Pass It On, Please

The big moment has arrived! 

Kickstarter, a crowdfunding site where artists, rather than seeking patronage from one large donor instead seeks funding for their projects from small amounts pledged by many donors.

I’ve just launched a campaign to raise funds to polish up The Boxer Rebellion and send it out into the world to find support from:

  • Book Reviewers with recommendations
  • Libraries with readers
  • Educators with impact
  • Politicians with power
  • Celebrities with platforms
  • Anyone who might be able to help stop bullying
Kickstarter is an All or Nothing deal. That means that if I reach my funding goal the people who have pledged will be charged that amount and receive rewards from me, but if I fail to reach my goal then those who have pledged will be charged absolutely nothing. And that’s where you come in.

I need news of this campaign to reach far and wide. Every ReTweet or FaceBook share, GoodReads or Amazon review spreads the word to those who’ve never heard of me or my novel about gay bullying in High School and cyberspace. The more people who take a look at my campaign the wider my audience and pool of potential pledge makers.

Check out the Kickstarter Project: The Boxer Rebellion

Intolerance. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

And the controversy rages on.

Floating around FaceBook I saw a poster of one of my favorite movie characters of all time, Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride. Printed on the picture is this: “You’re banning Chick-Fil-A from your city because they’re intolerant. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Clever, eh? No. Because the word intolerance is quite fitting when it comes to the owner of Chick-Fil-A S. Truett Cathy’s beliefs. As noted by the MinnPost he discriminates against gay people becoming franchise owners, and even employees. Now he’s in his nineties and his policies are being carried forward by his son, Dan Cathy. And now that everyone knows how anti-gay they are (against marriage, against DADT, for DOMA, etc…) people are boycotting them. And I guess it started hurting, because they now say they’re out of the political arena and back in the kitchen. Except that once you burst that feather pillow it’s impossible to regather them all.

I mean, when even Miss Piggy won’t eat your food then you’ve hit rock bottom.

We know that people who are gay were born that way. YES, all credible medical and scientific sources agree that gayness is in the genes. (Ersatz science disagrees, but then they would. They also cling to the idea that reparative therapy works against all evidence to the contrary.)

And if you’re taking it to the Good Book then point out one, even one, condemnation of gays or lesbians from Jesus Christ’s lips. You won’t be able to find any because He never said one word about gay folks, rather he directed us all to love one another. It always amazes me when self proclaimed Born Again Christians would rather follow the teachings of the ancient Jews than Jesus Christ.

All of which brings up the point that there’s direct scientific evidence that narrow minded bigotry IS a learned behavior and can be changed by choice. That’s a choice we hope people make by themselves, but when they don’t we have a civil rights uprising, as we are experiencing now in our country, and not for the first time.

Soon people will have to declare themselves either FOR tolerance and equality or AGAINST them, just as they did for black civil rights and women’s civil rights. Either a person agrees that all American citizens must have equal rights, or disagrees. If one disagrees and thinks that some people deserve fewer rights than others then one would be, by definition, a bigot. (I am NOT calling you a bigot, I don’t know your beliefs. I am simply defining the word.)

Chick-Fil-A’s owner is intolerant of gay folks, their families, and their having equal civil rights. “Guilty as charged,” right? Personally, I think a boycott of his restaurants is in order, although I was surprised to see the mayor of Boston take the same stance for his entire city as I had personally. But then, Beantown was the birthplace of the original Tea Party, rabblerousers one and all.

It’s notable that Boston has since been joined in banning Chick-Fil-As by Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The movement is growing and gaining strength. We can tell because the violence against LGBT folks is escalating. Bigots fight back with bullying, after all.

“…and the times, they are a’changing.”

HATE CRIME: Woman Has ‘DYKE’ Carved Into Her Face

LGBTQ Nation

According to the FBI:

Defining a Hate Crime

     A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime – and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.
     Keep that in mind as you read on.
     Yesterday, during the early hours of the morning in a quiet suburb of Lincoln, Nebraska, a woman’s home was broken into by three men wearing masks. They stripped the woman and pinned her arms and ankles together with zip ties.
    They cut her all over her body. Then they carved words into her skin. Then they poured gasoline on the floor and threw a lit match on it.
     According to the Journal Star a friend said the woman crawled from her house, naked and bleeding and screaming for help before reaching the doorstep of a neighbor’s home.
     A source to LGBTQ Nation said “the words ‘cunt’, ‘fag’, and ‘dyke’ were carved into her face and body, and that assailants tried to set her house on fire.”
     The woman’s friends told LGBTQ Nation the assailants also spray painted anti-gay words in her basement, including, “We found U dyke”. They say it’s a definite hate crime because the woman assaulted is a lesbian.
     “When someone takes the time to handcuff someone with a zip tie and carve derogatory comments or words into somebody else’s body, that’s sheer hate and at this point, this is a hate crime.”
     Damon Robbins, the Lincoln FD arson investigator, told the local media there was evidence that a match ignited vapors coming from gasoline pooled on the woman’s floor. Luckily the fire did not continue to burn. He estimates the damage to be around $200.
     So, just to recap:

