I think it's interesting how little we talk about the lives of gay men and women in small towns. I feel that, too often, we hear from the community associated with urban centers. It's these men and women who are on the cusp of what's fashionable, what is now and what is hot. It's these men and women who are the most cultured. That's the impression we tend to give off. Because we honor these men and women more than we do anyone else.
You go to any small town, there are gay men and women there. You got to any small city, port town, farm town -- whatever it might be, there are gay men and women there. The LGBTQ community is everywhere. These men and women have stories, they have lives, they have families, and they care about who they are.
I think, too often, we assume that these men and women are somehow "less than" because they may not be as OUT as city people. They may not wear their gayness everywhere they go, or they may not partake in every activity, or support every cause. Yet these men and women are just as proud of who they are as the men and women who walk in the parades.
There is no one definition of how to be a member of the LGBTQ community. There is no one way to act. And it's important that we stop thinking that there is. It's important that we stop trying to make everyone act like we do. The way city people are out is different from the way small town folk are out. But instead of judging each other, instead of saying Ii'm bette than you, why don't we welcome each other in.
I remember going to this small, small town in Texas. And there was a 20-something there, who I could tell was gay. I didn't judge him, I didn't ask "why haven't you left?," i didn't think I was better than him. He had his story, and I had mine. He told me he was living here because his mom was sick and she needed him. That just goes to show you. We all have our reasons for where we are.
Let's stop the judgment. Let's stop the attitude. And let's stop putting our views, and our lives, onto other people. We'll be much happier in the end.