You have no idea Are you pissed off?: You have no idea

By Me on Saturday, October 17, 1998 - 12:13 am:

    I've been so busy with work these past few weeks that I rarely get a chance to watch the news or read a paper.

    So I was surprised to find out a couple of days ago that Matthew Shepard had died and that it was news all over the country. I had never even heard of him. I'm sure you hadn't either.

    And he's dead because he was gay. Because he met two guys in a bar who decided to rob him, pistol whip him, tie him up and beat him into a coma and leave him out in the cold to die.

    There was a rally for Matthew here at the Capitol - lots of congressmen up for reelection, lots of celebrities, lots of gays and lesbians. And a couple of his friends too.

    The congressmen spouted slogans and got the crowd to cheer and shout roars of approval.

    And his funeral was today. And the news showed footage of the protesters outside the church. Holding signs like "God Hates Fags" and "Gay = AIDS".

    And I'm so goddamned pissed off and I have a lump in my throat just writing this and I cannot believe that people actually believe this shit. That God hates gays. That people could be so fucking insensitive to actually picket a FUNERAL for christs sake!

    Is this country so fucked up that we cannot live and let live? Do we have to put up with the racist and homophobic garbage from the likes of Oatmeal Boy and that guy whose response to PJBoy's post about how he went to his first Gay Pride parade was to say how he hates fags?

    I dunno--I'm just spilling my guts here. But I'm pissed off and I'm sick of the state of things lately.

    what do you think? are we that lost?

By R.C. on Saturday, October 17, 1998 - 10:04 pm:

    Some of us are that lost. They don't outnumber the tolerant ones. But they're willing to kill for their cause. So what are the rest of us willing to do in support of the humanity we embrace?

    I've been thinking a lot abt Matthew Sheppard/ & the Gay folks I know online - some of whom are still In. And the e-mail conversations I've had/encouraging them to come Out -- at least to their families & close friends. But I won't be making those kinds of encouraging noises anymore. Not after they way they crucified Sheppard.

    Gays & Lesbians -- Be Warned: Shit is gonna get a whole lot worse over the next 5 yrs. We've got a presidential election coming up/which gives all the right-wing Republicans & Christian Coalitian types plenty of opportunities to spout their intolerance for the sake of gaining votes. And that's all it takes. Just a few words from the People In High Places condeming homosexuals -- & the hatred that simmers beneath the polite surface of rural & middle-class America will start to erupt all over this nation.

    Keep yr eye on the Shepard murder trial. Be ready to be outside that courthouse -- thousands of you & those who support you as human beings. Be prepared to be out in the streets in large numbers/marching & chanting & singing & demonstrating & screaming & writing to yr congressmen/calling for the death penalty for this murder/& a federal mandatory sentencing statute for Hate-Crimes. Becuz as much as I've resisted identifying the cause of homosexuals with the Civil Rights movement/as many issues as I have with equating sexual preference -- something not outwardly visible (unless one chooses to make it so) -- with race (which most anyone can see a mile away)/I now believe that it will take nothing less from Gays than what our people did in the 1960's -- raising hell/sitting in/protesting & demonstrating -- to keep homosexuals from becoming the new niggers/living under Jim Crow/in 21st century America.

By Agatha on Sunday, October 18, 1998 - 03:46 pm:

    it all makes me sick to my stomach. how people end up being so filled with hate is something i will truly never, ever understand.

By Sheila on Sunday, October 18, 1998 - 04:50 pm:

    I find it difficult to reconcile my feelings of hatred toward those people who are hateful.

    It's like thinking that people with guns should be shot, and yet I can't help it.

By 00 on Sunday, October 18, 1998 - 06:05 pm:

    When I was in high school back in the mid-80's, there was a pasttime called "fag bashing". A bunch of middle-class kids would pile into a care with axe-handles, bats, etc. and head off to a little stretch of forest called "fag park", which was where at least some of the gay townies would hang out. At least that's what was believed.

    I went on one myself. We found a group of guys around a picnic table, yelled "fuckin' fags", and sped off. I never heard of a fag bashing that ended in violence, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. The point is that we went, and that's bad enough. I'm trying to remember what I felt when I got in a car with an axe handle. Not hate. A mindless sort of teenage mob mentality, some sense that gays where the "others" and it didn't matter if they got beat up. I had been on expeditions just like that for various other groups - rival schools and other stuff, some of which ended in violence. I've been beaten up pretty bad and even shot at.

