My name is Levi Wade. I am from Harrison, Arkansas. I have always known I was a lesbian.
When Cornelius Mabin first told his parents he was gay, they took him to the doctor. The doctor told his parents their son needed surgery to remove whatever it was that made him attracted to men. Still, stigma and a lack of education keep Arkansans, especially those in rural areas, from getting screened for the human immunodeficiency virus, experts say.
On June 20, three men lured a man in what they described later to police as a vigilante child-predator sting, according to reports. Julian Calfy, 23, along with John Carollo, 28, and Nicholas Holloway, 20, all face felony charges of second-degree battery for attacking the man after they met a home. An Atkins man who once threatened to blow up Dardanelle High School and appeared in neo-Nazi clothing at an Arkansas Tech protest will face an assault trial after allegedly beating a man he lured to an address on Grindr in June.
So they moved up their wedding date, and Jennifer and Kristin Seaton-Rambo did end up making history, as the first gay couple married in this former heart of the confederacy when it became the first southern US state to allow same-sex marriage — albeit for just a week in May. Such is life being out in the American south, where discrimination exacts a daily toll, and especially in Arkansas, where a circuitous route to LGBT equality now appears to be operating in reverse as anti-gay legislation pushes already vulnerable citizens further to the margins. As of last week, it is legal in Arkansas not to protect against LGBT discrimination in the workplace. Officially, Senate Bill forbids localities from passing civil-protections ordinances for traits not already covered by law, such as race, gender or religion.
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However, recent years have seen an increasing organization of gay and lesbian people in Arkansas, primarily in the emergence of student groups at the University of Arkansas UA in Fayetteville Washington County and other institutions of higher education. Whether or not this translates into an actual rise in same-sex behavior is impossible to measure; however, there is little doubt that more people were beginning to talk about such previously taboo subjects as homosexuality in the early s. Ina revised sodomy law—amended to penalize only homosexual acts, or sexual acts occurring between humans and animals—in effect decriminalized sodomy by making it a Class A misdemeanor.
You are a disgrace to Arkansas and I will be asking your boss to take you off. Of course, whether they knew it or not, America has been ready for a gay man reading the news for about 20 years now. Perhaps that viewer — like the faction of the right wing that is suddenly, violently alarmed that trans people may be sharing their bathrooms — does not understand that LGBT people have always been a part of the media landscape, not to mention their churches, their schools and their families.