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An acquaintance of mine who used to live in my area when he was a child asked me if things are better here than they used to be for homosexuals. He explained that he and his partner are considering moving here but he is worried about mistreatment and abuse.

While I don’t have any data to support my position, I believe that things have been improving for gay people here. There seems to be more people that are openly gay here than there used to be, it’s pretty rare that I hear anyone making any overt anti-gay statements, and I hear more people making pro-gay statements than I used to. Also, the people in my close circle of friends are accepting of gay people. So, I would say that things are better. But, are they good? Could I really recommend someone who is gay move here?

I want to say, yes, definitely, things are good. I want to think well of my community. I want to say that the people who are nice to me will also be nice to a gay couple. But, I am honestly not sure. How would a gay couple moving to the area be treated here?

I don’t think that they would be in danger of gay bashing. But, might they get mistreated in other ways? Might they get the cold shoulder when they encountered others? Might businesses refuse to service them? This is a very religious area. Would that religiosity lead people to treat a gay couple differently than a straight couple? Of course, I realize that there are many Christians who are not anti-gay. Unfortunately, there are also many who are against homosexuals. There are many people who believe that homosexuality is a sin and believe it is their duty as Christians to oppose the “homosexual lifestyle.”

When I was taking my daughter to school this morning, I began to wonder how many local businesses would refuse to serve an openly gay couple. The vehicle in front of me was a service truck from a local company. The truck had both the company name and a bible verse printed on its rear window that appeared to be part of the business logo. In addition, a bumper sticker was also on the back that read, “Jesus is the way.” It reminded me how common it is for businesses here to advertise with crosses, Christian fish symbols, or other religious messages. It made me wonder if business owners who prominently display religious messages on their businesses would be likely to discriminate against gay people.

I do think things are improving for gay people in my area, but I don’t think they are great. I think that if more gay individuals were to move here and more people got to know them that it would continue to improve. However, I don’t think they are great now. I think anyone who is gay will likely face at least some discrimination. I hope though that I am wrong.

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