I just came back from a week in my hometown of Beaumont, Texas. And, before I left Los Angeles, I got a lot of people saying things like, “Texas for a whole week? Wow, good luck.” I even started questioning why I booked my trip for that length of time. My visits typically tend to be around 3 days, and an entire week in the Lone Star State, was pushing it. I was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas, and I lived in Houston for a few years before moving to California. A lot of people would question me about Texas and it’s people. “Aren’t there a lot of friendly people there?,” I would be asked. My response was usually, “Yes, if you think the same way they do.” A gay, agnostic yogi with blue color in his hair, has a way of standing out in a crowd down there. I think it’s safe to say that I’m not a huge fan of Texas for various reasons.
My goal for this trip was simple; see Jesika(my sister), go fishing with my dad, eat some unhealthy Texas food, and get out. I had such a great time with my family. It’s usually all business when I visit, because I’m not there to take in the lovely scenery or the culture. If it weren’t for my family, I wouldn’t step foot in the state. I try my best to not outwardly hate Texas, because a lot of good things are there. It’s where my family some of my good friends live, it’s where I got my education, George Bush(Just kidding). So, yes, I have some good memories. There are also a lot of bad ones, too.
On every visit, I’m always conscious of what I wear, where I go, and who I hang around with. In a town loaded with camouflage and cowboy boots, my light blue v-neck, plaid shorts and converse, are quit noticeable. I remember vividly, the teasing and hatred I felt because I didn’t seem to fit in. And, the prejudice towards everyone else who isn’t a white man, was just ridiculous. Recently, a friend and I were discussing the racism issue in Beaumont. I remember her saying, “The black people there always seem so angry. But, that’s probably because the white people are so racist and hateful towards them. It’s a constant battle.” And, I’ve learned that most of the people there are comfortable with the bubble they live in. Most have no interest in knowing anything else than their immediate surroundings. I don’t understand how anyone can judge people, when they themselves, haven’t experienced life outside of their comfort zone.
I absolutely, can not relate.
Keep in mind, I’m trying not to generalize everyone. But, this was my interpretation of the surroundings where I grew up. If you were a straight, white, Christian…you were A-okay! Just thinking about this makes me irritable enough to want a Xanax.
When I moved out of Texas in 2004, I quickly realized that there is more going on in the world besides bayous and fried fish. I discovered culture, the mountains, the [clean] ocean, amazing sushi, and some incredible people. I’ve been out of the country and to many other states as well. I’m so grateful for these amazing life experiences. I’ve grown so much as a person because of this, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!
But, you can’t change people. The only person I have control over, is myself. I just have to remember where I came from, and learn from it. So, for me, it’s always difficult to go “home.” At the same time, my sister and my dad are completely content there. It’s their home, and I try not to badmouth it when I visit. But, I have to say, it is quite difficult.
Keep in mind guys, this my own personal opinion and experiences, of growing up as a gay man in southeast Texas. I am not superior to anyone else…just giving you a glimpse into my childhood surroundings.
Man, that felt good to get out!
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