View Full Version : Soulforce could reach out to rural gays?
10-07-2007, 09:06 AM
As y'all know, I live in the country. I love it. I love my animals, the land, my neighbors,the clean air and sparse traffic.
All that said,........It is sometimes hard being gay in a rural area. As far as safety goes, it might be easier out here in the boonies. Everyone seems to be polite to each other in a libertarian MYOB sort of way. So I don't get people driving by my house yelling "FAGGOT" like I had in the city. In the country, if you go abuse someone at thier house you're liable to be met with a snarling dog and a shotgun. My house included.
YEah, I'm not worried for my safety out here. The problem I have is that it's isolating. There are other gays out here that I see at the farmer's market and stuff. and I have lots and lots of straight friends. My partner and I are great friends with another farming family. They have 6 kids and are Christian homeschoolers and Republicans, but they love us. Probably because we are funny and non-threatening and share views on local politics and gripe about property taxes and building codes and the like.
However, what's isolating is that we have no church. There are churches on every corner here it seems. But none that I can go in. I got a choice here. I can go and hope noone finds out I'm gay and calls me an abomination. Or, I can go into a coupleof places that said I can go in. But I still have to be quiet about it, and not do any public affection or anything.Plus even though I might could sit in the pew, there's NO WAY I could ever teach Sunday School or serve Communion or do anything really active . There's no big welcoming churches here like there are in the city.
I wonder if Soulforce ever goes in with churches to make new-church starts in the country or small towns. Churches set up from the first to be open.
10-08-2007, 08:39 AM
Are there churches in bigger cities in NC that are truly affirming and welcoming? If there are, perhaps you could network with them and explore the possibilities of establishing a "home church" in your area with some support and resources from them.
Of course, you could set up a home church, anyway, but it might be nice to have the support of a larger congregation.
Just a thought, as I said.
We drive a half hour to our church. There are three Episcopal parishes that are closer, but none of them are as open and diverse as the inner city church we belong to. The other churches would not openly discriminate here in liberal MA, I don't think, but we would not feel as much at home. It's not just about being tolerated, is it? We want to see ourselves and our lives reflected in the congregation, too.
I think the deepest political and cultural divide in the USA is between rural and urban. The rural is comfortable but isolating. The urban is more tolerant but much more impersonal. I think the suburbs are actually more constricting. People seem more judgmental to me, wanting more external conformity. Everyone in small towns in rural areas knows everybody else's business. I don't imagine it takes too long for word to get around that two guys run that farm or two gals own that house in town. As long as you don't "flaunt" it, you can stay. But try walking down the street hand in hand and you're the subject of scandal if not outright indignation.
Sigh. Acceptance is still a long time coming, I'm afraid.
10-09-2007, 06:32 AM
I very much also see the libertarian sort of philosophy in effect. The rural west is known for the MYOB philosophy. There are a lot of advantages to that but also disadvantages. Moving to a rural community from inner city Los Angeles has shown me the differences between the two. Here in a small town people are very couple/family oriented. All activities are centered on the family, and those of us who are single are just left our in the cold. I don't think it is intentional, but just sort of the overall mindset. I'm not very outgoing, and know that I should push a little harder in social situations. I'm not publicly "out" so I don't know what reaction that would get. I don't think much of anything. (That situation is going to change here pretty soon, so I guess I will be seeing what happens.)
I liked inner-city LA. There was an acceptance of anyone and everyone. It is a very diverse city. But living in a transient neighborhood did mean that social connections were only temporary. I do keep in touch with my best friends from LA though, so not all is temporary.
The rural is comfortable but isolating. The urban is more tolerant but much more impersonal. I think the suburbs are actually more constricting.
This is a good observation, Ben. I have found the suburbs to be the least accepting place for anything.
Tu Amigo, Pablo
10-24-2007, 10:33 PM
Ya, a single man in a rural church doesn't have a chance. You're always sitting in some family's pew or they fill up all the availible chairs at your table at lunchtime. But the worst is the women are circulating all the news all the time but they never call me and I don't hear anything until Sunday. I feel more free to be a christian helping a heathen put up a deer blind on Sunday morning.
10-25-2007, 09:00 PM
When I left NYC after almost 17 years for the balmy shores of South Palm Beach Co., Florida, I was assured by everyone (almost to a person, straight) how incredibly gay friendly my particular suburban town (Delray Beach) was and how Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties were basically the 6th borough of NYC, etc., etc.
Once I got active at my church, the match-making began. Thanks to word of mouth (and my 100% Italian-American step-mother), people clued in that I probably wasn't such a great choice for any attractive, single women they knew.
One very active man literally found out at my going-away blessing...right there in front of God, Country, and Fr. Marty. He pulled my step-mom aside and hypothesized it must be one incredible girl who could drag me to the frozen tundra of Chicago! She stood there slack-jawed (it was reported to me later with much mirth) before laying a hand on his shoulder and explaining "Dennis, HE'S GAY!"
It never ceases to amaze me.
Re: rural...I never lived in a truly rural place, but I was and am close to family and friends who do/have. One thing in particular that strikes me about how rural society works is that: opinions are one thing, but, when you're really rural, you need your neighbors. That connection can literally be life-saving in any number of emergencies.
10-25-2007, 10:38 PM
That's true. You need your neighbors. After you proudly and fearlessly display the rainbow flag in your front yard, your brother boycotts you and tries to sheild his kids from you, and it seems like maybe some of the neighbors are boycotting you too, but they probably aren't. They know that if you don't hate queers you probably don't hate them. Nobody says anything to you about the beautiful flag. Nobody else is 'out' but you know theres got to be more than just you. So everybody is gay until proven not gay. You sit across the table from them at a meeting or funeral and everybody is friendly. You went to school with him and you figure he knows so finally you ask if he heard and if everybody knows and he says everybody he knows knows and that he IS prejudiced and doesn't have no time to talk about it. So, OK, then. Glad I'm not him. Glad I'm gay. But, he still might be gay. But I don't give up on him. He's still my neighbor to love as myself.
And I put the flag back up for the children.
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