  1. These guys broke into a lesbian’s house.
  2. They carved the word DYKE into her belly.
  3. They spray painted FOUND U DYKE on her basement wall.
  4. They set a fire to kill her and burn the evidence.
     Yet as of late Sunday night the Lincoln PD had not ruled the home invasion, assault, and attempted murder a hate crime.

Yeah, I said that too.

(Journal Star via Towle Road)

     Last night a group of  between 500 to 1000 people gathered at the Nebraska State Capitol building to hold a vigil for the woman.
     Those gathered were so numerous they spilled out into 14th Street. Police forced them onto the Capitol lawn to make room for passing vehicles. The crowd complied, but were understandably agitated.
     Karen Bratton-Cranford, the president of Star City Pride, an LGBT advocacy group, used a microphone to urge the crowd to act respectfully and not take matters into their own hands.
     “Don’t go out and act on your own. Don’t give them the power to control your actions,” she said.
     The unidentified woman’s friends and neighbors are speaking out on her behalf, and I think it is important for every out Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered or Queer person to help get her very real story out in the public’s eye.
     For this woman it’s too late. She will see the evidence of bigotry and hate scarred into her face and body for a long time to come. Her healing will take years, if it ever comes, and her personal nightmare will roll along with horrifying flashbacks and daily visual reminders whenever she catches a glimpse of her own face.
     We must get a handle on these horrific hate crimes and prosecute the vicious animals who do them to the fullest extent of the law. If our local law enforcement offices don’t recognize a hate crime when they see one, then it’s our duty to show them the connection. We must stand behind our rainbow brothers and sisters, supporting those victimized by hate with as much love as we can possibly shower on them. We will take up their cause and refuse to let them be silenced.

SO WAKE UP LINCOLN PD. The rainbow world, and the world at large, is watching to see just how much more proof you need before you classify this a hate crime and get a real investigation underway.

Four Children Bullied – Possibly by Adults

What happens to bullies after high school? After all, their bullying behavior must have been reewarded of they wouldn’t have done it in the first place. It just makes sense that they would carry a successful behavior forward into their adult lives.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that four young children and their gay parents have been repeatedly terrorized over the last ten weeks.

According to The Raw Story and other sources Felix Bermea and his partner Roy feel sure they and their four children (one of whom is disabled) have been targeted because they are gay and Felix is Hispanic. Remember, the Bermea’s live in Arizona where Hispanics are a targeted group. Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer’s ultra conservative viewpoint on gay rights is undisputed. No one can claim the Bermea family is just being paranoid, their identification groups have indeed been targeted by a state government one could arguably call suppressive.

Beginning ten weeks ago the bullying started out slowly with minor damage away from the house, like graffiti spray painted on the street in front of the house and on their cars. But then the bully started setting fire to bushes in the Bermea’s front yard, one of which was up against the wall of the house.

Then s/he upped the ante and started pounding on doors to scare and intimidate those inside the house, including a window in the disabled girl’s room. “Imagine how a 9-year-old girl, who is disabled, who can barely walk, feels when they are banging on her door. My daughter was shaking in her boots when I talked to her…”

And finally the bully broke into the house, vandalized the children’s furniture and using a felt marker scrawled “ass” on the kitchen island, “bitch” on a wall in one boy’s room, and “hell” on a wall in a daughter’s bedroom. To Bermea these seem like words chosen by adults rather than the usual “Fuck you” and “asshole” preferred by teens. No similar incidents have been reported anywhere else in the neighborhood.

The Bermea’s four children are terrorized. The couple now makes sure there is always one adult present in the house at all times. The children sleep huddled on the floor in the living room, too afraid to sleep in their own beds. The fathers are worried for their children’s safety.

And until Felix’s complaint went viral around the world their local Police could give a damn. ABC 15 reports that thirty-three police visits and reports have been recorded during the ten weeks with little or no follow up. After the publicity they’ve finally been assigned a detective.

What is happening to the Bermea family is a hate crime perpetrated by grown up bullies. And once again the community support system was okay with that until their consciences were nudged by the public.

