Bil Browning

What does Pride mean to Hoosiers?

Filed By Bil Browning | June 04, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

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I had the opportunity to sit with the folks from Metromix (aka Indy.com) a couple of weeks ago as part of a group discussion about what Pride means to Hoosiers. Also on the panel was former scientist/journalist Tanisha Neely (hell of a combo resume, eh? I hope she'll join the blog soon!) and Mitchell High, a transman that happens to live a few blocks away from Jerame and I.

The article has a transcript of a short clip of the conversation we had. I was really proud of the chat the three of us had around the questions they asked. They cut large swaths of the back and forth out and some of the questions were shortened dramatically for print, but it still gives a darn good glimpse into the experience.

The section where I get political and play Devil's Advocate after the jump.

Metromix: What's it like to be gay in Indiana in 2009?

M: It's a good time to be gay, at least in Indianapolis. I live in Irvington. I live in a very queer community. As I've gotten older and as I've grown with this city, I've seen Pride get bigger every year. And I expect it to get better.

T: My perspective's probably a little different because I grew up in California. When I moved here in '99, I thought I had moved to Mayberry.

B: You did, girl, you did!

T: I did. It has changed a lot in the last 10 years, but I have also changed a lot. I used to have this need to be with my own all the time. Ten years ago, I would have wanted to live in a predominantly queer neighborhood. I would've wanted to live in a predominantly black neighborhood, too, which kinda doesn't go because you're not going to find a queer and black neighbor at the same time.

B: Especially not in Indianapolis.

T: So I was already in trouble. But now, I kind of have blended, and I'm finding that people are not as homophobic as I think even they think they are.

B: I'm going to be the devil's advocate. I think it sucks to be gay in Indiana, and I think that because we're like the Arkansas of the Midwest. We still haven't managed as a state to say it's not OK to fire someone because they're gay or lesbian. We're one of five states left in the nation that doesn't have a hate crimes law. That speaks volumes about our political leadership -- that they're too cowardly to even say that it's not OK beat up any of the three of us, or kill us, or burn down our house because of who we are.


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