In yet another hit to my east coast stereotypes of the midwest, I heard about this amazing protest that happened right here, about 15 minutes away from my apartment in Kansas City.
I've never really thought of Kansas as being gay-friendly. I knew the KC metro area was generally pretty liberal, at least as far as MO & KS go, but I would never have expected this to happen here.
A Shawnee Mission, KS high school was the target last week of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church (of GodHatesFags fame). Shawnee Mission East not only has a GSA, but, according to the KC Star article, they elected a gay homecoming king in 2007. (Horrors!)
Fred Phelps' group turned out 14. Including two small children.
They were met by counterprotesters, organized mostly by the incredible students of Shawnee Mission East High School.
450 of them.
Yes. That's in Kansas. There were 450 of them. That's 32x the number of people that WBC had.
To make things even better, they used the counterprotest as an opportunity to raise money for AIDS and cancer research. They had a goal of raising $250 for each minute that Phelps' group was out there. When the reporter talked to the student with the donation bucket, he said they'd so far been meeting that goal. I don't remember what the final number was, but it was a very substantial amount.
These students totally made my day.