Laramie, AZ

It happens every year. We can’t help it. Temperatures start to drop, snow starts to fall, and the snickering begins. By December, the Facebook posts begin. And by February, even the newspapers chime in. It’s what I like to call the “Slapping Ourselves on the Back Syndrome.” Yes, those of us who moved to Arizona from anywhere else in the world, get quite cocky in the winter.

We laugh: “You don’t have to shovel heat” and post “The only type of ice we need in the winter is for our margaritas” on our Facebook walls. The weather reporters get downright giddy on TV showing us snow and cold everywhere else. Look how smart we are for living here!

I have lived here for 18 years after spending my first 24 years in Michigan. My parents moved here 4 years before I did. Only because of a lack of a job and a lack of a marriage proposal of any kind from anyone in the Detroit area, did I agree to follow them. As many of you know. I did find a spouse and job shortly after arriving here. I enjoyed both. The husband I kept, the job as a defense attorney I left. After 15 years of increased conservatism of the Az government, I resigned last summer.

The AZ prosector’s policies got stricter, Sheriff Joe got crazier, and I lost it when grabbing people off the street because they looked foreign became law. We are 48th in the Country for education, and funding for public schools keep getting cut because the retirees who live here don’t care. But yesterday, the AZ government officially lost their minds.

Yesterday they made it legally ok to deny service to people in Arizona because they are gay. Because being gay can make other people super uncomfortable. Especially people who are, like, really religious.

My son Sam is about to perform in only the 2nd AZ production ever of The Laramie Project. The play is about the story of Matthew Shepard, who was tortured and killed because he was gay in Laramie, WY. 2 prejudiced, ignorant bigots robbed and violently beat the young college student and tied him to a fence and then left him for dead. They took Dennis and Judy Shepard’s 21 year old son and killed him because his sexuality made them uncomfortable.

Yes, in an era where we are now so incredibly proud of our progress for giving equal rights to women and minorities, Arizona has given gay people here a giant yellow star to wear. “You don’t have to bother serving these people. They aren’t the same as us.”

If we sit back and do nothing, are we any better than the people who watched slavery, Indian relocation, or the Holocaust and said “there’s nothing I can do?” And who or what will be targeted next here in AZ? People who have birth defects, are obese or are handicapped in some way make people uncomfortable, right?

At Matthews church funeral filled with loving family and friends, picketers, led by a local Reverend, stood outside with anti-gay hate signs. “God Hates Fags” and “Matthew Rots In Hell.”

Matthew’s friends, knowing this would happen again at the trial of his killers, dressed as angels to block the protesters from being seen. They made a giant circle around the picketers and signs, and spread their angel wings up to block out the hate.

Arizona: it’s our turn to dress up as angels. Do something to show your support of our gay community. Express your opinions. Yell at the top of your lungs. Come support The Laramie Project by buying tickets to the show, or just show up outside dressed as angels. Governor Brewer has 5 days to decide whether or not to sign this bill. Make a statement.

Otherwise we need to stop being so proud of ourselves for moving here. I’d rather shovel snow.

http://www.spotlightyoutheatre.org

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