September 8, 2010 Leave a comment
Last night I came upon this documentary. It is called “Out in Silence.” Joe Wilson, living in DC, decided to put a wedding announcement in his hometown paper, in Oil Town, PA, coming out to his hometown after years of being closeted. What happened next was both expected and unexpected–a lot of folk were enraged that a gay man put a wedding announcement in the newspaper, and used it as a launching pad to voice their opposition to gay rights. He expected that. What Joe did not expect was a letter from a mother in Oil Town, asking for his help. Her teenaged son is gay, you see, and getting harassed and bullied for it. The school does nothing. So, Joe Wilson and his partner make the trip to Oil Town, Pennsylvania, and this film is the result. It is 55 minutes long; if you have time to watch it, I would recommend you do so.
The teenage boy, CJ’s story is heartbreaking. He’s verbally harassed and physically beaten. He gets death threats. People threaten to burn down his home. Teachers and administrators are present and do nothing. With Joe’s help, CJ and his mother begin to fight the school board (one of the school board members smirks as CJ’s mother describes the harassment and bullying CJ suffers). They eventually take their fight to the legislature, and win anti-discrimination training for school teachers.
This morning, I wake up to this: Tim Ravndal, President of Montana’s Big Sky Tea Party jokes on his facebook page about murdering LGBT folks, and Matthew Shepard’s murder in 1998 is referenced as a “guide.”
Horrific, yes? The Big Sky Tea Party has since voted to remove Ravndal as President.
Where am I going with this?
I think you know.
Read the rest at my Local Voices blog here.