A conference memory…
A number of years ago, I couldn’t keep myself from visiting the web site of… Hmm, let’s see... I dare not summon his spirit… how about “He Who Shall Not Be Named”, or, backwards, “SplehpDerf”.
Ever since my first reading of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, I’ve had a need to know and understand the enemy; sometimes to an unhealthy degree. That’s me, methodically trying to fix what can’t be fixed again.
I finally gave that up with Fred. I grew to even feel like I couldn’t maintain anger towards him anymore; it’d be like being angry at a person with tourettes for cursing. Also, I eventually realized he was one of the gay community’s best friends, from a PR perspective. At the time, though, I’d print all his outrageous pamphlets, and worry about him gaining ground.
Then one day I read on his site that he was headed to Salt Lake to protest at the LDS general conference. I knew I had to see it for myself, just see it. So, I got in the car, and left R at home. Saner regarding such things than I, he had no desire to witness this train wreck of humanity.
I got there and there the monster was, not really a monster at all. He was just an old guy in white gloves being as outrageous and insulting as he could be, feeding off the LDS passersbys, enjoying every angry word. It was more sad than the big confronting of my fears for which I’d hoped.
He had his typical signs, and his clan carried them in a line, mostly his family I gather. Aside: the next day, I think, I’d go to their protest at our friend’s Episcopal Church. There a little kid, about 9 I’d say, was protesting with them. He called to their minister and said, “Hi, I have a secret. Would you like to know?” She said yes, a kindly woman not expecting what was to come. The little kids said “You’re a dike whore.” Cute, huh?
Back to the general conference: I watched the interaction with the crowd, and felt bad for the LDS folks who had to walk past and see that on a day so important to them. There are times and places for protests, important religious events are not those times.
Then I noticed another group of protesters approach, protesters with gay flags. I was at first afraid they were doing what Fred’s clan was doing, and I approached them to feel them out. I was grateful to learn they were only there to counter-protest Fred. Still, they only had gay flags, and no visible explanation. Clearly they were not clear, not to the LDS folks.
Then the fascination with Fred took hold of me again when I saw one of the lesbians there had a camera; I needed a picture of Fred and me. Silly yes, but it seemed to be an invaluably funny thing to have at the time. I stood next to him and the photo was snapped (and she never sent it to me! Grr).
But once I asked that favor, she felt free to ask one of me. She had to go to the restroom and wanted me to hold her flag. I said sure, not thinking it through.
So there I found myself on the corner of North Temple and Main with a bunch of people holding gay flags as LDS faithful filtered between us to get into conference. Oops, I thought.
As soon as I wasn’t visibly talking to someone the angry comments started, and I realized I was trapped with a flag too big to downplay until the woman came back. “I’m not here protesting you; I’m protesting them” and “I’m just holding this for a friend” I’d counter, but I guess that doesn’t sound too reasonable...
In the end, I spent about 10 minuets in front of that huge granite building, being insulted and questions, and I knew I’d have deserved ever bit of it if things were how they appeared. What a pathetic protester I’d make, constantly apologizing :-).