On Tuesday, December 1st, around 600 people came out to two events held across the Boston area in opposition to a small band of anti-gay bigots. Spewing their antisemitic and homophobic hate, the tiny group of four adults and two children from the Westboro Baptist Church, targeted several venues, including a World AIDS Day event at UMass Boston, and Brookline High School, which has an especially strong LGBT student group.
Approximately 90 LGBT supporters confronted the Westboro bigots at UMass Boston, while over 500 students and faculty countered the bigots later that day at Brookline High School.
At UMass Boston, the Westboro bigots were escorted by the police to a traffic island on Morrisey Boulevard at the entrance of the campus. Student organizers insisted that their peaceful demonstration was necessary to block the message of hate and defend their campus, letting everyone who enters know that students stand up for diversity and do not tolerate hate. The students lined the road single file holding up banners and signs and chanting "bigots go home."
These anti-gay, Westboro protesters, while few in number, preach a message of hate that promotes and celebrates the murder, oppression, and discrimination of LGBT people. The UMB LGBTQ Equality Coalition called on all students and faculty to join them in standing up and taking a vocal stance that homophobia and intolerance is not welcome at their school.
Alison, a full-time student and mother of three, said it best after the march, "more and more it seems like if we are ever going to see anything progressive get done, we are going to have to organize ourselves."
Next week, students at UMass will be holding a teach-in that takes on the federal laws like the Defense of Marriage Act, Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in the military, and a non-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act which allows for broader homophobia to exist in our society while keeping LGBT people from gaining access to their civil rights.
For more information, contact: umbLGBTQ@yahoo.com.