These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, July 14, 2006

tolerate the photo, why don't ya

i went to a township meeting thursday. before the meeting there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a renovated park in the area.i went early for this purpose, even though i wasn't instructed to write a story about the ribbon cutting. i thought i'd get some info for a brief.

so i'm sorta hanging out there, waiting for it to be over with, since it was hot and no shade. i had my pad and pen out. it was obvious i was a reporter, though i didn't really speak to anyone at this point.

i hear a woman at the ceremony say to another woman, "i wonder where's the photographer." i was standing about five feet away. she didn't ask me directly and i didn't divulge that there was no photographer coming from our paper and that i wasn't writing a story on it.

as i'm looking around, pretending i didn't hear her, she tells this man next to her the thing that caught my attention.

she says: "i hope they put a better picture on the front than what they had today. you know what i'm talking about."

the man didn't reply and the conversation, as far as i knew, ended right there.

i pretended not to hear,but when you're legally blind, you're hearing's going to be pretty sharp. plus, i'm real good at playing dumb.

she was eluding to the front page picture of a lesbian couple and their two kids that made it onto the front page of our paper. a nearby town had a gay/lesbian family festival this week and it was featured on the front.

i was taken aback by this woman's statement on several fronts. one, it's the paper i work for and i can put it down or whatever (like putting down my relative, i can do it but no one else can). secondly, i was surprised by how casually it was said aloud. what if i had an alternative lifestyle. this woman wasn't taking that into account.

we're all entitled to our opinions on topics and issues and i guess by saying that i'm supposed to respect this woman's opinion on gays and lesbians. my guess is that she doesn't support alternative lifestyles. and that's fine. however, i have my opinion on the subject. woudld i have said something to offend her? i would hope not.

i come from a conservative part of texas -- perhaps texas is convervative all over. but southern texas is pretty much anti a lot of stuff and i can say that gays and lesbians aren't exactly treated with any great respect. and perhaps i fell into that category, having been stuck in that schilla and charibdis that is south texas.

but but i've left there and have learned to accept people for who they are, not judging them on things like lifestyle and instead look at them as a person and whether they are good or bad.

i dunno, i guess i was really bothered by this woman's comment. but she's entitled to it. so i will stop here. my rant is down and i didn't even call her a narrow-minded ass, either. i'm in control.


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