I may not be in Indiana right now, but I’m still paying attention to the news, and right now I’m ANGRY.
We already knew that Indiana is messing up in a number of other ways, such as preventing trans people from changing their names, trying to pass one of those awful bathroom bills, trying to pass a total abortion ban, and, of course, former governor Pence’s contribution to creating an HIV crisis in the state.
But most of those awful things were happening at the state level. After having lived a decade+ in Indiana, I’d concluded that most folks there were pretty decent. We might see differently on political issues, but they weren’t likely to go out and commit hate crimes against people like me (queer, Jewish, etc.).
Nope, guess I was wrong.
I feel similar levels of shock as when I found out, just after the election, that a church near where I did my PhD in Bloomington IN was defaced by fascists. I guess I attributed it to bigotry that thrived in a more rural environment, and reached peak levels of stupidity in the post-election tumult. I never thought it’d happen in a city, much less one I’ve lived in for years.
I’ve heard, anecdotally, that Indiana has a serious problem with brain drain: folks getting their college degrees and then leaving the state. I know there are a variety of reasons for it, but seriously: do you want educated people to keep leaving? This is how you get educated, diverse people to continue fleeing your state, by allowing bigotry to thrive and express itself.
Mostly, I felt safe in Indianapolis. Now, I’m not sure if I want to go back. The plan, by the way, is for me to return after my semester at Berkeley is up, and resume teaching, dancing, writing, organizing the sex-positive community, and so on. But this is giving me some serious pause.