1/17/2007                                                                                       View Comments

I feel a twinge of anger

Sent in by Stevie P

As I watch continuing coverage of Atlanta's evening news, I feel a tinge of anger. Recent headlines of the elderly woman shot dead in her home by police, is disheartening & disturbing. The incident kind of gives meaning to a conversation I had with an eighty-year young man at the community ballpark. His conversation gave me the hope we aren't all helpless to adversity as we age. The gentleman was sitting at the end of a metal bench which I happened to prop my bike on. It's an easy place to stand my mountain bike up as I get a drink of water from the nearby fountain. On this day, the little league games were in session and the park was crowded as usual. I enjoy riding my bike in the park. The paths are more challenging and it's excellent exercise. When I reached for my bike, the gentleman asked me if I would pick up his glasses which had fallen beside the bikes rear wheel. I introduced myself as he thanked me, and I was rewarded with an unusual question. He asked me if I knew the woman sitting above him to his left. I answered that I didn't and thus his story began.

Having a moment to take a breather from biking, I listened to his story and was equally amused by his character & charm. His story wasn't unusual in today's society as it might have been in previous decades. This woman, as he lowered his voice for fear she might hear, was a hell-raising bigot. Hearing those three simple words, ‘hell-raising bigot', caught my attention and awarded him my afternoon exercise time. So, I took a seat and listened. According to his account, she had demonized his friend, and his friend would no longer watch his grandson play ball. His friend, obviously his life partner, as the man later admitted to being gay, was timid and shy. Larry, being the man whose conversation was entertaining me, said his partner's name was Joe. I hesitate to use last names, as I haven't spoke to him since and honestly wouldn't know if he felt my recount of his story would be appropriate for print.

The woman, who he identified simply as Mrs. Nut-Case, was responsible for getting the team mothers to rally against his partner's attending the game. The sad tale of why she did this is not amusing. From how he explained, Joe's grandson is not going to win any friendship points from his teammates. Larry defines the kid as a bit of a rebel. His dad died, leaving a mother with little free time to attend sporting events, thus, Joe took him. The grandson told his teammates that Joe was gay, and that's when Mrs. Nut-Case opened fire. First, when Joe attended a game without Larry, she approached him and asked him to leave. She said "As Christians, we don't allow perverts to watch our kids in this town!" Joe was taken back by the comment and didn't know how to respond. He didn't leave until the game was over, but as he and his grandson got into the car, some teammates and their parents joined forces with Mrs. Nut-Case and shouted epithets and homophobic slurs.

I admit, at this point in Larry's story, I glanced at the woman, who by the way was equally staring at me, with a questionable eye! At the time, Joe was eighty-two, which isn't to say he is too old for getting out and enjoying a ballgame, but I feel it is a bit old to have an unjustified and highly disrespectful approach from Mrs. Nut-Case.

Larry continued his explanation of events by assuring me that he attends every game he has the energy too, because he enjoys the games and too make a statement. Larry's story easily provokes thought, thought which speculates if we allow women such as Mrs. Nut-Case to judge us for our sexuality, that we can easily be judged by our age, race, and nationality. I agreed. He was a bit taken back when, after hearing his tale, I told him I was gay and proudly partnered. He asked me why I chose to live in the area, which by the way, is the most religious area of the state? My answer is simple. I live with my partner and it shouldn't matter where we choose to live. If America is the home of freedom and democracy, then under our constitution, my partner and I have the right to reside where we do. He isn't the only individual who has posed that question to me. Consequently, I returned the question. His reply was that both men were retired military and chose not to move from an area they have lived since childhood. We both agreed that it would be inappropriate for folk to suggest we live openly in an area more accepting of gay men. Not everyone has a choice where to reside, nor should they live any differently due to society prejudice.

Mrs. Nut-Case was successful in her attempts to keep Joe from attending the games, but not his grandson, nor Larry. The grandson's sportsmanship carried him throughout the rest of the season. Larry now sits in the stands, albeit alone as Joe waits at home. However, Larry admits he's breaking Joe down and pretty soon they will both attend the games together again. Especially since his grandson won over his teammates by standing up for his grandfather and actually beating up the one teammate whose mother was equally as vocal as Mrs. Nut-Case. According to Larry, Mrs. Nut-Case can cry "Pervert" and have "Parents shout hateful epithets" all she wants, but he said it would take a court order to remove him from the bench.

