Living in a gay haven (who knew?)

21 Jan

“Jacksonville Among the Gayest Cities” according to The Advocate.

That’s what the headline said. I read it on a local TV station’s news site.

I immediately scrolled down to check out the comments. The comments from readers on the local news sites are always over the top. The  moderator has wisely disabled comments on this particular story. Recently a local news channel’s website did an article about a church that is accepting of gays and lesbians and the commenters went nuts. The first comment read, “God did not create Adam and Steve, he created Adam and Eve.” The second comment read, “God did not create Adam and Steve, he created Adam and Eve.” Then they just got mean after that.

Jacksonville didn’t make the list of the 15 Gayest Cities, but we made the list of the Best of the Rest. We were a runner up, a Miss Congeniality of potential gay meccas. I am a little surprised to hear this. How did we make this list? According to The Advocate, a local high school formed a Gay/Straight alliance 6 years ago and now there are 30 members. A local church (the one mentioned in the paragraph above) has seen a significant increase in their congregation. Also, the U.S. Census recently revealed that Jacksonville has one of the largest populations of gay parents in the country. The Advocate says “Jacksonville has become the haven for gays. lesbians and like-minded folks in the Bible belt.”

This is surprising news to me. The last time I lived in a gay haven was in the early 80’s when I lived in San Francisco. Now THAT’S a gay haven. How surprising to wake up one morning and find out my home town has gotten all gay and haveny while I just went about my business.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

A friend was razzing me recently. She wanted to know if Barry Manilow is gay and started to ask me and then said, “Oh, why am I asking you? You’re not connected.” She is pretty sure my gaydar is suspect. I don’t remember how she got this impression. Later, we attended an event together and afterwards I assured her that my gaydar was doing fine and proceeded to tell her that I had determined that two individuals at the event were “of my people.” She was surprised, but it was clear to me. HA–I still have it.

My gaydar may be working, but I was still surprised to learn that I am living in one of the “Best of the Rest” gay cities in America. I really should pay more attention.

Since there were no comments on the TV newschannel’s site, I checked out the local newspaper’s website ( and found that they had not disabled the comments What do my fellow citizen’s think of this turn of events? Here’s one:

“Well, time to pack up I guess. Those Islamist guys out in the desert are pretty whack but gotta give em’ a bit of credit on this… not gonna find too many gayest cities in Arabia. Just a thought.”

Later another comment tells this guy not to let the door hit him on the ass on the way out.  Several comments speculated on the sexuality of our current mayor. Then there’s a guy who insists, “you don’t have to be Christian to be sickened by two men kissing. Just a normal chemically balanced average ordinary male.” At least he won’t be putting forth the “Adam and Steve” argument.

Surprisingly, most of the comments were a tad more progressive in their approach. Perhaps there’s more hope for my sleepy home town than I dared imagine.

Happy Friday!

4 Responses to “Living in a gay haven (who knew?)”

  1. Queenie January 21, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    hmmm… know I lived in Iowa for ten years~it is amazing… You can get married as a same sex couple in Sioux City Iowa but not San Francisco or NYC … Love this blog cat zen~cheers and ooo la la~

    • catzenspace January 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

      Love that you stopped by!

      It is interesting how diverse some allegedly non-progressive places can be–and visa versa!

  2. Gay Groom January 21, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    I never read comments on news sites myself. People driven to leave them always seem a tad off. I’d like to see some kind of editorial choosing of comments like at newspapers, with only the thoughtful and intelligent posted. Sadly I’ve never been to Jacksonville either… worked in both Atlanta and Miami but have never been anywhere in between.

    • catzenspace January 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

      “People driven to leave them always seem a tad off.” So beautifully put!

      Of the places between Atlanta and Miami, I would honestly have recommended Savannah most of all. Perhaps someday you’ll journey our way…

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