Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I spent a week camping with nine students aged 20 to 27. It has been a while since I have been exposed to people a generation younger than me. One was a 20-year-old gay man. A 30-something lesbian showed up and worked with us for a couple of days. And then there was me, the 49-year-old man.

When I was in my 20s, being gay was a big deal. I was usually the first gay person anybody knew. I was an oddity, eccentric and exciting. But I also had people call me names, once I was offered a job, which was rescinded when the guy found out I was gay (he was subsequently fired for doing this and I got the job anyways).

Things are so different today. The younger generation simply doesn't give a crap whether someone is straight, gay, transgender. People asked me about my boyfriend, cooed over pictures of him. Nobody flinched when the lesbian told a few stories. I was rather amazed.

If I was an old Republican voter I would be freaked out. The Republican base hates LGBT people. With a passion. And this hatred is going to kill the Republican party. The vast majority of young people don't have a problem with LGBT folks. The small percentage who do have grown up in fundamentalist households, and perhaps after they get more experience in the world, their views will change. I know I changed many peoples' opinions about gay people by being open about my life.

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