Monday, January 08, 2007

Oh little town of Bigotville

I read this story a few days ago and I just cannot stop thinking about it. The article puts its focus on a Northern California transplant, Terri Yale and her family who moved to Mason, a small rural community about 14 miles south of Lansing, Michigan's capital. After careful consideration, Terri and her husband chose to live in this little town because they’d heard it had a great “sense of community” and good schools.

A little over a year ago Terri opened a small shop called Davey's Basement in downtown Mason, which carries everything from music and T-shirts to novelty items and a small section of LGBT items. Business was “pretty good” from the beginning. The local kids enjoyed shopping there and it became the popular place for them to hang out.

So what’s the problem?

… overnight last fall business dropped. The kids who normally flocked to her shop no longer came by.


One day a girl from the middle school came in, and Yale mentioned to her how she hadn't seen her or her friends in a while.

"She said, 'So and so's mom said she couldn't come in here again.' We assumed she was grounded," recalled Yale. But the girl's friend told Yale that "her mom said you guys have the gay store and she can't come in here."

Yale's sin, at least to her neighbors, was sponsoring the homecoming parade float built by the GSA. Her tacit acceptance had provoked a backlash. The community was reportedly shunning her business.

After the parade in late September, sales at her small store plummeted. Many of her shoppers' parents, upset at her decision to sponsor the GSA float, no longer allowed their children to come in to the shop, said Yale.

So Terri Yale came into town wearing her bleeding liberal heart on her sleeve and armed with some cockamamie ideas about loving thy neighbor. And then she added insult to injury by sponsoring a Gay/Straight Alliance float in the local parade in some feeble attempt to help gay children in the community feel a little more accepted.

Well I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it is probably going to take a hell of a lot more than a GSA club to save any gay child unfortunate enough to be living in this creepy community. What a bunch of sanctimonious bigots, and how much you want to bet they never miss their Sunday services? Pffft.

And sadly these people’s lessons of intolerance and bigotry will not be lost on their children. The message emanating from Mason, Michigan is loud and clear: “If we don’t approve of you, we’ll drive you out of town, or at least out of business.”


1 comment:

anna said...

i've grown up in mason and this whole ordeal just makes me sick- i love davey's basement- when i have cash, i shop there whenever i can, particularly because they are one of the only places in town that consistantly caries PRIDE merchandise. i love them. one of the problems in all this is that it really is mostly adults vs. kids- the kids when i was going to school there were just great- very open and very accepting- same when my brother went to school there- the problem was their parents. kids were, and apparently still are, scared shitless to defy them. the authoritarian conservative structure keeps the kids terrified and the 'mom network' makes sure that if one of them does something out of line, if any other parent sees, they will report back to the kid's parents. i used to think that i wanted to stick around mason and raise my kids there, but i've decided that unless something drastic happens to change that town, i'm staying away.