Now that I start to actually think about my politics of location I am surprised at how conservative the area I grew up in was. I was born in Boston, Mass which is obviously a very liberal city. I did not live there very long before we moved to San Antonio, Texas. Most of my mother’s family still lives in the Boston area, however, so when we visit about once a year I am surrounded by very liberal ideas.
When my family lived in Texas I was still a little one. It is difficult for me to say that I had a particularly conservative or liberal experience there because all I was worried about and all that I thought everyone was worried about was recess and when I would get to play.
When my family moved to a very rural town in Kentucky I was in fourth grade. I remember what a culture shock it was to me. I had come from a very racially diverse population in Texas to a predominantly white population of Maysville, Kentucky. While my parents were and continue to be very open-minded and accepting of others the majority of people in Maysville were very close-minded. They were weary of strangers not to mention the conservative close-mindedness when it came to variances in sexual orientation. There was no one that was openly gay or lesbian at my high school, and those that were different were constantly mocked. I tried to stand up for those that were picked on by jocks because I was made fun of too. I knew how bad it hurt to be laughed at for being yourself. I was mocked for simply dressing differently. They called me a hippie freak and much worse. But oh well screw them.
I worry about small towns in Kentucky because they are not accepting of people that are different from them. There were no transgender individuals in my town to my knowledge, and I am almost positive that if there had been they would have been miserable. It makes me sick thinking about these kids that are brought up to hate anyone that isn’t just like them. I am not only referring to sexual orientation but also to race and many other factors.
My parents pushed me in the direction of IU because they knew that I would learn a lot, both in the classroom and out. They knew that it would be a completely different experience than high school was for me. They wanted me to expand my views and learn other people’s beliefs. And quite frankly I was excited to get the hell out of Maysville. I was surprised at how accepting Bloomington was. There were no programs in my hometown that even came close to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Support Service Office not to mention the percent of out of country students at IU. It was a much needed eye opener for me to see people being so accepting of different views and it made me feel like I was safe to express myself.
While I know that Bloomington could still be even more liberal and accepting this was a good stepping stone for me to have in between my hometown and the real world. I now have begun to learn how to make people think differently than they usually do, and I have learned how to make people question what they have always believed to be right. Since I have lived in Bloomington and have taken this Gender Studies class I have become even more open-minded and have set out to change people’s beliefs back in Maysville. Wish me luck.