I say diverse because in that crowd were straight, gay, queer, trans, black, white, Latino, Asian as well as many other ethnic groups.

I say diverse because there were punks, Goths, suburbanites, college students, employed, unemployed, people of faith, people of no faith and there was even a gnome.

I say wise and gentle because when it was first announce NOM was headed this way, leaders in the LGBTQ community got together and discussed, argued, and struggled with how to respond to these bullies.

This process was a beautiful example of how creative the LGBTQ community can be when we decide to act as opposed to re-act.

A two-step approach was decided upon.  First, hold our own rally to state our case, to tell our stories and to give support to the community as a whole.

Second, join with the clergy of different faiths to stand in silence and to be a witness to the lies and hatred brought forth by the likes of NOM and other power and control freaks.  To give witness to the fact that when a community has truth and love on their side there is not a need to shout down or threaten.

So often the radical right speak as if the LGBTQ community and its allies are not in the room.  They tell stories to the media that are sensational and full of the language of fear.  Not this particular Saturday in August.

No this Saturday in August while the President of NOM was talking about being attacked, shouted down and otherwise belittle, he had to look across the street and whine to our face.  For you see there we stood quietly yet firmly in place giving him his opportunity to be “chicken little.”

In a contrast which was there for the world to see he came off as angry, bitter and at a loss for a good reason why our community should be denied the 1300 plus rights and privileges he gets to enjoy because he’s white, straight and married.

Things only got worse for them when they brought Alveda King, the niece of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to the stage. She actually said, “It is statistically proven that the strongest institution that guarantees procreation and continuity of the generations is marriage between one man and one woman. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to be extinct and none of us wants to be. We don’t want genocide, we don’t want to destroy the sacred institution of marriage.”

By contrast, there we stood witness to the fact we have been here as long as straight people and never in all of that time has the LGBTQ attempted a systematic killing of a racial or cultural group.  Nor is the world’s population in danger of extinction because of LGBTQ people.  However, a case could be made that NOM and organizations like them would be perfectly happy if the LGBTQ community were the victims of genocide or made to be extinct.

Yes, our community did the right thing on this Saturday.  We stood strong, committed and unified in the belief we belong in the room, we have a place in this world that is creative, beautiful and with a moral value. Yes, we are here to stay!

The only thing missing from this particular Saturday was the ability to relive a line or two from the “Wizard of Oz” re-written for especially for NOM, which I am happy to say now:

“NOM: You stay out of this or we’ll fix you as well.

LGBTQ Community: Oh rubbish. You have no power here. Be gone before somebody drops a house on you.”

 


Rev. Paul M. Turner is the Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta. For more information, please visit www.gentlespirit.org or e-mail info@gentlespirit.org.

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