Cure For The Common Homophobe

Americans too often teach their children to despise those who hold unpopular opinions. We teach them to regard as traitors, and hold in aversion and contempt, such as do not shout with the crowd, and so here in our democracy we are cheering a thing which of all things is most foreign to it and out of place – the delivery of our political conscience into somebody else’s keeping. This is patriotism on the Russian plan. — Mark Twain

The Olympic Peninsula, especially the rural parts of the area, are not unusual in the presence of racial and religious prejudice and homophobia.  The best people will blurt out antiquated prejudices, from comments on Hemingway’s biography to just who is shooting at a whale.

But help may be on the way!

Twilight, a series of vampire genre novels for young adults, is set in the western peninsula town of Forks.  A movie may be filmed there, using local characters.

Now Forks is no worse in the presence of homophobia than any other rural American town.  All across this country, homosexual kids always need to watch their backs; being called “gay” has been proven in American towns and the military to being the preparation for a death sentence.  There is no evidence it is that bad in any way at Forks — in so many ways, it’s Live and Let Live out here.  But it’s in the atmosphere.

If a movie is made in the area, Hollywood will be in town.  That’s an industry that can’t afford to excercise prejudice toward anyone with any artistic ability, because it takes a lot of people to film, act, choreograph, costume, edit, compose, advertise, and just move stuff around.  

Arts and media are a refuge and a livelyhood for many in the gay community, mostly because the GBLT community honors and appreciates education, the humanities and the arts.  Arts and music are never despised, ignored, or lost because the funding for the local high school went to the football program (the community up here that let this happen knows which one it is; we don’t need to go into personalilties).

If the smart, hard-working members of the gay community who work in film show up, working with local people, dining in local restaurants, relaxing in local bars, it’s going to do a lot of good.  These people can be role models for smart, artistic or musical kids who have never had the support they deserve in the area. 

It’s hard to practice homophobia when the local kids find out what good people gay people are.

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