January 19, 2011

"People grew up in church, so a lot of us lived in shame."

"What did we do? We wandered around lost. We married men, and then couldn’t understand why every night we had a headache."

From a NYT article about how it's a lot easier to be gay in the South than it used to be — with special attention to gay people with children:
A large number of gay couples, possibly a majority, entered into their current relationship after first having children with partners in heterosexual relationships, [demographer Gary] Gates said. That seemed to be the case for many blacks and Latinos in Jacksonville, for whom church disapproval weighed heavily.

42 comments:

shoutingthomas said...

Oh God!

The Times favorite subject! White southerners are bigots!

They're bigots, I tell you! Bigots!

Fred4Pres said...

Interesting demographics. Funny how New Yorkers are shocked, shocked that other places are tollerant. It blows their world view.

Henry said...

Poor guys.

MadisonMan said...

Poor guys.

The story is about women, mostly.

shoutingthomas said...

Let me summarize this decades long debate

Neil Young:

Southern man better keep your head
Don't forget what your good book said
Southern change gonna come at last
Now your crosses are burning fast
Southern man

Lynyrd Skynyrd:

Big wheels keep on turnin'
Carryin' me home to see my kin
Singin' songs about the southland
I miss Alabamy once again and I think its a sin ... yes

Well I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well I heard ol' Neil put her down
Well I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow

Game, set, match, Lynyrd Skynyrd

The Times won't give up on labeling lower and middle class whites as irredeemable bigots, will it? That's central to their political philosophy.

E.M. Davis said...

I can't read the article. I'm not fluent in Whinese.

Moose said...

Look! It's a Gay Community!

Celebrate!

HT said...

A contest between Neil Young (who a lot of southerners love) and Lynyrd Skynyrd. No, that's not a stereotype.

shoutingthomas said...

A contest between Neil Young (who a lot of southerners love) and Lynyrd Skynyrd. No, that's not a stereotype.

When Young keeps his fucking mouth shut about politics, I also love him. He's a great writer and singer.

When he opens his mouth and starts the political pontificating, he is one of the most annoying assholes on the face of the earth.

And, I know, that's true of everybody, including me.

Triangle Man said...

White southerners are bigots!

The point of the article is not that southerners are bigots, but that churches in the south "have long condemned homosexuality" and that "church disapproval weighed heavily" in the decisions of gay people. Do you disagree with either of those assertions?

Henry said...

@MadisonMan -- Third sentence of the quote.

Really, poor everyone. At least its better.

shoutingthomas said...

The point of the article is not that southerners are bigots, but that churches in the south "have long condemned homosexuality" and that "church disapproval weighed heavily" in the decisions of gay people. Do you disagree with either of those assertions?

"Condemned homosexuality?" I doubt it. I'd say, that like all Christian churches, southern Christian churches consider homosexual actions to be a sin. Whether this is condemnation is another issue.

Those same churches probably consider any sex outside of marriage as a sin.

Does this concept of sin "weigh heavily" on some people. I guess so. Perhaps, it should.

The concepts and sin and confession are, in my opinion, great concepts for measuring one's actions against the ideals of Christianity.

traditionalguy said...

Freedom of religion worked out fine for the Gay folks here. They have freedom to worship without submitting to legalistic condemnation. So what's the problem again? Next issue.

Maguro said...

Yes, the headache quote is funny.

"We married men, and then couldn’t understand why every night we had a headache.

So that's what's been going on? It all makes sense now.

The rest of the article is a typical NYT anthropology essay on the surprising cultural mores of Jacksonville, FL.

Oh, and women and minorities hardest hit by economic woes. Can't forget that one.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Church disapproval weighs heavily on a lot of things that heterosexuals engage in as well.

Catholics heavily disapprove of pre-marital sex, use of birth control, eating meat on Fridays during Lent, etc. Unlike one's sexual preference, religion is a choice and it certainly within one's best interest to find a religion that is consistent with one's lifestyle.

shoutingthomas said...

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Christianity (and that seems to be quite a few Althouse readers), let me state the obvious:

The purpose of Christian churches is to serve sinners.

If you're one of those New Age types who think that the concept of sin is too awful a burden for people to bear, then you probably aren't a Christian.

Sixty Grit said...

