Southridge High School in Beaverton, OR was planning on putting on a production of "The Laramie Project," a play about the aftermath of Matthew Shepard's murder in Laramie, WY. However, the school principal, Amy Gordon, stopped the play before it could get underway, saying that it was "too controversial" (the politically correct way of saying 'too gay'). Yet, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, which runs the website godhatesfags.com are still coming to Beaverton to let the school know that they never should have considered the play in the first place.
First off, this is homophobia and discrimination in stopping this outstanding play. Second, this is bigotry of the most extreme degree coming into town to make sure that this homophobia stays in place.
This needs to stop.
I would love to have a letter-writing campaign and more to the school board to let them know that this shit has got to end. Since I've been in Portland, I've heard of queer-positive events that were going to take place within the Beaverton School System that came under attack as being "too controversial" such as the Love Makes a Family art exhibit in February of 2004. However, I have bigger fish to fry right now.
When Fred Phelps' crew came to Portland in April 2004, I met them at every stop. True, they were not as overwhelming as I had imagined. Actually, because I knew they were outnumbered here in Portland, I found them even a little laughable. However, in a high school setting, in a suburb, I could see them being more intimidating.
These 'people' do not hold back at all. They are brash, loud and extremely offensive. They protested Matthew Shepard's funeral seven years ago. They carry signs that say "Thank God for AIDS." They have a tally on their site counting the number of days that Matthew Shepard has been in hell. As a group, they do not resort to violence. In fact, they love for others to instigate the violence so they can sue the hell out of them (they're a family of lawyers). Even though they aren't big on the physical violence, they carry an emotionally charged, hate-filled message. As a in-the-closet high school student, these people would have made me break down and run away.
That's why we need to say "Fuck no! Not here!"
I would implore everyone who can to go out to Southridge High School at 2pm (on the dot, they're prompt) tomorrow and tell these people where they can stick their mis-interpreted bible. Southridge high school is located at 9625 SW 125th Ave. The best weapon against these people is a louder voice (but bring signs, noisemakers and whatever else you feel is necessary.)
Come help support the GLBTQ students in this high school and the wonderful faculty that tried to put this play on in the first place.
(we'll write to the school some other time)