|The view from Fairview Cemetery|
|My cousin Bob and his wife Marie today in the mountains|
Bob and I still have cousins in the area (which I will not specifically mention for reasons which will become obvious later on in this post) that we had planned to visit. In previous visits I had made contract with the husband of my cousin (my grandfather and her grandmother were brother and sister) that we were coming down for a visit. Monday night, while I was having dinner at a local Mexican restaurant (I posted a video of that dinner in my last post) I called my cousin's house just to confirm that we were coming over tomorrow (today). The son answered the phone. I asked him if it was alright if we visited them tomorrow. He said "I have a question to ask you." I said "Alright." He said "There is a rumor that you practice a gay lifestyle. Is that true?" I said "If you're asking if I am gay, yes I am." He said "Listen and listen good, I don't want you ever to step foot on my our property and if you do you'll have me to deal with. You got that bud?"
I'll be honest with you folks, I got that old sick feeling in my stomach. No matter how many times I have encountered this homophobia with the veiled threats in my lifetime, it never gets any easier. In fact a chill went through my whole body. Again, I felt "less than." This timing of this latest homophobia thrown at me was ironic because I just testified last week before the Delaware state legislature about enduring discrimination, harassment, intimidation and threats of physical violence just for who I am. Not because of any so called chosen "lifestyle" but simply because of who I am. It never goes away.
Even as I type these words now it makes me feel sick to my stomach. I am so tired, just tired of this hate. What did I ever do to those people?
I hung up my iPhone and told my cousin and his wife what happened. I told them that we wouldn't be visiting my cousin. A cousin that Bob and his wife drove five hours to see. A cousin that Bill and I drove 12 hours to see. Because of my "lifestyle" I am not to set foot on this man's property.
My cousin told me "We can still go to the road, he doesn't own the road or that area." I had also wanted to show my cousin where our great-great grandfather John Tipton, who was killed in the civil war, was buried. My cousin told me "Put him out of your mind, we're going to visit that cemetery anyway." And we did that today.
I called my brother John, who has rented a cabin just up the road from said cousin who just told me to never set foot on his property. John told me the same thing. He said "They're very clannish up there (and indeed they are ) and just put him out of your mind and enjoy your day." John said he probably wouldn't be going back. I apologized to him for "tainting" him. He said "Don't worry about it Ronnie, I wasn't feeling too comfortable the last time (Christmas) that we were up there."
Bill was very upset when I told him about the phone conversation. Bill hates confrontations like this. I do to but I'm not going to lie or go into the closet about who I am. I don't wave the rainbow flag in anyone's face but I don't lie about who I am. When something like this happens to me, as it has so often in my life, Bill says "See the trouble you caused?" But folks I just can't lie. I am not ashamed of who I am. It is the other people who have the problem.
I know when I was giving my testimony at the Delaware State Legislature there were more than a few who probably thought I was exaggerating about living a life of fear. Well folks, I wasn't exaggerating and it still happens, even in this "enlightened" day and age. There is a lot I can say about where it happened but I'm not going to go there. But what I can say, is that we did go up there today. We had perfect weather. We enjoyed ourselves by visiting a local general store, a beautiful cemetery on the top of a high hill with a beautiful view of the far off mountains, and just a good ride around the area of those beautiful mountains where our fathers were born and spent the first few years of their lives. What saddens me is that in such a beautiful area of the country there is still this unbridled well of hate and ignorance.
|Bill and me today|