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Queer Talk: “I’m always amazed at the sheer amount of hate mail …”

Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.

Several LGBT and related blog sites I routinely visit had posts up about Rachel Maddow’s appearance on Friday’s “Ellen.” While most of us are unlikely to get the amount of mail and messages either of these women get, a good many of us will be able to identify with receiving some form of “hate mail.” The hate — and the prejudice, anger, ignorance, or maybe just sheer lack of imagination that feeds it and other judgmental statements — is something that shows up in lots of ways.

From Bil Browning at Bilerico:

Rachel Maddow appeared on Ellen to talk about her new documentary and the topic turned to the hate mail Rachel gets regularly. She talks about how most of the e-mails denigrate her appearance in some way and how it’s designed to keep women in their place.

I’m always amazed at the sheer amount of hate mail we get at Bilerico Project. …

What’s up with people that they feel obligated to lash out with anger and hatred at someone they don’t even know?

And sometimes, of course, the ugliness is directed at someone who is “known.” That’s one reason for the big efforts to address bullying. Last year teenager Brittany McMillan founded “Spirit Day,” or as it was widely promoted this year, as “Going Purple.” On the rainbow flag, purple symbolizes “spirit,” and so the idea is to display or wear purple as a way of showing support. For anyone, but perhaps especially for kids who are the targets of hate and ignorance, visible support is very important. For this second Spirit Day, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, joined by organizations, faith groups, social media, and more, made purple quite visible on October 20. I wish there weren’t so many reasons we need this.

Pam Spaulding wrote at Houseblend, of the “more than a dozen young people who were … LGBT … or perceived to be LGBT” who completed suicide as of last fall.

Their stories … inspired a movement toward encouragement, which included Spirit Day (10/20) and the ‘It Gets Better; Project.’ …

More suicides have followed, and obviously more work needs to be done.

Last Friday, the LGBT teen son of a City Councilor in Ottawa, Ontario, died by suicide.

Just this weekend, vandals spray-painted the words ‘F*GS BURN’ and ‘DIE’ on the entrance to the LGBT center at North Carolina State University. …

About the death, John Aravosis writes Final blog post documents another gay teen’s decision to kill himself because of bullying:

It’s a horrific story. The Ottawa Citizen has the details, and courtesy of TowleRoad, here is 15 year old Jamie Hubley’s final blog post, of only 3 days ago, after having decided to kill himself.

It’s not easy reading, but here’s an excerpt:

‘I dont want my parents to think this is their fault either… I love my mom and dad : ) Its just too hard. I dont want to wait 3 more years, this hurts too much. How do you even know It will get better? Its not.

In the broader efforts “fighting prejudice,” and ignorance (imposed or chosen), here are a few other things that are going on, some challenging, some of the good news sort.

Also from Aravosis, Two really bad anti-gay laws being discussed in Michigan:

The first is one of those ‘let gays die bill’:

House Bill No. 5040 would prohibit public and private colleges from disciplining ‘a student in a counseling, social work, or psychology program because the student refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of the student.’ …

The second … House Bill No. 5039 would prohibit state agencies and units of local government … from adopting any ordinance or policy that includes, as a protected class, any classification not included in the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. All classifications already listed in current ordinances or policies would be voided.

So if we ever wonder where the bullies of school age get their ideas, we just look to the bullies of at least chronological adulthood age.

But note, good things are happening toward equality in Michigan, too. Via The Advocate:

Michigan Pastor Arrested for Gay Rights Protest

The Rev. Bill Freeman was arrested Wednesday in Holland for protesting the city’s lack of a gay rights antidiscrimination ordinance in an action inspired by Occupy Wall Street.

The Grand Rapids Press reports on Freeman, minister of Interfaith Congregation, who refused to leave City Hall and was taken to the Ottawa County Jail. He posted $100 bond late Wednesday and was released.

The Holland City Council voted 5 to 4 in June to maintain the nondiscrimination ordinance covering employment and housing in its current form without protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

Note, too, that very close vote. There’s hope in Holland, Michigan. And in Odessa, Texas. From Permian Basin 360:

First Ever Coming Out Rally In The Basin

West Texans came out for marriage. On Saturday (October 16), the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual and Transgender community held a nationwide rally and mass same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Local supporters gathered at Sherwood Park in Odessa for the first LGBT rally in the Permian Basin. …

Organizers say they hope to make this an annual rally in Odessa and they will do this until texas allows equal marriage rights.

And finally, in a “it couldn’t happen to a more deserving group,” Thursday Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin wrote Marriage Opponents Lose Pursuit Of Special Rights:

It’s been a bad week for the National Organization for Marriage. Two separate courts this week ruled against NOM’s attempt to enshrine a special right to flout laws intended to lend transparency to the electoral process. The first loss came on Monday when Federal Judge Benjamin Settle ruled in Doe v Reed … that the state of Washington must disclose the names of citizens who signed the petition putting Referendum 71 on the ballot. …

(Then) … Federal Judge Morrison England, Jr., today issued a bench ruling denying and NOM’s quest for a special right to withhold the release of campaign finance records related to the passage of Propositon 8 three years ago.

The “hate mail” and bullying and legislative imposition of “my size fits all” morality efforts aren’t going to disappear. But every challenge to inequality, every supportive statement and gathering, helps reduce the opportunities for negative judgments of words and actions.

(Via Wipe Out Hate on Facebook)

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