False Flags; Exposing North End Hypocrisy 

By Griffin Rae Birdsong

July 6th, 2017

Pride flags along Harrison Boulevard, Boise, June 2017. CREDIT TOM MICHAEL / BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO

Pride flags along Harrison Boulevard, Boise, June 2017.

CREDIT TOM MICHAEL / BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO

           ***CONTENT WARNING***                                                                                Queerphobia, cishet privilege, liberal BS                                                                 .

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If you live in Boise then it is not so unlikely that you’ve seen a flyer (shown below), distributed by a man named Lance Wells, promoting his new book “The Truth Comes Out -- Laying Waste to the Lies of the LGBT Community”. For those who don’t live in Idaho, Lance Wells is an outspoken bigot and author in the Treasure Valley. I have not been able to confirm, but the word is that Lance has been distributing similar material for some time now. Some people I’ve talked to have suggested that this seems to happen about once a year, which means that it could be a yearly and reactionary response to Pride month.

However, what I’m reviewing today is what I once thought to be the most progressive neighborhood in Idaho, the North End, and the way it has responded to this nonsense. In other words: if you live in the North End, fly a pride flag, go out of your way to tell trans women how “fabulous” they are, and yet support this man’s right to distribute his ilk in OUR neighborhood then I am reviewing you today. Because some of y’all don’t understand that living two blocks from the co-op doesn’t make you a good person, and it especially doesn’t make you a queer ally.

But Griffin, the North End is easily the most progressive neighborhood in Idaho, and it’s full of wonderful people. If Lance Wells is the one distributing hate speech, then why are you mad at the community and not him?

Excellent question, hypothetical reader.

First off, I am beyond mad at Lance. I wish him all the worst things in life.
Secondly, my outrage over the North End’s lack of outrage is the direct result of a thread discussing Lance that was posted in “The Northend,” a Facebook group with almost 5,000 members somehow associated with everyone’s favorite Idaho neighborhood.

In reply to one user making a rightfully scathing post about the man and the flyer that was left on their door, which included a yellow sticker reading “add no words”, people responded with the following gems:

“Why are you posting this pic? Just ask him in person to stop. He has the right to leave his flyers on door steps unless posted.”

“Whether anyone agrees with him or not..we all claim to 'welcome' everyone. He's part of everyone.”

“I disagree with him but feel it is also our responsibility to support free speech and encourage open communication.”

My initial response was something to the tune of:
Jesus, it’s almost like y’all have those pride flags that you were flying last week stuck so far up your ass that now everywhere you look you see rainbows. A healthy chunk of you motherfuckers literally all took part in memorializing an anti-police/pro-queer riot last month (yes that is what the first pride was). But I’m beginning to think that maybe you just like prancing around downtown and taking advantage of yearly drink specials a lot more than you actually like queer people.

Listen up nerds, you’ve been taught since you were very young that if you disagreed with someone there was probably some compromise or middle ground that you simply weren’t seeing. I’m here to tell you that might have been true in kindergarten, but it turns out the world is more complicated than the after-school specials that emboldened your half-assed moralism.
To put this as succinctly as I can: queerphobia is not an opinion, it is a predisposition and a prejudice. Saying this man’s right to distribute hate speech is as valid as my right to be angry is to imply once again that this dichotomy of thought is healthy, that these falsely equivalent factions of thought are each an important part of what makes your neighborhood a rich tapestry for masturbatory cishet “progressives” to gawk at.  

Here’s the scoop, the last thing you’re ever going to hear from me about this: you need to EARN your stripes as a progressive neighborhood. You need to EARN the right to call yourself a progressive and an ally to the queer community. It won’t be easy. You can’t just drop an “I love everyone” or an “everyone is welcome in my neighborhood” every now and again in conversation. You’re going to have to be brave. You’re going to have to stand up for your queer neighbors who rightfully belong there, and repel the toxic bigotry that absolutely does not belong in ANY progressive space. You’re going to have to DO something. By being complacent and allowing this man to do what he’s doing you are not being tolerant, you are not being loving, and you are not being good to your queer neighbors. All you’re doing is being lazy.

So by all means, please, for the love of god, if you see this man then tell him about a queer person that you love too much to let him do what he’s doing. Tell him why you fly the pride flag in June. Tell him why you love your neighborhood. Grow a backbone and tell him to get the fuck out. Leave a one star review of his book on Amazon. DO SOMETHING other than enabling your complacent neighbors or please do not come to pride next year.

The North End, 0/5 stars.

P.S. Think i'm being too sensitive? Check him out at your public library on Capitol.