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Provincetown Will Always Be Our Refuge (Even With the Straights)

Provincetown Will Always Be Our Refuge (Even With the Straights)


Comedian Kristen Becker takes umbrage at the suggestion that Provincetown is getting overrun by straight people, saying the city is setting the standard that we should all follow.

After reading Rev. Irene Monroe's op-ed, "Whither Gay Provincetown," I was shocked, and a bit saddened at the lack of perspective. I would like to offer a different viewpoint, as someone who lives in Ptown and works for equality all over the country.

The LGBTQ community has long sought places of our own, for refuge. I stand by my theory that places like San Francisco, Key West, and Provincetown have been our go-to destinations because we went as far as we could to get away from the hatred and homophobia cascading from the core of the country. When we ran out of land, we stripped down and stayed at the prettiest beaches we could find. These beaches provided the healing properties we desperately needed after being banished by friends and families, and a place for the LGBTQ community to feel safe. Once people feel safe, they can flourish, and flourish we did. The three locations I mentioned are similar in many ways, but Ptown is a little bit different, and here is why.

While California was battling Prop. 8 and Florida was busy being Florida, Massachusetts queers were already getting married. Massachusetts queers have been getting married for a decade. The marriage movement in this country started in Massachusetts, specifically, Ptown. How is that not gay enough?

Provincetown isn't "going straight," it's just so far ahead of everyone else, it's hard to grasp. Ten-year-old kids on the street don't know a time when LGBTQ people couldn't be married. This is what equality looks like. It is not a sea of homo-only establishments with "No Children Allowed" signs. On average, the population is 60/40 in favor of LGBTQ folks. I also have no scientific data to support those numbers, but when I go to the coffee shop, I see about six people who look gay and four who do not.

What Ptown is doing is setting an example for the rest of the country. Again. The question is, is the rest of the country, especially the LGBTQ community, ready for it?

As an LGBTQ vacation destination, it is a delicate balance, but one I think will be the best thing to happen to our community for the next 20 years. We are defined by our experiences. Humans are constantly learning, growing, and adapting. It was important to have destinations where only people like us lived/visited, because it was safe that way and we could truly relax. As we progress in civil rights and visibility, it is important to have a place to go that feels safe around straight people too, isn't it?

As a queer raised in the South, I recognize the default setting of "on guard around strangers who look really straight." I get it. So I can also see how coming here could really throw someone off, but what I need to express more than anything is how amazing it is to be at a parade full of drunk straight people and not hear the word "faggot." It is a very healing thing.

This one time, A small girl said "Mommy! That's the third man in a dress I've seen today!" to which her mother responded "I know! They look awesome! Which was your favorite?" We need that as a community, it builds a safer tomorrow.

I promise you, I have never felt safer in my life. Am I trying to tell you that every straight person who comes here is a fully evolved human in the ways of sexuality? No. I can tell you that the folks I have met come here for fun and revelry, they aren't afraid to bring their children, they have no problem with us and more often than not go out of their way to let you know how cool they are with gay people. It's kind of endearing, actually. We might (read: absolutely) decide we need some "kids' beaches" just as we realized a "boy beach" was a good idea. Will there be growing pains as we become part of mainstream society? Absolutely. This tiny town by the sea offers the chance to see what a future could look like

Will some in the LGBTQ community struggle to find what makes them "different" if their sex life isn't marginalized? Possibly. Will Ptown be here to let them try all sorts of fun things? Yes. What makes this town great is that it lets everyone be themselves. Even those pesky straight people. If you need an all gay, all the time experience -- nothing wrong with that -- maybe Ptown isn't right for you. If you want to know what it feels like to walk down the street holding your partner or spouse's hand surrounded by people of all sorts, and feel safe doing so, come on over.

KRISTEN BECKERKRISTEN BECKER is a comedian and Provincetown resident. Follow her on Twitter here.

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