protesting AFTAH

On Saturday, November 13th, I finally got a chance to stand up for something that I care strongly about. Putting aside the idea that it was 39 degrees outside and all I had for warmth was a thin sweatshirt, protesting the horrendous ways of AFTAH was the only thing that mattered. AFTAH (or Americans for Truth about Homosexuality) is a homosexual hate group that runs a “Truth Academy” every year at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights. The “Truth Academy” preaches lies of “gay tyranny” and ways to put an end to homosexuality in mainstream America. As if defamation of LGBTQ culture isn’t bad enough, their target market of this “Truth Academy” is students, ranging from Kindergarten to Seniors in High School.

On that cold Saturday, AFTAH had planned a gala dinner at Christian Liberty Academy and honestly, I didn’t know what the idea behind the dinner was. All I knew was that I didn’t want that kind of open hatred in my neighborhood. For the past 2 years, much to my parents she-grin, I have been openly bisexual and have been involved in the Gay-Straight Alliance at my school. After having gone to the counter protest (vs. Westboro Baptist Church) at Buffalo Grove High School, I was more pumped than ever to become even further involved in the fight for equality.

The Gay-Liberation Network organized the protest on the 13th, bringing Gay Pride flags and a megaphone to the Academy. A few friends and I arrived around 5:30 PM and we were greeted by members of PFLAG (Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gay). The energy level wasn’t near as high as I would have expected it to be, but it picked up once the members of the GLN showed up. Our faithful megaphone-screamer was a man named Ryne (pronounces Ryan), who looked like one of the quietest people I have ever seen. We bellowed chants, like “2, 4, 6, 8, Only LOVE can conquer HATE!”, “What Do We Want? Equality! When Do We Want It? Now!”, and my personal favorite: “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Homophobia Has Got To Go!”. Instead of standing still and chanting without gusto, we started a picket line next to the AFTAH entrance. One woman got very vocal with us, but I guess that’s expected. You can’t have a good protest without at least an attempted counter-protest.

The best part of the whole night had to have been when one of the GLN leaders invited us all back to his house for vegetarian chili. The conversations I had with some of my peers and some of my elders about how life is for LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ adults today are some that I will never forget. Simply knowing that I am not alone in my proverbial boat fills me with joy. I have never felt such a sense of comradery as I did that November night.



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