Neil Young is a god damned Canadian. To him, a southerner is anyone who lives south of Manitoba or some other chunk of frozen waste land. Fuck him.

WV: dehsadst - the day the plane crashed was dehsadst day ever.

Leland said...

The purpose of Christian churches is to serve sinners.

Amen.

HT said...

Many thousands of people based on that (wonderful) song might conclude that in Birmingham they love(d) the governor. I'm just not sure that is true. In fact, a strong counter argument can be made as Wallace was among other things a populist and Birmingham being the business center of the state if not the region at that time didn't like populism and was not crazy about the way the governor handled some situations either, as many of them took place in the city.

FWIW, Lynyrd Skynyrd's from Fla not Ala.

Daniel said...

I think it´s about the time to discover these things to part of a common knowledge. Altough we know now about gays, bisexual issues are lot to be found still: http://biworldofdaniel.blogspot.com/ . :I

knox said...

Forget G.R.I.T.S. "Girls Raised In the South" ... "Gays Raised In the South," baby!



Yes, the NYT's assumptions about the rest of the country are annoying.

However... isn't it nice to see an article about gay folks who defy the stereotype of a mainstream gay America that is white, affluent, urban and living in the Northeast or on the West Coast? In other words, gays who aren't "stuff white people like" liberal jerks?

I think it is, anyway.

Really, so many of the nasty attitudes people attribute to "whiny" gays are the vary traits that most white urban rich heteros have.

edutcher said...

The article operates on the premise Jacksonville is a Southern city culturally, as well as geographically. A great many Northerners might disagree.

What these people are doing is, in many cases, benefitting from court decisions, not the will of the people through elections and changes in attitudes, necessarily.

PS I saw the headache line and Maguro's response and couldn't help remembering Lloyd Nolan's line to Diahann Carroll in her series (this is going back 40 years), "Have you always been a Negro or are you just trying to be fashionable?".

When being "gay" loses some of its cachet in Lefty circles, I have a feeling some of the people will realize they had other issues.

Phil 3:14 said...

from the linked piece:

Experts offer theories for the pattern.

Whenever you read that phrase beware of anything after. The expect (I only saw one quoted) was Mr. Gates. He's a demographer. I saw no indication he was an expert in Christian churches, same sex family dynamics, southern urban political structure etc. Much of the article took off from an unexpected (by some) census trend. Many of the quotes were not from "the experts"

I found it interesting that there was not a lot of focus on the racial aspect. We know that blacks attend church at a higher percentage than whites. And maybe that's true for black heterosexuals and black homosexuals, coupled or otherwise.

holdfast said...

"The purpose of Christian churches is to serve sinners."

With a side of grits? Yummy!

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I think it's cute how the NYT thinks that Florida is part of "the South."

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I was pretty disappointed by the article, actually. At first, I thought that it was about acceptance and culture in the south. OK, as a New Jersy-born Tennesseean, that sounds interesting. But it wasn't, really. It was about gays raising children, sort of. And it was about churches, kind of. And racial diversity, and employment benefits.

It wasn't really about anything at all.

Paddy O said...

The purpose of Christian churches is to serve sinners.

Well, that sounds a bit like the Catholic Church's response to the pedophilia crisis.

The purpose for Christian Churches is to be a place where sinners serve each other, and as they are saved by Christ they are no longer enslaved by sin, but free to become whole and holy people. They serve each other so that, in the power of the Spirit, they move past their sin and embrace their freedom to be open to each other.

"Those same churches probably consider any sex outside of marriage as a sin."

Yeah, but at the same time there's a big distinction between how different sins are viewed. Some are wink, wink, nod, nod, while others are "you are the devil incarnate". The more status you have in many churches, the more sins you're able to commit without being ostracized.

So, there's sin, and then there's how particular sins are treated.

Personally, I think the whole issue of homosexuality as approached by churches is a secondary issue to most churches' teaching on sexuality in general, which tends to be pretty shallow.

When churches, above all, prioritize marriage as the only worthwhile community in order to be accepted, and tend to alienate singles in general (contra the monastic movement throughout history), there's a lot of people who want to fit in and will do what it takes, and in or outside those churches will sexualize just about every relationship.

Moose said...

...so when you keep gays in the closet, they have more kids?

Sort of a Catch-22 for the "Gay Community" - no?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Hoosier Daddy said...

