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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Constance McMillen Update: Constance Is Out, Westboro Is In, Mayor Is Clueless

Posted by on Thu, May 20, 2010 at 10:14 AM

The bigots on the Itawamba School Board and at Itawamba Agricultural High School succeeded in running Constance McMillen out of town.

Constance McMillen said she now attends a high school in Jackson, about 180 miles away from Itawamba Agricultural High School in north Mississippi. She wouldn’t say which school she attends, but she expects to graduate June 2.... McMillen had said she faced hostility on campus and in the community in the aftermath of her actions. “There was a lot of stuff going on at Itawamba. It was just really hard to do my homework, so I transferred to Jackson to get my diploma,” McMillen said. “There’s a large gay community there. All the teachers are very nice and very helpful.”

Always remember, Constance, that the bigots who drove you out of Fulton, Mississippi, did you a favor. Being run out of a town like Fulton is like losing a lousy job that made you miserable or being divorced by a spouse you hated. It's scary, for sure, but one day you'll look back and thank God.

And file this under hilarious: despite the fact that Constance no longer attends Itawamba Agricultural High School, Westboro Baptist Church still plans to picket the school's graduation ceremony this Saturday afternoon. Here's hoping that, just this once, Westboro doesn't attract any counter-protesters. The graduating seniors who faked a prom in order to exclude and humiliate Constance—and who then harassed Constance until she felt she had to transfer to a different high school in another city—deserve to have their graduation marred by like-minded bigots. And finally...

“We are totally ready to get this behind us,” [Fulton Mayor Paul Walker] said. “The national exposure was great, but I wish it could have been for some other reason.”

Fulton was exposed all right, Mayor Walker, and thanks to all that "national exposure" the name Fulton is now synonymous with petty vindictiveness and small-town bigotry.

 

Comments (32) RSS

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1
"...the bigots who drove you out of Fulton, Mississippi, did you a favor."

But not nearly as big a favor as all her new Friends who created such a DISTRACTION.

Every kid in a small town wants to be the cause of a big'ol InternetHomoHateMachine DISTRACTION now, don't they.

And a small town girl can never have too many self-righteous sanctimonious harpy screeching bitchqueen friends now, can she.

Yes, we can sure chalk this one up as a big success for Constance and the ACLU ($$$$$!) and QueerInc.

Posted by We Are So Enlightened on May 20, 2010 at 10:21 AM · Report this
linda with a y 2
At one point recently after the protest was announced, there was a Facebook page called "Itawambian's against Westboro Baptist" or something similar to that. It didn't have many fans before being taken down.

This is a classic case of KARMA biting them in the ass big time. Indeed, what goes around comes around.
Posted by linda with a y on May 20, 2010 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Vince 3
They have no idea how idiotic Constance has made them look. But then, they're idiots.
Posted by Vince on May 20, 2010 at 10:26 AM · Report this
Anne in MA 4
Seriously, Jackson isn't exactly a big city, but it's certainly one of the more metropolitan than almost anywhere else in Mississippi. She's better off finishing out high school there.

Also, obligatory:

I'm goin' to Jackson, you turn loose my coat.
'Cos I'm goin' to Jackson.
"Goodbye," that's all she wrote.
Posted by Anne in MA on May 20, 2010 at 10:31 AM · Report this
Karl42 5
@1

Go beat up on Rosa Parks already.
Posted by Karl42 on May 20, 2010 at 10:35 AM · Report this
john t 6
You'd think the WBC would be celebrating Itawamba, rather than protesting it. Or maybe they're unhappy that the town didn't stone McMillen to death like their Bible instructs them to.

By the way, they're coming to Portland next month and waving their stupid signs in front of Grant High School on the morning of June 3. A big counter-protest is being organized, naturally. I'll be there!
Posted by john t on May 20, 2010 at 10:57 AM · Report this
Southern Gentleman 7
The people who drove her out of Fulton may have done her a favor but that means the town also now has one less decent, intelligent person. Those qualities seem to be in such short supply there that they can't really afford to lose any more.
Posted by Southern Gentleman http://just-write.contentquake.com on May 20, 2010 at 11:10 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 8
You know what we call #2 around here?

