Last week I was reading towleroad, my fav blog and a little piece jumped to my eyes: a -straight- couple being harrassed in smalltown USA, because they had a rainbow flag. I stopped and read. The shame!
Apparently the owners of a B&B dared fly a rainbow flag in the middle of christiandom -notice the lowercase- and obviously, all the pious, caring, loving and accepting christians in that little Payton Place rushed to their bibles and returned to stone the heathens.
The hell of small-town-USA was somehow mythical to me until a few years ago, when I got to hear the horror stories of queer kids growing up in the middle of corn fields or in towns with two stop lights and twenty churches. It all seemed fantastic and somehow surreal. How could one of the most powerful nations in the world, with all its advances and progress be so bigoted, narrow-minded, ignorant?
After several years I've come to see the schyzo nature of this country both as a reason to stay here and to want to run away: half of the country is blinded by the same motives that lead people to fly planes into buildings. The other half is trying to make it a better, open and smart nation.
Funny, isn't it? How the image of the youngster looking out his window and pining for the exotic faraway place changes ever so little. Only to discover that at the end, that place is NOT what he thought it was. But worse. But there's hope. I wrote a little email to the owners of the B&B (in this country everything is done through letters, petitions, and meetings) telling them how courageous I thought they were for standing up to the bigots in the middle of nowhere. And they responded. They sent a mass email -which is good, that means that many people showed their support- thanking everybody and saying that they were staying. Very brave. In the face of bigotry, kick it in the teeth. Simple. Efficient.
Here's their little email:
Robin & I can¹t even begin to come up with words strong enough to convey our
appreciation for all of your support and well wishes. Especially to those of
you that have booked rooms and even just sent money to help pay our bills.
Your the best.
We are getting so many emails every day that we barely have time to read
them let alone respond to each of them in a timely manner. So I thought I¹d
send out this Big thanks to everyone and then do individuals as time
First of all, reading your letters at the end of a long day makes it allot
easier getting up the next day. So a BIG thanks for that!!!
As you know our rainbow flag was hung outside of our hotel because we dearly
miss our son. It signified to us that he is just over the rainbow and as
soon as we can we will all be together again. When my good neighbors told me
to take it down, I assure you there was no hesitation. It will not come
down. Last night, July 30, 2006 some ³person² cut it down, well most of it
anyway. Robin & I want you all to know that as soon as we can get a
replacement here, the rainbow will proudly fly again.
My son¹s Rainbow flag is gone, cut by the very closed minded bigots that we
sent him home to get away from. Our new Rainbow flag will serve a different
purpose, it will stand for the very thing that THEY (the schalooses) wanted
it to stand for. Gay Rights, Gay Pride, Human Rights, Equality of the Sexes,
Equality of the Races, Diversity, Unity, Peace, The International
Co-operative Alliance's, The Inca banner, The Flag of Cusco, Peru, The
Wizard of OZ, God¹s Gift to Mankind, and everything else that the
homophobic, bigoted, ignorant ... people of the world fear.
Our new Rainbow flag will fly as a reminder to my son, never to back down to
prejudice and tyranny no matter the cost, because once you do it will never
stop. Money and business is one thing but peoples dignity is much more
Before we bought the Lakeway Hotel a gay couple looked at it and the same
good christians that want my son¹s rainbow flag down told the bank, Œif you
sell to those gays, we¹ll all pull our accounts.¹ They¹ll never be happy,
and their hunger for control will never subside. Never!!! They change
scripture to suit their purpose. They are spreading ignorance and bigotry
one child at a time. Not my son.
Our new Rainbow flag will wave :
At our friends that never made it to their 30th birthdays, Jim, John, Jimmy,
At the group I counseled in High School who I vowed I would never reveal
their names or what we talked about.
To my 7th and 8th grade teacher who taught me that gay people are just
people, and who the kids that called him a fagot behind his back eventually
named as their favorite teacher of all.
To the two retired teachers Ruth and Madge who still reside in this old
brick Hotel, playing jokes and helping me see, I don¹t know if they were
really a couple, but if they were, good for them.
To the gay and lesbian people of Meade and elsewhere, hiding in closets and
garages, letting you know that someday you¹ll just be able to be you.
To all of the people traveling on hwy 54 who are afraid to stop in these
hick towns because they don¹t think they¹ll be accepted or worse.
To Shawn and all the other people in the world that had the terrifying and
heart wrenching task of telling their parents that they are Gay or Lesbian.
To Shawn¹s dad, my good bud Robert, who although probably didn¹t want this
for his son, hugged him, loves him and is very proud of him. I wish all
parents were like him.
But most importantly our new Rainbow flag will wave in the face of Hatred,
Bigotry, Ignorance and the people who embody these traits as a constant
reminder that they can¹t control everyone or every thing. That god loves
every one the same. And that hate is a much bigger sin, than 2 people loving
each other ever could be.
George Washington once said that the thing that separates the American
People from all other people of the world is that we will die on our feet
before we will ever live on our knees.
I think it¹s time that we get up off our knees and stand together for what¹s
right. Even if we are a bit squeamish about what the right thing is.
We might not be able to fix stupid,
but it sure is fun taking it apart!!!!
A BIG Thanks Again to All
we¹ll remember you, long after you forget us
JR & Robin Knight
Lakeway Hotel - Bed and Breakfast Inn
115 N. Fowler, Meade, Kansas 67864
PO BOX 1029, Meade, Kansas 67864-1029
Toll-Free: 877-276-2700 - Phone: 620-873-2700
lakewayhotel.com - email@example.com