Epic Westboro Baptist Church Fail in Sacramento

wbc-protester-250x250One of our local Sacramento-area high schools, Granite Bay High School, is producing the Laramie Project, and Westboro Baptist Church announced with great fanfare that they would be here to protest it.

Local LGBT rights activists Beverly Kearny and Jovi Radtke swung into action, mobilizing the local LGBT community the same way they did last March, when a local mall kicked out a gay couple for showing affection in the mall.








Granite Bay HS RallyFunny story – only one guy showed up to oppose the play – and we’re not even sure he was actually from WBC, though he did have the signs. He arrived about 3 1/2 hours before the play, and left within an hour.

Meanwhile, a wide range of folks from the area showed up to support the play, the students, and the school, which has apparently been very supportive of the effort.

Students from the local GSA were there, selling T-Shirts and bracelets (we bought both) – it was great to see them.

Thanks to Michaelle Mazzone Byam for the photo of the lone protester.







Granite Bay HS Rally

Athletes from one of the school’s teams were also there in uniform. It kinda shocked me – we’ve come this fear – when I was in school, those same athletes would have given me hell for being gay, had I ever deed to come out.

The Director stopped by with two of his student directors, and we did a video which was texted to them, but he wanted them inside, concentrating on their performances.

At least three local TV news crews came – Fox, CBS and ABC – I think they were a little disappointed they didn’t get to film an angry confrontation, Instead it was a bit of a love fest.

While we were there, we talked to the mom of a gay son who is playing Fred Phelps in the play. She is a religious woman who was shocked when her son came out to her, and she sought help from a man who had experience working to help gays deny their orientation.

She asked him if he could become straight, and he told her that her son would be struggling with this for the rest of his life.

And she said that’s when it hit her – this was a part of him a God-given part, and she needed to support her son as God had made him, not how she wanted him to be. Now she’s out on the streets advocating for her gay son and the rest of the LGBT community.



Granite Bay HS Rally

Another man we spoke with was an adult student from a local college – probably in his fifties. He said he had a lot of homework, but he decided this was too important to pass up. He, and many others, had been complacent about Prop 8, and it had passed, and he wasn’t going to let that happen again.

Cars would go by, and honk their support, and the whole group – maybe a hundred in all – would cheer.

So here we are in 2014, when what used to be controversial is now the mainstream position of the community, and the opponents are a few crazy, not-very-committed nuts who don’t even hang around. What a sea change. WBC is not welcome here.

I look at the Grammys this year, and the unexpected rulings for marriage equality in severely red states, and the changing poll numbers, and just how unremarkable it is to be gay in many places anymore, and I am thrilled to be here to see it.

What else will 2014 bring?

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