We’ve all heard of the birthday invitation fiasco created by radio DJs Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson and what an uproar it caused on both sides of the aisle. After it was discovered to be a hoax by Harper and Karlson, themselves, things fell apart and they were placed on suspension by WKJY 93.3.
Harper and Karlson both maintain they are supportive of same-sex marriage but that doesn’t really seem to be the issue at hand. What is the issue, in the opinion of many in the LGBT community, is the fact that there are too many “hoaxes” taking place from both LGBT people and now heterosexuals. The hosts claim they wanted to have open or creative dialogue on the matter but is this the appropriate method? Perhaps an on-air discussion of marriage equality or same-sex parents would have been better. Instead, they opted to go out of their way to purchase an invitation and set-up a phone number so they could place it on the invitation. They created two fathers, Sophie (the daughter), and a homophobic mother.
When a legitimate case of homophobia like this occurs, the person creating the bigotry usually doesn’t include their phone number and invite “anyone with a problem” to contact them. Sure, bigotry rears its ugly face in many forms but rarely in a direct invitation for confrontation. But when we all saw what Harper and Karlson proclaimed to be a true instance of bigotry, we were outraged! We all wanted to know how a mother could do that to her daughter or how the fathers reacted when they saw the RSVP. Obviously, we all assumed they turned it over to Harper and Karlson at the local radio station but that clearly was not the case. Instead, the hosts appeared to want a discussion and probably had ratings in mind more than a dialogue on the rampant homophobia plaguing our society. When they apologized they also admitted to the phone number having been set-up specifically for this and they had received over 2K messages. They have not revealed what was said in those messages but we’re certain they were not pleasant.
When sending out party invites it’s only natural you will receive the normal amount of RSVP’s for those attending and not attending. It would be uncommon to receive a hate-filled message regarding the sexuality of the parents involved. Sure, we imagine it could happen but it doesn’t appear to happen all the time. Now, when attempting to discuss this with the general public, isn’t the normal routine the safest route? Have people call the radio station to open that dialogue instead of lying and creating an entire family, a birthday, and a bigot of a mother. Perhaps they couldn’t face such a real discussion directly and opted for the controversial method instead.
In closing, it’s one thing to discuss your viewpoints as an adult regarding social issues including sexual orientation, sexuality, or gender identity, but to bring your children or child into the mix is a different situation altogether. If you wish to have open or creative dialogue, be honest with your honest and tell them just that but proceed without bias if it’s truly to be open.
I’m often reminded that when oppression takes foot in our modern day society, that we are unmasking the villains that, for so long, persecuted us for living in the light of self truth and personal respect. When I took up this cause, it was never about my personal experiences, it was about a collective, a group that was rising above the oppression and fear. We are far from the militant facade that so many placed upon our name. We are fighters, we are truth bearers, and we are the faces that have seen, first hand, the hatred and abuse that hetero-supremacy has allotted us. We took a stand! It wasn’t just about raising our voices, rather the meaning of our words.
Many people, especially those who identify as LGBTQ, ask us why we are drawing attention to so much hatred. We must remind all of you that ask this exact same question, if you bury the seed of oppression and hatred, it doesn’t stay buried for long, it takes root, it germinates, and it grows. You cannot just cut it down, you must totally uproot and expose it’s true rotten nature. We are not a group that sits in the shadows; we’re tired of living there. I, personally, have a deep respect for the old school Queer Nation and Act UP. They were the voices that rose from the depth of political and social oppression. They reminded society that we are never leaving, and the more they fight us, the more we grow in numbers. I’m here to reawaken this cause, to awaken our tribe. We mustn’t be afraid to walk forward, hand in hand, under the banner of equality and invisibility. When you remain silent, when you knowingly create an environment that places the hand over your community’s voice, you have opted out of your rights and privileges to live, work, and be in our LGBTQ community. Our movement is motivated by love. After all, we are an army of lovers. We should also not slacken our duties to where we are vulnerable to those that wish to cause us harm. We have a right to self-defense and to protect those we love. We have a right to live and work in a society that acknowledges our invisibility. We must, by all means, be a movement of love and understanding, and only two things should step in our way of these two esteemed qualities, and that is to accept injury or insult from no one!
On that note, we have work to do. We have a responsibility to uphold. We as brothers and sisters, have a duty to each other. We must love each other, protect each other. We must respect and understand each other. Our community is vast and diverse, therefore, we must never exclude anyone from their right to live in peace and harmony. Let us run the journey together, as a community of service and dedication. We are, and always will be, one voice, one people, one commitment to equality.
Ellen Page is Canadian-born actress who came out on On February 14, 2014, Page came out as gay in remarks at the Human Rights Campaign’s “Time to Thrive” conference. The “Juno” and “Inception” Star stated that she was “tired of hiding” and “lying by omission” by not disclosing her true sexuality. She said “I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility,” Page said. “I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. And I am standing here today with all of you on the other side of the pain.”
The Pink Panthers Movement congratulates Ellen Page for completing her steps out of the closet!
“Curb Your Heterosupremacy! We Bite Back!”
-Todd A. Haley II: The Pink Panthers Movement President