On Towleroad, Krista Tillman, who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and is a mother of a young gay man (she’s also a dean of her college) explains why her gay son doesn’t live in North Carolina. “It’s not as open and accepting as other places are.” She tells what she thinks will have to happen in North Carolina to get him to come home, “where he can have all the rights and the privileges as anyone else in North Carolina.”
North Carolina is deciding on May 8, 2012, whether to adopt Amendment One, which will prevent marriage equality and take away basic legal protections from gay and lesbian couples. “The millenial generation [her son’s age group] are all strongly supportive of gay rights and gay marriage, and so strongly support it that they say they want to live in a place that’s open and accessible, whether or not they’ve gay. So [the passage of Amendment One will] affect our business climate, maybe not today, but as we try to attract the future worker, that’s how it affects us. The jobs follow workers, workers don’t follow jobs. We’ve got to have that creative class, we’ve got to have that younger generation, moving here to North Carolina, moving here to Charlotte.” Dean Tillman closes with a small riff on how having a gay son and his partner and his partner’s family has enriched her life.
Dean Tillman makes a powerful statement against the bigotry represented by Amendment One. but she says something else that’s interesting. It is her reference to her son, her son’s partner and their friends who, apparently, are a mixed crowd of gay and straight.
We get reports on this from everywhere. During the long public debate over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and recently over DOMA, it has been a staple of progressives to claim that young people are far less rigid about these labels than older generations. Young people who are gay appear to be moving toward a position where being born this way does not lead to their being a separate kind of person who must define himself as gay or straight.
The problem we have in front of us is that we have these young people who’re doing what young people do—they’re thinking and feeling for themselves—and, at the same time, we have the federal judiciary which is constructing an entirely different theory of our sexuality. (See “It ain’t necessarily so,” February 29, 2012, Stonewall Triptych)