Queer: September 2003 Archives

For more images, from this morning, go here.

We returned to Astor Place just before 3 this afternoon, to help the kids as they left school – should they need it.

They didn’t, and it was both because the nuts mostly stayed away and because, as all who were there today learned, they can take care of themselves, especially if they have their community. These kids have seen a lot already, and maybe they don’t have to take it anymore.

Fred Phelps and his family have almost certainly left New York, to resume their ghoulish specialty thing of screaming at funerals of gay men all across the country. At 3 o’clock there were only three bible-thumpers in the Christianist’s police pen [one of them the hottie I described earlier].

For a while, slipping out of the police barricade, the younger two posted themselves across the street, on the sidewalk closer to the school doors. They continued their harangues there, just next to the press area. Four of us spotted them and took it upon ourselves to move there and insert ourselves and our signs in front of them and their bibles. As the kids left the building and some passed by us, our numbers eventually having swelled to 10 or so, we managed to out-shout even the ugly big one with our major cheering.

The police eventually persuaded the two to return to their original pigpen, where all three soon found themselves confronted by the kids themselves. Some were shouting from the south side, but many had crossed the street to investigate their antagonists and to confront them in arguments. Whether they learned anything or not, I think the cult guys were shocked. The shaved-head guy left early with his friend, but nothing seemed to discourage the last one, least of all his own stupidity.

I was stunned by the students’ style and, well, their surprisingly gentle humor and good will. The short photo series above is pretty decent witness.

Yes, the kids will be alright.

For more about this afternoon on Astor Place see Bloggy.

the crowd on Astor Place, entertained by Phelps christianists

For more images, go here.

Barry and I joined hundreds of others outside Harvey Milk High School this morning to cheer students entering the building for the first day of classes.

Across the street was the Fred Phelps family circus of Christianist nuts. The police seem to have understood the difference, and this time their sympathies worked for the good guys. Supporters were assigned the sidewalk in front of the school on Astor Place. The anti's had to be content with, appropriately, the gutter on the north side, and their screaming was continuously assaulted by the roar of a huge garbage/trash truck adjacent. Who had arranged that intervention?

Their posters alone alienated the cops, as did the sight of several of them standing on or dragging the flag through the dirt, but it was when they pulled out the "THANK GOD FOR SEPT 11" sign, that the police barricade we were standing behind was immediately moved well into the street to give our crowd more comfort, and additional public visibility in the process.

The kids themselves are alright, and we'll be back this afternoon before 3, to see them safely out.

Bloggy has more, including images. Don't miss "GOD'S ROD".


A confession is in order at this time. If you go to my link for more images, the last picture will show what I would say is one pretty hot young bible thumper. Our friend Jon yelled across the street, asking him if he lived in New York. Surprisingly there was an answer, and it was "yes." Jon followed, "You should get out more. It's fun."

You never know. There are all kinds of callings and conversions.

And this afternoon, in a Reuters photo on the MNSBC site:

B's striped blue polo obscures J's white shirt - our loopy "YOU'RE OUR ROLE MODELS" sign rises above all. Let's hope the student queers will be better at signs, but let's hope they won't need this kind.

local color, now in New York

I've never been drawn to demonstrations with a "battle of the bands" scenario, but sometimes the people who need help need help on the scene, because the really bad guys will be there threatening them.

This seems certain to be the case this Monday for the students of the Harvey Milk School on Astor Place. Regardless of the complexities of arguments over what the city is doing about homophobia, vulnerable kids don't need the aggravation and hate with which they are being threatened on their first day of school.

Fred Phelps and his sick entourage will be protesting the fall opening of the school early Monday morning. The people organizing the protest are the same ones who protested at Matthew Shepard's funeral. Fortunately, their website is down, although that means I miss out on linking to it here in order to give just a hint of the malevolence of this cult. [Our fabulous friend Elizabeth, who first alerted me to their plans, absolutely denies credit for the hackwork.]

Supporters are encouraged to be at the school at 7:30 am on Monday, September 8 (first class is at 8:00 a.m.) and 3:00 pm (end of school day), with happy signs and encouragement. The Harvey Milk School is located at Two Astor Place at the corner of Astor and Broadway (take the 6 train to Astor Place or the N or R to 8th Street and Broadway).

Please consider helping to welcome these young people to school. The idea is to bring signs conveying the importance of education and safety for all of our children.

This thing is media candy, especially since we have our own cache of notorious homophobes here in New York, including Ruben Diaz. Be ready for your close-ups, and your fabulous sound bites.

[image from Dr. Truluck]

This page is an archive of entries in the Queer category from September 2003.

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