Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gumbo as metaphor

On Sunday, February 20, Tennessee Equality Project will host its third Mardi Gras Party and its first Gumbo Tasting Competition in Memphis. During this highly political season with an ordinance expanding LGBT-inclusive workplace protections in Nashville and several bills affecting LGBT people and their families filed in the General Assembly, it's nice to take a break - if only for an afternoon.

I've learned to appreciate gumbo in profound ways.  Good gumbo takes time to make. My partner and I enjoy cooking gumbo together, and it can take all day. Years ago, we learned the basics: making a rich stock, choosing tasty combinations of seafood, vegetables and spices, and gradually heating the right ratio of flour and fat to make roux. Over time, we've experimented with different ingredients. But even when we don't vary much from our favorite recipe, our gumbo is always a little different each time.

Making gumbo is a lot like the struggle for equality. To advance equality, you need the right combination of ingredients prepared in just the right way. You start with your base of supporters (your stock). Then you add allies to join the cause (a diverse mix of ingredients). When it's time to advance your cause, you engage in the struggle. To me, the struggle is a lot like making roux over a hot stove. If you're not careful you can burn your roux - or yourself! But with patience, constant stirring and a watchful eye, the results can be so satisfying. When done right, gumbo is a labor of love.

I hope you're as hungry for equality as you are for gumbo. Join us this Sunday from 4:30-7 PM at the Hi-Tone Cafe at 1913 Poplar Avenue. The $10 admission benefits the work of Tennessee Equality Project. Learn more about the event on Facebook.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

- Jonathan Cole

No comments: