No really. This little one was there with her dad and was the life of the party. I can only image the stories she will be able to tell when she grows up. Her dad said that by the time she grows up he hopes that she'll be appalled at the way the LGBTQ community was treated.
Ok, to start at the beginning.
This weekend there was a Focus on the Family conference called Love Won Out. This conference promotes the "negative" effects of homosexuality and "helps" those who want to "change" their sexual orientation using what they call Reparative Therapy. If you know me at all you know that I find this to be highly offensive. I believe that any negative effects of homosexuality has to do with the rejection of it in general society, and these type of organizations only promote that rejection.
Not to mention the American Psychology Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Association of Social Workers, the American Medical Association, and all other major mental and medical health professional associations have declared homosexuality to NOT be a mental disorder of any kind.
If a fully informed adult decides that they are not happy with their sexual orientation and they find their faith to be helpful then I say, more power too you, but so many of the participants at these conferences are children drug there by their parents who want to "cure" their sexual orientation. I have a friend who went through one of these ex-gay therapies in college. Not only did he emerge still gay, but he lost his faith in the process, a faith that was very important to him.
So, CRANE, the Charlotte Rainbow Area Network for Equality, an organization recently formed to promote equality in the Charlotte area organized a protest of the conference with Wayne Besen of Truth Wons Out. We had a nice turn out.
We had one true counter protester. He had a huge sign that had a LONG passage from Revelations that said something about "whoremongers" being thrown in the "lake of fire". At the beginning the hire security from Central Church (yes they had hired security for the conference) came and made him move further down from us. He kept making his way through our group though. But I didn't mind that much because his sign had too many words on it to be read by anyone driving down the street and therefore he was just going to be assumed to be with us. :-) You can see him at the very end of the line in this picture.
We had a few others who wandered through the crowed and tried to stir things up. Thankfully, they were met by people in our group who could take them on. I had a really nice girl try to talk with me, but at that point I wasn't sure if we were really trying to have a silent protest or not. So, I humored her for a few minutes and then excused myself to see my friend. I really wasn't the right person to talk with anyway, being NOT a christian and NOT gay. :-)
Here is one of the anti-gay guys talking with Wayne. I think they talked for about an hour and then Wayne passed him off to Wade who could easily take him on scripture by scripture.
Other than those couple who very argumentative and borderline hateful (and the one guy who flipped us all off when he drive by), everyone was very pleasant on both sides. Some people came by from inside they conference and there was some very honest, yet respectful exchange of ideas.
Here is Patrick having an unexpectantly pleasant discussion with a gentleman.
By the way his sign says, "God Loves Me (even though I'm a lawyer)" Hehehe!
It wasn't the only great sign, though. There were many! I used my amazing Cricut machine to make mine, but amazingly got no pictures of it. Hopefully some fellow protesters will post some and I'll be able to steal one.
The two men holding the "stop signs" in the foreground have been together for 20 years! I know a significant amount of heterosexual couples who cannot say that! They were so nice to me, and we had such a wonderful conversation.
I can tell you that it is interesting to be on the other side of the sexual orientation bias. In the general population, one is assumed straight until told otherwise, but at these protests, you're assumed homosexual until told otherwise. I use to feel like I needed to tell people so they wouldn't think I was trying to be something I'm not, but then I realized that it really shouldn't matter because we are fighting for the same thing. Not to mention, being married it doesn't matter one way or the other because I've already found the most amazing person in the entire world that I look forward to spending every day of the rest of my life with!
There were also a couple of gay affirming church leaders there. One from Charlotte and one from Concord. That was so encouraging to see!
So, it was a great protest. I really enjoyed raising my voice for a cause I feel very strongly about, and I met some awesome people who I hope I can continue to fight side by side with toward realizing equal rights in America, so that the young one at the protest will be amazing by how much things have changed in her lifetime!