I made a friend that day, though I haven't been the "good friend" and dropped by for poker night like he asked, but I'm marking the next poker game on my calendar. Age should be irrelevant in friendship, but with Larry, I learned one thing in my thirties. I learned that activism and pride in oneself is not fleeting with age! Oh, and as I rode my bike the rest of the summer, I continued to wave at Larry and return "the stare" of Mrs. Nut-Case. Should she rally her Christian troops again, I'll do my best to keep abreast of the situation and be a supportive friend on Larry's team! We should never have to fight injustice alone, nor remain fearfully locked in our homes. Thankfully, Joe's grandson is among many of our nations' youth who are sick of oppressive behavior from people who claim the love of God, Christians. Perhaps as we continue to age, things might get better?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a great story! May all stand up for the acceptance of difference!

Pat Fraudertson said...

May we all stand up for tolerance! This was an awesome story!

trans-man said...

I am transgendered.
Who knows what some church folks think about me, although I never ran into anyone who showed me hostility or rejection to my face.

Sean

D Laurier said...

I have to ask this,,,
Was the man who Mrs nutcase denounced as gay, actualy gay?
Or just a hetro who got labeled GAY by a bigot looking for a target?

Anonymous said...

Nice story. And very typical of Christian "love" in the USA. I'm sure every Christian can just imagine Jesus acting like this woman and her bigot-buds.

Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

It strikes me that Mrs. Nut-Case is asking for a law-suite. Maybe a civil action, but quite possibly a criminal one. IF it were possible (and I think it surely is...) to use a video camera to record the action, Larry should attend one or more games so that Mrs. Nut-Case has the opportunity to round up her "Christian Soldiers" and harrass this guy. A good atty (and I'm sure that one or more could be found in Atlanta and it's surrounding area to do the work pro bono...) could then bring the tape (and written and sworn depositions, if advisable) to the police, or the DA's civil rights division (they must have one...) and bring action against this woman and her crew. It is one thing to glare at an old man from a distance: it is quite another to round up some friends and threaten him.

Anonymous said...

this issue is just like when black people were being accepted into society. one day we will look back on the anti-gay days and hang our heads in shame. I am proud of my friends who are gay, they are fighting a great battle. thank you "twinge of anger" for posting your story.

jim earl said...

Anony:
this issue is just like when black people were being accepted into society. one day we will look back on the anti-gay days and hang our heads in shame.

I don't believe the majority of cretins are hanging their heads for the way they treated the blacks. They may present a smiling face in public but they still have bigoted attitudes in private. I should know, I was once one of them. Now that I know better, I don't have any ill feelings toward anyone for any reason. You see, I was once a cretin, but now I can see clearly. Religion only breeds hatred and bigotry against people that are different. Religion sucks. All of them.

John Fensworth said...

It's nice to know that some homosexual individuals aren't letting the discrimination get to them. But the whole homophobia and intolerance in people really, absolutely pisses me off. Especially how so many "christians" constantly refer to homosexuals as "perverts." What the fuck is wrong with you people???!!! Men who are attracted to men (or women attracted to women) are perverts, but men attracted to women are not?! Are you people friggin stupid? It's not all about the sex, you morons! A loving relationship is a loving relationship, no matter which genders it is between. These christians who cal homosexuals "perverts" are also probably the ones who believe that sex is only for reproduction, and nothing else. You'd think they would be the ones to understand! I really hope this whole thing is just a phase America is going through, and I hope it is resolved quickly.

infidel666 said...

Great story, and I must agree with anonymous. This sounds like a violation of this man's civil rights as well as harrasment and probaly more. A camcorder and a day at the park could land quite a few in federal court. And really this is what needs to happen. These types of christians are so stupid. They don't know their bible and they sure as hell don't recognize other peoples rights. Bust em

Anonymous said...

To answer a few questions:

d laurier--yes, he is a gay man; however, I see where you're going with your question. Often Christians just want to poke at those "loners" who don't dress, act, or appear as CHRISTIAN as themselves. Larry doesn't act like a sterotype; however, he's the older gent who cleans his yard and takes pride in his neighborhood--I guess that would automatically label him as "gay" in my neck of the woods. I'm surprised Nut-Case's flock didn't make him out to be a child molestor.