    When I think of the two who killed Matthew Shepard, I don't think of a specific target against all gays. I see two guys who were capable of murder anyway, who had an ingrained, mindless hate for gays, but not necessarily what is secretly in the heart of the right wing hetero hate crowd.

    In one of the pictures of the crowd of protesters around Matthew Shepard's funeral, there is someone with a sign that says "remember Lot's wife." She's the one who was turned to a pillar of salt after turning to look back at Sodom and Gommorah. They all believe that the Bible says that being gay is a sin.

    I don't know what I'm writing anymore. I guess I've been trying to work this all out in my mind, trying to reconcile everything. My cousin is gay, I remember how hard it was for her when she came out, and her parents still have a problem with. She's doing very well, though, deleriously happy.
    A guy I work with has always been a low-grade racist - talks about "niggers" and "fuckin' liberals" and such. When I got know him better, I found out that he saw it as a kind of artificial strength of character. Deep in side he was insecure, and even in some ways a better person than a lot of people I know. His father was a gruff loudmouth, and that's where my friend got it. The ironic part is this: we were at a bar one night, the whole group from work, and someone said something about "fags". To my surprise he started defending gays. It turns out he has an Uncle - a favorite Uncle - who is gay. He has "the connection", that bit of contact that humanizes.

    I'm in a wheelchair. I heard a story once about a time my boss, who is also a real bigot, was a party and they were playing that game where you are asked questions that test your moral character. The question was: "if you had to choose between two job applicants, one handicapped and one not, and the handicapped was better at the job, who would you pick." The guy at the party fully expected my boss to say the able-bodied guy, and he smiled at him and said "come on, come on." Of course, my boss said "I hired [me] didn't I?"

    After hearing that, I always think about what he would think of the handicapped had he not met me. Would we be a drag on society? would he know a couple of cripple jokes?

    Look, I don't know.

By Agatha on Monday, October 19, 1998 - 12:57 am:

    at least you can think about what you did, and feel regret for it. you are much too thoughtful to be like those men. anyhow, i know you better than that, don't fret.

By Pete on Monday, October 19, 1998 - 10:58 pm:

    the whole story just pisses me off. i think about him out there on that fence and it just gets to me....

    maybe the only things i can do are write to my reps, send a donation to the fund that his family has set up, and maybe now i'll SPEAK UP when I hear people talking trash.....

    i just hope that people don't forget about this anytime soon - his life has to have more meaning than just a couple of weeks of infamy and then we'll just move on to the next topic.

By Pete on Wednesday, October 21, 1998 - 10:49 pm:

By R.C. on Thursday, October 22, 1998 - 10:55 pm:

    ...Damn... I wish I hadn't clicked on that Hate link. I can't believe how they were smiling/there in the snow/with those placards... But I suppose we Christians are the most at fault. Not just the hard-core Fundamentalist conservatives. But other people of faith who have remained silent for so long on the Gay issue. For the past 10 years/The Religious Right has dominated nearly all discussion in the media of what it means to be a Christian/& what values God teachers us -- except for the occasional papal pronouncement here & there. Which means it's up to people like me/who don't buy into the idea that loving God means hating Gays/to start stepping up to the podium. But I don't even GO to church anymore -- largely becuz of all the homophobic rhetoric I've been exposed to in the past. And if you don't have a pulpit/how can a Believer preach against all that demonic hatred? Who's gonna listen/when you have no $$ & no church & no political party behind you?

    I wish Jesse wd start writing to the Times Op-Ed page/& call for the Black clergy/& folks like Cornel West & Skip Gates in their ivy towers (& Oprah -- who has more media clout than anyone in America/considering she doesn't own a newspaper or t.v. station!) to start writing & speaking out against this homophobic madness.
    But Oprah apparently ignores my e-mails/so...

By PetRock on Sunday, October 25, 1998 - 12:07 am:

    hmmm R.C., now there's an idea. Do you think Oprah would ever do a show on this topic? Or maybe she has already?

    By the way, here's the link to the page where I found that pic of the sisters: The Westboro Baptist Church. Read at your own risk....

By R.C. on Sunday, October 25, 1998 - 12:52 am:

    No thanks -- I've reached my limit on that for this month. But if anyone's interested/you can e-mail
    Oprah here.

By R.C. on Sunday, October 25, 1998 - 12:53 am:

    But be sure to include yr real name, address & tel#/or they won't think you're serious.

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