Last week Claudia Contrada, the daughter of Amy Contrada, one of America's most actively anti-gay moms, chose to come out publicly as a lesbian on QueerToday.com.
At first I struggled with the decision to publish Claudia's brave interview because of her unfortunate situation at home.
Then I thought about what I was doing when I was seventeen. I was completing my senior year of high school at a college in Boston because my rural hometown and high school had become too unsafe due to anti-gay harassment. It was not long before I felt empowered enough to tell my story. Since my arrival in Boston I have met hundreds of teens who, like me, made it through difficult times by their own determination, the support of their friends, and the support of organizations like BAGLY, Boston GLASS, and PFLAG.
Knowing she had the appropriate support networks in place, I decided to post the interview out of respect for Claudia's wishes and for the thousands of queer youth around the world who would draw strength and inspiration from her resilience.
The story spread among LGBT and progressive blogs. And on November 2nd, Claudia went on to give a stellar performance in the sold-out Laramie Project play that depicts the brutal anti-gay murder of Mathew Shepard. Despite overwhelming support from the community, the play was protested by Fred Phelps thanks to the red carpet Claudia's mom rolled out for them by holding an anti-Laramie Project forum at the school a few weeks prior.
That should have been the end of this story.
But today things suddenly took a turn for the worse. The author of the MassResistance website*, longtime anti-gay activist Brian Camenker, announced that Amy Contrada had pulled her daughter from school and the remaining performances of the play. As usual, his expose' also included lies and attacks on me, QueerToday.com, and the Acton school system. The twisted material was also sent out via e-mail to his supporters and the Massachusetts legislators.
As I read his vicious rant my heart sank because Claudia's cherished role in the Laramie Project, and her support system of friends, teachers, and counselors had been robbed from her in order to maintain her mother's sick addiction to hate.
What kind of mother pulls her daughter from her school, supportive friends and teachers, and the play she is enthusiastically participating in during the final stretch of her senior year?
What kind of 50+ year old male computer programmer posts photos of a 17 year old girl's bedroom, personal e-mails and facebook details on his web site?
What credentials does this man have to judge who is a lesbian and who is not?
What constitutes psychological abuse?
Our thoughts and prayers (for those who pray) are with Claudia and the entire Contrada family. May they find compassion, acceptance and peace at once.
- InNewsweekly: ...Contrada Not Gay...
- Good As You: Stop Exploiting My Kid, That's My Job!
- Ryan's Take: MassResistance Hits New Low
*Brian Camenker writes the MassResistance web site content. Amy Contrada writes the MassResistance blog content.