When I moved away from San Francisco, I knew that there would be no more drag-queen nuns with names like “Sister Helen Wheels” or “Sister Flora Goodthyme.” Very sad.
But stuffy, East-Coasty Boston was a gay mecca compared to my new community. When I first started working in my clinic, the only gay doctor told me “Even though we live in a liberal state, we might as well be pre-Stonewall here in [town name].” Hmmm, I thought, that sounds rather exaggerated. Sadly, after working with several gay, lesbian and trans patients, it seems to be true. Perhaps it’s just a function of the poverty of my patients, but there is a certain fabulosity and sass that seems lacking here. Several of my LGBTQ patients know of only a few other gay people besides themselves. Most of them are not out and proud. A couple people are trapped in bad relationships–in part, I suspect, because the pool of single fellow queers in their neighborhood is the size of a kiddie pool. Even my cute, young butch co-worker who is going to college doesn’t seem to know about LGBTQ community. The other day, I asked her if she knew a word in Spanish that someone had told me meant “butch female” (machora? machua? still not sure how to spell it). My coworker, sitting there in her crew cut, men’s dress shoes and button down shirt, laughed and said “Well, I don’t know any of them so I guess that’s why I don’t know the word.” Um, hello? You’re living the life, sister!