To Anon: Unlike many civil actions, many law suits in Georgia just don't make it past first base (pardon the ball-park pun)... In Larry's case (I can only speculate, as we haven't discussed it) I'd assume the community reaction is something Joe would be scared to face. As they were both military and they weren't totally "OUT" to everyone. 2nd, I doubt attorneys in my county (a burb outside of Atlanta) would take a pro-bono case based on homophobia. This area is home to right-wing political cronies such as WESTMORELAND (the jerk who authored a bill to have the Ten Commandments placed inside every court house of America, but yet appeared on THE CORBERT REPORT (Comedy Central) and could NOT name the Ten Commandments. Visit U-tube for the video. However, the Montgomery Alabama Southern Poverty Center has been known to tackle a discrimination case when the publicity works in their favor. I'd back Larry if he chose to do so, and for the record, the county does not have cameras in the ballpark (but in the age of Big Brother, filming Mrs. Nut-Case would be a simple matter).

I'm glad Larry's story has recived positive response here, but I do hope folks realize that his is only "one" story. Hundreds of gay teens and adults in this county are targets of Christian based bigotry and hate crimes, though most are afraid to take up for themselves or to report the incidents. I for one, as an outspoken activist, have been the target of hate mail, youtful angst of having my home "egged" and "toliet papered", as well as having some hateful content about my sexuality displayed throughout the Christian owned and heavily right-wing newspaper opinion column. One writer suggested I be hung on a cross for my sins of perversion and I quote: "If it's good enough for the days of the bible, it's good enough now!" Of course, I read those words as a threat and phoned to cancel my paper's subscription. If only you could sue a paper's opinion section? Though, as many do, I refuse to live in fear, as this is my home and wherever I am with my partner, is where I'll be happy, no matter what Christians think!

Sarge said...

I have a cousin who is the 'minister of music' at a rather fundy church and he is gay. Why he stays is totally beyond me, but it's somehow in his "comfort zone."
I'm told by others that he really isn't gay, he just wants attention, or he's a 'good' gay person...whatever the hell that is.

Couple christmas's ago he put together a group for a christmas program that we wrote together, several of the local churches (he lives out in the sticks) went together on it. He put together the group, about twenty five of us, to perform. About half were gay, and all but five were atheist/agnostic. One of the gay men expressed interest in me, and I had to tell him that I was straight, and married to the tympani player (my wife is a percussionist). He said he was quite surprised, a male harp player who wasn't gay...did the other harpists know? I said, yes, and they were OUTRAGED! Had a real good laugh.

Funny, I am retired from the military, and the military has always been homophobic...sort of. My first tour in Viet Nam I was infantry, and there were three gays in my platoon. Back during the draft, a lot got drafted, and about the only way to prove it was to commit a felony in front of witnesses on federal property. Better take the draft. But, these guys got accepted, there was one of our "straight" number who was uncomfortable around them until one guy told him that a skinny, hot, sweaty, unwashed, HFUO stricken guy who was suffering from loose bowels from malaria pills was every gay's dream come true.

The insidious 'gay agenda' seems to be pretty much to live like everyone else and be left the hell alone. Intolerable, I guess, to some.

Anonymous said...

This story made me really angry. I know many of you saw the positive side but it just pisses me off.

I live in Japan and one of the great things is the concept of uchi/soto. Your private matters are not for public discussion. Of course people still gossip and carry on and there is outstracisation (sp?) but you don't get the abuse and vigalante attitudes like in Westeren countries. In general people leave you alone.

It's no ones esle's business who you have sex with. I'm not gay, but I still don't like people talking about my sexuality, it's private.

Brett

Kurari said...

Hurrah for Larry! I hope Joe does start coming to the games again too. Mrs. Nut-Case needs a boot to the head.

I'm having a lot of problems with my elderly mother right now, because she's given up on life and makes it seem like being old is the worst thing in the world. And she's only in her 60's. This has helped me straighten my perspective on the elderly too.

eel_shepherd said...

Sarge [I think] wrote:

"...I have a cousin who is the 'minister of music' at a rather fundy church and he is gay. Why he stays is totally beyond me..."

Cause he's nuts. Just like the rest of us. Even the relatively sane people are only _relatively_ sane.

Stories like the topic post always make me wish I had millions of bucks, so I could do what all rich people would do in these 2 senior gays' position --- hire a battalion of private investigators and analysts (data, financial, etc.) to get every last shred of information on Mrs. Nut-Case and find out where her "don't-touch-me-there" spots are, and then make sure she knows that _you also_ know where they are, and that your closed mouth is contingent upon her own closed mouth. Be great to see the old cow squirm, wouldn't it?

But for most of us in the middle class, the best weapon against these frustrated creeps, who use conflict as a substitute for more healthy forms of pleasure, is humour/parody/lampooning... They hate that worse than anything else in the world. And (bonus!) they also make such easy targets, being already so "fundamentally" ridiculous right from the get-go. Born palookas.

