Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
In itself, this isn’t exactly news breaking stuff, but it is another example of the fairly widespread and weird obsession with sex – in particular, what the obsess-sor imagines other people do – that characterizes our society. It involves a minister who denounces “the gays,” and especially Southern Decadence, the “largest gay event in New Orleans,” held over Labor Day weekend. This year’s celebration will be the 41st, from August 29 – September 3.
In this case, the minister, Rev. Grant Storms, was convicted of “exposing himself while masturbating in a public park.” No “gay” connection, specifically, though any mention of “pedophile” – there were children in the park where the incident occurred – will, for some, be interpreted as “homosexual,” no matter how often that link has been debunked.
From The Advocate:
… Storms, 55, was convicted of a single count … in a Louisiana court, reports New Orleans’s Times-Picayune. He had been charged with obscenity for exposing himself while masturbating in his minivan, parked in Lafreniere Park in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, on February 25, 2011. Storms, who has a lawn-mowing business, said he went to the park to take a break between jobs.
He had admitted to pleasuring himself, saying he finds it a thrill to do so in public, but denied exposing his penis. However, a nanny who was bringing children to the park for a picnic said she observed the exposure when she got out of her vehicle, parked next to his.
The incident immediately raised speculation that Storms was a pedophile, because he masturbated with children nearby. Assistant District Attorney Seth Shute shot those allegations down outright Wednesday, saying in opening statements that detectives found no evidence of child pornography on his computer or cell phone … .
More from The Advocate:
In 2003, Storms, who has called himself a ‘Christian patriot,’ made news when he led his small church congregation through New Orleans’s French Quarter to protest Southern Decadence … . He railed against LGBT people as well as the city of New Orleans, which he called a ‘prostitute’ for allowing the event. A local merchants’ association went to court for a restraining order to prevent Storms and his followers from using bullhorns. Storms has since apologized for the protest.
Of course, anyone can call themselves a “Christian patriot,” but hypocrisy is a dangerous game to play in a public park.