WashPo Series on Being a High School Gay in the Bible Belt

The headline to the first article in this Post series seems ill-chosen. Entitled In the Bible Belt, Acceptance Is Hard-Won, the article describes a Kansas Oklahoma that is still very much in Toto's Kansas — one in which acceptance for a gay teenager is in fairly short supply, and the threat of violence in school is all too real.

There's bigotry here. Some of it is well-meaning — Michael Shackelford's mother fears

that Michael's eternal life was at stake. Janice feared that Michael would go to hell and be apart from her in the afterlife. “I'm afraid I won't see him again,” she says, her voice breaking.

But some of the bigotry is not at all well-meaning, and it drives Michael Shackelford out of high school in his sophomore year.

Looks to be a great series.

[Update: sorry about that…I let my Toto's Kansas metaphor run away with me there…]

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3 Responses to WashPo Series on Being a High School Gay in the Bible Belt

  1. niq says:

    Of course, the Washington Post’s caricature of Kansas, or Oklahoma as the case may be, isn’t bigoted. No … never.

    [Actually, reading the article, WaPo does much better than NYT, which is constantly smug in it’s portrayal of anywhere less cosmopolitcan than New York CIty.]

  2. We need to take up a collection to get that poor kid away to boarding school right now. Preferably one his hell fearing mom and ass kicking dad find a bit too far away to visit.

  3. Adam says:

    The article is about Oklahoma, not Kansas. Although I guess it could just as easily be set in some small Kansas town. There have been some pretty interesting developments here in Topeka. A local gay activist was just appointed to fill a vacant spot on the city council, and of course Fred Phelps and his gang of protesters were a little bit upset (pdf). It will be interesting to see how things go.

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