I went to college in Texas – San Antonio in fact. Spent 4 1/2 years there and gladly called it home at the time. My partner and I called Houston home for 2 years. Both cities have a thriving if not quaint gay population. But drive a few hours over to a small east texas town called Tyler or neighboring Lindale – and you get a different tale. Very conservative, very bible belt and extremely homophobic. I think I would go so far as to say the very word “gay” is not even utter in single breath in that town (okay maybe I am exaggerating but you get the point) – it isn’t very welcoming to gay people at all.
In comes the AIDS service organization Project TAG (Tyler Area Gays) who decided to do a small part to introducing this community to the word “gay.” What did they do – they adopted a highway. We all have seen the signs, church groups, fraternities, lodges – adopt a section of a highway, clean it up and get their name put on a sign on that stretch of road. Project TAG sought to do this with the idea of getting the word “gay” out in public in their community. The hope – to desensitize the area about what is and is not “gay” and to get the community talking. Will it work…only time will tell. But I think it’s a great way to not only do a service for your community but to show how LGBT people have the same civic and community goals as anyone else and oh by the way; they live in your town too!!
Way to go Project TAG – that takes a lot of courage in this little small east Texas town.