Indiegogo (the people who hosted a fund raiser for the abused school bus monitor) have launched a campaign to send the abused Bermea family to a camp for rainbow families in Provincetown, MA where they can get away from the madness and relax in the company of other families like their own.

The campaign is called Send the Bermea’s to Family Week. The goal is $10,000 and as of this writing has gathered $3,144. If the goal is not met, the family will receive nothing. Donate if you can, and if you can’t, pass the story along to others who might.

A Bully for God

Pastor Sean Harris, senior pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, while speaking in favor of Amendment 1, a bill defining marriage, veered onto the topic of child rearing. This is his advice to parents who find themselves with a lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, or gay child, as transcribed from the Good As You Website recording:

So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,” you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.

Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.

And when your daughter starts acting too butch you reign her in. And you say, “Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.”

You say, “Can I take charge like that as a parent?”

Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that.

A special dispensation from who, God? No, from Pastor Sean Harris and no one else. See how far that will get you in family court.

Parents – please – do not follow Pastor Sean’s advice. Consider instead the predicament of Nick Clements, the unlikely hero of my book The Boxer Rebellion:

What pleasure do they get from hurting Penny, from hurting me? We never did anything to them, why do they hate us so much?
Nick knew if they found out he was BoxerRebellion on LookSpace they would post the same things or worse, if they could come up with any. He seriously doubted if even one of them would dare to say such things to his face. They’re cowards hiding behind a screen.
Why is it so important to them if I’m gay or not? I do everything to prove I’m not gay. I even date a wonderful girl knowing that it isn’t going anywhere and that I’m wasting her time. I go to church, I pray for guidance every single day. What more do they want from me? And why do I feel like I mustgive it to them?
Okay look, I didn’t even think I could be gay until they locked me up in a place with a bunch of other guys just like me. I recognized myself in them, and realized I’m not the only one like this, there are others like me out there. If I am gay I won’t have to always be alone, but I’m sure as hell alone now and will be for at least another year and a half, gay or straight. It’s me and Penny against them all. We don’t even have Mr. Kincaid anymore.
That hurt. A dull thud struck behind his forehead, his heart skipped a beat.
Think about something else.
That whole ‘God says it’s wrong’ thing was just insane. It didn’t make any sense to him at all. Back in Styxwater at the Chapel of the Savior he’d been treated like everyone else until the bullying started. Then no one would talk to him anymore; even the adults never had time. His Sunday school youth group leader asked him to stop coming at all.
He’d stopped going to the youth group, but he didn’t stop going to church with his parents, and he prayed, he prayed so hard for the bullying to stop. And then, when a year of prayers went by and the bullying was worse than ever, he’d begged God to make everyone know he was straight, or kill him outright. He asked every single time he prayed, and three times on Sundays. But it never made a difference. It was like God was saying, “It’s not my problem. You’re on your own here kid.”
So he’d studied, just like he did for school assignments. He used the family computer to search for answers, and asked questions on Christian forums. He read the referenced Bible passages over, and over again. What he found just confused him even more.
            First of all Jesus Christ never said one word about homosexuals. Not one website, or internet forum, or research book ever included a Jesus quote condemning, or even discussing homosexuals. Every Biblical condemnation of gays was recorded before the time of Christ; He apparently didn’t think it important enough to mention, much less be the subject of a sermon. Never once did Jesus refer to Adam and Steve, or Madam and Eve, not once. So, if Christ thought homosexuality so normal it needn’t be discussed in His lessons, why did those who claimed to follow His teachings find it so abnormal?
Thud, thud; pain pounded his head. His heart started to speed up.
Calm down. Don’t take it so personally. But it IS personal; maybe not me, but gays are people and that makes it personal to them.
Old Testament passages that condemned being gay also condemned those who were disobedient to their parents, and women who didn’t seclude themselves for two weeks after giving birth to a boy, or four weeks if they were unlucky enough to have a girl. The same passages condemned eating shellfish, touching the skin of pigs, and getting divorced.
But people played football with pigskin all the time and they weren’t shunned. They ate crab and shrimp and paid big bucks to do it, and they didn’t feel ashamed. Kids talked back to their parents every day and weren’t exiled; they still had a place to live, parents who loved them, and protection from harm. And if certain statistics were to be trusted, more heterosexuals ended up in divorce court than not, yet they weren’t put to death.
Why was the one thing, the only thing it seemed these super religious types couldn’t develop a tolerance for was being gay?
Because they’re mean? That was too simplistic.
Thud, thud, thud, beat his brain. The pain was sharper this time. He ignored it.
Because they’re scared? More basic, more to the point, but what were they scared of?
It certainly can’t be me. No one’s ever been scared of me. It’s not like I’ve ever tried to force anyone to do anything, much less anything they didn’t want to do.
Thud. Thud. Thump. The headache was taking hold. Focus your thoughts. Don’t let the pain take over. Focus.
So if he was no threat to them, what was the point of all the bullying? If it was going to change him straight it would have happened already and they would be happy and quit, right? If it was to warn others that he was a predator, they clearly had the wrong guy. And if it was because they were Christian soldiers marching on God’s orders, then they had forgotten to ask themselves Nick’s favorite question: What would Jesus do?
Christ’s silence on the subject spoke volumes to Nick. Jesus never said a word within the hearing of His disciples condemning anyone because of their sexual orientation. It clearly didn’t matter to Him. But it sure seemed to matter to everyone else.
H*ckeyW*ng94:  God hates fags
87 people had ‘liked’ that comment. That was a lot of hate, aimed at Penny, aimed at him. Why? What was the point?
The coffin with Mr. Kincaid’s face framed by white roses flashed in front of his eyes. He squeezed them shut, but a new vision played on his eyelids: Mr. Kincaid, wispy hair disheveled, portly body splayed on his stomach, pinning Julian to the floor.
The migraine grabbed his head and squeezed. His heart was racing and cold sweat washed his body. Nick needed to turn off the computer, go lie down, stop thinking about everything for awhile. His hands shook as he reached for the power button.
NutCase:  Queers burn in Hellfire forever.
He snatched his hand away as if scorched. The computer screen blazed in the darkness, sending out messages of hate.

