The Unwelcoming State

>>internet

I wanted to keep things light and happy for a while, but I simply can not.  The Mississippi Governor, our Governor (whom I did not vote for by the way), Phil Bryant, has signed the worst discriminatory bill into law in recent times; HB 1523.

He already did this two years ago with a different ‘Religious Freedom’ bill, which prompted Mississippi Citizens to take a stand with the If You’re Buying, We’re Selling campaign.

 

 

>>facebook.com/ifyourbuying

The initial bill, which was also signed into law by the same Governor, basically wanted to exclude the LGBT population by business owners being able to refuse service to them because of “religious beliefs”.  This new law only reiterates that, while also trying to police unmarried straight couples who engage in pre-marital sex.

I honestly don’t know who they’d enforce that last bit, but if it’s found out that you ever had pre-marital sex, someone can refuse, based on their “religious beliefs”, to allow you to marry or adopt children, and you can also be fired from your current job if your employer is that much of an ass.

It also opens up an entire floor gate of any type of discrimination based on this “religious beliefs” rigmarole.  While only the LGBT community and pre-marital sex are explicitly mentioned in either bill, it openly allows for any business to discriminate against anyone, be that any race or interracial couples!

Obviously these things go for the gay community as well; this law will make it possible for people to refuse wedding services (including signing the legal papers), adoptions, jobs, etc. to the LGBT community.  Also, Trans people can be fired for being their identified sex, as opposed to their birth sex, and absolutely no transitioning of any kind is allowed under this new law.

When the initial bill came out and the opposition campaign started there were so many non-Mississippians who found it to be crass; that it made a mockery of the LGBT community, because we were making it all about money.  However, considering that the initial bill (as well as this new one) was ALL about money, and businesses being able to refuse service, it seemed very logical and I myself absolutely jumped on board with it.

First and foremost it is always about discrimination.  The fellow Mississippians who were opposed to the initial bill couldn’t stand by and silently agree with the whole affair.  They wanted the LGBT community to know that they would not discriminate against them or anyone for that matter.  Not in an effort to make money, but as a form of solidarity and to an extent that yes, when you need goods or services that now you know the safe, accepting places to obtain those services.  A place that won’t refuse you and stands beside you.

It wasn’t crass or trite, I found it to be lovely and moving.  With both bills, now signed into law, there is very little that like-minded Mississippians can actually do in the face of all of this hate, legally speaking.  Several cities removed themselves as much as possible with ordinances saying they did not discriminate, and that has happened again with this new law.

However, unless we are able to vote Bryant out, and others like him, or the Federal Government overturns something, all we can do is show solidarity and announce to people which of us do NOT discriminate.

Secondly, it is always about the money.  All people need to make a living.  It’s a weird, double-edged sword.  People want others to come to this state and enjoy things about it.  They also want the tourist revenue, because the state needs that revenue.  Most people live below the poverty line.  A lot of others live right at that line, my family included.  There are also a lot of people in the LGBT community who do no want people to abandon them in this state by boycotting it and sealing it off from the rest of the nation.

But then also, our Governor did not expand Medicaid in the state, so a lot of people here do not have health insurance.  It can not be obtained because they simply don’t meet the requirements.  There are no penalties put on them, but they also have absolutely no medical insurance.  Mississippians were already falling through the holes, medically speaking, now it’s even worse.  The schools barely see any of the revenue that the state makes from anything.  So, I’m not entirely sure if pouring money into the state would actually help, with the current elected officials that we have now.  The things that they agree with would just get richer and would anything really change?  Probably not.

So many people and states are boycotting Mississippi right now.  On one hand I agree with them completely, but on the other hand it will cost jobs for us and ruin perfectly lovely things, which really is all Bryant’s fault.  But this year is Natchez’s Tri-Centennial.  Next year is Mississippi’s Bi-Centennial.  We’ve just opened a huge Grammy Museum and our huge Civil Rights Museum is set to open soon.  We’re basically trying to hold two huge parties for EVERYONE and he’s being a Debbie Downer about it and saying, “Nope!  We’re celebrating alone because I only like to attend really, really, really lame parties.”  Gee, thanks.

This Civil Rights Museum is the only fully state funded Civil Rights Museum in the nation.  We also have the International Museum of Muslim Cultures, which they tout as being “America’s First Islamic History & Culture Museum”.  We also have a Petrified Forest, which is one of only a very few in the entire US.

