Monday, January 31, 2011

In Defense of Arkansas

A grocery store in Arkansas recently came under fire when the manager placed a shield in front of the cover of Us Magazine featuring Elton John with his partner, David Furnish, and their new baby. After a shopper snapped a photo of the shielded magazine and sent it to several high-profile people via Twitter, outraged phone calls flooded the store, and the store manager removed the shield and issued an apology.

Now…I’ve been pretty open about my support of the gay community. I’m a Christian, yes, but I am also a reasonable human being, and I believe, deep down, in the rights of all people to live in peace and harmony. I just do. I am fine with gay marriage, gay parenting, gay adoption. I don’t see sexual orientation the same way I don’t see color. People are people. The heart wants what it wants. I believe that.

Like many people, I was horrified about the magazine shield. My issue…for what it’s worth….is the fact that because this happened in Arkansas, people seem to think it’s open season on our fair state.

Truth – there are more conservatives here than liberals. I am most assuredly in the minority. I tell myself that the people that I know who are conservative in these types of issues are acting out of ignorance. And that I have to love them anyway. I do love them anyway. Some of them I want to shake and plead of them to educate themselves before they make stupid remarks, particularly publicly. But still, I love them.

However, I do get very tired of defending our state to those outside of it who think there is nothing here but a conservative, narrow-minded, anti-gay mindset.

I am not embarrassed to be an Arkansan. I love it here. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. But I do get weary of defending myself to friends –and non-friends – who think that we are backwoods, barefooted morons, incapable of evolving into an equal rights society. It just seems sometimes that the only people in Arkansas speaking up are those with a dated, archaic ideology about what is acceptable. They dislike the unfamiliar. They reject what makes them uncomfortable. They are ignorant.

But they will NOT be the mouthpiece for me.

And so, this is me speaking up. I encourage anyone who feels the same way to speak up as well. Please do not let the bigots and prejudiced masses of Arkansas be a true reflection of our populace. We have a voice. Let’s use it.

Arkansas is not the land of the unevolved.

Spread the word.


  1. As an Arkansas transplant from St. Louis, I have to agree with you. Arkansas is not unevolved at all and doesn't at all fit the stereotypes. In fact, I seem to associate with more like-minded people here than I did in the "big city."

  2. As a St. Louis transplant living here for almost 5 years, I have to agree.


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