ALMOST PARADISE

Marguerite Quantaine

Marguerite Quantaine


During the 27 years we’ve lived in Florida, we haven’t made any in-the-life friends. 
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It’s not that ‘our kind’ doesn’t exist in small towns here. (We do.) And it’s not that we’re ashamed. (We aren’t.)
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It’s that, excluding most metro areas, if you (a) want the police to respond to your call for help in a timely manner, and (b) you want to receive the finest healthcare when you’re injured, or sick, and (c) you want to keep your pets out of harms way, and (d) you want to keep your car from being vandalized, and (e) you want to live in an area where the neighborhood watch looks out for your home, and (f) you want the person working on your teeth to be gentle, and (h) you want to be able to make a living, and (i) you want to avoid having your license plate recorded when attending a Pride event — then you don’t risk outing others whom you think are kindred spirits by drawing attention to their personal lives, even in an effort to make friends.
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That’s why The Pulse in Orlando was a Mecca for resident and visiting gays alike. It provided a safe haven for fulfilling the need to feel an instant camaraderie accompanying the demonstrative joy of others.
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Truth be told, we’ve never actually been to a nightclub because, while there was a smattering of NYC lesbian bars during the 60s when we were young, the mixed genders of nowadays nightclubs with  multiple rooms, live bands, separate stages, decks and professional disc jockeys didn’t exist.
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What we did have (aside from a Seebring juke box at one-gender venues) were summertime tea dances at Cherry Grove and the Pines on Fire Island, mostly male, but with a sufficient showing of Coppertoned women to complement the communal glee being shared as disco music blared, connecting us to every outdoor dance floor.
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Nearly fifty years have past. You wouldn’t think it’s now imperative to note, in March, Governor Rick Scott’s HB 401 bill died in committee. 
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Had HB 401 passed it would have allowed doctors, nurses, healthcare providers, and hospitals to refuse treatment to lesbians and gays without fear of facing liability in Florida courts. Based on religious freedom to discriminate, HB 401 was to have taken effect on July 1, 2016.
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As a resident of Florida who’s been subjected to discrimination, misdiagnosed, nearly killed and double billed for it, I hesitate to ever seek help here.
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Which begs the question: Why do we live in Mother Nature’s perfect place among such people?
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It’s because we believe Orlando’s healthcare providers and facilities are better — so very much better — than disingenuous leaders and sanctimonious legislators.
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And because we believe the inherent good in people will always outweigh the acquired bad. 
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And because we believe when vice endeavors to infiltrate, virtue counters with massive resistance. 
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And because we believe, if deceit sits down on the dais, multitudes will arise to defy demagoguery.
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And, too, it’s because we know we shall weep before we sleep tonight, and intermittently weep again for weeks to come, or maybe months, or years — or through however many broken hearts it takes to prevail.
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But love will triumph.
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Because it must.

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Marguerite Quantaine is an essayist and novelist.

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IMOGENE’S ELOISE: Inspired by a true story
by Marguerite Quantaine

23 thoughts on “ALMOST PARADISE

    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      We can and should be diligent, Ann, but don’t you think the media should be holding his feet to the fire for this, along with the State House legislators who helped him draft it? I’m grateful Buddy Dyer represented Orlando, keeping Scott mostly at bay. Thank you for adding your thoughts.

      Reply
  1. Mary Anne Frett

    Thanks for the blog. I have to say that I really didn’t get the true danger of being a lesbian until last week. Rusty was more accustomed to the hate that can smack you in the back of the head and and kick you in the gut when you least expect it. I have to say that I’m an optimist. I believe that in the end that hate will lose. I’d hate to be part of a world where it wins.

    Reply
  2. bookishbutch

    Let me start by saying: I miss you on Facebook, so much, sunshine and sanity and seeing through the murky, that is what we need to believe in, thank Marguerite beautiful post, hope you are well. May I share this?

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      You most certainly may share, Caroline, and may I say, in the 3 weeks Facebook blocked my account for reasons still unknown, the mass murderer of Orlando had 4 pages up and spewing hate with no interference by them. I still can’t post on others threads, and cannot even type a post on my own — I must first compose it in WP and copy-cut-paste it onto a FB text box. So, please, be certain to follow me here if they ban me again. Missed you, too.

      Reply
  3. margueritequantaine Post author

    I tried to leave this message on your blog, Caroline— “I like this VERY much — the style, the content, the ease, the emotions. Thanks for sending me the link!” — but it wouldn’t okay my comment, so be certain to alert me whenever you have a new post, yes? Yes!

    Reply
    1. bookishbutch

      Hmm, don’t know why, I have no record of a comment to be approved, but, I do post my blog on face book(under my name) and I have a bookish butch face book page, if you like the page I believe it will advise you when there is a new post. Thanks for your kind words means a lot to me:-)

      Reply
  4. Kiersten

    Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough
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    I must say that you’ve done a great job with this.
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    Superb Blog!

    Reply
  5. Ginger Conway

    McQ, have been sending emails and messages hoping to connect. I see you are most likely in the Cyber dog House again. Hope you and Liz are doing well. Drop me a note and let me know you ladies are OK.
    HUGS
    Gingersnaps

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      Which makes me wonder how many sweet peeps know they can always connect with me here since leaving a comment registers their email address with my blog account. So very glad you thought of it Gingersnaps! I’m off to my keyboard to drop you a line tout de suite!

      Reply
  6. Karen

    Always enjoy your writings, no matter the content. I was shocked to read your list of things you could lose if you were out. Shocked and angry. Makes me wonder if I’m in some sort of denial about my surroundings. I got out of Florida as soon as I could, went to high school in Pensacola. Take care of yourselves. Karen

    Reply
  7. marguerite quantaine

    Thanks, Karen. It isn’t as-so with the large cities and tourist areas, but small towns are notorious for profiling, and some of those, politically connected, who have access to census records, can misuse the information to the detriment of kindred spirits. It’s why the November elections on the local and state levels are every bit as important as the Presidential selection. I hope you’ll share this in an effort to remind others to be careful out there — and go vote!

    Reply
  8. Sherrye

    Well, hey there stranger. If I can’t find you anywhere else at least I can find you here. I hope all is well with you and Liz. Miss connecting with you.

    Reply
  9. Nancy Heredia

    I’m going to have to look for you here instead of FB since I hear you they are not allowing you to return. Eh, maybe you aren’t missing too much but we certainly do miss you. Continue to heal and get better! Love to you both!

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine

      The good thing is you’ll get an email from WordPress each time I post a blog, requiring no scanning through a Facebook newsfeed where I might not pop up. (BTW, the latest reason I was given for being banned is accepting too many friend requests from people I don’t know. WT? I get new book readers from IMOGENE’S ELOISE who know me after they finish it, but I can’t accept their friend requests because I don’t know them? Makes no sense.) So, thanks for sticking with me Nancypants.

      Reply

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