Thursday, April 10, 2008

How times have changed

There's a little secret I need to tell you. Well, it's not really a secret, but lot's of people would never guess . . .
That I used to be the chairman of the largest College Republican Club in the nation. I know. Let it soak in for a moment.

If you don't believe me, here are a few pics that prove it. The one above shows me (far left with the trademark red "power" tie) posing with my LSU CR posse just before a campus appearance by then-vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle.
Here I am with Jack Kemp, my political idol at the time, not long after the former New York congressman and future HUD secretary announced his candidacy for the Republic presidential nomination in 1987.
I took this pic from the floor of the Superdome during the 1988 Republican Convention in New Orleans. That's first lady-in-waiting Barbara Bush with Coretta Scott King.
Mr. "Potatoe" Head and his wife during their LSU visit.

I couldn't stop thinking about this part of my life earlier this week after coming across a column headlined, "I wanna take you to a gay bar," that appeared in Tuesday's edition of The Daily Reveille, LSU's student newspaper. In the column, Ryan Sands writes this:
Picking up girls in gay bars is like shooting fish in a barrel - it's so easy it should be illegal.
Sometimes this is the only way I can make the haters understand. I'm not gay, but I thank God for gay people.
He goes on to offer a defense for any "straight" guy who gets caught in a compromising position in, say, the back room of the local Eagle.
How do you know you're not (gay) if you've never had a gorgeous drunk man try to kiss you after he's bought you 12 rounds of drinks?
That's why gay bar night is the ultimate test of machismo.

Now I've seen slip-ups, mind you. No, it doesn't make you gay if you get swept up in the mood of the night while under the influence and kiss your straight guy friend.
The mere fact that Ryan's column made it into print shows just how far things have come in the 20 years since my time at LSU when I was hiding deep inside the College Republican closet. Back then, being out at one of the nation's most conservative universities was as practical as walking around campus wearing a Crimson Tide jersey.

It just reinforces the notion that most kids today have a radically different view of gays and lesbians than they did in my day.

Had things been different in 1988, maybe I would have spent my nights during the Republican Convention dancing my ass off at the Bourbon Pub instead pretending to be interested in the strip clubs on the straight side of the French Quarter.

And that LSU College Republican closet wouldn't have been nearly as crowded.


Anonymous said...

Never would have pegged you for a "Reagan" Cajun!

Nanette said...

Hi Keith!

Just found your blog. I was also at LSU from 86 - 90 and attended a few CR meetings myself. Volunteered at the Superdome for the Republican Nat'l Convention. Not actively political anymore, but still a HUGE supporter of LSU football!

I'm living on the other coast (in Atlanta) and have been since graduation from LSU.

I'll add you to my Google Reader! Good to find another Tiger on the 'net!

Nanette A.

Keith said...

Hey Nan,
Thanks for the nice message. I'm sure we met at some point way back when.
Thanks also for the link to your Website. I'll take a listen to your podcast.