Ge­or­gians learn­ing to live in an ‘end­less spring’

GA Voice - - Lgbt Atlanta Arts Reviews Entertaniment -

One of the only traits of spring that I en­joy is the on­set of later day­time. I’m not a fan of day­light sav­ings it­self, the way it scram­bles our cir­ca­dian rhythm, but I ap­pre­ci­ate not feel­ing like the day is vir­tu­ally over when I leave work.

Oth­er­wise, I can’t stand spring, for some pop­u­lar rea­sons, such as hav­ing my si­nuses as­saulted by pollen, and for more per­sonal an­noy­ances that oth­ers con­sider pro­fane, like the si­mul­ta­ne­ous bloom­ing of dogs as ev­ery­one takes their pet out­side to en­joy nice weather. Many dog own­ers as­sume their ca­nine’s cute­ness ex­cuses them from ex­er­cis­ing ba­sic man­ners such as not let­ting their dog (and specif­i­cally their dog’s leash) take up three-quar­ters of a side­walk, or as­sum­ing ev­ery­one they pass is com­fort­able be­ing pan­han­dled for af­fec­tion.

But the most an­noy­ing part of spring has to be the bipo­lar weather – both daily and through­out the sea­son: leav­ing for work wear­ing a sweater be­cause it’s 30 de­grees, then be­ing drenched in per­spi­ra­tion by 80-de­gree af­ter­noon heat; hope­fully packing away your win­ter coat once the warm spells be­come rou­tine in mid-March, then hav­ing to pull it out al­most ev­ery week­end un­til May.

It’s hard to ap­pre­ci­ate 8 p.m. day­light when it’s 45 de­grees out­side, but at least the shorter nights prom­ise the com­ing of ex­tended warmth.

There was a nippy breeze blow­ing through down­town At­lanta April 5, when hun­dreds of LGBT Ge­or­gians and al­lies ral­lied out­side the state Capi­tol to thank Gov. Nathan Deal for ve­to­ing the so-called “re­li­gious free­dom” bill a few days ear­lier. The mood among the crowd was cel­e­bra­tory but vig­i­lant, as ev­ery­one at­tend­ing ex­pects “re­li­gious free­dom” leg­is­la­tion to re-sur­face next year, be­gin­ning the fight anew.

While the gov­er­nor’s veto re­ceived much at­ten­tion lo­cally and na­tion­ally, there’s been lit­tle recog­ni­tion that this is the third con­sec­u­tive year when re­li­gion was pit­ted against LGBT rights in Ge­or­gia, and the third con­sec­u­tive vic­tory for the lat­ter. Sure, the trend is more re­flec­tive of the shrewd lead­er­ship of those lead- “Yet, suc­cess is worth cel­e­brat­ing, es­pe­cially when it’s coun­ter­in­tu­itive as ‘Gays’ es­tab­lish­ing a win­ning streak vs. ‘God’ on what’s con­sid­ered his home turf. We are years away from full se­cu­rity and equal­ity for LGBT Ge­or­gians, but I won­der if we might have en­tered an end­less spring.” ing the fight against th­ese pro­pos­als – har­ness­ing the in­flu­ence of big busi­ness, most no­tably Hol­ly­wood, and par­lay­ing the woes of other states fac­ing back­lash – rather than a soft­en­ing of con­ser­va­tive an­tipa­thy to­ward a group they have marginal­ized for decades.

Yet, suc­cess is worth cel­e­brat­ing, es­pe­cially when it’s coun­ter­in­tu­itive as “Gays” es­tab­lish­ing a win­ning streak vs. “God” on what’s con­sid­ered his home turf. We are years away from full se­cu­rity and equal­ity for LGBT Ge­or­gians, but I won­der if we might have en­tered an end­less spring.

There will likely al­ways re­main stub­born sput­ter­ing from a fad­ing win­ter, but our cur­rent sea­son is marked by stretches of warmer tem­per­a­tures and bloom­ing hopes. The light claims more of each day, and the night be­comes less daunt­ing as the length of dark­ness short­ens.

An end­less spring may be the best LGBT Ge­or­gians – or LGBT Amer­i­cans – can hope for, as, de­spite the ad­vance­ments in hu­man and civil rights through­out U.S. his­tory, no other marginal­ized group has ever been able to stow away their win­ter coats for good. The bliz­zards we have en­dured have been bru­tal – from be­ing forced to live in the closet, to be­ing por­trayed as a threat to the Amer­i­can fam­ily, from be­ing con­sid­ered an abom­i­na­tion against God to be­ing deemed un­wor­thy of em­pa­thy, un­der­stand­ing or even ex­is­tence – but it’s hard not to feel like the harsh­est weather has passed. Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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