Dixie is really dishing out that famous southern hospitality for the LGBT community!
Anyone planning that gay, carefree vacation down south might want to think again.
As the controversial cluster of anti LGBT laws cut a swath through the south spreading faster than Sherman’s march to Atlanta, the results are equally disastrous causing many to reconsider their springtime in Dixie travel plans.
Hospitality is Quickly Recognized
Sure, May is Hospitality Month in Mississippi and “No state says welcome like Mississippi.”
That southern charm, bucolic land of magnolia blossoms, antebellum mansions, and an almost religious reverence to the past is perfectly expressed in that welcome wagon legislation known as the Religious Freedom bill. Yes traditional southern hospitality warms every straight visitors heart, a place where time has stood still…literally.
I Wish I Were in Dixie
Since 1949, Miss Hospitality dressed in a formal gown with a tiara and a Miss Hospitality sash, has been beckoning tourists and industry to come on down to Mississippi.
In 1949 then Governor Fielding Wright in his efforts to modernize Mississippi and bring tourism money while building civic pride, proudly proclaimed that May would forever be known as “Hospitality Month.”
Tell that to those folks living under Jim Crow.
Mississippi Is More Than Meets The Eye
“Mississippi,” one ad claimed is “more than meets the eye.”
“Pleasant scenery, Mississippi has it and more; interesting battlefields, lovely antebellum homes open year round. You can see it and more but you just can’t visualize the warm friendly welcome awaiting.” That’s because if you’re LGBT it isn’t there.
Just remember, if you’re gay, you’re as welcome as an 1950’s African American in a whites only drinking fountain.
Another fine state in your gay, carefree, discover America journey is North Carolina. Trans Travelers tip- just make sure you make a rest stop before entering the state of North Carolina.
One travel ad beckons – “Begin your North Carolina coastal vacation in in the Virginia Dare Country – where America began.” Just don’t dare to use the wrong bathroom.
“Sir Walter Raleigh pioneers braved through here, the lost colony is recreated for you – experience the danger courage and adventure,” which just about sums up you’re your experience in trying to find the correct rest room.
“Then in easy trips enjoy the countless contrasting pleasures of North Carolina, thrill to coastal fishing, relax on sunny beaches, visit lazy River plantations where lingers the spirit of other centuries”… not unlike the recent anti-LGBT laws.
Pack lightly but be sure to pack your birth certificate when traveling to the state whose motto is To Be, Rather Than Seem, since transgender men and women can only use bathrooms that correspond with their gender at birth.
“You’ll forget to hurry when in North Carolina.” ( unless you used the wrong rest room).
For another fun-filled state…things are happening in Tennessee.
“On a Tennessee vacation the days – glorious days slip by all too fast,” the travel ads tell us. “You’ll wish that time could stand still so that you could enjoy it on and on. You haven’t seen America till you’ve seen Tennessee,” yet one more hate filled state
“Get away from it all, plan to pack up and head for Tennessee store away those workaday blues learn how wonderful life can be in Tennessee Worries vanish as you settle back and r-e-l-a-x.”
“Tennessee’s famous natural beauty will sooth those tense nerves.”
In fact it’s your only option of working away your worries since there’s no hope of getting any mental health counseling if you are tense and trans in Tennessee. ( The house passed legislation allowing mental health counselors to refuse service to LGBT patients on religious grounds.)
Your Key To Summer Hospitality
With anti-LGBT laws successfully passing and advancing across the south, South Carolina wants to join on the hate bandwagon hoping to pass a bill discriminating against trans people bathroom use.
“This is my home state, Miss Universe 1955 proudly states in this ad for South Carolina, “and I’m proud to be able to invite you personally to see South Carolina where the Old South lends romance and enchantment to the gaiety of the new.
But just not too gay.
The key to summer hospitality….stay away from the south. Pledge to not spend your tourist dollars in North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee or any state that promotes prejudice and hate.
The North Carolina governor responding to business pulling out and boycotting his state issues an executive order responding to the backlash against the anti LGBT law HB2, but falls woefully short of a repeal.
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.