show them how cool we are and vote for them! When, true equality would maybe not put them at the top of the list. But as societal trends go, overcompensation is a delightful transition to complete integration. ;-)

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"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles