Thursday, November 20, 2008

Remembering our fellow brothers and sisters

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Rather than dwelling on manufactured martyrs (see my post below), let's take this time to commemorate and honor the true victims of hatred.

You won't see Michele Malkin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, or the phonies at One News Now speak out about these folks.

So it's our job, as it should be.

Go here for more information.
Not attacking that 69-year-old woman but there is more to the story

The story of Phyllis Burgess, the 69-year-old woman who had a confrontation with a crowd of anti-Proposition 8 folks is making its way through the blogsphere.

Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich referenced it in their television interviews and now Michelle Malkin is talking about it in her syndicated column:

In Palm Springs, a videographer filmed unhinged anti-Prop. 8 marchers who yanked a large cross from the hands of 69-year-old Phyllis Burgess and stomped on it.

That behavior was uncalled for but there is more to the story than a lot of people are willing to tell. I found the following on Mike Tidmus's site. He investigated the incident after seeing it on P. LaBarbera's site:

Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, renown gay porn aficionado, and ersatz critic of the queer equality movement, recently posted an article about an incident at an otherwise peaceful, Palm Springs candlelight vigil on the Friday following the passage of Proposition 8.

From Americans for Truth about Homosexuality:

Dear Readers, here’s more evidence that homo-fascism is coming out of the closet following the triumph of Proposition 8, which simply restores the traditional definition of marriage in California. “Gay” activists now rail against ANY opposition to their agenda as “hateful.” Watch this video from Palm Springs, California — a notorious homosexual Mecca. Note the anchorman’s politically correct summation, as if the “hate” on the video really came from “both sides”! Beneath the video is more background on this latest “gay” outrage; note that a commercial precedes the online video news story.

Here’s the report on this incident in The Desert Sun:

A candlelight service to protest the state’s recently enacted gay marriage ban turned hostile Friday night when a woman carried a cross into the crowd.

The crowd chanted, “Go home!” “Nazi!” and “Shame on you!” as organizers pleaded with the crowd to ignore the woman.

“God has given me a message, a word for all of us and it’s fidelity,” said Phyllis Burgen, a Palm Springs supporter of the gay marriage ban.

“I have a right to be here.”

The crowd saw things differently, pressed in on Burgen, ripped the cross from her hands and stomped on it. In the rush, protesters pushed one another and Burgen, who said she would not press charges although she was bruised in the exchange.

LaBarbera has removed the beginning of the second paragraph from the article that reads:

But as Phyllis Burgen, a Palm Springs supporter of the gay marriage ban, walked through the gathering with her cross, the crowd chanted, “Go home!” “Nazi!” and “Shame on you!” as organizers pleaded with the crowd to ignore the woman.

LaBarbera also fails to provide a link to the source,, which incorrectly identifies Phyllis Burgess as “Phyllis Burgen.” What else does LaBarbera omit? Key points from the article, including this:

As reported on, organizers had planned a quiet service with speeches from elected officials to rally support after a disappointing loss at the polls. In May, the California Supreme Court ruled the gay marriage ban overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2000 was unconstitutional.

The article ends with this paragraph:

At the close of the event, participants snuffed out their candles to symbolize the passage of the same-sex marriage ban extinguishing gay civil rights.

LaBarbera provides a video segment of the aftermath of the incident in which Phyllis Burgess is shouted down by attendees of the event that Ms Burgess had just interrupted.

LaBarbera fails to note that another local TV news crew was on the scene conducting a live interview when Burgess pushed her way through the crowd, plastic cross in hand, to get the attention of the film crew. That video, from KESQ TV can be seen here.

According to an eyewitness iReporter:

At City Hall a woman with a huge styrofoam cross appeared screaming about YES on 8 at the back of the crowd of NO on 8 supporters — their rally. She wanted to get to where the speakers were up front and I saw her knock a disabled man, a NO on 8 supporter to the ground, screaming, “Get out of my way!” People in the crowd around her tore away her cross and threw it to the ground and began pushing her.

If you study the video from KESQ, you’ll see Ms Burgess emerge, not from the sidelines, but directly through the middle of the crowd. You’ll also note that the news anchor recognizes Burgess, because this is not Burgess’ first visit to an anti-Prop-8 event. She showed up to protest five days earlier at the Palm Springs Gay Pride Parade.

KESQ describes that appearance:

There is always two sides to every debate. Among the thousands against Prop 8, there are a few supporters fighting back with yes signs.

“They don’t see the sanctity in male-on-male or female-on-female,” says Phyllis Burgess, Prop 8 supporter.

Those against the ballot issue didn’t take kindly to the protestors displays.

“I was amazed with the hatred,” says Burgess.

Amazed with the hatred, but eager to get on TV again, Burgess came back and butted into a candlelight service intended to heal the community’s grief and anger over the passage of Prop 8.

Phyllis Burgess declined to press charges on 7 November, even though Lt Dennis Graham of the police department spent 40 minutes trying to persuade her to file a complaint.

According to, “the 69-year-old Palm Springs resident originally declined to press charges when asked by police and joked that she felt lucky — that at least she didn’t lose her wig in the tussle like Cloris Leachman did on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”

Then suddenly four days later on 11 November, Phyllis Burgess was eager to press charges. What could have happened in the meantime to change her mind? Phone call from the Alliance Defense Fund? Thomas More Law Center? Liberty Counsel? We may never know.

Incomplete mischaracterizations of the incident, along with accusations of “homo-fascism”spread like wildfire across right wing blogs, online forums like FreeRepublic, and radical religious right news sources like WorldNetDaily and OneNewsNow.

What has subsequently not been widely reported is that, following an apology from one gay man, Phyllis Burgess has opted not to seek assault charges. She also acknowledged contacting officials prior to her controversial intrusion at the candlelight vigil, and Ms Burgess now says “she would support ’some sort of marriage’ for those in a committed relationship.”

Like I said, I do not condone attacking anyone, but there is more to the story than Malkin and her cohorts are willing to admit.

You see folks, this is how lying is done. Enhance one part of your yarn while omitting crucial details. It happened with the Repent America controversy, it happened with the David Parker controversy.

And it is happening again.