April has been a month of extreme changes.
The biggest and most important change that I’ve encountered is that Christopher and I just got married.
We visited Annapolis, Maryland, a state that has marriage equality, and we married at 9:25 AM EST on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
We actually arrived in Annapolis on Monday and went to the courthouse to apply for our license. There’s a 48-hour waiting period, however.
We also visited several delicious restaurants during the course of the week.
That being said, I am done.
I am done with many things, but first and foremost, I am done with the South.
For the past decade or so, I have made excuses for the South, tried to defend the South, tried to make peace with the fact that I’m from the South, and even written a blog dealing with being from the South.
But traveling to Annapolis, Maryland, a city situated in the heart of the origin of the USA and the founding fathers, and seeing the people there, how kind they were, how charming they were, how open they were, how everyone was civil and good, I have had a rather rude awakening about the USA and the South.
Southerners unfortunately have largely spoken a continuous narrative to themselves about how they have such great manners and are so polite as opposed to those “rude Northerners.”
Let me tell you that the people in Annapolis- every last blessed man or woman with whom we interacted- was more polite, and consistently so, than ANYONE I have ever interacted with in the South.
I am proud to be an American, but I’m proud to be a REAL American, a tolerant, giving, progressive American who sees the best in people and is kind back to those who are kind ot me. I see myself as a citizen of a global community and not some podunk town in Alabama.
So, I’m DONE. I tried to see the “good” side of the South, I tried to find redeeming qualities, but no, MOST OF THE PEOPLE ARE BACKWARDS BIGOTS.
Yes, there are good people in the South. I have made many, many friends with many, many people living in Alabama and Florida.
They are not the mainstream or the norm.
So, no, I will not defend backwards bigots who label all Muslims as terrorists because they’re projecting their own shadow of religious stupidity onto an entire other religion’s practitioners, nor will I defend people who think black people and Mexicans are inherently more likely to commit crimes, nor will I defend people who think it’s okay to vote for laws that ban marriage equality because some awkward verse in their awkwardly interpreted, culturally and linguistically decontextualized religious text tells them so.
The flight to Annapolis along with the ghost tour the first night along with the fact that Chris and I were able to get married in a perfunctory way and nobody asked questions or thought us abnormal or inhuman along with the general atmosphere of the town opened my eyes to the fact that life is too beautiful and precious and full of ever-expanding amazing things for people to have ANY excuse to be close-minded and bigoted just because they were “raised that way.”
There are good things in the South, but the bad far outweighs the good, and you can import the good to other places.
So, to summarize: I am proud to be an American and a global citizen. I am done with the South (at least the bad parts and the bad people, of which there is a huge portion). I’m married. I’m moving on with my life.
And most importantly, I’m ending this blog.
Beaux, AKA Stephen Dixon