Panic at the Disco. Well, con­cert.

Si­mon Wil­liamson lives with his fed­er­ally-rec­og­nized spouse in the wild yon­der of New­ton County. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @si­mon­willo.

GA Voice - - Outspoken - By Si­mon Wil­liamson

I am not some­one who fears con­fronta­tion. I usu­ally be­lieve I am right, I am happy to ar­gue with just about any­one, and I have an ex­plo­sive tem­per like a rodeo bull (that’s just a metaphor—a cow­boy on top of me has the ex­act op­po­site ef­fect, ac­tu­ally).

But I am also smart enough to stay out of trou­ble, or a fight I can’t win, so I am quite ju­di­cious about when to ex­er­cise my fury. One such mo­ment ar­rived dur­ing a re­cent trip to Birm­ing­ham, Alabama, to watch a Garth Brooks con­cert with my hus­band, Mike.

Now, I get we were on away turf. But our house­hold is a coun­try-mu­sic-lov­ing, porch­swing­ing, tea-slurp­ing crib, strewn with ran­dom bugs we try to get the dog to eat, and three sep­a­rate bar­be­cues. So although a gay cou­ple aren’t your av­er­age at­ten­dees at a Garth Brooks show, a Garth Brooks show isn’t ex­actly alien to our own mi­lieu.

While stand­ing in line for beer be­fore the show be­gan, a group of three in the line next to ours de­cided to make fun of my hus­band’s shoes. Other than be­ing able to de­scribe the length of pants (shorts or short shorts), I don’t know any­thing about fash­ion and have no idea why they zoomed in on his shoes, which to me look as nor­mal as the Braves los­ing to the Mets.

Any­one who has been on the re­ceiv­ing end of this sort of asi­nine dep­re­ca­tion knows it has lit­tle to do with shoes and a lot more to do with the fact that two men who are ob­vi­ously a cou­ple were in a place where “reg­u­lar folks” don’t of­ten have to deal with them.

And thus be­gan the vex­ing emo­tional en­tan­gle­ment that went on in my head: Snap back and open a Pan­dora’s Box into po­ten­tial risk I couldn’t pre­dict, or sit there and take it. And I sat there and took it. I sat there and took it be­cause I had no idea what would hap­pen if we got into an en­tan­gle­ment. A gay for­eigner with his Yan­kee hus­band clad in mys­ti­fy­ingly re­mark­able shoes (lit­er­ally they are gray slip-on shoes), go­ing at “reg­u­lar folks” at a show put on by the most “reg­u­lar” per­son in Amer­ica—how does that end?

We don’t know, be­cause we de­cided it was too risky to ap­proach a trio of douchebags. We both knew this had very lit­tle to do with shoes, and a lot to do with who was wear­ing them, and the en­vi­ron­ment in which they were be­ing worn.

If looks could kill, three peo­ple would have been cooked medium to well by the time I fin­ished aim­ing tele­pathic vit­riol at them, but de­fend­ing our­selves in places we don’t re­ally be­long comes with more risks than your av­er­age public scene. We stood there. And let it hap­pen.

We’re gain­ing rights and do­ing well, es­pe­cially if the epi­cen­ter of your life is the right to wed the per­son you love. But the sim­ple act of be­ing un­able, through fear, to re­spond to a dick­head tri­chotomy was a lit­tle win­dow into the sim­ple and in­her­ent dan­ger in which LGBT peo­ple can find them­selves, just be­cause they also want to jive along to the big­gest selling artist Amer­ica has ever known.

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