I don't know how you'd even have that kind of conversation with him without opening yourself up to a harrassment lawsuit.

"I'm ok with gays, but the rest of the company isn't so be careful" can easily be reinterpreted as a threat.
God damn. It really is 1956 out there in the fly-overs, isn't it.

Discovering a co-worker is gay is about as controversial as discovering they like soy milk.

God forbid the midwest ever hear about doing it doggy style or that there are forms of coffee other than Sanka.

Huh. I thought this was a man writing this letter, so it would be the daughter's mother.

Otherwise its really good advice.
"Mind your own business." OK, there it is.

And I'm with Dan - I'm sure he went into this with his eyes open.
I love this response. Super thoughtful.
@2 - I'm pretty sure part of the reason I was let go from my last job was because I said I was an atheist. Tulsa, Oklahoma. Seriously did not go over well. Where I work now, I've been much more careful not to mention my religious views.
Totally read the LW as a guy and was surprised by Dan's assumption that it was a woman. The line about being a closed-minded anti-gay asshole in high school just made me picture that dumb, adolescent macho male brand of homophobic posturing that can be so irritating. I didn't grow up in an area as conservative as a small town in the Midwest -- I'm Canadian -- but I've only known one female I think I could honestly describe as an anti-gay assholes. All the others were guys.
@3&7 I'm willing to bet there was a give-away in the email that Dan edited out, or maybe the email address had a female name in it.

And LW, kudos on losing all that ignorant bigotry but imho you haven't been reading Dan closely enough if you still consider yourself Catholic. Of course Dan is clearly tolerant of xtians, but the Catholic Church? C'mon, how many times does the man have to post Minchin's "Pope Song"? If you no longer support anti-gay bigotry and aren't a fan of those who protect child rapists, then the Catholic Church ain't for you.
I don't want to discourage MMC from continuing to move in the right direction, but I get a distinct feeling she (to follow Mr Savage's lead) isn't so far along as she thinks she is. "Mine doesn't either." That would be LMB-worthy if I weren't being really generous. I just have this sinking feeling that MMC learned that her new co-worker likes men because she asked if he had a girlfriend (my emphasis).

And can we find a way to convey the concept of heterosexuals not realizing how blatantly out they are without erasing those of the bisexual persuasion? As far as that goes, it would not surprise me at all if NCW were bisexual and MMC has just assumed gay because she asked if he had a girlfriend and he corrected that to a boyfriend.
Yeah, just be friendly with the guy. Knowing he has someone on his side in an office he probably assumes is hostile territory would probably be great for him. You don't ever need to talk about the matter directly, I wouldn't think, unless something comes up.

I think a more likely occurrence would be that someone else in the company finds out and it turns into nasty back-office gossip, in which case your role would be very firmly not to tolerate that bullshit, and warn Coworker if it gets bad enough.
That was a lovely P.S.
Yeah, I'm with Dan. I've worked in some hostile homophobic work environments when I was younger (I refuse to do that any more). I'm guessing Coworker knows full well the situation he is in. I learned at a pretty young age when it was safe to talk about it at work and when it wasn't. I always assumed I was in hostile territory at work until I found out otherwise. It was the only safe way to behave to keep work from becoming even more hellish than it already was.
tkc, none of my coworkers like soy milk. They're all normal people.

Where in the midwest might this be? Experiences can be vastly different based upon where you're at. The very worst instance of sexual origin workplace bias I've ever witnessed happened in Minneapolis. Not what I would have expected.
I'm afraid I have to respectfully disagree with Dan -- there seems to me that there is a distinct possibility, especially depending on the age of the new coworker that his sexuality has not come out as a matter of luck, not as a matter of savviness.

I'm sorry to say, but I meet people from much more liberal areas and they are often disbelieving of what I tell them happens in small towns to non-conformers. They flat out refuse to believe that a gay man might be attacked in any town in the USA. Yet, it happened in the large-enough city I live in just last year. We have THREE gay bars, and one that's very gay friendly. And people STILL get beat up for being LGBTQA here.

If he is a younger man, specializing in computers/graphics, it's possible this hasn't come up simply because he doesn't have much of a social life yet or hasn't settled in enough to make inroads on that. If he's not genre savvy because he's been told all his life (in a more liberal area) that people don't "treat the gays" "that way" anymore, and he grew up in a town with no conservative fueled violence to provide evidence to the contrary, he could be, the moment he's settled in enough to start a social life, one simple question away from a whole lotta trouble.

