Kentucky's Gay Hope
BY Michelle Garcia
May 19 2010 6:45 PM ET
why they shouldn't be discounted as a place to live, or respect?
I grew up in eastern Kentucky. There really are certain parts of the
state you can't even mention the word "gay." But if you go into
Lexington and Louisville and Paducah, some of the bigger cities, which
is generally the case, it's not so bad. I remember reading that
Lexington is one of the top places in the country to be if you're gay.
So it's a beautiful state, there's so many things you can do. I love
horses, so that's what I'm into. When I went down to volunteer after
Katrina, people still looked at my feet, wondering whether I had shoes
on. I think people still have the conception that we're just a bunch of
redneck hillbillies. We're coming along. I think the biggest thing is to
give us a chance. When you get to Kentucky, and see how nice the people
are, and how beautiful it is, and someone greets you at the gas
station, you'll like it. The other day, there was this guy coming down
from New England, and he said "I don't want to leave here. You all say
hello to me every time I walk into a public place." I just told him
that's how we are.
So you were sidetracked from going to college right after high school
because of a really bad jet ski accident. Has that influenced or shaped
the message of your campaign, or your purpose?
It's slowed me down. I was 18 years old when I had that accident. We
thought it was the end as far as my physical abilities. The boat, when
it hit me, it broke everything on my left side and damaged a few of my
organs. It slowed me down, and it made me appreciate life because I was
on the brink of death, and I came back from it. I'm here. I'm not
extremely religious, but I do believe in God. I'm very spiritual. While I
was in the hospital, a pastor came in, and he said, "You're in here for
a reason. You were supposed to die. Everything points to you dying, but
you're destined for something." I hear those words every single day in
my head, and I think that gives me the drive to keep doing what I'm
doing. Even though I've had many downs in this campaign, I've had a few
ups as well. I've never given up, and I'll never give up. In the event
that I do lose this election, and I hope that I don't, I want to focus
solely on gay rights and civil rights. I'm destined to something and if
it's not politics, it's something. I want to serve the people.