Thursday, November 13, 2008

WBC to protest Laramie Project production at UVA

From the Facebook group page for the show:

Hello Everyone,


This Friday (14/11) the one and only Westboro Baptist Church is coming to UVA to protest Queer and Allied Activism's production of The Laramie Project. Our show is at the UVA Chapel at 7:30pm and they planned to come at 6:30pm. The Westboro Baptist Church protested the funeral of Matthew Shepard and is notorious for their extreme hateful and bigoted rhetoric about the LGBT community, and many other communities.

Currently we need to mobilise enough people to create a human wall outside the Chapel, at 6:30pm, dressed in a QuAA or black t-shirt to block/ protect the people who are trying to attend the show, and to show solidarity against Westboro.

We are not planning on engaging in any direct action with, or provoke the WBC. Our goal is to present the Laramie Project, and their presence shall not change that. Please notify your respective listservs asking people to show up at 6:30pm on Friday outside the Chapel to form a human wall to show

We need more people so please help spread the word. One of the ways is to RSVP to our Facebook Event and invite your friends to come too. Please forward this email to your respective listservs - your dorm, your friends, your organisations, your classes. Queer & Allied Activism would greatly appreciate your help in combating the WBC's presence on Friday evening and showing the rest of the UVA community that we not tolerate their hatred and bigotry.

If you have any questions, please direct them to me or the President of QuAA, Heather Welborn (hrw3f@virginia.edu).

If you'd like to buy a QuAA shirt (E-QUAA-LITY NOW) for $12, please email me (vennesa@virginia.edu). You may also buy one from our Lawn table today, tomorrow, or at the show. Please look at our Facebook Group/ Event Albums for the shirt design.

Let's show these people that we will not tolerate hatred here at UVA.

I'm deeply torn by my decision not to cancel prior commitments to come and help. I will be out of town Friday, and thus feel somewhat hypocritical in asking others to go help at this potentially volatile confrontation. Still, I can't help but urge people in the area to come and show their support for the production. WBC is beyond mere beliefs of how marriage should be defined. They are beyond gay rights period. What they represent is pure, unapologetic, hate. This is a group that goes to the funerals of aids victims and tell their mourning mothers that their children are going to burn in hell. Perhaps you believe that being gay means you will burn in hell. But I ask you, do you lack the decency not to say that to a morning mother's face?

For anyone that hasn't seen the Laramie Project, it's not just another pro-gay play. It's not Angeles in America. It deals with a senseless murder from many different perspectives. It asks the question, what are the consequences of how we represent out beliefs? Among the different people interviewed is a priest, who has to ask him self if his surmons are to blame. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is murder. And Mathew Shepard was beaten far beyond recognition. This wasn't a simple accidental killing. It was the stuff of modern horror movies, only without latex and the laughs when someone yells cut. To basically ordinary guys known by the community took the life and destroyed the body of another beyond her mother's recognition. Was it something the culture perpetuated? Was it just two kids who were crazy? That's what the play meditates upon. You don't have to be supportive of homosexuality in anyway to get something out of this production. So I urge not only people who are gay or supportive of gay rights to come. I urge every pastor down the street who believes homosexuality is a sin. I urge the people that voted for Bob Marshall's marriage amendment to the state constitution to come. I urge anyone who believes in compassion and decency to join hands in front of the WBC protesters and passively show them that their unrelenting hatred is not welcomed or supported in Virginia and in our personal discourses on homosexuality.