Now, I hope for his sake that he's genre savvy and knows what he got himself into, but there remains to me a possibility that he might not know.

In either case, coworker should invite him over to meet the friends post-haste and figure out a very tactful way of telling him that he may encounter turbulence, off the clock, and out of the office.
@2 Can we all please stop perpetuating this ridiculous idea that the whole midwest is just a void of bass-ackwardness? I grew up in a midwestern suburb. I came out of the closet very young (started when I was 14) and 99 percent of the people I came out to were either enthusiastically supportive or couldn't have cared less (and the 1 percent were just ass holes in general). I've now lived on the East Coast for almost a decade (and love it), but I still love the midwest and the vast majority of the people in it. I know that mine is only one story, but stereotyping the entire population of the midwest as closed-minded idiots is just as ridiculous as people stereotyping people on the coasts as elitist jerks.

Oh, and Dan's advice is dead on in this one. Good work as usual!
@15 But we are elitist jerks.

In fact it's the most essential elite-iest jerkiest thing ever to rail about stereotypes. I do it all the time.

Welcome to the coast. You've acclimatized perfectly. Here have some sushi.

@15 -- I'm sure there are MANY bastions of sanity in the midwest. The west-west, you know, inter-mountain west? Not so much.
@15 As soon as flyover states *consistently* elect democrats not only to the Presidency but also the Senate and House, then I'll stop my elitist jerk assumptions that the bass-ackward middle is holding back America from the 21st century.

But as long as the majority of voters in those states keeps electing and defining Republicans as the party that makes America invade small countries and spend trillions of dollars on debt to do it, blocks everyone having healthcare, and taxes the rich 15% while working stiffs pay almost 50% in federal, FICA, state, local and property taxes -- I'm gonna keep calling them, on the whole, bass-ackward hicks.

True, coastal states sometimes elect Republicans, but usually they have to be pro-choice rational types who favor universal healthcare, like the old Romney.
@16 Fine, I'll admit that we're all elitist jerks if you'll grant me that not all midwesterners are yokels. And if I can hold a long conversation with you about how Japanese people don't even eat sushi this way...stupid Americans.

@17 I may have stretched the definition of the Midwest a little...I'm from Colorado. A little bit east of the mountains, but I feel like I'm close enough to say with confidence that not all those in the inter-mountain west are too bad either. As a matter of fact, many of my close friends in high school were barely-displaced-from-Utah Mormons who had no problem with me being gay.
@18 (and then going to sleep) I never said that there weren't back-assward people in the midwest. There are lots of them. But there are also lots of very cool progressive types. Just as there are plenty of back-assward people on the coasts. The proportions are just different.
I agree with @14. Never underestimate the naiveté of a big city kid who's never lived in a small town, when it comes to anticipating homophobia. One of the characteristics of Queer scenes in big cities is often a collective belief that nothing exists outside of their little paradise. Ignorance of the ignorance outside is embraced.

I was that naive person. I found out the hard way when I moved to take a job in a smaller city how conservative people were. My first shock came from a woman who I never would have expected to be homophobic who became uncomfortable around me after I told her a story in which I came out to her as a lady who dates ladies (I'm Bi). It took a couple of years for us to get onto good terms again after that.

The second instance was where male co-worker came out to me as being Gay, but I wasn't familiar with the whole phenomenon of young educated men with good social skills and lots of support from friends and family choosing to be closeted. I assumed he was out, and when he told me he wasn't and told me not to tell anyone, I didn't really take his request seriously, (stupid I realize now, but I didn't get it then). Then when he realised I didn't "get it" (what a big deal it was for him not wanting anyone to find out unless it was from him), he started to see me as a threat, and went about sabotaging my career and my working relationships in order to protect himself.

Big city kids moving to small homophobic towns beware. Not only will the homophobic ones give you trouble, but also the closeted ones who see you as a threat, and might become your biggest enemies.

I wish I'd been given the heads up that I was moving into a closet capital. I would have taken the homophobia, and the fears it inspires more seriously.
@ #19 -- I'll be the first person to say there can be some top-notch people too. But by and large, there was a LOT of homophobia in my small town in Idaho (I hear Salt Lake City is actually kinda liberal these days) and actually, here I am, less than 5 hours from Seattle, and there is active violence.

