Regional Lenses on Gender and Sexuality

I was thinking again today about some of what I talked about in my last post here, regarding generalizations and cultural context.  Another area where that topic really applies in my own life is sexuality.  Like gender, sexuality has a big cultural component.  I could go on for days about how conceptions of sexuality differ in different countries and cultures, but on a more personal level, I’ve noticed big variations in experiences just from region to region.

I grew up in the South.  I came out as bisexual at age 16 while still living in North Carolina, and as a lesbian at age 21 while living in Ireland (soon to return to Maryland).  I always find it very interesting to hear how different people think about sexuality in different parts of the country, specifically about how far the gay rights movement has come.  Whenever I hear about how we’re pretty much “there,” or how amazing it is that kids these days grow up in a world where sexuality doesn’t matter, I’m thinking “what world is this?”  But it’s true that there are parts of the country where kids can be open, just as there are areas where kids are still beaten within an inch of their life or put into corrective therapy because of their orientation.

In my hometown, taunts and rape threats were pretty much the norm for a queer teenager.  Some people were okay with it, but a lot of people weren’t.  The situation hasn’t improved much, from what I hear.  There’s still a Gays Oughta Change club at my high school, formed after the GSA that I was too chickenshit to start when I went there.  Violent attacks still happen.  The reason I mention this here is that the bloggers on this site come from around the US & Canada, and I think regional perspectives are really interesting.  The things that surprise me about perspectives surrounding sexuality must also apply to gender, and I’m sure my fellow bloggers and the F-Wave readers have some thoughts.

So: where would you say women’s right, or LGBT rights, are on the grand scale of things?  Big changes in the past 10 or 20 years?  Has your perception changed if you’ve made a big move, or have you been surprised by the thoughts of others from different parts of your country or the world?  I’m curious.

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One Response to Regional Lenses on Gender and Sexuality

  1. K says:

    I agree that regional perspectives are fascinating, especially since I’m from Chicago. There are plenty of homophobes here, but there are even more people who will tell them to STFU.

    We’ve come a long way in that more people are willing to think of the LGBTQ people in their lives as human beings, but a long way from -100 is still in the negatives . . . I hope that metaphor made sense. As a community, we’re still not considered equal or worthy.

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