Sarge said...

Eel Shepherd is quite correct. My dear cousin is a nut cake, and he is well paid. I've been told that he isn't really gay because he 'doesn't act gay'. He 'does regular guy' things. It's all putting people in boxes, as a mutual freind says, he's been there for a long time, never made a secret of this, so if the church admits to this, what does that say about THEM?

Back in the 70's Anita Bryant went public with her view that gay persons should be assaulted. Cost her (rightfully) her carreer in the general public.

Like Eel Shepherd, I find humor to be great as a tool to defuse the hostility aimed at those of us because of our honesty. The gentleman who had expressed a desire to know me a bit better has hired my wife and I for other jobs, and the militants on each side of any question just naturally hate laughter, any laughter. We get to joke a lot. He told one guy not to pay attention to the fact that my wife and I were showing affection...female drummer, male harpist...we were 'queer as coots'.

Anonymous said...

That type of intolerance, really gets me upset. Some christians that are very close to me recently surprised me with some of the bigotry come out they mouth toward homosexuals. Well, their book of law says that tis evil to be one, so they judge accordingly. What a mess the religion is!

Joey

CyborgX said...

I live in a relatively tolerant (for the most part) area, thankfully. I mean I haven't really seen anyone with an "alternative lifestyle" or just living differently be put down as much as I read other places do. It happens but luckily I haven't seen it to such a larger degree.

As for "perverts" I swear the Christians are the perverts. They are so obsessed with sex. More like the hatred of it, and wanting to know what you did, even by yourself, when, etc. And then put it all down or ridicule one for it. I think deep down they are masochists and get off on it. THAT is SICK. I've heard too many Christians act like that. I just tell them to shut up about it and point out THEY are the ones obsessed over it as I never even brought it up - they kept talking about it! They seem to not understand "none of your business". Voyerist pigs!

I knew of some gay/lesbians who never even mentioned sex. I didn't even know what they were until it was just brought up casually (as in introduction of partner, as in "this is my partner....") Then nothing more was said. Life went on, friendships, light chat, good conversation, just like any other normal person.

Try that type of thing with a Christian? Oh no... THIS IS MY ****WIFE***** We have a MARRIAGE and these are OUR CHILDREN!!!!!!! And we HAVE ANOTHER ON THE WAY!!!!!!!!!! Oh how they shout from the rooftops what they are doing! And then it's "You're not married? Are you sinning? Do you know that m--- is wrong? Surely you must be doing it because you are not married. You must PRAY and ASK Forgiveness!" And on and on and on before you can tell them to take a flying leap! :(

I have NEVER heard such things from gay or lesbians, thankfully. If given a choice of who to spend an afternoon with, a Christian married couple or a gay or lesbian couple, I would spend the afternoon with the gay or lesbian couple. I know then at least I won't need to hear all about how wrong sex is. Or even about sex at all!

Searching said...

I agree with all of you that the behavior of Mrs. Nutcase was deplorable and certainly not christian in the least. I am searching at this point in my life but unlike many of you, my experience with christians was overwhelmingly positive. I experienced a great deal of love, forgiveness and unconditional love from the christians I have known. I cannot even imagine any of them acting the way this woman and her cohorts behaved. On the other hand there are plenty of non-christians who hate gays and persecute them, so I don't think you can blame people's bad behavior on christianity. People will use anything in order to justify their behavior.

Anonymous said...

Searching: "People will use anything to justify their behavior." Well said! However, Christians are the ones who are leaping to the polls to prevent gays from marrying, have equal rights, and from forming partnerships in general. Christians and those who partake in religions are the ONES who want to eliminate homosexuality and are the ones who scream the loudest with HATE crimes. If it were not for CHRISTIANS, the glbt community would have their equality. Do some freaking research in the matter before you post such rediculous commentary as to suggest Christians accept gays--for they DON'T and it's their lack of acceptance which creates misery in our lives from EVERY direction!

Sarge said...

Searching, people no matter what their race, gender/gender orientation, religeon, well, most of them swing back and forth like a pendulum between "good and "bad". Personally, I think for most people do the religeon thing to badge and identify themselves culturally, the less the inclination to think, the less immature, the less personally secure, the more fundy, conservative, insular, and dependent on rules and authority they seem to be. They are terrified of the 'not me'.

Many of the people I grew up with, have dealt and now deal with and are the most zeno, ethno, and homophobic have the most deep self doubts. They are belligerant, angry, and reactionary in the face of the unfamiliar and different. I think they see themselves projected, the parts they have doubts about and fears about.

