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Politics and Rural Gays

20 Nov Posted by in • Guest Writers | Comments Off on Politics and Rural Gays
Politics and Rural Gays

Well, elections are all over and California didn’t do too badly. We hear about Jerry Brown, Rick Perry, the big elections, but there were a lot of local elections which were nasty and for all of us in rural world, thankfully over. When you’re in a small town, you actually know your candidates. They walk their precincts and you say things like, “Hi, Sue. Sign, okay. Will I see you at the Farmers Market Saturday?” Some of the folks running have lived in your town for generations. Gay or straight, geek or cheerio, every knows who they dated in junior high, when they threw up at the prom, or whether they passed high school that first time or not. That kind of history just doesn’t happen in big cities. So when a campaign gets nasty, well, you’re definitely going to see that person who got nasty at the local market and the ‘victim’ will be at the next rotary meeting.

Then there’s the ‘new guy or gal’ syndrome. In small rural towns, you can be ‘the new guy or gal’ for up to or over ten years! And many folks are, therefore, bound by time to vote for the guy they voted in for class president or the guy that got them that bottle of wine for Christmas cause he’s related to their second cousin.

Now add to that the fact that you may be gay. Consider the idea that you might be gay and run for elected office. Consider that fact that everyone else has kids that go to the local high school, play soccer with the other kids, attend PTA meetings and you don’t because you don’t have kids, so that avenue of society is pretty much off your radar (and theirs). Most candidates in rural towns start out running for the school board. Consider the idea that you don’t attend a local church or belong to the Kiwanis club, either. Consider that because you do not have equal rights with your neighbors, you spend a lot of time supporting causes headed up in major cities instead of at the local Boys & Girls club.

Effectively, you are on an outside track from your community. And it’s not all because you are gay. No one is going to say to you, “I’m not voting for you because you’re gay.” But they won’t be voting for you – because in part you don’t go to the PTA meeting, you don’t have kids, you don’t go to their church, oh, and that might be because you’re gay.

Katharine Cole is one of the pioneers of the San Francisco Americana rock scene. In 1999, she joined Dawn Richardson of 4 Non Blondes and Carrie Baum of Soul Divine, releasing two original CDs. She later became part of the burgeoning country western scene as “Kitty Rose”, releasing two popular CDs, “Kitty Rose Greatest Hits!” (2005) and “Kitty Rose Live at The Ryman”. She currently has returned to playing bass in the Blues rock band “The Battlin’ Bluebirds” and is a popular DJ on KZYX&Z, Mendocino County.  Visit her site at  www.katharinecole.com

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