Taking a Fulton.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on May 20, 2010 at 11:11 AM · Report this
9
@5
Did Dan get her run out of Montgomery, too?
Posted by just a small town girl on May 20, 2010 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 10
@6 Instead of a counter-protest, how about a team of snipers? Westboro needs to be eliminated with extreme prejudice.
Posted by Sir Vic on May 20, 2010 at 11:23 AM · Report this
11
Seriously, Dan-o, you fucking suck at this "Civil Rights movement" thing. It's not the who or what, it's the WHY of the protest. Enemy of my enemies, huh? Enjoy your temporary alliance with the fucking WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH, moron.

What's fucking doubly hilarious is that you happily advise adult gays to continue deceiving their parents in order to stay on the dole, while at the same time excoriating a bunch of teenagers who are completely at the mercy of their parents and geography in their choice of schools. I have to assume at least a few of those students whose graduation you would so happily have ruined BY THE FUCKING WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH would love to graduate from somewhere else, but have to remain silent for even better reasons than bilking mom and dad out of some tuition. Like, say, FUCKING SHELTER?

Fucking hypocritical twerp.
Posted by Still Trollin on May 20, 2010 at 11:26 AM · Report this
linda with a y 12
Will in Seattle for the win.

That's too funny Will. I hope it catches on!
Posted by linda with a y on May 20, 2010 at 11:39 AM · Report this
13
There are times I tell myself, "Stop being such an urban snob who thinks small towns are ridiculous homogenous places that are probably full of small minded tools, they probably have some nice decent people in them and they're nice places to live." And then things like this happen and I tell myself no, your initial thoughts on stupid small towns are correct and grounded in fact.
Posted by DeanP on May 20, 2010 at 11:41 AM · Report this
14
Remember when they justified canceling the prom by saying they didn't want to cause a distraction? How's that working out?
Posted by Brett Alan http://digitaldreamdoor.nutsie.com/pages/best_songs-Power-Pop.html on May 20, 2010 at 11:49 AM · Report this
venomlash 15
Dan, not all WBC nobbing-arounds attract counterprotesters. When they showed their ugly mugs in Hyde Park (Chicago) a few months ago, we set people at nearby intersections handing out "Please don't give the asswipes any attention" flyers, and then went into a multicultural center across the street from the bastards and threw a pizza party.
Phred Felps and his crew left after just 15 minutes.

@10: Nah, a rifle's too impersonal. I'd prefer to go in with a knife or three and give them one hell of a "Shalom, motherfuckers!"
Posted by venomlash on May 20, 2010 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Salmon 16
@7:

That's one of the dilemmas that the gay community as a whole faces, isn't it? I saw Constance on the Wanda Sykes show when she was briefly on and she mentioned that she wanted to go to college and eventually settle in other places south of the Mason Dixon line, and Wanda's reaction sort of matched my own: slightly puzzled that she wouldn't get the hell out of there.

If I was in a bigoted small town situation like that I'd want to go to NY, or SF, or Seattle, or Boston, or some tolerant large metropolitan culture capitol. The dilemma then emerges that if all open LGBT's focus on the big cities, places like the deep south get to wallow in their ignorance unmolested; any vulnerable young LGBT's don't have any real hope of coming out without horrible consequences and when their voters are given opportunities to undermine gay rights they always will.

So I don't know, if there's a chance that being around more gay people will mellow out these idiots, then maybe we need people like Constance to choose to live in places like Jackson. On the other hand, I's be damn reluctant to inflict that upon myself (I say, coming from my ultra-catholic European country where homosexuality's only been legal for 19 years...)
Posted by Salmon http://salmon-leap.blogspot.com on May 20, 2010 at 12:25 PM · Report this
very bad homo 17
I'm glad to hear she's doing well. Thanks for the update.
Posted by very bad homo on May 20, 2010 at 12:33 PM · Report this
kim in portland 18
john t @ 6,

Thanks for the heads up.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on May 20, 2010 at 12:44 PM · Report this
beckysharp 19
This is interesting - usually the WBC protests stir up local sympathy for the objects of their protest. It shows just how deeply the town occupants are embedded in their bigotry.

