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Post subject: Small town gay bar  PostPosted: Sep 09, 2007 - 02:48 PM

Joined: Sep 06, 2006
Posts: 1195
Location: Valhalla Mountains, British Columbia, Canada
Toronto bartender Loriane Garrison comments about life in The Big City, as compared to life in A Small Town...

It was like a scene out of Small Town Gay Bar, the Kevin Smith-financed documentary about life in small communities in the US South. Or maybe not that bad, I don't know. The film won't be shown in Ottawa until October, as part of the return of queer film festival programming Toronto's Inside Out is bringing us.

Now, a year later, having moved to the big city, I still encounter as I'm sure all of us do, from time to time some forms of ignorance or prejudice, but it's a far cry from what I'm used to.


Here in Ottawa and Toronto and Vancouver and all the other major queer hotspots of the nation we are more fortunate than we realize. Recently, I heard someone complain about the lack of night life in Ottawa for queers. I looked at them and laughed. There are gay bars and bathhouses and queer bookstores and Pride parties and restaurants which proudly display the rainbow flag on their windows. Back where I'm from, there wasn't even a queer department at my college I guess, like the rest of the town, the school just assumed all its students were straight. Rainbows were for kids in kindergarten and the only thing queer about the community was how a small pocket of the 1950s had managed to survive untouched into 2007. Really, we were only queer really, really, really queer, without worrying about being outed or what other people thought or would say that one Saturday a month, up on the top floor of the Bohemian Penguin, drinking cocktails and listening to really, really bad dance music.

Want to imagine being gay in a small town? Smoke a joint, crack a beer, and sit down and watch an episode of I Love Lucy. Do absolutely nothing different, only assume Lucy and Ethel are secretly lesbian lovers. Now think about what would happen, based on the characters in the show, if it were discovered. It's an extreme example, and probably not quite that bad in reality, but that's how it feels. And if that's the way something feels then that's the way it might as well be. Now that you've got the picture, you can come back to the present age and be thankful you live where you do. There's nothing more alienating than being somewhere, where you're here, you're queer and no one is used to it.

"The dignity of an animal is measured by his capacity to revolt in the face of oppression." -- Mikhail Bakunin
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