Don't Forget About Us in the Middle: LGBT's in the Midwest and the South

05/14/2015 11:45 am ET | Updated May 14, 2016

You know, we have come a long way in this country over the past decade as it pertains to gay rights. I remember just back in 2000, when I was just exploring my sexuality, I would've never thought that there would be such a thing as same-sex marriage equality or laws for non-discrimination based on sexuality.

It's true that more states have marriage equality than not. It's true that the majority of Americans support gay rights. It's true that a lot of LGBT folks don't have to worry about their sexuality anymore.

But, before we get ready to pick up and move on to a new issue, please remember that this isn't the full story.

I've heard many of my LGBT friends and straight allies from the coastal regions, as of late, bemoan same-sex issues. They say that it is a dead issue and that we have already won. They say that we need to focus our attention on other social justice issues. While I agree that we have made such grade headway in the last 15 years, we have to remember that life in the middle of the United States is much different than life on the coast.

I grew up in Arkansas, currently live in Memphis and am in the process of moving to Indianapolis. I have a had a good taste of the culture in the middle of the US, and we still have a lot of work to do. Those of you on the coast need to remember that when it comes to LGBT issues, the Midwest and the South is about a decade behind you. Now, think back to the way things were a decade ago for you. See how we can't abandon ship just yet?

For many LGBT folk in the middle US, they are still worried about getting fired from their jobs, being kicked out of their houses or sometimes even being physically harmed. Many of us are on the forefront of the issue in our cultures, and for many of us, we are the first and only LGBT folks to live an open life in our small communities. Please, don't abandon us yet. We need your support now more than ever.

Look, we think it's great that on the East and West coast, you can be open and free with your sexuality and no one bats an eye. We're quite envious of it, actually. But, moving to the coast is not an option for most of us. We can't just pack up and leave, either because of financial reasons or some other. Then there are some of us, like myself, that wouldn't want to leave even if we had the opportunity. We have family here. We have lives here. On top of this, though, we want to stick around and be an agent of change in these areas.

So, again, please don't walk out on us now. Continue to fight for justice in LGBT issues, even if you feel like you've already won the fight in the area in which you live. Those of us in the middle are still struggling to make it work, and we need all of the help we can get!


This post was originally from Brandon's website, Brandon is the author of the new book, Straight-Face, which chronicles the psychological, deeply emotional and spiritual aspects of his incredible journey from Southern Baptist minister to out-and-proud gay man. You can find Straight-Face on Amazon.