@ #21 -- I'm not sure where it comes from. It doesn't seem like a celebration of ignorance... more like a disbelief that any place in the same country could be SO different.
@22, what I meant was that when people find their scene, it becomes a safe haven, and a little paradise, separate from the rest of the world. And when you all collectively pretend that ignorance (and the world outside) doesn't exist, it's a nice feeling, and it helps you feel free, and strong, and invincible to forget the hostility and ignorance that lives outside). So you become voluntarily ignorant of the ignorance that exists, because sometimes reality is what you pretend it to be.

If you pretend no one is homophobic, you'll be able to be out and proud and do it without fear, which in turn will sometimes turn the mild homophobes into allies because they see you're not afraid, so they will be more likely to accept you.
Hey Danny!

They were talking about you on CNN tonite!

by name!

(we know how much you get a hardon about being on CNN....)

Pierce Morgan had on Rick; and the wife and kids
(damn lovely family, we must say.
you know Danny,
you could have married a nice catholic girl and had a houseful of kids as well.....)

So the daughter was saying how she prays for your depraved pathetic soul.

She seemed like such a nice kid, you almost wonder if god would answer her prayers.

PS....oh, hey, Slog fanboys- were your ears burning too?
(and still the yellow discharge?, just kidding!)
Cause Morgan said people who mock the Santorums for how they grieved the loss of their child are first rate assholes.
are you going to let him call you first rate assholes?
Farting Monkeys! to your email!!
If this guy wants to embark on a lifestyle of disgusting perverse sexual depravity, that's his business, and he has ever right to do so. However, he cannot demand special treatment from his sensible Christian coworkers. If he imposes who he is on everyone else, if it is something so wholly at odds with the morals of the vast majority of Americans, he should expect his coworkers to be hostile in defense of our culture.
Unfortunately, Little Danny the Savage thinks that IT'S NOT FAAAAIIIIIR if 3% of the population doesn't get special-citizen status in their rush to tear down everything America stands for and redefine key societal institutions that have stood unchanged for centuries. Now if you'll excuse me, my kids want to go fishing at our villa in Italy, so I'll leave you Christian-hating liberal hypocrites to your sodomy.
How does the LW know he's gay if he isn't talking about it?

Maybe he is not dating anyone at the moment and doesn't talk about exes.

I am completely straight but people sometimes assumed that I was lesbian because I was single for a long-time and didn't talk about potential love interests (When I told my sister that I had met someone, her first question was "what's her name?").

I wouldn't change a thing about Dan's advice. LW, definitely ANY conversation you have w/ your new coworker that includes the word "gay" needs to happen after hours in a more social setting & it shouldn't be the first thing you say, either, as much as you want to let him know It's All Okay. Yes to diverse friends groups. And try to keep discreet in the workplace. In this economy, discretion is not just the better part of valor but could also be a large part of simple survival.

@11, seandr - I thought that too, it made me smile.
@25, venomlash??????? Have I been high for a year and not realized you were a homophobe? Did Seattleblues hack your account? I could SWEAR you were a smart, rational, nice person. Did you just forget to tag it with /parody at the end...I'm really confused...

As to the LW, I'm with Dan. I think the strategy has to be similar to when you identify the child of a homphobic friend as gay before they do. If/when you invite them to your house, try to make sure among your diverse friends is someone on the GLBT spectrum (bonus if you can invite a couple!) so that your co-worker can see, without you saying so, that you are totally ok with it.

I also don't think it's out of the question, if you do befriend the guy, to ask him if he brought a boyfriend with him. The subject of couples will come up eventually, and at some point you could ask "So do you have a girl or boyfriend?" with a bright smile. Just by asking that in an obviously friendly way you are saying "either one is fine by me".
@25 again. OK, I've officially decided that has to be a mistake. Venomlash is no homophobe. That comment is from the unregistered troll and that attribution has to be a mistake.
@18--"But as long as the majority of voters in those states keeps electing and defining Republicans...I'm gonna keep calling them, on the whole, bass-ackward hicks."

So 55% of voters (not people) voting Republican = 100% of the people are "bass-ackward hicks".

How delightfully open-minded. You've really thought this through, I see.

I just left a job of 2 1/2 years where I wasn't officially out. First time in 12 years I'd done that, it went against my principles, but I needed to pay the mortgage, and this place was the only offer I'd gotten in 6 months of unemployment. As time went on, I was pretty sure my co-workers had guessed and were okay with it, but never really trusted what it'd mean to upper management, a bunch of guys who male-bonded over hunting trips. New job looks much easier in that respect.
And this *was* in the midwest. Just north of Detroit, Troy, Michigan, of the wonderful new mayor and her anti-gay facebook posts. For what it's worth, most Troy residents I know are horribly embarrassed by her.
Ms Lynx - Mr Lash and Mr Blues are engaged in a wild affair, each secretly thinking he can convert the other. Which of the two is winning is open to interpretation.