...religion is a choice and it certainly within one's best interest to find a religion that is consistent with one's lifestyle.

That may be in their short-term interest. In their long term interest I'd say it's better to find a religion that is true, then make one's lifestyle consistent with it.

Full disclosure- I'm an atheist.

Ralph L said...

in Birmingham they love(d) the governor
I hear it as "In Birmingham, they love begonias," which explains why that song never made sense to me.

Lesbians aren't oogling in locker rooms or buggering each other in parks and rest areas, so no one cares.

PatCA said...

News flash: Southerners and gays are not the stereotypes we thought!

NYT

Triangle Man said...

I think it's cute how the NYT thinks that Florida is part of "the South."

Florida is not just Disney and beaches. Plenty of grits to be found. Especially around Jacksonville.

Scott M said...

I think it's cute how the NYT thinks that Florida is part of "the South."

I was stationed smack dab in between Panama City and Pensacola for four years. Florida is definitely part of "the south".

billm99uk said...

Jacksonville was a magnet for Ms. Maffett even before she moved here. While its gay residents remained largely hidden, it had a gay-friendly church.

Possibly a dumb question, as I'm not particularly religious and it shows sometimes, but shouldn't you being going to church to hear how you should lead your life, rather than simply shop around for one that happens to agree with the way you want to live it? Seems like cheating to me, really...

Trooper York said...

We had a death in the extended family this week and I was in the kitchen of the bereaved family last night with one of my relatives who happens to be gay. He was there with his partner and they were discussing relationships and how gay relationships are not all that different from straight ones. They have been together for twelve years and bicker like an old married couple. Anyway he was going on and on about how their relationship was better than his sister's marriage because he and his partner are opposites and they balance each other out. Like he is a spendthrift and his partner if cheap. But then it turned surreal.

"You won't believe this guy. He won't go for spit except when he bought that fuckin bird." "He bought a bird, what a canary?" "No he bought a cockatoo. A big white fuckin cockatoo! And he spent $1,000 fuckin dollars." "What the Baretta bird?" "Yeah he spent all that money on a cockatoo." So I go "That's not so bad. I bet you spent a dollar or two on a cock or too." "Not me. And he had to get rid of it. After it bit him." "What he got bit by a cockatoo and not the other way around? Not that there's anything wrong with that." "No he didn't bite it bit him." So I go "Whose on first?" "What?" "Nevermind."

He had no idea what I was talkin' about.

Family conversations can get pretty confusing in the year 2011. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

And yet ... I can't find the Florence King passage right now, but it had to do do with pairs of middle-aged ladies who lived together, generally with a couple dogs, and were just part of the Southern landscape. Everyone knew the "doggy ladies" were gay, and nobody particularly cared. And this is decades ago. And King, shall we say, knows whereof she speaks.

wv: prize. I shit you not.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

[cont'd] It's of a piece with King's general portrait of the South: Everything was OK as long as it wasn't named, only alluded to. I don't know whether it was she who quipped that white Southerners were happy living next door with blacks, so long as they didn't demand to be equals, while white Northerners were happy calling blacks equals, so long as they didn't move in next door, but that's the idea she gives of the South: a settled general we-don't-talk-about-that peace that goes instantly violent when someone does insist on "talking about that." IOW, a pretty safe place to be gay, but a bad place to talk gay rights.

wv: trotchi. I hope I haven't caught it; sounds nasty.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Dagnabbit, wv is "comma" and I've already written all I want to. So, remember the punctuation that makes your life worthwhile and (more directly) your prose readable. Thank you. This has been a public service announcement paid for by the Union of Punctuation Marks.

paul a'barge said...

Link goes to the NYTimes.

Figures.

mariner said...

Heah in The South, it's OK to use commas.

It's not OK to talk about them.

;)

Jason (the commenter) said...

shoutingthomas: I'd say, that like all Christian churches, southern Christian churches consider homosexual actions to be a sin. Whether this is condemnation is another issue.

Christianity is rich in schisms, so saying what "Christian churches" as a totality condone or proscribe is almost impossible.

Where I live in Florida we have the biggest gay pride parade in the state, and about a quarter of the groups marching are churches.

jamboree said...

@Hoosier

Except Catholics haven't taken that stuff seriously in generations.