Nov 16, 2014

Fall 2004: George Bush Broke Up My Family

The U.S. just had its midterm elections for some Senators, Representatives, and Governors, and guess what?  Mostly of the winners were Republicans who ran on a campaign of hate.  Sometimes virulent hate, with the bloodlust of a Puritan witch-hunter.  What we thought of as laughable extremism just two weeks ago.  But now they're in office, and the homophobic backlash has already begun.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.  But then, suddenly, it's here.

I haven't been this depressed since Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004.

It was two days after Halloween, still dark and scary out.  Election Day

Incumbent George W. Bush was running against John Kerry on an overt platform of anti-gay hatred.

He wanted to re-criminalize sodomy, pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, strike down anti-discrimination laws, and generally save America from the gay people who are trying to destroy it.

He wanted to make this an evangelical Christian nation, where evangelical Christian beliefs were law.  No more teaching evolution or sex education.  Belief in Jesus Christ a requirement for public office. Strict regulation of mass media to ensure that there was nothing obscene, like gay characters.

Barney and I voted early in the day; Yuri was not a citizen,so he couldn't.  Then we went about about our everyday activities.  I went to the gym, drove to Boca Raton, taught my afternoon class, drove back to Wilton Manors, met Yuri for dinner at a Thai place.  We walked around, thought of going to the bars, but they all had election results on tv.

So we went to the Club, and immersed ourselves for three hours in the warm, dimly-lit hallways of naked men and disco music.





Then we went back home and turned on the tv.  Bush had taken Florida, naturally -- we all knew that outside Fort Lauderdale and Miami, the state was a cesspool of hatred.  He had taken all of the South and crazy redneck Mountain states.  But he also had swing states like Ohio and Virginia, and even in staunchly democratic states, he lost by less than 1%.  They were predicting an easy Bush victory.

Barney and his boyfriend came home, and we watched together, four of us wondering what would happen next. We all agreed that we couldn't live in the U.S. with Bush in the White House.  I wrote on gay topics; Barney owned a gay gym.  It would be too risky.

Then we went to bed.  I had my own room, but that night I slept with Yuri. We held each other.  We knew that this was the beginning of the end.

By June, Barney had sold his gym, sold his house, broke up with his boyfriend, and moved to Costa Rica.  Yuri found a new job in London, and moved at the end of the semester.  I tried to find a job in Canada, briefly worked in Slovakia, and finally took a job in Dayton, Ohio.

I haven't seen either of them for about 8 years, though Yuri still emails me on occasion.

I blame George W. Bush for breaking up the family.

See also: I Escape to the Gay Haven of Slovakia.