Woke up today on the cliff above the lake. We slept in the van to avoid the spiders. I grabbed the camera and got some footage of the beautiful scenery. I put down the camera on the picnic table for a minute while I got some water. Just then I saw a huge bird soaring over the lake. I grabbed the camera to capture the bird on tape. I put the viewfinder to my eye, but the bird was blurry. I tired to refocus, but it was still blurry. I pulled the camera away from my eye to check the focus on the viewfinder. It was then that I realized that the reason the picture was blurry was because a big, hairy, black spider had crawled into the viewfinder. My eyeball had touched the spider’s body. I screamed, but gently put the camera down. I hate spiders and one had just been in my eye. It freaked me out. Eventually I got the spider out, but it was not something I will soon forget.
We packed up camp and headed down to Lubbock, Texas. It was a nice drive past the farms. In Lubbock we met with local leaders of the LGBT community. It was a great roundtable discussion. We talked with folks from the local PFLAG, the Lubbock Metropolitian Community Church (MCC) pastor, local activists, the advisor to the GSA at Texas Tech and a former Lubbock High School student who sued the school because the administration would not allow the formation of a gay/straight alliance. (They lost the suit and Lubbock still does not have a GSA). We talked about the discrimination faced by LGBT folks in Texas and what progress has being made.
The folks in this room were courageous leaders who are making a real difference in Texas. Some of the stories they told us were unbelievable. The pastor told us that the MCC (a “gay” church) has been vandalized a few times. The former high school student told us of how he always wears headphones at the grocery store so he doesn’t have to hear people call him “faggot.” As I mentioned, the local high school would not allowed the students to form a GSA. We heard about kids being kicked out of their homes for coming out. Things are tough in Texas.
However, there is real progress being made. The local PFLAG chapter is strong and a visible presence in the community. We heard about a mother who recently called PFLAG asking for help. She found her 15 year old son making out with a boy on the couch. The fact that she called PFLAG for advice is a great sign. Also, the MCC has a float in the July 4th parade every year now. Granted, they are not allowed to use the words “gay” or “lesbian” on the float, but they do cover the thing in rainbows. It seems as though things are slowly changing.
The folks who are out in places like Lubbock, Texas; attending PFLAG meetings, running college gay/straight alliances, and building rainbow floats are my heroes. These folks are fighting the fight where it isn’t easy to be out in the open. I keep thinking of the young kids growing up gay in a place like Lubbock. They think they are all alone, until they see a flier for the local PFLAG or the big gay float driving down main street on the 4th of July.
Below is a clip from our interview with the folks in Lubbock. (This was taken with the ‘behind-the-scenes’ blog camera and is not the actual footage for the documentary.)