When a Stranger Asks You, "Are You Gay?"

I’ve been watching this case in Duluth for a month now, and I’m still stunned that the County Attorney’s and Sheriff’s offices haven’t found it a hate crime.

You go to a graduation party for a friend’s sister. The only two people you know there are your friend and her sister.

Five minutes after you get there a stranger comes up and asks you, “Are you gay?”

In the case of Max Pelofske, 21, of Duluth he answered, “Yes, I’m gay. Is that a problem?”

The stranger hit him and threw him to the ground. A group of thirteen young men and boys started pounding on, kicking, and beating him. Max’s friend, 21 year old Kelly Johnson of Saginaw and the sister of the girl the party was being thrown for, tried to intercede on his behalf but was unable to stop the attack.

After, when Max and Kelly called the police to report the crime, more strangers to him claimed Pelofske was stealing beer and started the whole thing. The police have charged Pelofske with fifth degree assault and disorderly conduct. Johnson also faces a disorderly conduct charge. Five others face varying misdemeanor charges, and one felony.

When charges were filed on June 5, Assistant County Attorney Nathanial Stumme said people “we would presume to be his friends” did not support Pelofske’s allegations. Why presume Max had friends at the party when both Kelly Johnson and her sister Jenny have supported his statement that they were the only two people he knew there?

In an interview with the Duluth News Tribune Pelofske points out, “Look at me, I’m five-foot-six. Why would I instigate (a fight with) thirteen people I’ve never met in my whole life?” He also stated that while still at the party he had asked investigating officers for, and been given, a breathalyzer test. He and Johnson both blew zeroes. They had not been drinking.

Max Pelofske was jumped by strangers who chose him to assault solely on the basis of his being gay. Friends of the bullies claiming that Max was somehow responsible for the whole thing is a tired, predictable tactic to deflect attention from the bully onto the bullied. Unfortunately, in this case it worked.

“This is the first time I have ever seen the victim of a hate crime be charged at the same degree as the perpetrators,” Rebecca Waggoner, anti-violence program director for OutFront Minnesota is quoted as saying in the same article.

Wake up St. Louis county. What happened to Max Pelofske was a hate crime that you’ve allowed to be treated as just another ‘kid stuff – boys will be boys schoolyard scrap’. Thank goodness the physical injuries to Max were slight, but because he wasn’t permanently disfigured or killed does not give St. Louis county the right to ignore federal law and pretend it wasn’t what it was.


“Are you gay?”
“Yes, I’m gay. Is that a problem?”

That is a hate crime. Max Pelofske was singled out and assaulted solely on the basis of his sexual orientation.

I’m calling on St. Louis county to drop the charges against Pelofske and Johnson and to reevaluate the charges against the five. If you’d like to add your voice to mine please contact:

Duluth Courthouse
100 N. 5th Avenue West, #501
Duluth, MN 55802
Telephone: 218-726-2323

Let St. Louis county and their attorney know that defending yourself during the commission of a hate crime is every citizen’s right and should not be punishable by law.