A Queer Texan's thoughts on family, organizing, and how to save our state from Christian Nationalism
“I’m sorry if I offended anybody,” I said to my mom after a conversation with my family over the holiday weekend.
“You’ve always has a fire red tint to your hair,” she said affectionately watering the flowers.
It was one of those conversations that we’re told you aren’t supposed to have.
About current events. About rights.
No one really disagreed with anyone in a notable way, but it was taxing. Straining.
As a bodyworker, I’ve learned that has to do with our stress response - how our body perceives threats whether real or imagined. Because perception truly is reality.
We can say “it’s fine,” but our body will keep score.
In a society that regularly tells you not to have those conversations, and typically with little practice having them for that and a variety of other reasons, our nervous systems can definitely get a little over activated.
Mine definitely did.
What I’ve also learned is that these strains are so important for expanding our worldview.
For creating little breaks, little cracks, in our routines to let some light in.
For those of us who go by the Christian word, it’s how we make space for God. The real one, not the one we have created in our image.
Just like a muscle, stress is needed to train. To find comfort in the acts of critically thinking. Of critically feeling.
And I know that I am inviting my loved ones into the deep end so to speak when I authentically answer what I’ve been up to.
That I’m actively pulling them asunder when I offhandedly say that I was going to wear a shirt Grant gave me on the trip up, but decided not to because it had a rainbow on it and I knew we were going to stop in Lampasas.
I know that it’s taxing on the system to point out that our state allows anyone 18+ to purchase and openly carry without a license. Without training.
I know it’s discomforting to then bring up stand your ground laws that allow anyone to shoot if they believe they are in danger. (Ah there’s that perception thing again.)
It's downright stressful to then bring up the LGBTQ+ panic defense - where someone can plead innocence for killing a Queer person based on perceived advancements.
That defense was successfully used as recently as 2018.
All of the above triggers the sympathetic nervous system - stress response - because the people I’m talking to love me.
Unlike loved ones who would rather tell me I am going to hell than listen to what I have to say, their love has no cost.
Which is why it means all the more to me that they are willing to peer through the window into this Queer Texan experience, despite the fact that it seems difficult, if all but impossible, to change.
I believe that more conversations like the one we had is what could save our state, and our nation more broadly, which I know sounds kinda crazy.
But I remember a time where I thought it would be crazy to be an out gay man having a conversation at family's dinner table with my partner present and lovingly accepted.
It’s all about perception.