It’s Tuesday morning around 10 AM when I boarded the commuter bus, I’m on my way to do my weekly grocery shopping. I have ridden public transportation for more than 20 years. Yes, I can drive, but I prefer to not be behind the wheel of a car, especially in the crazy Austin traffic. The commute to the grocer takes less than ten minutes, so it’s no major ordeal.
Plunking my 8 quarters into the machine, I retrieved my Day Pass which allowed me to ride most public transit buses for 24 hours for no additional toll. I moved into the bus, when I am surprised by the passengers, they actually cleared a pathway for me so that I could move further into the bus and possibly claim a seat on the full bus. I couldn’t understand why the passengers were acting as if I were a leaper. I had showered, wearing clean clothes, had brushed my teeth and rinsed with mouth wash. Had I applied deodorant? I thought to myself, yes! And, I had even splashed on some cologne. Then it dawned on me. It was my heather gray t-shirt I was wearing that was causing the strange reaction and questionable stares.
Never had I seen discrimination or homophobia of that level on Austin public transportation like I was experiencing at that very moment. That particular bus was mixed with students, young Hispanic mothers and I would be safe to guess that at least one-fourth of the young men on that bus were either gay or bi-sexual. Mind you, Austin is a very “open” and accepting city, that’s one of it’s many excellent qualities. But, I was shocked to feel the tension that weighed on that particular bus ride. I live in the Southeastern part of the city, more commonly referred to as “Apartment City”, since the majority of this area of town is comprised of apartments and condos. A lot of college kids live in this part of town and I can safely say, by browsing Craig’s List Men-4-Men Personals that there are probably more gay’s living this part of town than anywhere else in Austin. So, why the homophobia???
I guess, from now on, I will be more selective where I wear my t-shirt, with a simple logo blazed across the chest: I KISS BOYS!