Ms Migrationist - I suspect you have the makings of a fine cross-examiner.

Ms Hopkins - Discretion may be worth practising in workplaces with a veneer of acceptance that's really DADT thinly veiled. In the openly bad places, discretion can arouse more hostility than stereotypical obviousness, and one is required actively to play up to it. But at least discretion applies to supportive friends unless/until they get drawn into a cover-up.
@19 -- do you have a recipe for that apple-cinnamon sushi? It's totally my favorite and made me realize I do like Japanese food after all.
When I came out, it was in more or less this same situation - I had moved to a small midwest town, having gotten out of the military, and over the next year or so, decided it was time to come out.

What i would recommend to the letter writer is the reverse of what a lot of semi- or mostly- closeted folks in the Midwest do, in my experience - creative use of neutral pronouns.

Instead of flatly asking if he has a boyfriend, ask if he is "seeing anyone special" or when you invite him to your party, tell him that if he has a "special person" that he'd like to bring along, "they" would be welcome.

I know that I developed a very sharp ear for neutral pronouns in those just-about-out years. Nobody straight is so PC, especially in a small town, that they use neutral pronouns about themselves. Nobody straight talks about "the person I will eventually marry" or about "finding the right person."

If the neutral statement is delivered with just a hair too intense an eye contact, the message usually gets across. The closeted person has the choice of being open, guarded, or closeted in return.
@19 YOU JUST CALLED ALL AMERICANS STUPID! I am sick of this stereotyping. Hurumph! Hurumph, I say! Why just yesterday I met an American who read Proust in the original French! His lips moved. And he didn't understand a word. But the commitment! That took brains, right? So. How dare you!

See. You ARE an elitist jerk just like the rest of us.

And you know that there supposedly exists this unknown quanta of mysterious hidden liberals in the mid-west makes it even worse! Because clearly they are allowing the idocracy to rule them. They should evacuate to the coasts and let that place die off so it can be resettled in a hundred years by liberal reverse-pioneers. In Suburus instead of covered wagons.
I say talk to him. In my experience, good managmet isn't limited to a job only. Good manager approaches an employee whose any personal life aspect may affect his/her professional development. Good manager does his/her best to support his/her employee in these situations within certain limits but to his/her best.

Having a career supportive conversation doesn't constitute crossing the boundary of professional attitude.
Lynx, Vennominon, can't you tell when I'm doing a Seattleblues impression? I thought that the bit about taking the kids fishing and the Italian villa would have been enough, not to mention using all of his pet phrases. You know, it ruins the joke when I have to explain it.
It's just shitty when your orientation can be the difference between getting / keeping a job or not. :(

About 20 years ago, I was working a part-time factory job to pay my living expenses through uni (in the UK). I'd been working there for a while when a new guy was employed. A couple of the people already working there knew and liked him from a previous job, and said so. Unfortunately, they also said he was gay.

Cue a 'Backs to the walls, lads!' joke from all the men, which truly shocked me as I wasn't expecting that degree of homophobia. And then a messy argument on the lines of, 'What makes you think he'd be attracted to any of you anyway? Gay people aren't completely indiscriminate, you know' from me and a lot of 'What would you know about it, you're a woman' from them.

The upshot was that he never even started work there. I can only suppose that the people who knew him warned him off. Either that, or the boss heard about it and cancelled him in advance. But how bloody tragic. I promise you, anyone who accepted a job there really *needed* the work.

I would have hoped that, 20 years on, that degree of homophobia would be a thing of the past. And yet, here we still are.
@38 (venomlash): I could tell you were channeling Seattleblues right away, and I don't even hang out here all that much. I'm about to install a commenter-filtering userscript* -- guess who's first in line for getting filtered out! -- and I guess one of the downsides is that it will be a little harder to detect some of the subtler parodies of commenters I've blocked and eventually (and mercifully!) forgotten. In this case, I'd like to think that the bit about taking the kids fishing at the Italian villa would have clued me in. I go back and forth on comment filtering, but life is just too short to waste time on sock puppets and trolls.

