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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

All this time I thought it was gay men who invented the concept of 'fashionably late'

Sometimes I just don't get straight folks. I honestly don't.

I'm not talking about the straight allies who understand that the struggle for gay rights is a struggle for human rights. Nor am I talking about the unrepentant homophobes who think that those homo-seck-shuls have all the rights they need and probably need to have some taken away from 'em.

What I don't get are the vast numbers of straight folks in the middle who don't give much thought at all to gay rights. Sure, they might get misty-eyed watching "The Laramie Project" and think for a moment how it's wrong to beat up gay people and leave them tied to a fence in the middle of nowhere. But when it comes to issues like employment, housing, inheritance, marriage, and just about any other right that would insure we can live free from harassment and discrimination, they seem always too busy organizing neighborhood garage sales and car pools to pay much attention.

Take yesterday for example. Someone posted a link to an article from on a Democratic Underground message board. The article, Gay Protests Target Funerals of Soldiers Killed in Iraq, detailed how notoriously homophobic "preacher" Fred Phelps and his inbred traveling freak show of family members from Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church have begun traveling around the country picketing the funerals of soldiers who have died in Iraq.

"They turned America over to fags; they're coming home in body bags," said a flyer announcing Saturday's picket at services for Army Staff Sgt. Asbury Hawn II at First United Methodist Church in Smyrna, Tenn.

"The God they say that blesses America also can curse America, and is cursing America in a mighty way," Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of the church's pastor, Fred Phelps, said of nearby counter-protestors and by-passers in cars shouting comments at the small group carrying picket signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God is America's Terrorist."

The Democratic Underground is normally a pretty safe place to be liberal. Oh, sure, there are occasionally a "liberaler than thou" pissing contests that breaks out and then there are a few trolling Freepers (what folks on the DU call their opposite numbers who post on the extreme right-wing Free Republic web site) who cause problems from time to time. But for the most part, those who post on the DU are a friendly, progressive bunch.

But when some of the straight folks read about Phelps picketing soldiers' funerals you'd have thought you landed in the middle of a Free Republic hatefest for HillarClintonon. He are just a few of the comments:

"These people are insane. They are picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers spewing that the deaths are occurring as a result of America's 'tolerance' of homosexuality."

"We need to drop those ignorant idiots on a deserted island somewhere...
OMG! They are......I have no words."

"It's because of people like this that, yes, I am ASHAMED to be an American."

"Heaven forbid, my family is faced with this situation, these picketers would be hurt - or worse - by a group of very peaceful, sweet family and friends. Including, or, especially, my women friends."

Suddenly people are OUTRAGED at Phelps and his miscreants.

So where have this folks been? Where the fuck was their outrage when Phelps was "only" targeting gays? He was certainly in the news enough that even heterosexuals with no connection to the LGBT community would have noticed him. But now that he's picketing soldiers' funerals, some straight folks are suddenly "discovering" Fred Phelps. Were they completely oblivious to his anti-gay message before? Did they tacitly agree with it? Or did they just not give a rat's ass because Phelps wasn't bothering normal people?

There are a lot of straight allies I absolutely adore ... but sometimes I just don't understand some heterosexuals.

I suppose I should be more charitable to those who come later to the realization that gay rights are human rights. Coming to that realization late is better than not coming to the realization at all.

But there's a resentful part of me that wants to shake them and say, "Damn! What the hell took you so long?"