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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Red Eye for Sex

I arrived in New Orleans for the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) 40th national conference extremely early this morning having taken the red eye out of San Francisco at midnight last night. This was the first continental red eye flight I've taken since moving to the west coast, and much like night flights to Europe, I'm feeling discombobulated, lost, confused, and even a little scared, although not quite as frightened as I was feeling a few hours ago during my 6 am layover in Houston. Remember this was 4 am Pacific Time and I had only "slept" a few hours in that last row of seats that don't recline. You know what I'm talking about...

As I am sitting (slouching, hunching, falling over) at gate E3 at the George H.W. Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, at 6 am, a news story on the giant flat screen TV that all hundred of us are watching catches my attention. The report was about a male couple in Virginia who showed up at the county courthouse and "tricked" the deputy into giving them a marriage license because one was dressed as a bride. My hackles stood on end. They followed this by showing a clip of Oprah with the pregnant trans man from Oregon (we're all familiar by now). Some guys laugh behind me. I'm ready to go into fighting mode. I turn to look. Two teens looking at a book. Back to the story. A trans activist is talking about how ridiculous it is to hunt these two young people down. Tension. Then I realize that not a single person is reacting to this story. Only me.

So many of us GLBTQI folks are constantly preparing for a confrontation or an attack that it has become habit to be on constant guard and to react at the slightest mention of something queer. As I prepare to be part of one of my favorite sexuality conferences in the amazing and wonderful city of New Orleans, I'm going to try and focus on the successes we have had. I want to live in a world where we can still have a debate around certain issues (although, I'm not sure this is one of them) without feeling like the mob with torches and ropes is coming around the corner. Maybe I should give my fellow Americans the benefit of the doubt...

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