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Being gay in WV

By Staff | Feb 24, 2009

With over 10 percent of the American population outing themselves as gay, and with who knows how many more in the closet, is it any wonder the difficulty trying to understand the homosexual dating and relationship game?

Let’s get real, since the beginning of, “me caveman and you cavewoman who fix meal,” times, heterosexuals are still trying to understand marriage. So, why deny gays the right to mess up a perfectly great relationship?

Late night comics often revel in the loads of comic material straights and right-winged anti-gay marriage seekers give them. Jay Leno, the king of nighttime NBC, asks often why any gay would seek marriage after watching straights muck it up for hundreds of years. “In a gay marriage at least both people are excited about the wedding. In a straight marriage, only one person is excited,” says Leno.

In West Virginia, legislators continue to hold the three G’s to its high-brow morality; don’t take away our guns, God or give gays the right to marry. Yes, Mountain State gays can’t marry, have civil unions or even think about equal rights, yet, the state’s gays make up a significant percent of the workforce and social networking.

The larger cities in the state, Morgantown, Charleston, Huntington and Parkersburg have great gay-bar scenes and social networking places, yet at work being equal is often a difficulty.

A friend of mine, a kindred spirit, recently e-mailed to tell me he was glad he met his partner in the Mid-Ohio Valley rather than to have had to date once he began moving around the country.

Having moved from West Virginia to larger cities, he says, “West Virginia, at least in the Parkersburg and Charleston areas, has a more organized social network than one would think. Meeting people in West Virginia was far easier than in other areas I’ve lived. I think the reason is the small town atmosphere perceived and gays are more close knit whereas in the bigger cities it’s far more a scene of impenetrable cliques,” he says.

I recently asked many viewers on the West Virginia news and social network Internet site Wvasqueernews.com if they believed it was harder or easier to have a gay relationship in the state and as you can imagine the answers were as varied as those responding.

Cowboy gave me great insight on his and Darren’s relationship while living in West Virginia as opposed to his living in Washington, D.C. and for many years in south Florida. They believe it is more difficult in West Virginia than in other places because of the state’s conservative nature.

“The main reason we experience resistance in West Virginia is because we are geographically centered on the ‘Bible Belt.’ I personally believe that organized, and especially fear-based, religions are the biggest obstacles to homosexuals anywhere,” Cowboy says.

He believes the state is pretty liberal politically; however the government is filled with people who were voted into power and supported by those with outdated philosophies and churches.

The collective opinion of those returning e-mails overwhelmingly voiced concern that legislation needs to change for gays in the states. It’s easy to find partners in the state, but it’s difficult to live in the state without any partner benefits, most say.

“We seem to have a double standard of how we live our lives and how we raise our children,” Cowboy says. “All we want are our basic human rights like our heterosexual brothers.”

The collective response seems to be that it’s easy to play relationship in West Virginia, but hard to keep a lasting relationship without better laws helping with long-term benefits and aide.

Contact Connie at cdale@graffitiwv.com