Dear Ferndale, MI, You Scoffed At Anti-LGBT Hate Mail, So I'm Sending A Love Letter
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Dear Ferndale, MI, You Scoffed At Anti-LGBT Hate Mail, So I'm Sending A Love Letter

Thank you for being the first place where I felt unafraid to be myself.

Dear Ferndale, MI, You Scoffed At Anti-LGBT Hate Mail, So I'm Sending A Love Letter

Dear Ferndale,

Once upon a time, I was a scared, closeted "baby dyke" growing up in Metro Detroit, and you were this mythical promised land to me. Even though you were less than 20 miles away, it felt like you were on the other side of the earth. I heard you had a Pride festival every June, and Affirmations -- a community center for people like me.

We finally met when I was 18. I snuck out of my parents' house and made it to Pride. "Get ready to see more lesbians than you've ever seen in your life!" my friend laughed. I almost exploded. True, even if I only saw three lesbians, that probably would've been more than I'd ever seen.

Eventually, Ferndale, we became good friends. I not only attended more Prides, I performed at them year after year. I hung out at Affirmations, karaoke'd at SoHo, and even had friends who lived in you. (Sorry. That didn't sound quite right.)

I left Michigan five years ago, but you will always hold a special place in my heart as my first "gayborhood:" the first place that I truly felt connected to my community, and unafraid to be myself.

Then a few days ago, I saw headlines from the "Oakland County Times" online and that your businesses had been targeted by a smattering of anti-LGBT hate mail. "Fox 2 News Detroit" reported on hate mail sent to one of your residents. My heart skipped a beat.

Reading excerpts from these letters was an ugly throwback for me. I've come so far since that day we met at Pride, when I'd only ever seen three lesbians, that I'd all but forgotten the oh-so-familiar words threatening you on those pages.

Most disturbing to me was the sender's conjecture that if a woman had public sex with a goat at your city hall, you would likely honor her with a statue.

Oh yes, the bestiality argument: the disgusting, misguided notion that consensual sex between two adults of the same gender is tantamount to screwing an animal, and in this case, in public to boot. I've heard this so many times, and it still sends chills down my spine.

Incidentally, I'll never understand why it always seems to be a goat, either. That's not what the G in LGBTQ+ stands for. I digress.

The beautiful thing about you, Ferndale, is that you publicly condemned this hate without hesitation. Your mayor, Dave Coulter, denounced the sender as an "anonymous coward," proclaiming that hateful acts like this would only serve to strengthen your inclusivity. Your police, proprietors, and residents stood with him.

For that, I thank you. Thank you for welcoming the LGBTQ+ community in as a major part of your renaissance in the 1980s. Thank you for being among the first municipalities in the nation to permanently instate the rainbow flag in your city council chambers. And cheers to Mayor Dave Coulter -- yes, the one from the last paragraph -- who has been called Michigan's first openly gay mayor.

It disturbs me to fathom the number of minds across the country that still share the depraved perspective of that hate mail, but I'm so grateful it's no longer the perspective of popular opinion. LGBTQ+ progress still has a long way to go in America, but it's thanks to places like you, Ferndale, that we've come so far, so fast in recent years.

Well done, my dear "gayborhood." I look forward to seeing you when I'm back in Detroit.

With love,


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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