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A must-ask question when the Phelps are around: What can you say to hate?

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Our very good friend and great ally, Taylor Marsh, is now featuring a weekly post on her site, "Queer Talk," written by Joyce Arnold. In the wake of the Phelps clan inserting themselves into Tucson massacre, Joyce asks "What can you say to hate?":

To anyone aware of the “Reverend” Fred Phelps, and his (primarily family members) Westboro Baptist Church (independent and unaffiliated), of Topeka, Kansas, the announcement of “God Hates” protests at funerals of victims of the shootings in Tucson was not a surprise. This is the same group that picketed the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards, carrying their typical signs, including “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

With this national moment’s focus on “civility,” and with Phelps not surprising insertion of WBC into Tucson, I started thinking about responses to hateful (not simply angry) words, not just toward Queerdom, but toward whichever group such words are directed. Do you give the attention obviously desired, by responding? Do you ignore them? The arguments for providing no attention are persuasive, and in terms of actually standing across from the Phelps clan, the people with whom I’ve stood have made that choice. We did fill the silence with quotations about equality from a wide variety of people, MLK to Audre Lorde, among others. And I find myself now thinking of something Lorde has written: “Your silence will not protect you.”
Definitely worth a read.

The LGBT community knows that our silence will not protect us. Never has. As Joyce concludes, "how we fill the silence does matter."

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