*Registered Commenter Filter for Slog and Line Out for Greasemonkey…

I've found it's a good idea to minimize talk about sex, love, religion, and politics at work until you have a *very* clear picture of how friendly (or hostile) the environment is to your identity and beliefs. Most of us work under termination-at-will, and wrongful termination (for the handful of prohibited reasons) is usually difficult and expensive to prove. It's better to look for a friendlier workplace on your own timetable than to get fired because your current employer doesn't like who you are or what you believe. When the economy and job market are going gangbusters or when termination-for-cause makes it way to the US -- I'm not holding my breath on either account -- it will be easier to be open and forthright at work. In present circumstances, discretion is usually the better part of valor.
@38, I fell for it. Not so much that I thought it was really you (after the initial shock I triple checked my memory to ensure I wasn't confusing you with someone else) as I thought it was some technical glitch that had somehow mixed up the origin of comments.

In my defense, I never read Seattleblues, so I'm unfamiliar with his style other than he is a homophobic douchebag that portrays himself as some sort of sophisticated gentleman. Whenever I start a comment I realize is his I stop and skip ahead. I also skip all the responses to him. As trolls go, I find him dull. Sorry for the silly reaction though.
@venomlash, I fell for it as well, and when I read your comment, it didn't match what I remember of you, and I had to check your previous comments to see if I was imagining things.
godam you people are tedious and dense....
Mr Lash - I knew it was an impersonation, and was just throwing in a little tease over your willingness to engage Mr Blues so thoroughly. It's a bit like Mr Ank's recent infatuation with the Unregistered Troll, only he took it to such lengths that it took a considerable chunk out of how complimentary it was when he addressed any of the the rest of us at length - a bit like Emma realizing that being a particular friend of the universally genial Mr Weston was not an especially high distinction.
About a year ago I found myself in a similar sort of situation to the LW. I was half-way through a one-year secondment in a much more redneck town than I was useful. I had found the homophobia really hard to deal with at first (i'm straight) - being told some of our branch managers were "theatrical", offensive sodomy jokes etc. When we got a new admin assistant from the agency, an extremely camp 22 yo who displayed no awareness that anyone might not accept him, I thought "oh god, I have to WARN him". I used Lymis' strategy from the get go - no pronouns, friendly enquiries, and he easily talked to me about his boyfriend. Before I found a good chance to have the "careful, homophobia ahead!" conversation, he started a long anecdote at a collective morning tea about how he and his boyfriend had gone shopping for a new King bed after they broke theirs. Then he rushed cheerfully back to work. And much to my bewilderment, one of my co-workers *whispered* to me: "I think he MIGHT be GAY".

Trying not to scream, laugh or cry, I said clearly, "Definitely gay." She replied "oh, I don't think we should make assumptions!" I pointed out clearly and loudly enough for those around, also having little gossipy circles to hear, that he clearly wasn't ashamed of his life, that he had no cause to be, and, in fact, there were A LOT of gay people in the world, and they had as much right to tell mundane stories at morning tea as anyone else, and I didn't really think that whispering about it helped anything. In this situation the power was in the gossip, the speculation, and the jokes. The biggest homophobes clearly felt very uncomfortable dealing with this openly.

I don't know if the admin assistant was being deliberate or just young and oblivious, but I suspect he understood the culture much better than I did, because the innuendo stopped, he wasn't insulted or harassed (he *was* asked to shop for gifts for important female clients, cause y'know, he was 'artistic'). I like to assume that he simply wasn't prepared to work in a place where he couldn't be himself, so if he got fired or insulted, he'd just move on. In either case, my assumption that I knew better than him made me a dick. I'm certainly not saying it would work out that way for everyone, but I am saying I'd let the person running the risks make the decisions about how to handle it.

Apologies for length!
@35: I think you're spot on with the neutral pronouns.

Many years ago I was becoming friendly with a man I was sure was gay, though he'd never said anything indicating his sexual orientation. I invited him to dinner and told him that if he was seeing someone special he was invited to "bring that person." He thanked me but told me that unfortunately, he wasn't seeing anyone special at that time." I came home and announced to my husband that yup, he was gay.

Imagine my surprise when he started dating one of my female friends!

