Tony Perkins spoke tonight in Memphis at an event at Bellevue Baptist Church. I jokingly live-blogged it from the future using my truly heinous psychic powers, because I knew exactly what was going to happen at that event. The rally was called “Stand for the Family,” and it featured Perkins and Bishop Harry Jackson. It was organized by a group with the adorable name “FACTn,” which stands for Family Action Council of Tennessee, in response to the fact that inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances are passing in the Memphis area. In other words, the “pro-family” forces are scared.
Turns out my live-blog was pretty darned accurate. I wasn’t there, but in an effort to be two places at once, a friend was helping me follow tweets from another friend with GetEqual who decided to brave the malignant air inside Bellevue. The words “homosexual” and “crossdresser” were thrown around quite a bit. There was lots of fearmongering about undefined “threats” to the “family.” Tony Perkins even said “abortion” two whole times, which, hello, look at #5 in my live blog from this morning. I knew it would be brought up, because it’s their other boogeyman, but I had a feeling it would be an afterthought. No, hating LGBT people was for dinner at Bellevue. But no, I didn’t attend. I was down the street at another event at another church called “Stand for ALL Families,” organized by the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center.
Tony Perkins and Harry Jackson on a stage reciting the same claptrap anti-LGBT talking points for the fearful masses under the guise of “protecting the family”…
A pastor in her mid/late 50′s who also happens to be a lesbian speaking authentically about her life, her wife, and her experience of God. A young mother with a second child on the way who spoke, sometimes tearfully, of the things she and her husband take for granted, about how she was blindsided by how much deeper their relationship became when they got married, and about how she was speaking up because she wants her kids and their friends to be able to take those same things for granted, no matter who they love. A multi-racial lesbian couple who looked FAR too young to be raising a teenager, talking about just how mundane their “lifestyle” really is, as they go about raising a family together. A straight Catholic mother of two sons, who just about brought the house down as she related her experiences fighting for ALL children in the face of insane bigotry, hatred, and institutional religious discrimination. An African-American lesbian couple who married a couple of years ago, stepping forward to encourage more African-American LGBT people and allies to speak up for themselves and each other.
And so on.
Which one of these things is truly “pro-family”?
One speaker made the point that, for Tony Perkins and Harry Jackson (and, I would add, Linda Harvey) and the fundamentalists congregated in the theater seats of the megachurch down the road, this was a game where, in order to protect their worldview, someone had to lose. They cannot protect their worldview…it has nothing to do with their “families”…without tearing us down. We are their negation. Meanwhile, as we sat and had fellowship together, straight, gay, black, white, Christian, atheist, and every other permutation you can imagine, we stood for all families. In fact, we stood for the families at the Tony Perkins rally. Because our equality takes nothing away from them. In fact, in a world where all families are allowed to exist peacefully, more families will thrive. The dirty little secret that Tony Perkins won’t acknowledge is that WE were in the room with him that night. Every family in that room had a gay relative, a gay neighbor, a gay son, daughter…whether they know it or not. But Tony Perkins and Harry Jackson don’t actually support families, because in order to do that, you have to support all members of all families, even the ones who don’t conform to your unscientific and wholly disproven ideas of gender and sexuality.
There was indeed a pro-family rally in Memphis tonight. It was lovely.