In the center of the state there is also the Choctaws.  As in Indigenous peoples; Native Americans.  One of the original tribes of this area.  They are basically separate from Mississippi.  They have their own police and their own schools.  Revenue from their yearly summer Fair, as well as their Museum and Casino go directly back into the Reservation for the people.  Also buying their art from the Museum or while at the Fair, that money goes directly back to that artist.

If one boycotts Mississippi, it hurts more than just who you think it will hurt, which you’re thinking are LGBT discriminators or racists.  It hurts everyday average joes like me, who are just trying to make a living by selling their art online and driving on roads and bridges that won’t collapse under me.  It also hurts anyone else who isn’t discriminating or a racist with their area’s infrastructure or their job.  It also hurts the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

There are Mississippians who want to boycott the Casino’s.  If I were going to boycott something it would be that, only because Mississippi gains most of its revenue from the casinos that are on the Gulf Coast and in Tunica.  People from neighbouring states and all over, come to gamble at them.

Though, honestly, this is not a difficult decision for me to make.  When I was thirteen I was angry that Mississippi wanted to build casino’s on the coast.  They were going to destroy the wetland ecology of the area, which they did.  Also they swayed voters by stating that a huge portion of the revenue would go back into the schools, which it didn’t.  I think the schools of the state saw half of what was promised and only twice in the past twenty-three years; money they were supposed to receive yearly.

Also, I’m just not fond of casino’s because they are loud and flashy and I can’t stand all of the jazz out there on the floor.  Also, when my parents would drag me to the casino’s on the coast I felt like a traitor to my principles.  It made me feel like a terrible person to just be there walking around or eating their food.  I always felt terrible being there and hated myself for it.

However, when The Choctaw Reservation had both The Silver Star and The Golden Moon casinos (now it’s just Pearl River Resort & Casino), I visited both of those on numerous occasions and never once felt guilty or wrong.  I didn’t care for the gaming floor with all the incessant dinging and twirling and flashing lights, but beyond that, being there didn’t bother me at all.  I enjoyed all the times that I was there.  They also now have The Bok Homa casino in Sandersville, as the communities or the reservation are split up.  Most of them on the outskirts of Philadephia and in the surrounding area’s, but the community of Bogue Homa is rather closer to me.

I realize that a lot of people, as I’ve read and heard, really don’t understand why Native Americans have casino’s.  Personally I wish there was a better way for them to gain revenue, but logically it is a good option.  They are people, the first people of the America’s that governmentally and historically us, as the colonizers, forced into area’s where they were not from.  We broke agreements with them and lots of them struggle still, because of what we did to them historically, and to a certain extent what we’re still doing to them today.  Each individual tribe is their own community and thus revenue is gathered together for that tribe and given out at certain times of year as distribution.

Which sounds fantastic and lovely to me.  Not that any of them need my agreement to do such a thing, but I agree with that completely.  Some tribes in the US are not even recognized officially by the government and some do or did not receive restitution, or if they do it is an absolutely abysmal amount.

Anyways, I’m trying to say that not all casinos are the same; as in having the same end result.  The Native Americans should absolutely have this to gain revenue for their people if they so wish and really you’re argument against them or that is invalid.  So, if you are so inclined to boycott casino’s, absolutely do boycott the one’s along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the one’s in the Delta up in Tunica.  The revenue that those bring in absolutely go to the state of Mississippi.  However, Bok Homa and Pearl River go to the Choctaw people of Mississippi, which is completely different, and I am not for boycotting either of those.

Also, we were the next place to film movies.  Sure movies have been filmed here before, but sporadically.  The film industry was literally moving in and choosing us as their location.  I find that both fascinating and awesome as well as great revenue and publicity for Mississippi.  Hell, even Dan Aykroyd has shot films here recently and absolute adored it here… I’m sure not anymore.  He even became a deputy of the Police in Hinds Co.  I’m sure he doesn’t want that anymore.  I love Dan Aykroyd.  I love outsiders loving this state.  So, Dan Aykroyd loving this state is beyond awesome,  so thanks for that Phil Bryant!

