When you are a lesbian and your most basic rights are constantly under attack, it is easy to miss the importance of tiny events. Building up over time, though, these small incidents -- call them nuggets of good news -- can be more important than a judge's decision. They can signal the real sea changes in our lives.
One such event has just occurred in the controversy over a hotel's effort to fly a rainbow flag in Meade, Kan.
Since they first hoisted the flag, The Lakeway Hotel has been subjected to two incidents of vandalism. The first occurred in early morning of July 31 when someone cut down the first rainbow flag flown by JR and Robin Knight, a heterosexual couple who own the hotel. In the second incident Thursday, a brick with the word "fag" was thrown through a hotel window.
JR says the first incident of vandalism has been resolved, and in a hometown Kansas way that gives me great hope.
The Hutchinson News reports today:
The disappearance (of the first rainbow flag) had remained a mystery, but the father of two local boys brought them to the Lakeway on Friday and they owned up to their involvement.These seems like such a tiny thing -- a father marching his sons over to apologize to a neighbor and make restitution. However, I think this tiny event is actually huge.
"They apologized and said they'd replace it," J.R. Knight said. He didn't name the boys, and Meade County Sheriff Michael Cox said only that officials are investigating.
This father could have just as easily ignored the whole thing -- after all, the rainbow flag is a symbol of gay rights. He could have said: Who cares about a bunch of queers? He could have even scolded his sons, punished them in some way and told them never to do it again, but kept them away from the Lakeway Hotel and the Knights. The attitude could have been: Boys will be boys after all, and no one should be flying a queer flag in this town anyway.
This unnamed father didn't do any of that. He forced his sons to be respectful to people who openly support gay rights.
This honorable fellow may never vote in favor of a single fair law for lesbians and gays, but he has just given the Knights and every lesbian, gay and bisexual person in Kansas the most important gift of all.
Think of the scene in the movie Brokeback Mountain where Ennis' father takes him to see the body of a fellow who had been beaten to death for being gay. The lesson that fictional father gave that day was that being gay deserved death.
With a population of only 1,600 and located in the ranching country of southwestern Kansas, Meade, superficially, looks like the same kind of country portrayed in the movie.
However, think about what just happened in Meade where a father forced his sons to acknowledge that vandalism in the name of protesting gay rights is not right. This father forced his sons to acknowledge that all Kansans -- even queers -- deserve respect.
That's huge. That's the stuff of revolutions.
[The 2nd paragraph about Brokeback Mountain was revised 8/24/06 to clarify my meaning.]