Keep Your Mouth Shut

I was told — in a very polite way, of course – to keep my mouth shut and my negative thoughts to myself this morning.

Well, that’s not the first time this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last. My tendency to point out the truth of any given situation has landed me in hot water many times. The thing is, I’ve had to face the reality of my own life over and over again. It’s given me a strong desire to cut through the bullshit and zero in on the crux of any matter. So once again, I must apologize for my Cassandra ways, and hope I don’t get the kind of aggravation SHE did for telling the truth.

Here goes:

I apologize for having the audacity to say that Indiana in general and Northeast Indiana specifically is NOT welcoming to LGBTQ folks. How dare I? I mean, even though it is perfectly legal to discriminate against LGBTQ folks when it comes to employment, housing, service, and health care, I shouldn’t say so, right? I should stick to the corporate line about how inclusive Indiana and Northeast Indiana specifically is where LGBTQ people are concerned, and urge them to come to “The Crossroads of America” and get a heaping helpin’ of that Hoosier Hospitality. Despite the fact that when I was recently fired from a job I had excelled at for over four years on a bogus charge, and a respected employment lawyer told me that a gay man has no recourse but to accept it and move on, I mustn’t rock the boat, nor imply that Northeast Indiana is not a happy, healthy place for LGBTQ people. I certainly should not share my experience as a gay man who has lived here his entire life, especially when that experience has taught me that acceptance of LGBTQ people in this area is surface oriented only. In other words, they may be polite to your faces, friends, but watch your back.

And for pity sake, I shouldn’t mention what is credible news at this moment in 2019, that Indiana is only one of five states without a Hate Crimes law, and that any attempt to pass a credible law with any sort of protection for marginalized people has been watered down to worthlessness by our self-righteous Republican politicians. Oh, and I probably should not add that they can do so and will do so at the approval of the majority of their constituents. Yep, living here is like a full-time Folsom Street Fair.

Now, mind you, a good many straight folks and even a lot of gay ones will tell you that despite the lack of a social safety net, this is a fine place for LGBTQ people, that despite any of the negative publicity Indiana in general and Northeast Indiana specifically receive, this is an “inclusive community.” I will admit in all honesty that in some respects this is true. I live in a nice neighborhood where my sexual orientation is not an issue. I have lots of straight friends who do not seem to be particularly perturbed that I am gay. However, every employment experience I have ever had has been fraught with horror that I would be rejected for my sexual orientation. Why? For the simple reason that this truth-teller has noted over and over again that it IS an issue, whether the employer will admit it or not. (The lingering stench of Christianity is usually a motivation behind this.)

So, by all means, LGBTQ people, come to Northeast Indiana! Make friends! Enjoy all we have to offer! And for cryin’ out loud, whatever you do, tell that awful Nick Poff to shut the fuck up when he reminds you that here you’re even more of a second-class citizen than you are elsewhere.


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