I suppose it's just as well that Constance and any other decent minded person should leave a place like that. It is concerning that they are running an Honors Student out of town. I'm wondering how these places will be served by their prejudice in another quarter-century or so. Will there be any person intelligent enough to have attained say, a medical degree within 100 miles of Itawamba? The professional standards in the town are already low: by the most objective measures (such as basic literacy - remember the Facebook comments from some of the students who went to the private prom?) the educational administration is not serving that school district well at all.
Posted by beckysharp on May 20, 2010 at 12:57 PM · Report this
a.james 20
Hey let's not forget that this isn't a /first/ for Itawamba [ http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive… ] They seem to be gaining a track record of "chasin' them queeahs" out of town.
Posted by a.james on May 20, 2010 at 1:08 PM · Report this
luke1249 21
@16 There are people in Europe who think about the US what you think about the South. Ultimately there are crazy racist homophobes everywhere you go. Are there more in the South? Maybe, but rural/urban is a more reliable predictor than North/South of bigoted attitudes, e.g., attitudes in a small town in Massachusetts will be generally more bigoted than in Dallas. Houston has a lesbian mayor! Fourth biggest city in the country. Also, there are people who live in the south because they like it. I have relatives in Mississippi, and it's one of the most beautiful places I've been.
Posted by luke1249 on May 20, 2010 at 1:18 PM · Report this
22
As a Fulton, I would just like to point out that this particular Fulton does not represent the majority of Fultons, who are a largely fag-loving folk. Thank you.
Posted by Qaisadilla on May 20, 2010 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 23
@22 - remember to flush.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on May 20, 2010 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 24
@ 16,

It's Stockholm Syndrome. She can't picture what freedom looks like. Fulton is all she's known. In Jackson she'll see what not-Fulton is like and her curiosity about life outside the prison will grow. Eventually, she'll come to understand just how vile her home town is, how small towns like it are, and be free, but right now she's young and inexperienced.
Posted by Y.F. Redux on May 20, 2010 at 6:28 PM · Report this
25
I'm raising a gay daughter in a very small Canadian town. Coming out wasn't completely trouble free for her, but I suspect she will still end up living in a small town, when she is finished university. There's more to small town life than possible homophobia - there's clean air, no crime, quiet, having a trip to the drugstore take three hours because you stop and chat with every second person you meet - it isn't just straight racist homophobes who like that kind of thing.

The answer is not for every gay person to move to the city, but for every sane person to make sure their small town takes steps in the right direction.
Posted by agony on May 20, 2010 at 6:54 PM · Report this
26
@25 Rural Canada =/= the rural american south.
Posted by valeanora on May 20, 2010 at 10:34 PM · Report this
27
@6, the best counter-protest for the Westboro church would be to sport signs that say: "Jesus was a fag, and loves you too". They will love that.
Posted by Loge on May 20, 2010 at 10:43 PM · Report this
28
John wrote:
"You'd think the WBC would be celebrating Itawamba, rather than protesting it. Or maybe they're unhappy that the town didn't stone McMillen to death like their Bible instructs them to."

Actually, John, I think that is basically what's happening. From what I've heard, WBC is not protesting Constance, they are protesting the fact that the folks in the area have done too much to acquiesce to her demands. Basically, it is "How dare you let this uppity lesbo make fools of you!"
Posted by VB_Pablo on May 21, 2010 at 8:38 AM · Report this
29
I have to agree with #25.

As a gay man living in small southern town, I feel safe here. Not everyone has to move to the big city. If we all move to the big cities then small towns will never change. Besides way should I have to move? I was born here, my family is here, I have just as much right to be here as anyone else.

I felt less safe while vacationing in AZ than I've ever felt in the south or the midwest.
Posted by roadtripboy on May 21, 2010 at 10:26 AM · Report this
30
The answer is not to stay in a place where you are being actively harassed purely for the sake of effecting change. It is one thing to stand your ground because you like where you live and refuse to be run off. But if you can't wait to be rid of the worthless bigoted morons so you can get on with your life, don't feel like you are obligated to stick around for the sake of others in the same situation. Nobody has the right to require you to ruin your life beating your head against the brick wall of small-town small-mindedness.
Posted by avast2006 on May 21, 2010 at 10:47 PM · Report this
31
@29 maybe you haven't been pay attention but AZ isn't progressive, it's just as backward as the south.

Try coming to NY or Cali or WA.

@30 Totally agree. I'm glad I never had to put up with small-minded fools on a regular basis here in NY.
Posted by valeanora on May 21, 2010 at 10:53 PM · Report this
32
#30 I know it's hard to believe...but I really haven't had any problems here.

High School was hell, but it's been fine since then.

#31 I've been to all of those places and liked them fine, just not any better than where I am. The people in OR were kinda cold until they found out I wasn't from CA.

Minn. and Wis. were great, nice friendly people. But, it was summer. The winter there, yeek!!!! I'm from the sunbelt, can't deal with cold unless it has ski slope attached to it.
Posted by roadtripboy on May 23, 2010 at 5:11 PM · Report this

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