After we started to think about what we were going to do after Katrina, I was interviewed by an out of state radio station specializing in gay stories. One of the questions I was asked if we were treated differently because we were different.
Hmm, I had to think about that for a bit. Let’s see, when all the churches were set up in shopping center parking lots to give assistance, we were handed the same things as everyone else. I have to admit that I was surprised that all the churches were working together for once. Who believed what didn’t make any difference. I asked some of the preachers why they couldn’t act like that all the time? They just laughed and wondered the same thing.
We drove through parking lots like thousands of other stranded residents. It was like a cafeteria line. You lined up and got ice and water (really important), a sandwich, MREs a bucket, mop, soap, scrub brushes and other cleaning equipment. Oh, and a blanket, pillow and sometimes some silverware.
The used clothing available could have clothed an emerging country and it was wonderful. Most of us, if we evacuated, only had a couple of shirts, some underwear and shorts. Everything left in the house was gone. Even if a resident’s house was standing, it had been flooded and the clothes, bed linens or anything below 4’ was ruined forever. With the mold that was growing, nothing could be saved. We loved those used clothes that people donated.
So were we treated differently because we are a same sex couple? Only once that I can remember. I was on the property when a man called, identified himself as preacher somebody or another, and asked to speak with my husband. I gave him my standard answer: “Gee, I knew there was something I forgot to get. I don’t have one.” He was stuck for anything else to say. I helped him out by saying I had a partner, was that OK? He made strange gurgling noises. By that time I knew what was happening and was determined to make him struggle through it. It was my laugh for the week and we didn’t get many of those.
He then said that he was finding families in the community who needed help. I said we sure did need help and if grandchildren counted, we had 3 of them. I told you I was determined to make him uncomfortable.
He then said that only families with husbands were eligible for his help. I countered that I hoped he didn’t leave any mothers who had a deployed soldier husband or was a widow. I was going to make him admit how bigoted he was, so full of hate.
I told him that he was giving Christianity a bad name by being so full of hatred that Jesus was going to put him in time out. And all those other ministers would be ashamed of him for refusing to help us.
He hung up. I almost fell over laughing. Whoever or wherever you are, you hate filled preacher, I hope you have learned something since that day you called me.
So, yes, we were victims of discrimination, but by such an insignificant troll, it really didn’t matter.