Oh, those Phelps…

this past weekend, the infamous Phelps Family (of www.godhatesfags.com) came into a town i love; long beach, ca. what i love so much about long beach is it’s diversity. it is diverse, not only including the gay community, but also diverse in race and social class. in addition to sf, long beach is my home away from home.

if you are not familiar with the Phelps Family, they are a cult-like baptist church (Westborough Baptist Church [WBC]) – rooted in Topeka, KS. they are also known as “the most hated family in america. they oppose not only homosexuality but also:

– fallen soldiers of war.
– AIDS victims
– the people of Haiti
– Christianity
– Obama
– The Jewish & their faith
– America
…and the list goes on…

it may sound like i’m inflating their hatred with my aforementioned list, but i’m sad to say, all of the mentioned are true.

i, along over a thousand others, counter-protested their filth and letting them know – they were, and are not, welcome in our town. we obtained their picketing schedule (which they’ve publicly posted) and met them everywhere they were. they tried to picket Jewish temples, christian churches, a high school (because it had a gay alliance group) and, of all places, a Navy base.

we met up with them with purposefully ridiculous counter-protest signs; reading things such as:

“math is hard.”
“i like books.”
“let’s keep it kosher.”
“have you seen my dragon?”
“my cat keeps peeing on the floor.”
“god hates figs.”

from my own household of friends we had signs that read:

“my dog needs a bath.”
“god hates cheeseburgers.”
“it’s peanut butter jelly time.”
“i don’t eat kites.”
“pass the ketchup”


while the obvious frustration of seeing these people in real life and within kicking distance from me, the one thing that did move me was experiencing several different social classes coming together. We had marines and other servicemen standing along side Jewish and homosexuals – stomping our feet and defending our cities and beliefs. we were no longer a “social class” fighting for “gay rights” or “religious rights” but rather, we became people of humanity. it was wonderful to have a mother stand next to me with her 3 gorgeous daughters holding up signs of love.

i can’t say that was the same for our opponents. i felt horrible for the little boy on their side. he had to be, no more than 5-6 years old; wearing a shirt that read “the jews killed jesus.” while his monster (um…mother) & grand-monster…(erm i meant grandmother) wore shirts that read www.godhatesfags.com, promoting one of their sites.

these are very vile people. they believe in a higher being that hates, holding up signs like

“god hates you.”
“you will eat babies” <– (um, WTF?)
"god hates haiti."
"god hates obama."
"fags are beasts."


…and far too many other hateful ones that i don’t care enough to retain in my memory.

my head is bombarded with emotions from my experience this past weekend, so this blog might not make any sense and/or may not have a relevant point (right now).

with that being said, let this blog just serve as awareness of the WBC – Phelps clan.

i encourage you to view their site and definitely watch the documentaries. as difficult, hateful & ridiculous as it may be, you can see for yourself, these people exist and what drives them.

PS: Shirley Phelps (daughter of Fred Phelps) – her first son was born out of wedlock in 1979 after an affair with a man in a halfway house where she was an intern. hypocrite.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Phelps-Rope

Resources:
– YouTube – “The Most Hated Family In America”
Fred Phelps & the WBC Documentary: “Fall From Grace”
www.GodHatesFags.com

Coverage of this weekend’s Counter-Protests:
Facebook : Protest Against God Hates Fags.
Facebook : Steal This Protest
562 CityLife : Long Beach Online Magazine
CSULB Daily 49ers
The Long Beach Post

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Sanctity of Marriage

…i’ve got your “sanctity of marriage” right here…

A bit of a back story:

i’ve always felt very strongly about equal human rights, not just gay rights. whether its a racial injustice, or an injustice that has happened to the gay community, i have a strong conviction that all human beings should have the same equal rights.

for this project, i wanted to project the same “slap in the face” feeling i get with the injustice of the passing of Prop 8 in California.

it started off as a practice shoot, but turned into so much more.

