...Not That There's Anything Wrong With That...
...but when the heck did Dallas, TX become the national focal point for gay-ness? I knew that the subculture was present, just like it had lately dawned on me that there's a disproportionately higher representation of minorities in public positions in Dallas. Right now, Dallas is going to have a run-off in which one candidate has been out for 30 years. If elected, he would make the very first openly gay mayor of a major city in the United States. Not San Francisco. Not Chicago. Dallas, Texas. And if he's elected, he'll join the openly lesbian Dallas sheriff, county judge, and district clerk as openly-out Dallas officials.
Huh. Who'd've thought?
Folks, I'm white, and I'm straight, and I was reared Christian...
...and I'm fine with all of it.
First, because my libertarian thinking basically demands that I not give a damn about what you like to do in your bedroom, so long as it doesn't interfere with my life. (Or the life of an unwilling party.)
Second, because, quite honestly, if I was going to have a bias about gay folk based upon my personal interactions with them, it would be positive. (Making sweeping judgements on groups based on anecdotal interactions with members of that group is stupid, as a rule. But people still do it, all the dadgummed time. Shoot, there's a certain name that I can't even utter in front of my wife, because she's condemned all women when it. My wife's a bright lady, but the film's burned for that particular name, where she's concerned.)
Thirdly, it'd be a moot point: I neither live in Dallas, nor even do I reside in Dallas County.
But still-- I just wouldn't have guessed that it would even have been a possibility.
- - -
Back in the '90s, before I was a cop, I was a night-shift supervisor for a security shift at a large I.T. office building campus in downtown Dallas near Oaklawn Avenue. I had a small crew that worked for me in patroling the 40+ acres and 1.7 million square feet of floors, and checking the several thousand doors for 12 hour shifts. I would typically take the dispatch desk and study my university homework for a good portion of my shift, but to keep awake, I would occasionally check out a van and go out to patrol the parking lot. We had a very gung ho director and an even more gung ho assistant director, both former U.S. Marines of the VietNam era. They were rather conservative and outspoken in their views. When they hired a young black former Marine corporal named Mike to work on my shift, they were in hog heaven. I was pretty happy, too. This guy was well-spoken, polite, and wore a uniform better than anyone I'd ever seen. To say that his leather was shiny would be an understatement, and you could shave with the creases he put in his pants and shirt sleeves. He not only made every shift, he arrived early, stayed late, took on extra shifts, and did good work. I knew he wouldn't last long (they weren't paying my guys very well), so I did my damndest to give him free rein. We got to be friends.
In the middle of the night, when the first floor checks were done and the doors were found secure and all the little chores were done, we found time to talk about everything. Mike was a bright young man, and we both saw right away in each other a sense of humor that we liked. He found it amusing that I could do my job as supervisor while completely being unwilling to take any "authority" of my position seriously. We were rent-a-cops, and nothing else. We did what we were paid to do, but both of us knew that this was nothing more than a temporary place-holder in our lives. I'm afraid we might have made fun of ourselves on occasion. :) (Our uniform was, we realized one night, identical to that of Roscoe P. Coletrain's from The Dukes Of Hazzard.)
One night Mike came in to make some coffee, and I asked him for the keys to the patrol van he had, so that I could make a few turns around the parking area, and run to the store to get a Coke. When I got in the van, I found that he'd left a mix tape in the tape deck. I let it run. Bette Middler. Cher. A dance remix with samplings of Bette and Cher. Dance music with calypso undertones. More Cher. I went back into the security office.
"Mike, I thought we were friends," I began.
"We are," he said, as he handed me a cup. He'd just made some coffee the way I liked it-- a bag and a third of the crappy individually-wrapped industrial coffee, using a fork to flick out the large thick, acid-laden flakes of coffee bean casings, and carefully scrubbing the pot, filter basket, and drip spout before using spring water from the cooler. The result was actually drinkable, despite the fact that our company bought us about the cheapest coffee you've ever seen. When Mike made coffee, not only was the coffee good, but the coffee station in the break room was left clean and organized. For that reason alone I had campaigned for a raise for the guy.
"So why, over all the time that we've talked over all these nights, have you never thought to share the fact that you're gay?" I asked.
"Wellllll..." he stalled. "You never actually asked." This was true. I'd had my suspicions, but figured that he was one of those latent guys that didn't know it, himself. Why bring it up?
"Yeah, but that's a pretty big chunk of yourself to hide from a friend, when you're clearly out!" I retorted.
"What makes you say I'm gay, and out at that?" he asked.
"Oh. That. Yeah, I guess I'd forgotten about that. Is it that obvious?"
"It certainly made some things clear," I responded with a grin.
"I just thought that it might be best to hide it at work, given the extremely homophobic nature of [our bosses]," he said.
"Yeah, that makes sense. And I won't mention it to them," I said. "But still, dude-- I'm mildly offended that you didn't think you could trust me after a few months."
"Look: you're not critical of me being gay, even though you're straight, right?" he asked.
"Right," I responded, matter-of-factly.
"Why not?" he asked.
"Because," I said, not immediately seeing the trap, "it's none of my frickin' business!"
"Exxxxxxactly," he responded, with a grin.
"Oh, shut up. Go out and listen to your extended dance remix of 'If I Could Turn Back Time.'"