Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The vibrancy of Minneapolis

The city of Minneapolis holds many titles, one of which according to the statistics of MeetMinneapolis.org off shoot glbtminneapolis.org is the second largest per capita community of GLBT in the country. The most common way one would notice this would be through the abundance of the pride flag. Which is emblazoned across porches, windows and many signs of religious congregations throughout Minneapolis.
The reasons for how and why the GLBT community here has become a staple of the city are without a doubt varied and intricate. Yet much information is being compiled and processed in a archive here on the University of Minnesota campus at the Jean Nickolous Tretter collection. St Paul also has a library dedicated to the topic of GLBT issues, the Quatrefoil Library.

My personal experience of sexuality came from being reared in the conservative heartland of our state, Stearns County and the city of St. Cloud specifically. This area is the constituency and main voting block that has re-elected congresswoman Michelle Bachman. While the values and emphasis of importance of family that I was instilled with are without a doubt a stronghold of my personal identity. Theses same values are often only extended to those people who we identify with. Growing up I felt a glaring irony in people who often espoused ideas of selflessness and communal charity, yet would show contempt for those whose social beliefs differed from theirs. I was lucky enough to have many adults around me give an example different of that. Something more tolerant and akin to the oft uttered phrase "condemn the sin not the sinner." My parents themselves showed variety in the example they set. One showing a Dorthy Day like belief in religious values lighting a path to a caring and harmonious existence of humanity. The other parent countered with what I took to be as a agnostic hands off approach, always playing devils advocate to my burgeoning rebelliousness. Leading me the believe that to hold to certain ideas too radically can shut you off from others who hold valid and differing opinions.

This active versus hands off approach to the leading of lives, and our own personal role in humanity was conflicting yet helpful to my current mindset. Giving me a joyfulness in living within the diverse community of Minneapolis. Where one is just as likely to see a Muslim Somali woman dressed in headscarf walking with her children around town as you are to see a gay couple walking adoringly hand in hand. (see play idea at bottom) In the minds of many who live in and around my hometown both sights would be an affront to their beliefs of how things ought to be in America.

I have come to see through personal experience and my believe that history shows there are no social indicators to what is correct or what should be pursued. From the Spartan tradition of older male sexual mentor-ship to what some would call savage tradition of physical manipulation of facial orifices or East Asian foot binding. Cultures develop and flow/adapt to survive, yet some don't. Societies collapse or are suffocated by new and sometimes invading ideas. Humans as a species are not static and thus all kinds of humans must be celebrated.

Science and the bible would say that the lack of ability to procreate make homosexuality a confusion of humanity. Yet propagation has been only one factors in the evolution of species, many of whose forms have no sexuality at all. Many beautiful plants are neither male or female, many of earths critters create beautiful asexual reproduction (like these two slugs). So as the Twin Cities enter it's second largest summer event known as TC Pride Week, we can reflect upon it's history/locality, and celebrate the diverse and fluid nature of human sexuality.

Minneapolis evolving as a milling town there was a much greater population of single men working the mills to make their fortune as the frontier was being pushed, one could make the assumption that circumstances such as these give men more acceptance in indulging feelings normally suppressed in older times. Similar to the cause of rumors about what went on in the Navy. Much more information can be found at OutHistory.org.

To embellish the stereotype of gay culture we can see in the Twin Cities the production of large amounts of theater, according to my favorite source "Wikipedia" second only to New York per capita in productions. A thriving art scene found in museums like the MIA, The Walker, The Weisman, The Minneapolis Russian Museum of Art, and a plethora of art galliers and artists that are on display at the many art fests throughout the city like Art-A-Whirl and the Uptown Art Fair. As well as fostering trendy 80's dance music from artist like Prince and the chart topping Funkytown.

This weeks celebration is the third largest in the nation of it's kind and will continue to grow as the benefits of living in such a great city spread. I have decided to get in on the action and created a T-Shirt for sale spreading my business and love for Minneapolis Diversity.

If our species never evolves into the beauty of slugs we should at least note that our current quid pro quo is only temporary and that shifts of beliefs/social norms are underway.

On an somewhat humorous note I have been fostering the idea of writing a play concerning the "Don't ask don't tell policy" and the comments of Iranian President Mamoud Ahmadinejad. Where president Obama creates a covert super squad of homosexual lovers in the homage to Spartan thought. Their mission is to topple the Iranian fascist regime, and in turn celebrate sexual freedom with a dance party in the streets of Tehran.

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