I’m From Salt Lake City, UT.

by chris s.

“Karen, he just referred to that guy he’s with as his husband! Can you believe it? What perverts!”

The comment came from behind us and I turned to scan the line of people waiting for movie tickets. Which one of the many faces staring back at me said it? Two women quickly averted their eyes, giving themselves away.

I had just introduced my husband to a work acquaintance whom we happened to run into. Now I seized the opportunity to push the narrow-minded boundaries of the women behind us. “We’ve been together for 21 years,” I said loudly as I glanced at the women over my shoulder. They covered their mouths and whispered to each other.

Another couple – strangers in line in front of us – turned and expressed their surprise that anyone could make it 21 years in a relationship. “We’ve only been married four years and I think both of us have thought of throwing in the towel at some point,” the woman said.

“Well, maybe if you were a guy, we’d get along better,” the husband joked.

“Sick!” I heard from behind me. “That’s okay, they’re both going to hell and we won’t have to deal with them then.” The women behind us were no longer trying to conceal their contempt.

Having grown up in a small town, I’d been subjected to all kinds of homophobia and I don’t deal with it well as an adult. My husband tugged on my arm as I cut from the line. I jerked away from him and walked directly up to the women. “Do you two have a problem with something that’s absolutely none of your business?” I asked pointedly.

“Uh…umm…not really,” stammered one of the women.

“As a matter of fact, we do, and you’re the one making it our business!” countered the other one. “Why don’t you just stay at home and stop subjecting all of us to your sick behavior?”

“Maybe for the same reasons you choose to subject all of us to your bigotry,” I fired back. My blood was beginning to boil.

“Don’t get into it with them, please. They really aren’t important enough to speak to,” my husband coaxed.

He was right. These women didn’t deserve so much as a thought from me and I turned my back on them. “Faggots,” one of the women hissed. At that point, all hell broke loose in line. Several people openly confronted the women, berating them until they finally left.

Other than the geographical beauty of Utah, I really haven’t liked living here. It’s extremely conservative, and the predominant religion has its nose in places it doesn’t belong. It’s a place where people line up for hours to see conservative political zealots like Glen Beck or Sarah Palin.

I now realize it’s also a place where people line up to see a movie and stand up for what is morally right, whether they may personally agree with it or not. Where I was once embarrassed to admit living here, I’m now proud to say I’m from Utah.

5 Comments:

  1. Great story! I always love to hear when other people help stand up against homophobia!

  2. I love living in Utah, and I too have found a community of people that love and support me for me though we may have disagreements. Congratulations on your happy family!!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I also live in Salt Lake so I understand the environment you’re talking about. In fact, I just got through watching “8: The Mormon Proposition” on Friday and that movie really hit me hard. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should, it’s completely relevant to your story. The director is speaking at the Equality Utah Dinner this Thursday, I’m really looking forward to it, maybe you’re going? Anyway, good luck with your marriage, I think it’s beautiful!

  4. Your visabiliy is helping. Thanks

  5. I have only been in Utah once for a conference and my gaydar went crazy while I was there. Which I found ironic since I had been in San Francisco a month before and my gaydar barely beeped. My gaydar must be highly tuned to repressed sexuality.

    What I liked most about your story is that it points out what is often overlooked….we may not yet have a lot of support in conservatives areas but there is growing support and the growth of that support is accelerating. That minority is not so tiny anymore. Things are looking up in the heartland.

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