Funny side story – at the end of this shoot, we had one final setting to shoot at a playground. while walking there (and throughout the day), we had people stare and laugh which was definitely anticipated. What wasn’t anticipated was the “sandbox man”. we were at the playground minding our business and shooting as we have been, when a man came up to us and gave us the stare down. no, seriously – he gave us a stare down trying to intimidate us.

the first thing that came out of this ignorant’s mouth was:

– “what kind of impression are you trying to set here?!”
– “we’re not trying to set any example. are we offending you?”
– “i want to know why this is happening!” (raising his voice like a lunatic) <– i suppose the world is ending at this point because there is a man in a dress. apparently, we hadn’t a clue.
– “it’s an art project, sir.” <– 3 letter words are obviously too big for him to comprehend; a.r.t. / g.a.y.
– “is this for school?!”
– “uh…sure…yeah, its for school.”
– “this is what your ‘college education is’?!” (his eyes are about to pop out of his head right now)
– (calmly, i say): “sir, what about this makes you uncomfortable?”
– “oh, now you’re a journalist?!” (i think he just took a shit in his pants at this point)
– (internally laughing) “um, sir? i’m trying to have an open dialog with you. if i don’t understand something, i’m going to ask questions so i can try to see where you’re coming from.”
– “IS THIS WHAT COLLEGE IS TEACHING YOU?! DO YOU HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION?!”
– “sir. do YOU have a college education?!” (now i’m ON FIRE):
– “no.” (i have to at least admire the man’s honesty).
– “evidentially not, sir.”
– (as we’re walking away): “I’M ALL GROWED UP!” <– yes, he said “growed up”. Thank you kindergarten diploma.
– “obviously not, sir.” <– i couldn’t give him the courtesy and decency of turning around.

I didn’t know that adults still had staring contests and threw hissy fits. if that is the case, i’m glad i’m a somewhat immature, college educated, communicative individual…although, i kind of suck at staring contests.

needless to say, this made the shoot worth while. i refuse to lay down & lay dead because i may make someone uncomfortable ESPECIALLY when what we’re doing is not harmful or detrimental to anyone else’s well-being and health.

maybe brent’s right, maybe “sandbox man” just needed his helmet and an ice cream.

anyhow, over 300 shots were taken for this project. once i’ve finished editing them, i’ll post more.

fun times.

oh yeah, ps: don’t take this situation personally, but be offended.
i just want to get married, too.

Headlines & Head-Spins.

“Inside the Wayne County morgue in midtown Detroit, 67 bodies are piled up, unclaimed, in the freezing temperatures. Neither the families nor the county can afford to bury the corpses. So they stack up inside the freezer.”
(taken from: CNN)
“A major earthquake that killed hundreds and possibly thousands of people on the Indonesian island of Sumatra follows an unusual period of seismic turmoil that scientists say likely heralds a catastrophic quake on a scale not seen in the area for more than 150 years.”
(taken from: The Washington Post)
___________________________________________________________
There are a lot of times when i find myself sitting and self-loathing about how i wish i had more money or how i wasn’t so “stressed out” over things, but after making myself aware of what’s going on in our world around me makes me realize that there is more to life than my trivial issues.
Its also driven me to work for change & some sort of relief.  if i was made of money, i’d donate as much as i could or start my own non-profit.  since i’m not made of money, i had the thought of putting together another series relief shows.  i am certainly not a stranger to putting together shows.
i think, now, is a great time to utilize all of my artistic friends and getting us together in one room to do what we can to help send some sort of relief to people that need it more than we do.
far too often, people’s intentions fall short.  i am also guilty of this.  but i know that we all have the ability to turn “want” into can.
even if only a few hundred or small thousand can be donated by us, it is still help.  it is still relief.

“Inside the Wayne County morgue in midtown Detroit, 67 bodies are piled up, unclaimed, in the freezing temperatures. Neither the families nor the county can afford to bury the corpses. So they stack up inside the freezer.”

(taken from: CNN)

“A major earthquake that killed hundreds and possibly thousands of people on the Indonesian island of Sumatra follows an unusual period of seismic turmoil that scientists say likely heralds a catastrophic quake on a scale not seen in the area for more than 150 years.”

(taken from: The Washington Post)

___________________________________________________________

There are a lot of times when i find myself sitting and self-loathing about how i wish i had more money or how i wasn’t so “stressed out” over things, but after making myself aware of what’s going on in our world around me makes me realize that there is more to life than my trivial issues.

Its also driven me to work for change & some sort of relief.  if i was made of money, i’d donate as much as i could or start my own non-profit.  since i’m not made of money, i had the thought of putting together another series relief shows.

since, i’m not unfamiliar with putting together shows,  i think, now, is a great time to utilize all of my artistic friends and getting us together in one room to do what we can to help send some sort of relief to people that need it more than we do.

far too often, people’s intentions fall short.  i am also guilty of this.  but i know that we all have the ability to turn “want” into can.

even if only a few hundred or small thousand can be donated by us, it is still help.  it is still relief.