Friday, December 11, 2009

Cairo Hearts Teh Gay

I'm sure this is horridly un-PC and it embarrasses me a little, but you know me...I'm sort of socially challenged anyway, so consider the source.

For most of my life I've lived in communities that were majority Caucasian. This is probably the first time I've lived anywhere where the population was evenly split between white folks and black folks. When we moved here my coworkers acted like I was insane, like we had just moved to the bad side of Baghdad, but actually, it's been very nice. People, both black and white, have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome, even in the face of the obvious Gay.

When we moved here in August the first thing we did was apply to buy the municipally-owned field next to our house, The city was happy to oblige; anything that gets property back onto the tax roles is well received in Cairo. I had to make several visits to City Hall to drop off bids and deposit money, and then Lori and I went down there to sign the deed on the property.

The woman working the counter at City Hall is probably in her late 60s and very Southern. We're right across the river from Kentucky and a lot of the locals have that air of antebellum Southern manners and sensibilities. When I went in to drop off the final payment on the property she told me she had written the deed as a joint property with right of survivorship, like she would with a married couple.

She clearly understands the nature of our relationship and isn't worked up about it. And really, that's been the predominant attitude here. The gay isn't scary or dangerous or whatever else homophobes think to justify their -isms. Our neighbors understand that we're a couple and behave accordingly. In conversation, they ask after Lori, invite us to join local civic and social groups, compliment our yard and our pets, and try to catch a glimpse in our windows. Like people anywhere do with their neighbors.

Like I said, this is my first time living in a black community. There are a lot of churches here, and a lot of churchgoers. I think I had a sense that we might encounter some hostility with regard to our openly lesbian relationship. I've read repeatedly that blacks in general support a lot of liberal causes but draw the line at Teh Gay, since many religious people think it's a fast track to hell and feel the need to either distance themselves from it or pontificate at it. But either the local churches teach tolerance and diversity, or the local citizenry have too much on their own plates to worry about ours.

So the moral of the story is that I like it here. I feel welcome, and any oddness is not due to the gay, it's due to the cultural disparity between southern blacks and northern whites, which is much more interesting as far as I'm concerned.

So I'm likely to post a lot of stories about the community, but I hope they're taken in the spirit intended. It's a friendly community filled with kind people and I love it here. I've liked almost every person I've encountered here (Except the melon guy. What's up with him?), but they certainly have ways about them that leave me scratching my head at times and as always, I'll chronicle them here.


Erika said...

I look forward to reading about this magical, mystery place called Cairo. Maybe we'll have to move there!

Ev said...

Erika, It's been our dream to establish Cairo as Gaylandia. We're already lined up a few friends (who, unfortunately, keep escaping from the pen) and our dream of a seedy gay mecca is still alive.

Come on down! It's cold up north!

Anonymous said...

The psychologist at my school could take a few lessons from your community members. To this day, whenever she introduces me or puts my name on paperwork, she insists on using the term Ms. I hate Ms. I've never liked or used Ms. However, she's insisted on using it even though I've verbally corrected her several times that it's Mrs. I find it annoying and a horribly passive/aggressive way of denying a marraige she doesn't agree with.


John Holland said...

Cairo as gaylandia? I vote yes! If there is ever anything this Auxiliary fireman/heavy mechanic and his boyfriend can do to make it happen simply say the words! I want to help make this place great again. I think making it a GLBT haven is the most fabulous and wonderful idea I have heard in my life here! (I have heard ideas you would not believe)

Kwach said...

I think the first order of business is to buy Riverlore and turn it into a fabulous Bed and Breakfast. Then we're going to need art galleries and a fine arts center. I have my eye on the Armory for that. You and your boyfriend get busy picking up Riverlore, willya!??