I've gotten used to hate mail, both by traditional snail mail and email. It comes with the territory. Most of the time it's pretty amusing, like in my last post about getting bigotry delivered right to my inbox. I did, until recently, overlook a new platform for people to send out close-minded (and poorly-spelled) hate messages:
I'll admit to being an avid tweeter. I use my twitter to talk about my day, my family, or issues that I care about, including LGBT rights. It's a fun and effective way to talk to people all over the world in real time. Now, you would think that if someone doesn't want to hear about LGBT issues, they wouldn't follow someone like me and listen to my comments. You would think that if you were a logical person...
Which is why when I started getting some pretty nasty (and hard to decipher) twitter replies, I was a little surprised... Okay, maybe not too surprised.
Much more after the jump...
I got this lovely response from a seemingly irate Twitter user:
@waymonhudson Sorry, you can't be a DAD and be Gay, a MAN is a DAD, a gay dude is Quire & NOT a man. Get it? I'm not interested in Ur GAYnes
I was still trying to decipher the language (what the heck is a "quire"??) when it was followed quickly by:
@waymonhudson Glad to know you have Dogs and NOT children. First logical thing you've mentioned.
Who knew posting pictures of my dogs would get such a hateful response? She was so angry she even tweeted the responses from two different accounts. That's dedication to angry bigotry! Whew!
Her public messages were then followed by a private direct message that read:
seriously, do you have anything of importance to share with the twitter or world besides your B.S. twisted sexual preference, WE don't CARE!
But the beauty of being part of a community, even when you're online, is that such insane comments don't go unnoticed or unchallenged.
The hate tweeter soon found herself deluged with replies from other LGBT people and allies. Some tried to reason with her, others teased about her bizarre insults, and others told stories about being parents.
She got some gay online overload.
Needless to say, there were lots of great "quire" (which we all assume was supposed to be "queer") jokes. People began to look at her listed jobs (she sends out "inspirational" greeting cards and sells "magic water") and comment to the companies about her actions under their names. All this happened within minutes of her comments.
It was new technology activism to combat bigotry 2.0.
The public trouncing of her comments led the tweeter to once again direct message me and say:
Was NOT my intention to be 'Hateful' only to express my opinion. Ur obvious lack of confidence in Ur lifestyle as true nasty hate sent me
After some time again spent trying to decipher the comment (why can they never spell or create a complete sentence?), I replied to her that I had not sent her any hate. I had actually been very friendly and gentle with her both publicly and in private messages, hoping for a "teachable moment."
And not just teachable moments in spelling and grammar. I wanted to see if she could grasp why what she was saying was not well thought out, offensive, and downright bigoted and why it had provoked such a strong response from the LGBT Twitterverse.
I encouraged her to go back and read her unprovoked public comments. I cautioned her that if you put negativity out in the world, you just might get some back. A shocking lesson to learn for her, I'm sure.
Then the real reason for her anger was revealed:
I only disagree with the "In Ur Face" of your lifestyle
So it all boiled down to me being too "out." By talking conversationally about my husband and family or talking about issues that matter to me, I was being "in her face." Of course, it was her choice (or "Twitter Preference", as I like to call it) to listen to my tweets, so in effect she was putting herself in my face. But again, that's just pesky logic...
So she doesn't hate gay people (or "quires", as she calls them), she just wants them to live in fear and shame.
And not have families. And not talk about their lives with friends. And not be confident in who they are. And let others call their lives "B.S."
Nothing hateful about that, right?
Who knows if she'll ever learn a lesson from the firestorm she set off. I do know that it taught me about the power of online communication.
It is rather amazing the things that technology lets us do. From blogging to Facebook and now Twitter, we are able to come together like never before. While it may open us up to more people and their small-minded views of our lives, it also connects us to whole new groups of friends and allies in the fight for equality. It also shines a light on the ignorance of others for all the world to see, which can be a powerful tool for change.
Plus, where else do you get to spread your "gayness", be "in ur face", and learn new fun words like "quire" while sitting in your pajamas on the couch.
I just love technology...