September 2, 2007.
In a message dated 9/1/2007, Ron Tate wrote:
Before we close this “fairy” tale story that everyone lived happily ever after, much of the great accomplishments you mention are in Southern California and big cities like New York, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans. However, if you insulate yourself in these gay havens, you are leaving out a large part of the U.S., i.e., the South, the Midwest and mid-America. Go to those smaller cities and towns and try dancing with another man in a western bar or holding hands at MacDonald’s or your local Baptist church. There is still much to be accomplished. There is more to life than just Los Angeles and the liberal Hollywood crowd.
Later in that day, Aristide Laurent replied:
But Billy does live in some small town in upper redneck Louisiana (let’s just say Boogaloosa). Should he, therefore, be having sex in a public men’s room??? Should he not expect to be busted if he does it long enough? Should he blame society if he does get busted??? Or should he work to change the law and allow anyone, hetero or homo, to f&%k on the floor of public restrooms while daddies and their kids step over them? If not, move to L.A. where you’ll most likely still be busted if you have sex in a public toilet, but at at least you can dance with each other at Disneyland after the arraignment.
But I contend that I am not a good example. I came here to Louisiana after my sexually active days, so I doubt I challenge anyone — most people seem to see me coming and instead of thinking I have a gay walk, they obviously see I’m an old man struggling to walk, and hold doors open for me, etc. I am no threat. I’m not sure about the two local gay bars — but I assume people do hook up there, but I worry that one has drugs around it — the security guard is worthless. There were arrests in a park along Red River, but there had been real complaints from the public, including families with kids coming upon two men having sex. And after one series of arrests, publicized in the paper and on TV, men still went there so a few months later there were more arrests. Again, were these Senator Craig types who couldn’t go home with the person — didn’t trust them — or what?
And there is a PFLAG group here with little support and a political group-non-partisan, which has been written up in the paper and still gets little support. The local social club, Krewe of Apollo, which costs lots to join and members spend hundreds of dollars on costumes for the Mardi Gras ball, gets lots of support. Frustrating. But I can tell you that life here is easier today than in the ’40s when I was here, racially more so than sexually. Blacks were terrorized by the cops, the newspapers, etc. I didn’t know of any coverage of sex, and then I left in 1950 for LSU and did a few visits to Dixie’s in New Orleans, and had sex at LSU, then in ’55 went to the army, and had sex, then to L.A. The irony is that like me, the front page of the local paper tells us that a local football player had the same dream (of going to L.A.) and now is USC’s leading football player. But he loves Southern California, just as I did and do. And he sees celebrities, some even seek him out, and yet there are more and more movies being made here — he had a conversation with Ashton Kushner over where to eat in Shreveport, since Ashton had made a movie here and knew the places.
So we can live one place and visit another and so we can just play life as it comes, where ever we are.