But often, the neutral pronouns are a giveaway.
I agree with 46. Just like many vanilla/straight people have "gaydar", most gay or kinky people have an idea of which people might not support their lifestyle. I think it would be better to be subtle. Just assume he's an adult and he has an idea of what office politics are like. To flat-out say I am ok with you being gay is far too personal and could be taken the wrong way. The way it comes across to me is that it would be similar to saying to a black guy, "I'm ok with you being black", which sounds racist, b/c like- why wouldn't you be ok with me being black? Just treating someone with the same respect and dignity you would give anyone else is more than enough support. No one wants to be called out at work for their lgbt lifestyle, their religion, their ethnicity or anything else. Just giving this guy a heads-up about how conservative certain people are at the office would get the point across without actually putting him on the spot- maybe he thinks he's blending in or something. Don't put more pressure on him than he's already under.
I also thought it was a male LW, and figured there was edited out info that Dan was privy to.

I completely agree with the befriending, and the use of neutral pronouns will help clue the new guy into where LW stands.

And kudos on the PS. That will be what will help change the midwest (and anywhere, really), bit by bit.

And venomlash: well played, sir. well played. I figured it out when I reread it, shocked at the byline but it was too perfect a channel of SB... :)
If you want to escape the stereotypes then you'll have to answer to this: was your suburb wealthy?


Um. I've never been to the midwest, but my understanding of American small towns tells me that drinking soy milk is controversial. "Wut. You one of dem gash dern VEGATARIANS?"

If you want to escape the stereotype police then you'll have to answer to this: was your suburb wealthy?


Um. I've never been to the midwest, but my understanding of American small towns tells me that drinking soy milk is controversial. "Wut. You one of dem gash dern VEGATARIANS?"

I would like to know how the LW knows the coworker's gay. Anyway, if she's really worried, she could just lightly tell the coworker how shocked everyone was that she's not an evangelical--something to communicate how egocentric their colleagues are.
@38: I though it was hilarious, venom, and spot-on. :-) They fell victims to Poe's Law.

Come to think of it, this applies to all kinds of current things. Please forgive me if I re-post it in a comment again in future.. I mean well :)
@45(Mr Ven), I think you're not factoring in how easy it is to write longish posts in faux poetic style... I certainly do mean something important when I address someone's opinion at length (namely, that the topic and the person's opinion is important to me).
Dan and #14 can both be correct. Invite the guy over, though. Once he is "out" to you, you can discretely talk about the company where you work... how he got there.. what he knows etc. There are plenty of ways to provide support.

Having grown up in the midwest (southern Illinois), and going back regularly to my own regret, I know that there is plenty of open phobia and hate. There are pockets, yes, but the main stage is still occupied by phobes. And since I'm not gay, the phobes feel pretty comfortable saying their hate - until I say it isn't ok. I sympathize with the writer's situation as well.

What a pain to work in that environment.
@2 The coasts do not have a sufficient amount of tolerance for you to display such a level of ignorance.
@57 Reeeeealy.

What form does this intolerance take? Psychic? Sub-atomic? Metaphorical? Will I be receiving a tersely worded quantum-paired electron sent via Hilbert space from my Yoga teacher?

Nope. Nothing.

Seems like the coasts tollerate enormous amounts of exactly the level of ignorance I display (I can even rent it on NetFlix!).

In fact it seems the Coasts are happy to be mostly ignorant of: Hot Dish, Leinenkugels, the proud open display of white supremacy, and the obvious lack of a self deprecative humor.

All of which are clearly in ample supply in the midwest.
Re: "the flyover states"

I'm sure there are some small towns out there that are comprised of 90%+ homophobes. But it's also easy for a small percentage of hateful people to give a place a reputation for homophobia, even when there are lots of decent people there.

I'm from Colorado (we went to Obama in '08). I moved to Laramie, WY to go to school - not exactly known for being progressive or gay-friendly, right? But of my gay friends/acquaintances, two of them grew up here, and both had pretty decent high school experiences. One of them even inspired a song by a local punk band (…). To be clear, I'm not trying to hold Laramie up as a shining example here, it's just been my experience that my gay friends worry more about the small dating pool here than whether or not they will be harassed or bullied. The gay kid on the newspaper staff is beloved by all, even the kids from super-rural ag backgrounds. Same thing with the gay couple who frequent the coffee shop where I work - we all talk about how adorable he and his husband and their newly adopted son are. I've been here several years now, and most of the people I've met are really great. And, even though Wyoming is definitely a red state, people here are mostly libertarians - the kind that think people's personal lives are none of the government's business:…

I am in the art department, so maybe my social circles are slightly different from the norm. I'm not saying that there aren't homophobes here, just that from my experience, they are a small minority.
@2 & 50-

I am a bisexual vegetarian in Ohio. From my experience being vegetarian seems to be more controversial.

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