For all the redneck stereotypes the stars of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo are said to exemplify, they’re also unique in some very refreshing ways. I’ve already talked about the impressively progressive attitude they have towards gay people, as evidenced by their loving acceptance of Sugar Bear‘s gay brother, Lee “Uncle Poodle” Thompson. And now, Uncle Poodle has gone on the record himself about what it’s like to be a gay redneck in 2012. (Spoiler alert: surprisingly good!)
In a recent interview with local queer publication Georgia Voice, Thompson talked about his growing fame and his love of rural Georgia, as well as certain misconceptions people have about his hometown.
“Things are changing,” he told GA Voice. “My husband and I live in Milledgeville because we want to be out in the country. I’m gay, but I’m as redneck as I can get, and we want to be somewhere we can fish and jump on a four-wheeler, go hog wallowing. There’s probably 40 or 50 of us — gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people — around here, they’re all open about it, everybody knows it.”
An out and proud gay man and a redneck?? What will they think of next?!
He also thinks his area’s lack of gay bars contributes to a general sense of community. Not really a gay community (which is tough to have when there are only 50 of you), but an all-inclusive community:
“It’s not like there’s a gay bar here. We go to the same bars as everybody else, we’re all part of the same community… If there’s people who have a problem with it, they keep it to themselves, just like if I have a problem with them, I keep it to myself.”
This is something I’ve heard a lot about small town gays. The mere fact that it’s hard to get away from each other breeds a certain kind of acceptance, at least in some places. Thompson also thinks it helps promote acceptance if people are open about their sexuality:
“If you want people to accept you, you have to show you don’t have a problem with yourself and just be up front about who you are. If you do, you earn people’s respect. If everybody would just go on and do that, ignorant people couldn’t cause so many problems. I know this is how I was born and I don’t need to explain it to anybody. I live my life for who I am. That’s why ‘Born This Way’ is gonna be my next tattoo.”
Of course, it’s easier to be open about your sexuality when you don’t see homophobia all around you, but brave people like him are part of the reason there’s so much acceptance now. Chicken, egg.
He also spoke amusingly of the particular kind of fame his family has, and why they appeal to all the reality TV watchers out there more than, say, certain dubiously “real” housewives:
“It’s because they don’t live like other people on TV. They live like the people who watch TV…I never in a million years thought someone would be asking to take a picture with me in line at the Wal-Mart. But, hell, I was still at the Wal-Mart.”
There’s also this choice nugget about how Anderson Cooper set off little Alana’s gaydar, prompting her to call him “a very nice poodle”:
“Oh my god, and he wasn’t even out yet! I about died. Then about a month later he came out. Not bad gaydar for a 7-year-old… but, well, look who she learned it from.”
This guy is pretty awesome, no? Someone give him his own spin-off!
(Via Out Magazine)