There were other people coming here to film who adored Mississippi but you can’t find those articles now because everyone hates us again.  Good job Phil Bryant.  Not only were awesome people liking us, we were gaining a foot-hold as a place people wanted to bring their crews and film, thus bringing tourism and revenue into the state.  Now everyone’s pulling out.  No more films, because you’re just the most awesome person ever.  -_-

It’s just a terrible mess all around.  First and foremost with people’s rights and welfare being jeopardized, but also that this governor is doing everything in his power to tear this state down to absolute rubble.  Oh he says he’s doing it all for the good of the state and this is what the people want, however past governors actually did what the majority of people wanted and there was little to no back-lash on things because they weren’t technically terrible bills and such.  No, he’s not listening to what Mississippi wants.  He’s simply doing what he wants to do, and stating that it’s for the state.

I’m not even going to get started on his April is Confederate Heritage Month, and I have absolutely no plans on taking down or changing the state flag, or how he wanted to “protect” Mississippians from the evil refugees.  as I’ve already discussed both in other posts.

Anyways, as a fellow human being I do not condone any type of hate or discrimination.  I am personally someone who is not into sex, doesn’t wish to get married.  I am also not gay, I am cool with being born a female, and I am not religious.  But, I am also not so narrow minded that I don’t understand that most people are into sex and want to get married, or might be affiliated with a religion.  I am also well aware that not all people are straight or feel the sex that they were born with is correct.

Should people have pre-marital sex?  Sure.  I personally don’t think very young teens (ages 11-15) should be having sex, as there’s already so much for them to worry about and I don’t think they’re ready.  But consensual sex between 16-19 year olds?  Sure.  Consenting sex between two adults.  Absolutely.

I also found it extremely hypocritical of adults, who I found were mostly Christians, to constantly state that pre-marital sex was wrong and a sin, but had absolutely no problem with it if the person had been previously married, then divorced and was shacking up with someone who was not their spouse.  No.  Just because someone’s been married before, or not, is illogical.  Either you hate pre-marital sex and therefor condone your forty-something year old sister who is now divorced but living and sleeping with someone who is not her husband, just as you would a teenager or twenty-something that’s never been married… or else you don’t have a problem with either scenario!

Should people get married?  Sure.  I personally don’t think people should get married too young, as in they are still teenagers, because I believe it’s short-changing their life and experiences, but starting at 21 if that’s what you want to do, and since you’re now legally an adult, go for it.  Do I care who is getting married?  Not at all.  It’s two consenting adults and beyond that it doesn’t matter to me, nor should it really matter to anyone else.  Both men, both women, a trangendered man and a woman, a transgenered woman and a man, a cross-dressing man and a woman, a man and a woman.

As far as man and woman go, I also have absolutely no problems with interracial marriage.  It was not common in my little community growing up as people tended to stick to the same race.  However, I did have one early influence that that was white/Asian interracial couple whome we knew and were friends with.

However, I also have a problem with hypocritical people who are flip-flopping with interracial coupling.  Sadly, my parents, while both the same race, never had a problem with interracial marriage.  However, my dad listens to entirely too much conservative talk radio and gets all sorts of negative and hateful notions in his head that he didn’t have there already.  So, he seems to have a huge problem with black men dating or marrying white women, but simply says interracial marriage.  Apparently that is what conservative talk radio has a problem with.  Yet, he has absolutely no qualms about our family friends who are a white man and a Korean woman being married.  Why?  Oh, because my parents’ best friends when they first married were a Korean couple named Kasun and Song-O.

I wish I’d met them actually, but they moved away before I was born and then the wife was brutally murdered in a store robbery.  I couldn’t tell you how many times growing up I heard my parents pining away over that long-ago friendship.  Which incidentally means about as much to me as when they pine away over my maternal grandfather who died before I was born.  Nothing, is what I’m getting at.

It’s hypocritical because our family friends who are white and Korean are an INTERRACIAL COUPLE!  Yet, that somehow doesn’t count to my dad.  It’s either all or nothing here people, though really one should haven’t a problem with any race marrying another race.

I also have black/white interracial couple friends.  Who cares!  The only thing I care about is what anyone should care about with loved one’s.  If the significant other treats your loved one well; with respect and is caring and loving.  Beyond that, none of it matters.

I will probably never have children either by birth or adoption, but if I did it wouldn’t matter one way to me if they were straight or gay.  I would still love them.  If my daughter fell in love with a man or a woman it wouldn’t matter.  If my daughter fell in love with someone who was a different race than them, it wouldn’t matter.  If my daughter fell in love with a woman who was a different race it STILL wouldn’t matter!

