Tips For A Liberal Living In Texas, Part 2
A girl’s ongoing guide to surviving in a sea of angry conservatives.
When you meet your spouse’s co-workers for the first time.
“How conservative do I need to pretend to be?” You will ask as you’re walking in.
“That’s silly. You don’t need to do that,” your partner will respond.
Because you don’t. And what’s more: you shouldn’t. You will only feel like maybe you should somewhat shelter your beliefs and leanings until you get a feel for who these people are. You will learn that there are conservatives in Texas that are perfectly open to polite debate. You will also learn that there are conservatives in Texas that are aggressive and unyielding. These types are not open to debate, and will not have any interest in listening to sound logic or arguments that do not cater to their hyper-emotional nature.
You will eventually grow tired of trying to change their minds. That’s okay. Do what you can.
When your friend’s mother (and so many others) see no point in voting
You will learn from your friend just how abysmal turn outs for local elections are. She will send you screen shots of her text conversation with her mother about whether or not she’s going to vote. It will look like this:
When pressed, this will be her reason for not voting.
There will be a lot of “I’m just trying to survive” types. Turn out for elections will be abysmal. You will have this information, but not know what to do with it.
Figure out what to do with it.
When you see a US Border Patrol Agent at the gas station.
This will be very confusing for you, because you may (like me) live no less than 12 hours from the border. You will text your friends, who happen to be mixed-race, asking them WTF? Is this for real?
You will worry that the show me your papers law that recently passed will seep into other parts of Texas, and you will be glad these friends “pass” as white. You will then worry about your friends that don’t, that are American citizens and also clearly of Hispanic origin, and fear that the xenophobia will spread.
Do not let it spread.
You will see your orientation as a political statement as an almost direct response to the violent language you will hear used in reference to LGTBQ people.
The older you get, the more people assuming your orientation as being straight will bother you — even though you are married to a man and gave birth to a baby. Their assumption is not unfair or misplaced, given the circumstances surrounding you. But at times it will feel like a part of you is erased by this attitude.
You will find yourself identifying as queer more loudly than ever. You will explain to a friend that getting married did not magically make you straight any more than them getting married made them suddenly not attracted to people outside their own monogamous relationship.
The politics of your own identity are complicated and contain some naivety that should be addressed. Talk to your queer friends, your trans friends. Learn from them. Speak up when you hear anti-gay or anti-trans language. You will regret every time you don’t speak up.
The guy at Subway will call you “honey.” The men on either side of you in line will both be called “boss.”
This will annoy you to no end, because you are clearly older than both of these men. You also own a small business, and are technically a boss, and while you will find this frustrating, well… you’ll have to get over this one. This is not, in the grander scheme of things, something to get worked up over. Not everything is a fight.
Some thing are a fight. Just not things that involve a stranger calling you honey.