Come out where ever you are, even Tooele! | Buzz Blog

Friday, September 3, 2010

Come out where ever you are, even Tooele!

Posted By on September 3, 2010, 10:37 AM

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Tooele County has basically nothing in the way of community organizing, support or socializing specifically for the LGBT community, but one lady wants to change that.---

Robin Sheehy has started a Facebook group and blog that she hopes to translate into real-world socializing for the Tooele Valley queer community.

Oh hush! I can already hear many of you scoffing--"HA! Tooele! Good luck!" Whether it's toxic waste from EnergySolutions, chemical weapons disposal at the Deseret Chemical Depot, or air pollution from US Magnesium, everyone seems to find a way to slur and disparage what is a beautiful and welcoming community. Did you know that Tooele's air quality, for example, is stellar compared to any county along the Wasatch Front?

I used to live in Tooele; it's the most rural community I've ever called home. It's homophobic--yes--but it's also welcoming and inclusive. One of the most high-profile county employees transitioned from being a male to female while working in the county and has been promoted since that time. I've always thought that was an action that speaks louder than words.

Myself, I lived in Tooele and walked the streets--purse in hand--for more than a year (the picture is me in front of my old apartment at 126 N. Broadway, a very depressed part of town). While I received some homo-hating shouts from neighborhood kids in all parts of town--"You're a girl" was my favorite--that's not entirely unusual or incredible. Indeed, I never heard a homophobic comment directed at me from an adult; the homophobia I perceived from adults was more-or-less latent, ignorance-based and alleviated with some basic Homo 101 education. At the same time, it was also easy to stay in the closet--door open--and feel unwelcome to step out and burden your fellow Tooelians with a sexual orientation that I did not choose, that they are not comfortable with. So, there's room for improvement.

I've always said about Tooele: It's more boundless-freedom-loving "western" in its mentality than it is iron-rod-Mormon. While I didn't know too many queer-identified individuals who lived in Tooele when I did, maybe all I needed was a group like Sheehy's to make the connection.

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