Honey brought the Chili family to Provincetown on Friday. When we decided to come to the Cape to be with the TwoBlueDays, I didn’t have any agenda other than to spend time in a beautiful environment with people I really, really like.
The people I really, really like asked me what I wanted to do with our time, though, so I had to do some quick thinking. I’ve never been to Provincetown, and I’ve always wanted to (I somehow never managed to get down there with Aunite and her friends – that’s going to change next summer, I can tell you that for sure….Anyway.) I asked if that was something that could be done, and both Gerry and Honey agreed that it was entirely possible.
Both of them came to me separately, though, to ask if I was sure I wanted to bring the girls. Things can get pretty funky in P’Town, being that it’s very gay-friendly, and my friends weren’t sure about the appropriateness of that kind of environment on impressionable young people. They knew I’d never been there, so I had no basis for judging what I might or might not see there and they wanted to know that I’d be okay bringing my girls to town with us.
While it’s true that I’d not been there, it’s not true that I didn’t know what to expect; Auntie goes to P’Town a lot and tells me some pretty good stories (my sister is a master story-teller; if you don’t believe me, go see for yourself). I’ve also spent some time around some exuberantly out people in my life, so I know, at least a little, what I was going to see.
More to the point, though, I wanted my children to see. I assured the TwoBlueDays that the girls would be fine; they’ve lived their whole lives knowing that Auntie loves women. They know that I’m an ally and they understand what that means. We’ve had conversations about civil rights and they understand that people can be – and are – discriminated against because of who they love. I wanted my girls to go to P’Town to see what happens when the pressure’s off.
Just to be sure, though, I spoke to them (separately) and told them that we were going to a place where gay people don’t have to worry about being discriminated against because of who they love. What would happen, I asked them, if someone told you, all the time, that you couldn’t do something – no, no, no; can’t, can’t, can’t – and then you find yourself in a place where you can. Both girls thought for a split second and then said “you’d do it BIG!”
We didn’t see much of that aforementioned exuberant outness, but we did see a few couples walking down the street holding hands and one or two strangely dressed folks; one, I swear to Goddess, was the spitting image of Lily Tomlin as Ernestine. S/he was riding a bicycle touting a caberet show later that evening, and as she slowed down to navigate our little group, she gave Beanie a wink. I loved it!
I want to bring my girls back to town next summer when the atmosphere is more out. I want them to see straight families and gay families walking down the same streets. I want them to understand how much work needs to be down outside of the city limits of Provincetown, and for them to think about what they can do to make those changes possible in their own home town.