Saturday, June 13, 2015

Great gay things for LGBT Pride Month

by Nani Lawrence, Writing Intern

Very Catholic Ireland held a vote on whether to approve same-sex marriage nationwide. Irish citizens flocked to their native land in droves to be on the right side of history. Poll centers reported on May 21st that the referendum passed by a good 62 percent.

Stemming from this historic vote, author J.K. Rowling tweeted about a hypothetical, fictional wedding between Gandalf and Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. In kind, Christian Terrorists Anonymous (“CTA,” my name for “Westboro;” I refuse to give them more "ink") promised to picket such a union. Because of course they would.  More back-and-forth took place over Twitter, but Rowling fought against the group as an amazing ally and human being.

from Have a Gay Day's office wall,
photo by founder and president Michael Knote
The Equality House--a resource center sponsored by the organization Planting Peace in Topeka--hired actors to get “married” as these accomplished wizards. The ceremony took place June 7th, and by all accounts it was as magical and epic as you’d expect. It happened right across the street from the “church.” Awesome.

The director of operations for Planting Peace, Davis Hammet, presided over the faux ceremony. Like the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series, the wedding was a celebration of the power of fiction to help people “learn the importance of seeking justice, of bravery and courage, [and] the power of fiction to teach you how to struggle for what is right,” he said.

This amazing spectacle all came about because of Rowling’s final slap of awesome reality. In a tweet on May 27th, she responded to a fan complaining that she inadvertently gave CTA attention. Her response:



Aaron Jackson, the founder and president of Planting Peace, told the Huffington Post Rowling’s final tweet spoke to the core of the non-profit:

The Equality House was founded to take a stand against the hurtful words and actions of hate groups like the WBC. People often question why we even mention them, and Ms. Rowling’s words were spot on. We must actively stand up to hate and ensure that LGBTQ youth understand that they have a broad platform of love and support in this world. That is a core part of what we do at Planting Peace.

As both expressed, visibility is very important for any marginalized group of individuals. This “behavior”—or anything that strays from the norm—is more tolerated in society. But there are still those who are more comfortable denying change and progress. It’s an extreme example and most everyone in America dislikes them, but why do you think CTA exists here?

Every group that discriminates runs to the inappropriate arms of First Amendment protection. They completely miss the point that the amendment only protects their hate speech from government action, but somehow they still win court cases (editor’s note: and hate speech isn’t necessarily protected).

CTA  protests every bad thing that happens. In the past, they have protested funerals of soldiers with signs and chants akin to blaming homosexuals for the ills of the world. Not because these specific individuals are gay, but because God would not supposedly allow bad things to happen if “He” weren’t angry about gays having rights. Or, if you pay attention to reality, to spread their vile message and anger everyone. The recent trend of blocking or forming a wall of people around funeral processions is quite a perfect response.  People stand up, refuse to be bullied, and find a way to lessen the pain of others.

As Rowling brilliantly summed up, in less than 140 characters, choosing to ignore and be the better person is fine. Sometimes in life, it’s unfortunately all you can do. But if you can make this dark world just a bit brighter for someone else, why wouldn’t you?
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