August 7th, 2007
The City of San Diego, like most major metropolitan cities, sends a presence from its civic institutions to the various cultural events that occur throughout the city’s diverse communities. Cities have long known that this builds goodwill and trust and helps with overall crime prevention and city management.
One such cultural event is the annual gay pride parade, in which the San Diego Fire Department has participated for the past 15 years. Generally these events are enjoyed by the fire crew involved and is staffed by volunteer basis. This was also the case this year until the crew backed out on the last day due to a family death.
Rather than cancel their participation, the department directed the local unit located in Hillcrest to drive the truck in the parade.
“At the last minute the crew in that community was asked to step up and represent our agency in the parade,” [Fire department spokesman Maurice Luque] said. “We have a responsibility and we take it seriously to participate in these parades.”
This did not sit well with the firemen so ordered and they are now threatening a lawsuit. They claim that they were subjected to catcalls and that they were heckled when they refused to be friendly or respond to the crowd. While harassment is the purported reason for the objections of the fire crew, anti-gay bias seems to be the more evident cause reflected in comments by engineer Jason Hewitt:
“I was forced into a situation that would compromise what I hold true and what I believe in”
Those unfamiliar with the beautiful city of San Diego may not know that Hillcrest is “the gay part of town”. It’s similar to West Hollywood or to Greenwich Village or Chicago’s Boystown. Any firefighters working out of that station would have to assume that a great many of the citizens they serve and with whom they need to maintain relations are gay and lesbian.
But their attorney, Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center (an extremist anti-gay law group), described the event as “celebration of lewdness and obscenity in support of the homosexual agenda” and full of “debauchery“. They even (gasp) had to see “men hugging and kissing one another passionately”.
The message sent to the gay citizens of the Hillcrest district is clear: your local firefighters, those who will be called upon to save your life and property, despise you and think you are lewd, debased, and obscene. They consider your quest for liberty and equality to be “an agenda” and they consider waving at you to be beneath them. They want nothing to do with the local inhabitants and consider it a compromise to what they hold true to drive a fire truck in your midst.
This stunt by these fire fighters and their gadfly counsel has seriously harmed the relationship between the fire department and the residents of Hillcrest and indeed all of the gay and gay supportive citizens of the city. Frankly, if I lived there I would not be sure that a call for help would result in a reasonable response and I certainly would not expect any acts of bravery from fire fighters who think I belong in the flames of Hell.
UPDATE: as it turns out the fire crew would not have been able to avoid the parade in any case. The fire house is directly on the parade route.
The Union-Tribune has a copy of the EEO complaint made by the firemen. It seems they felt they needed a “crisis intervention team” to deal with their offended sensibilities. It is also quite clear that contrary to the claims of their counsel, none of their objections arose from the events of the parade but rather because they were required to participate at all. The “offense” was not based on the behavior of the citizens but because they had to go to a gay event.
“I asked Captain Ghiotto if he expressed my concerns to him and he stated I told him how we all felt and that Chief Pollard knows that afterwards that we are all going to write paper on this issue”.
The complaint is worth reading. It’s a montage of homophobia, gay panic, and assumed privelege. It’s clear to me that the complaining individuals believe they should not have to be subjected to the existence of gay persons – even in Hillcrest. The most obvious or innocuous of calls (“Hey, Honey”, or “look at the big firemen”) were viewed as insults, affronts, or harassment. And when they were blatantly rude to those watching the parade, they still felt entitled to deference from them.
Each of them were “offended” by the anti-gay protesters. Not because the protesters were angry, accusatory, or offensive in their treatment of gay people but rather because the firemen weren’t gay and therefore didn’t deserve to be lectured.
Had they been friendly or waved at the people who pay their salary, they might have had a different experience. Few citizens respond well to hostility and arrogance from city employees.
Having read their complaints, that final sliver of sympathy I felt for them has now melted away.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.