The only thing I care about is if my daughter is happy.  That she adores the person she has chosen and they adore her back.  I don’t care which race or sex they are, my daughters welfare comes first and is the only thing that I care about.  If they treat her badly, I will hate them.

I’ve also heard from anti-interracial people that the kids will  and do look wonky.  Where?  I honestly haven’t seen these so-called wonky off spring from interracial coupling.  I see more offspring of strictly white couples that look more wonky than any children I have seen from the coupling of other one race couples or of interracial couples.  This reasoning is invalid.

I may never be in any of these groups, but it STILL burns me up that people want to decide how they live, what they do, and who they love.  It isn’t anybody’s business.  They are two consenting adults and get to do whatever the hell they want to do.

And this malarkey about basically only one race, Christian couples should adopt babies.  That’s the stupidest things I have ever heard.  People want babies and babies need people.  That should be the end of the discussion.

I don’t care if it’s a black couple and they want to adopt a child who isn’t black.  Or a white couple that want to adopt a child who isn’t white.  I don’t care if two women want to adopt any race or sex of child.  The same goes for two men.

I honestly can’t say if I would have gotten to this realization or would have felt this way on my own or not.  All I know are experiences and what I see.  All of these people shouting that only straight couples (or even straight, one race couples) should adopt is ridiculous.

I have encountered more white couples who birth their own children who are absolutely terrible parents than I’d like to actually acknowledge.  And while I haven’t known any gay couples who have children, gay people are just like anybody else.  Yeah, there are some bitches out there like you get with any group of people, but a lot of the gay couples I have met, I would adopt a child to them in a heart beat!  More so than most of the straight couples I have ever met.

I generally always think about my brother in instances of who should and shouldn’t be allowed to raise a child.  So, my mother and her sister were adopted.  So, I’m not blood related to the people who raised them, nor my aunt.  But are they as good as blood?  Yes, even better.  So, my aunt married a man and they had one son.  Like I’ve said, I’m not related to him in the slightest, but this makes him my cousin, but The Sister and I were his sisters and he was our brother.

For one I’m over the moon that my aunt married that man, because without that union my brother would never have been born; would never have been in my life.  Should these two people have gotten married?  Absolutely not.  Incidentally that’s another interracial couple right there, as she’s Armenian and he’s white, which neither my dad or mom had a problem with.  -_-  But that’s not why they shouldn’t have gotten married.

They also should never have had children.  Ever.  But they did, obviously.  I’ll keep it short, but it was a highly abusive and unstable marriage and it was an extremely poor growing environment, physically and emotionally, for my brother.  I always think about this when people state that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to adopt.  I would have been over the moon if any loving couple had adopted my brother; raised him in an environment that was a million times better than the one he was in.  Yes, that always includes a gay couple.  A gay couple raising my brother would have been perfectly fine and lovely.

My personal knowledge negates the ideal that straight parents are the only ones suitable for having, adopting, or raising children, because that particular couple was not suitable in the least.  But gay, interracial, non religious, it doesn’t matter.  The only important criteria is that they are good people who will give the child a loving and wonderful home.

Anyways, it burns me up that this guy is still in office doing whatever he pleases.  He keeps getting voted back in because the opposition simply doesn’t vote, thinking it doesn’t matter.  He’s hateful and arrogant and does not speak for Mississippi in its entirety.   Boycott the state if you wish, or simply find non-discriminatory places to do business with in this state.

Since I am a business I will state this:

I am my own business, Peruvian Pink Arts.  However, I sell my art with The Sister via her business PoppyART.  We are both in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and absolutely detest this bill and everything it stands for.  I don’t care if you’re buying my art, I just want you to know that this native citizen and business owner doesn’t discriminate.  Anyone.  Not in the least.

 

>>ACLU.org

 

For anyone that wishes to get involved:

Mississippians:  Brick and mortar businesses, stop by the If You’re Buying, We’re Selling Facebook page; business owners can request a free sticker for their store front.  If you sell online or are simply opposed to HB 1523, you are welcome to use their online image in your e-store, or anywhere else you are on the web.

Non Mississippians and Mississippians alike:   There are petitions that need to be signed.

Petition To Repeal HB 1523

Petition For State of Emergency

You can also inundate Governor Bryant either via Webform or his phone number – 601.359.3150.

 

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