Picture if you will the following (hat tip to Mr. Rod Serling here…)

A beautiful rolling countryside of hills and grassy valleys. Large farms and fields full of cattle intermixed with ranch style houses in carefully aligned lots. Down the road stands a general store that doubles as the town post office and the community hangout. The all-ages school is right next door to the police department with the lone telephone that can dial outside to the world beyond…

Rural Williamson County perhaps? Maybe forty years ago...but the razor wire fences, the land mines, the observation towers and the machine gun nests would have been a little extreme even for the vast majority of its denizens sporting red hats today who may secretly pine for gated neighborhoods.

But not in a place back then called Rhodesia. That was a part of my childhood for a time. My dad served with the paramilitary police that patrolled outside the perimeter fences. I slept in the armored shelter most nights wondering if he would come back at dawn. I was more scared of the folks outside the fence then, but the people inside had their own issues too. Frankly, they were nuts.

Dad would always say that this is what the late 19th century American West really looked like (and to keep my qualms to just the two of us.) When did I turn into queer skeptic? There...inside the wire. The supposed adults around me had built this beautiful prison so they could live “free.” No, they did not see the irony of it all. People who love gated communities or giant border fences never, ever do.

Tennessee has earned the moniker of the “State of Hate” as of late. A “State of Siege” would be a better description in my humble opinion. My experience with the locals supporting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is limited at best (being a Yankee with a Canuck accent residing in a blue bubble has its drawbacks…) but some decent parallels may be made to the gun and drink loving Caucasian residents of a long-deceased African rogue state.

Yes, we need to keep an eye on these people and the reprehensible legislation they propose against our community (protecting their “fragile heterosexuality” from deviants like us, to quote my queer friendly skeptic-in-training daughter.)

I am very glad the TEP and the HRC are keeping us informed about what the haters say and do, and we all do need to keep abreast with what those who hate us in their hearts have in mind if they really were in charge of things. But I am very leery of giving publicity to those in the state legislature who are trying their best to pass something...ANYTHING…that would attempt to restrict our freedom.

You see, publicity is exactly what they want. For the most part, we have never heard any of these people before the catastrophe that was the last presidential election, and I daresay the fiscal conservative types at the state and federal levels would never have given any of these clowns the time of day before open bigotry became somewhat fashionable in public again.

But here we are…in a social media driven world where those with the most outrageous position and soundbite get picked up by an irresponsible media outfit masquerading as a news network. I have never claimed that these people are dumb - they know exactly what they are doing. They are showing their true colors well ahead of the 2020 election cycle and making hay while the sun shines, because they may not be heard from again for a long time to come if 2020 goes the way many currently think.

Are these people dangerous? Anyone suggesting what they suggest or using many of the same arguments proposed by a wretch named Goebbels about another community should be watched closely indeed. That is, if they are not already so by the same organization that the current occupant of the White House likely considers a threat to his personal freedom.

Forgive me here for repeating myself from previous columns, but we live in interesting times…and I do not want to be in the shoes of the red hatters when sanity comes back everyday politics. The future will not be kind to most of these folk I'm afraid.

I suggest that we are dealing with a slow burn hostage crisis with no easy solutions. Who are being held hostage? The current generation of kids growing up with this crap. Our side is the one surrounding the compound calling upon the red hatted types to just come out and talk. We want them to think about what they are doing before they go one step too far.

Our community is just one of the reasons why they shelter inside their invisible fences, but we're not the only one. It's bigger than us now...and the main reason why I know that our side will eventually win, and win big far more sooner than later.

Because the kids inside the fences are watching...and taking notes. They will be coming over to our side soon enough. Why? Because they are the ones who realize that they are living inside a cage. Nobody likes growing up in a cage…

Just trust me on that one.


For more by Julie Chase click here! Julie Chase is the pen name for a local trans woman.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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