Here’s a phrase you don’t hear often: “Moving to Texas made me a lot more open-minded.” Typically, someone calling her- or himself a Texan comes with a lot of baggage and assumptions: That person must be a Republican, pro-military, on the extreme ends of masculine or feminine appearance, have a manicured lawn and so forth. But when Jules Bethea moved from Aurora to Dallas she received one of her first lessons that stereotypes aren’t always accurate — or comfortable.
“I didn’t even know gay people existed until I went to high school in Texas,” said Bethea, whose conservative upbringing didn’t allow for a nuanced approach to race relations, let alone sexuality. “Dallas had an amazing music scene, and a really amazing gay scene. I met this guy named Ronnie, and we both had fake IDs so we could go to the gay clubs and punk shows. Before moving to Texas, I hardly knew what sex was.”