At least 150 locals in Silverton, OR showed their support for the first openly transgender/gender queer person elected major -- Stu Rasmussen, who sees himself as male but who had breast implants and presents himself as a woman -- drastically outnumbering the quartet of Westboro haters who had slithered into town to protest and get their media fix.
Best sign of the day: "My love is bigger than your hate." And there was this heart-warming encounter:
A woman pushing a baby jogger past City Hall did a doubletake on her run, backing up to question 16-year-old Victoria Phelps, whose family runs the small Kansas church.
"I'm a Christian," Lesley Brighton said, clearly perplexed by the girl's "God Hates Fags" sign. "This is some kind of joke, right?"
No, it's deadly serious, Phelps replied. Electing a transgender mayor, she said, was an abomination.
"I don't expect for it to sink in but it's our duty to come out here and preach to these people because they're so proud of having a transvestite mayor," Phelps said. "It's disgusting. And where was it? Was it Isaiah? Deuteronomy? About it being an abomination?"
Brighton shook her head. "I've read the Bible cover to cover," Brighton said. "Bottom line: love beats hate."
And while I was joking about the "To Wong Foo" reference,* apparently someone did in fact show their solidarity: in a similar way:
Silverton attorney Yossi Davidson, 59, wore a dress to the rally.
"Today, I'm just Joe the Cross-dresser," Davidson said. "Stu's an institution in this town … which is probably why he got elected. He's a straightforward, genuine kind of guy despite his gender complexities.
"I think a lot of people in town are against this sort of bigotry and militancy, their (Westboro's) bullying attitude," he added. "People are out here to mock them."
Even the comments about the newspaper story -- which are all-too-often seem to bring out the haters whenever it's a trans-related article -- were a pleasure to read.
Finally, one of the locals gives his account of the counter-protest (and thanks for showing your support Barry!). As he put it: "[T]he good guys won. And we did a good thing." That you did, that you did.
* For those who didn't get the headline reference, here's an explanation (be sure to read the plot outline).