GA Voice - - Outspoken - By Si­mon Wil­liamson

at a themed evening thank­ing the troops, we couldn’t shake the feel­ing we were be­ing stared at. And even­tu­ally we no­ticed a group of bros who kept star­ing at us and laugh­ing. Those of us who have been gay­bashed dur­ing our lives will know that this is when the para­noia be­gins. It isn’t that we are scared of be­ing laughed at – God knows some of the things I have worn in my life – but we are scared of be­ing killed, be­cause we have all ex­pe­ri­enced straight men who feel chal­lenged by our peo­ple.

North Carolina’s bath­room laws aren’t meant to deal with the bath­room – they are meant to keep trans­gen­der peo­ple from be­ing able to go out at all. They are to stop city gov­ern­ments wel­com­ing diver­sity into states, which even­tu­ally spreads into non-met­ro­pol­i­tan cor­ners. Sup­port­ers of re­li­gious free­dom leg­is­la­tion here in Ge­or­gia are aim­ing for the same thing – they want a le­gal rea­son to be able to throw us out of their restau­rants and shops. That might not sound like a likely event in At­lanta, but I lived in the far reaches of New­ton County not that long ago and spent an evening at a restau­rant in Jack­son (our clos­est town at the time) with my hus­band, where the owner glared at us from be­hind the bar for 90 min­utes – I would hate to see the weaponry that state Sen. Josh McKoon would like to give to him.

The sim­ple fact is that the peo­ple be­hind these laws, who are telling us we are out of touch be­cause we don’t shoot guns or drive trucks or eat at Ap­ple­bee’s, have to con­coct this fab­ri­ca­tion, and dress their hate for us ap­pro­pri­ately. I love my ri­fle. I love Ap­ple­bee’s and all of its peers, and eat there of­ten. Their ar­gu­ment is ax­iomat­i­cally false. And it is also false that we are the ones out of touch. It is them who refuse to deal with us, and who ha­rass us out of the places they don’t want us in.

We left the rodeo be­cause we didn’t want to be beaten or killed. We weren’t wanted. We sensed dan­ger, and we de­cided to avoid it rather than con­front it. They got their LGBT-free rodeo. Maybe they are right – maybe I did just fall out of touch with how much they ac­tu­ally don’t want us around.

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