Saturday, April 02, 2016
Friday, June 11, 2010
Apparently, the shit kickers and hillbillies are starting to warm up to the fags.
Honestly, I thought it would never happen but today's column in the Strib has proved me wrong.
Some rural communities are rolling out the welcome mats for their GLBT residents and visitors. It started a few years ago in Pine City (pop. 3,400) -- with East Central Minnesota Pride -- but other Minnesota communities are getting on the bandwagon.
And to think just six years ago, we had such vitriol and hatred towards the gay and lesbian community on a national level. I thought it would take decades to even begin to get to this point. I was wrong.
But today, more and more rural communities are holding their own events to build social capital among the otherwise isolated. Perhaps it has something to do with support at the national level. President Obama, for instance, proclaimed June to be GLBT Pride Month in the United States for the first time since Bill Clinton was in office.
My guy did that? I didn't even know. Cool.
West Central Minnesota Pride was started in 2009 because no other organization existed in the area surrounding Willmar specifically for the GLBT community. Brainerd held its first-annual GLBT pride picnic last year as well. The event was hosted by the Lakes Area Diversity Council, although the Brainerd area had several other support groups -- such as the Brainerd High School Gay-Straight Alliance, the Staples High School Gay-Straight Alliance, OutFront MN, the Central Lakes College Rainbow Coalition, Brainerd's GLBT Equality Coalition and the Rainbow Health Initiative -- to help with the cause.
There's a Brainered GSA? And a Brainerd GLBT? Brainered? FUCKING BRAINERD!!? The Lord works in mysterious ways.
"I feel that the value of pride has a deeper impact in rural Minnesota than it has in bigger cities, because we're less tolerated," said Paul Wilkins, president of the East Central Men's Circle, one of the organizations behind East Central Minnesota Pride. "If one loses the meaning behind pride, I'd encourage them to visit one of these rural prides to understand their value."
Amen, Paul. I suppose I need to start qualifying my usual derision directed at hillbillies. Sure, it will be extra work for me to check and see if they have a GLBT in a deep red county but I don't care. It's magnificently worth it.
And, as always, I'm warm, giddy and happy to be wrong.