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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/2/14

Is Viral Video Nightmarish Enough? Daniel Pierce's Travail Harkens To Even Worse Punishment 24 Years Ago

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Daniel Pierce texted his aunt with exclamations of "intervention" and "pray away the gay." When she arrived at the scene, the family refused to let her in, but Daniel himself met her at the door - with a split lip.

All-in-all, it was an episode in "tolerance" to make Ann Coulter proud.

We Were Uganda

In August of 1990, this writer often sat in a small, humble office, tucked in back of a movie theater on San Francisco's California Street. I was a "client intake" volunteer for the AIDS Emergency Fund - a non-profit that helped pay the basic bills for people diagnosed with AIDS: gas & electric, phone, rent and, yes, even funeral bills. It was the first agency many people came to after their diagnosis. Some people came from out-of-state to see if they could get better care and treatment. Some came to San Francisco to die.

And some of those dying had been cast out by their families. It was still the "Gay Plague" to Jerry Falwell's adherents. The casting out of one's home because they are gay is one thing. The casting out of one's home while they are sick and dying because they have the "Gay Plague" is another.

Fundamentalist, Southern Baptist* families (for the most part) had kicked them out. From the South, stretching from Pat Robertson's Virginia to Mike Huckabee's Arkansas**, people who needed treatment streamed in, mostly men, but women and children too. A PWA's only hope came from the non-profit agencies (mostly) in San Francisco and a few other metropolitan areas.

I saw a lot of despair, but little tears. I myself cried once when faced with a sweet two-year-old boy whom I knew would not reach the age of three. We were privy to their medical records back then since many doctors were reluctant to diagnose AIDS.* The AEF and other agencies in San Francisco were the Samaritans everyone sought out; the Samaritans they needed when cast out by their Pharisee families.

Yes, we were as Uganda is now: as fearful a country as the Christian Right could make it.

But Times Have Changed

Or have they? Daniel Pierce's story of homophobia, like Ferguson's story of racism, is merely a reminder that some things have not changed - at least not as much as we would like to think they have. The punishment for being gay may not always be as violent or prevalent (the internet and instant recording/videotaping has brought many to the fore as never before), but the bigotry is still as intense. Tales of being disowned while one is sick and dying are rare, but new tales of children being abused because of suspected "gayness" are surfacing.

Dan Savage:

That was hard to listen to. Jesus. f*cking. Christ. My heart breaks for that poor, brave, tough kid. What the f*ck is wrong with these people?
We could have a fundraiser up and running for this poor kid by morning--if we knew who he was and where he was.

Daniel's partner submitted the video and info to gofundme.com. To date, it has raised almost $100,000, most of which will be given to homeless LGBT youth centers.

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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books €" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)
 
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