When syndicated conservative columnist Dick Yarbrough wrote an anti-gay rant last week in the Marietta Daily Journal mocking California's law requiring LGBT history be taught in schools, gay readers decided to respond in kind.
Two things for sure — some don't like being called "Gay Blade" or take kindly to hoop skirts.
Yarbrough wrote in his July 13 column about a phone conversation he had with this fictional character he called "Gay Blade," a flaming liberal, who warned him that soon Georgia's public schools would have to teach kids about historical LGBT figures. Because, you see, California is now doing it. Of course, there's a group of social conservatives trying to get the law repealed.
Yarbrough retorted to his fictional "friend" this was ridiculous because the state's leaders have more important priorities.
"Besides, we have a lot of pride in Georgia's history and the last thing we need to know is that some guy we named a county for used to run around at night in hoop skirts," Yarbrough wrote.
Gay readers respond (angrily) to Marietta columnist’s anti-gay op-ed
He added this gem as well, “California schools are already required to teach about women, blacks, Mexicans, entrepreneurs, Asians, Europeans, American Indians and labor. I don’t know how they are going to cram all of that into one school year, unless they can locate a bisexual Mexican-Indian entrepreneur who belongs to a labor union and knows a lot of blacks and women in Asia and Europe. That could save a lot of time and allow the schools to offer some electives, like math and science. And English.”
Yeah, not so nice.
So Drew Plant, a gay public relations consultant, organized against the column. Georgia Equality even jumped in and also asked people to speak out.
In an email to his contacts, Plant wrote, “It is not his first anti-gay column, but it is one of the most blatant and mocking. I hope you will join me not just in writing letters to the editor, but in calling for his resignation. Apparently he does not think education on gay issues is important or I would suggest that.”
Numerous people did respond to Plant’s call — and they did not hold back in expressing their disgust with Yarbrough’s column. Read several letters here. More letters are expected to be published Sunday.
Here’s what Plant included in his letter:
“In creating the fictional ‘Gay Blade character that I suppose he found humorous, he was labeling, belittling and stereotyping gay people. What he may not understand, though his column makes clear he is not interested in learning about people who are different from him, is that diversity is not a ‘sort of’ proposition. You can’t pick and choose and just take the little bit of diversity with which you are comfortable.”
Winston Johnson, who was a friend of Coretta Scott King and helped her use her name to speak out for LGBT equality, also responded. He wrote: “Has Mr. Yarbrough not heard that gay and lesbian youth are committing suicide at alarming rates in America? Has he not heard that bullying of anyone who is perceived to be ‘different’ is rampant in the schools of America? Does he have any comprehension of the hurt and trauma that this kind of hateful rhetoric about an entire segment of the population causes? Does he care?”
And Shannon Hames, a lesbian mom, said she believes Yarbrough will be remembered like former Alabama Gov. George Wallace and former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox are regarded in the history of the civil rights movement.
“Their way of thinking may have been acceptable at one time, but times have changed and people no longer hold the same anti-gay attitudes that they once had. Please don’t perpetuate the ignorance and hate by printing this kind of trash in the future. Thanks,” Hames wrote.
Gay publicist Jim Brams said his letter will be published next week. It includes this: “Yarbrough is obviously a loose cannon and needs to spend his time doing something positive and worthwhile rather than silly, ill-advised words attacking others.”