Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dog Park Contrasts

OR HOW ONE IS SOMETIMES MORE AT HOME IN PTOWN THAN IN ONE'S HOMETOWN.

Just got back from our brand new town Dog Park.  While there, amongst locals the history and origins of the dog park were being touted by one of the organizers of the group that helped to fund it.  She happened to mention, with a slight snicker, that the parking lot for the dog park used to be frequented by gays.  How they used to park there, etc.  and how drug deals used to transpire.  "Oh, well, I guess we've displaced a couple of groups ... there seem to be a lot of cars parked in the other parking lot now ... but I'm not asking what they're doing." Snicker, snicker.

I'm sure she is a more or less "with it" type of woman and her comments were obviously made thinking she was in totally heterosexual company.  My guess is there was at least on other gay guy there beside me.  Small minded people are so ignorant.

I became really uncomfortable almost immediately and rounded up Bennie who was not near ready to leave.  My anger is maybe out of proportion.  I take things too seriously. I suppose.

But we had just got back from Provincetown where we discovered their new dog park.  Bennie had such a good time playing with other dogs in PTown that I thought he'd like our local park.  Well he did, I didn't.

In PTown one assumes AT LEAST 50% of the people you run into are Gay or Lesbian.  The folks (Gay and Straight) at the Provincetown Dog Park were super friendly and so welcoming of one another, whether you were a resident, a seasonal, a visitor or a tourist.

Friendly, Welcoming, Inclusive, Clean and Beautiful  PTown Dog Park


But here, in the town where I live, I'm made to feel like a second class citizen.  "They" used to park here, but now "We" park here. 

Well, I met my hubby of 22 years this month in a place not unlike that.  Can't gay people have a few small corners of the earth where we can meet and socialize and not be bothered by you straight assholes?

I wish I was a razor-tongue queen.  I would have said to the bitch, "Yeah, your husband use to be here all the time."

5 comments:

Russ Manley said...

A lot depends on the exact tone used with a statement like that. But you were there and I wasn't, so I believe you when you say she clearly lumped gays in with drug dealers as two classes of totally undesirable people. Sad.

Though just to play devil's advocate for a moment, perhaps as a woman she took in the whole scene as a scary one: a lot of grown men coming and going and hanging around with no particular purpose in view, whispering furtively or laughing too loud. Shooting you scowling glances that say, "What the fuck are you doing here, lady?" Not a place to bring children and little dogs, right? Not a place where a woman would feel safe walking alone at any hour of the day or night.

I'm just saying I can see how she felt excluded and threatened by the previous state of things in that vicinity, maybe. Which as you and I both know is not a good feeling at all.

On the other side of the fence, a couple of times in my life with either my first husband or my second, I had the wonderful experience you describe in Ptown of being somewhere we could walk together holding hands and just being ourselves openly - kissing in the street if we felt like it, even. No fear, no worry, no need to hide anything at all. Just being our own true selves for once, in public.

What a rush that was. Perhaps for the next generation, or surely the one after that, it will be the case everywhere in these United States. I sure hope so.

In the meantime, we exist only at the suffrance of the 97 percent. Which sucks big time but at least we have lived to see the ice cap begin to melt, right? Big chunks of homophobia are breaking off and floating away nearabout every day now.

I hope you won't let this little incident deprive Bennie of his freedom and joy; take him back as often as you like and don't let a thoughtless remark deter you.

We've heard worse in our lifetimes, haven't we?

Stan said...

I don't blame you for your outrage. I would have been mad as hell too. Your absolutely right about one thing, some of the guys I used to hook up with at my local park were were married or had girlfriends that wouldn't go down on them or weren't any good at giving them BJ's.

FDeF said...

I guess my main impression was that even with all the progress we've made it is still considered OK to make fun of gays by making comments punctuated with innuendo and snickering. And lumping us in with drug dealers was just adding insult to injury. The park was never a hot bed of crime or danger; the gist was that "displacing gays" was OK because they don't really matter. Imagine: dogs have more of a right to use the park than we do....

Russ Manley said...

I hear ya, Frank. Equal rights, alas, doesn't always translate to equal respect. Here we are half a century after the end of segregation, and blacks are still as a group disrespected by a certain percentage of whites, and not just in the South . . . sad.

I wonder would it be possible to write a letter to the editor about this incident in your local paper? Perhaps a little consciousness raising would do the community good.

Probably the lady would never have dreamed in 2010 of saying ". . . a lot of blacks and drug dealers used to hang out here . . . "? Let's hope she updates her outlook soon.

FDeF said...

There are certainly more important battles to be fought. Blogging and the comments from you guys are all I needed right now...thanks.

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