Years ago my late father (baptist deacon)was somewhat disturbed by my friendship with my gay cousin, and his reaction to my demural, saying he was a good man and a guy I liked, was an angry bellow, "What!!?? Are you one.too? You must be, if you like him!" and other fulminations.

I have heard it said that a person's real religeon is revealed by what he says when he's among those he thinks like minded, how he treats people who he isn't required to treat well, and how he acts when he thinks no one is watching.

Sarge said...

Sorry, meant 'more immature'.

Searching said...

Stevie P said " Do some freaking research in the matter before you post such rediculous commentary as to suggest Christians accept gays--for they DON'T and it's their lack of acceptance which creates misery in our lives from EVERY direction!"

Your comment sounds alot like Mrs. Nutcase only just against people you happen to not like. Just because a person does not accept another's behavior as normal doesn't mean that they are hateful. Christians have good reason to believe that allowing gay marriage will add to the already disintegration of the family. Many christians believe that history has shown that societies that normalize gay lifestyles and total sexual freedom and unrestraint become weak and fall apart. I believe that was what was attributed to the fall of Rome. There are people who think that polygamy and pedophilia behavior is normal and should be allowed. Do you agree with that? Just because a person disagrees with another's behavior doesn't mean they hate the person.

Sarge, I think there ought to be alittle understanding of where Mrs. Nutcase and your father are coming from. I've heard it said that homosexuals would not choose their lifestyle if they felt they had a choice. Well, parents would not choose homosexuality for their children because they would not want their children to suffer the rejection gays experience. So if gay people are hanging around their children it scares them just as if their children were hangin' with a drug addict. They don't want their children to pick up the 'bad influence'. So, how about being alittle easy on the Mrs. Nutcases out there.

Astreja said...

Searching, it is not a good idea to go easy on the ignorant bigots of this world.

It is never a good idea to compromise one's own principles.

It is always a bad idea to let wilful ignorance go unchallenged.

The hatred of "Mrs. Nutcase" is our problem but *her* responsibility.

And I have a major problem with this statement: Christians have good reason to believe that allowing gay marriage will add to the already disintegration of the family.

Homophobic sects of Christianity (and other religions as well) do not have "good reason" for such beliefs. What they do have is an unsubstantiated bias, which may have been deliberately induced by religious indoctrination. This is inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

"Your comment sounds alot like Mrs. Nutcase only just against people you happen to not like."

Searching: Since you failed to do any "research" and your logic is ill advised, allow me the opprotunity to "RIP YOU A NEW ASSHOLE" as someone desperately needs to do so!

First off, gays suffer due to religious indoctrination and the hypocrisy of said indoctination which spreads hatred and oppression of indifference! Gay is NOT sin. Gay is NOT immoral, and Gay is NOT fodder for your "nose-in-the-air-oh-so-better-than-everyone-attitude!"

If your kid playing with a gay kid, seems to upset you so much, one would think you would educate yourself on matters of sexuality--but obviously, you just need to admit to yourself you ARE a BIGOT, which is equal to a racist! There is no logical reason to shun someone for ones sexuality. If doing so, why not shun someone for his eye color, his hair color, or his shoe size?

For another thing "Searching" NO ONE CHOOSES his sexuality. It's a matter of DNA; however, your comment of "I've heard it said that homosexuals would not choose their lifestyle if they felt they had a choice." Where is this poll? In my 39 years, I've NEVER came across such poll, and as a publicist, I would know. Also, being gay is NOT a freaking LIFESTYLE---will you Christian morons ever get that through your freaking heads? A lifestyle is an activity such as "snowboarding" or "dancing".... I would HAPPILY CHOOSE to be homosexual if given the choice. Those like you who stand behind a fictional book with an unsurpassed ignorance will NEVER take away my pride.

It's ignorance as SEARCHING so boldly displays which pitts parents against children. Gay children want what other children want, the LOVE and RESPECT of their parents. Acceptance. However, with individuals such as SEARCHING who place homosexuality in league with polygamy and pedophilia, what's a questioning child to think? What's a questioning child to do?

As long as their are ASSHOLES like SEARCHING (no I will not be kind to shitheads who compare my sexuality to polygamy & pedophilia) there will be folks like me, unashamed to right the wrongs of biblethumping, brainwashed, HATEFUL bigots! Now, SEARCHING, please accept my humble invitation to take that "holier-than-thou" vibrator out of your nightstand and "GO FU@$ yourself!"