Posts tagged Texas
Posts tagged Texas
I’ve been so wrapped up in regular school stuff, work, and all the Sex Week stuff here at The University of Tennessee that I haven’t had a chance to talk about something that one of our sister SEC schools started and has now escalated.
Like a lot of campuses now, Texas A&M University has a GLBT Resource Center and the Student Government Association at TAMU has taken a major step toward “indirect discrimination.” I say indirect because, even though this bill was aimed squarely at the GLBT Resource Center, the current wording says that students can “opt-out” of a certain portion of their student activities fees if a particular activity offends their religious sensibilities.
The SGA approved the measure 35-28 and it didn’t look good. But, as I was researching a little bit for this blog, I saw a new article pop up yesterday stating that Student Body President John Claybrook vetoed the measure. He stated in an open letter that even the discussion of this bill “has caused great harm to our reputation as a student body and to the students feeling disenfranchised by this bill.“
TAMU already has a poor reputation when it comes to LGBT inclusiveness. It was rated the least LGBT friendly school in Texas and the 7th least friendly of public institutions in the country by The Princeton Review in 2012. It is heartening that such a traditionally conservative school was split 55%/45% on an issue like this and it’s even better that the Student Body President stood up and said no. But the fact that it ever made it this far is insane.
I’m aware the The University of Tennessee doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to gender or sexual orientation issues, but I feel pretty comfortable saying that a measure of this nature would be smacked down before it ever even got any local attention. I guess all’s well that ends well, but the fact that people out there think this way in these numbers really saddens me.
I recently made a trip back home to Memphis, with pit stops in Sikeston, MO to see my maternal grandparents and Potts Camp, MS to visit my daddy’s side of the family. When I travel, I think a lot about the South, what it was, what it is, where it’s headed. But it seems like there there isn’t always a consensus about what is Southern and what isn’t. My grandparents in Sikeston, for example, have a few Southern tendencies, but don’t really consider themselves Southern, but both of their children do/did.
Momma moved to Memphis in 1976 to attend nursing school and most definitely has always considered herself a Southern woman. Her brother stayed in the Bootheel, but he and his kids all consider themselves Southern. And my mother and I have always accepted that as fact. After all, Southeast MO is a cultural transition area where the South meets the Midwest. That part of the sate often even pronounces their homeland as “Missourah” instead of the traditional “Missouree,” definitely a Southern speech pattern.
My grandparents tell me almost every time I see them that I “don’t sound like [I’m] from Memphis.” It used to somewhat offend me, but I’ve realized why they think this way: I speak quickly. The idea that all Southerners speak slowly is not only antiquated, it’s very inaccurate. Sure, there are plenty of Southerners that still speak like that, but it’s not really the norm anymore. So many of us are from large cities and speaking slowly just doesn’t generally cut it there. Doesn’t mean we’ve lost our accent or manners, just that we have just as much to say, but less time to do so.
But Southern culture isn’t one giant homogenous thing. We share common elements, the fact that we drawl our words, but even the way we do that varies. Carolina Lowcountry isn’t West Tennessee cotton culture. So, I decided to make this map. I know that even this is somewhat of a generalization, but feel like it’s pretty accurate. I’m always open to suggestions if anyone has them. And obviously these different areas aren’t exclusive; cultures bleed and blend. Southern Appalachia is most definitely Southern, but it’s different than central Georgia’s culture. Also, the Deep South is generally listed as MS, AL, and GA. But Southeast AR, North LA and SC definitely constitute Deep South as well. I’ve included the very Southwest corner of TN, namely Memphis and up to around the Covington, TN area. The reason for this is that we are part of the Mississippi River Delta and Delta culture is most definitely Deep South.
Do note “New South” doesn’t strictly denote the idea that these areas haven’t always been considered the South, rather that they are now the outermost border of what is thought of as the South by most people today.
Our culture constantly grows, shifts, and evolves, yet maintains our Southern charms and sensibilities. The South is our home and here’s to keeping it that way!
The Lone Star State
Self Evident Truths is a project I heard about a long time ago and, honestly, figured would fizzle out. It didn’t. I learned today that they are actually headed out on a tour of the South!
NYC based photographer, iO Tillet Wright, began this project in 2010, photographing a few hundred people in NYC. But the project has grown! And, as Southerners, our faces need to be seen and our voices heard. So often, we are left out of the conversation on LGBTQ rights all together. People assume we grow up and move away; we try to escape the South. We need to show them that we are here and happy! After all, if we all left, this place would never change. I encourage everyone that has the possibility to do so to turn out and have your photo taken.
Here is a list of the cities they will be in and when:
Oklahoma City, OK February 24 & 25
Little Rock, AR
New Orleans, LA
March 1 & 2
March 6 & 7
March 11 & 12
Hell Yeah, Damn Right!
I saw this and really debated whether or not I wanted to post it. It’s in Texas, one of the “gray area” Southern States, in my opinion, but it’s really positive and thought that would be a nice respite from all the negative news coming out of my home state lately. Enjoy.