Many of you may remember the recent expose I did on the homophobic Salvation Army (Army of Hate). I am still encouraging everyone to please stop giving money to the Salvation Army, an organization that actually prides itself on discriminating against the LGBT community–I guess Jesus was a Hater.
However, a very dear friend of mine relayed a very touching story that I felt compelled to share. I have asked her permission to share it–for me it was a feel good story on so many counts.
My friend Cheryl (a parent Making It Get Better) is a middle aged beautiful woman, both inside and out. She also speaks her mind, which I love. Cheryl has a gay son, whom she is exceedingly supportive of, as she is of me. Cheryl shares my frustration and anger about those ringing their bells and asking for money to fill their red buckets of hate. And like me, Cheryl approaches these people to try and educate them (Cheryl is probably much kinder than I when she approaches them).
Cheryl was out shopping and was approached by a young black woman who wished her a Merry Christmas as she rang her bell. Cheryl calmly and politely asked the young black woman, “do you know that the Salvation Army discriminates against gays and lesbians?” The young woman asked Cheryl, “Are you a lesbian?” Cheryl responded, “no but my son is gay.” The young woman’s face grew very intense and very angry, when she exclaimed, “I am a lesbian. I didn’t know the Salvation Army was discriminating against me.”
Of course, Cheryl went into protective mother mode and tried to help the young woman with how to proceed. How sad that there are probably many LGBT folk and LGBT allies volunteering for an such an oppressive organization. I have learned and continue to learn from Cheryl and my friend Jennifer L that I need to be more patient when confronting people.
Unfortunately, when I have tried to confront several bell ringers for buckets of hate, I explain that I cannot give money to discriminates against gays and lesbians and the response I get is, “I don’t care–Merry Christmas.” Sadly, yesterday I was in one of those moods where you just feel like you can eat a Buick as I was walking in downtown Portland. I was accosted by no less than 35 bell ringers. I quickly stopped and said, “I’m gay and I don’t give money to bigots.” Probably not the best way to educate people. I shall revert back to trying Cheryl’s way.