In the most recent issue of Bloom, the story “The Trials LGBTQ+ Groups Face with Booth at Monroe County Fair” revealed the struggles Prism Youth Community (a PRIDE program) and the Rainbow Rights Task Force of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington endure when they set up their informational booth at the fair each year. Along with the story, we ran two pictures of drawings by visitors who were encouraged to “Draw Your Rainbow.”
The caption reads, “Messages, negative and positive, are left by visitors to the Prism booth.” The bottom photo shows a variety of rainbows, signed by the artists. The top photo shows a hateful message, of course unsigned, that simply reads “Fuck gays.”
The pictures were given to us by Prism and the Rainbow Rights Task Force to share with our readers as examples of the hate LGBTQ+ children and adults endure as they try to share their message with the community at the fair.
On the day the magazine was distributed, someone locally chose to take a photo of the hateful picture and put it on Facebook. This individual did not include the supportive picture, the caption, or, most importantly, the story. The Facebook posting created a firestorm of additional Facebook posts, and messages, emails, and phone calls to our office from around the country—all accusing Bloom of being virulently anti-LGBTQ+.
This is how hate and divisiveness are spread on the internet. This is the kind of “fake news” we hear so much about.
There were some people in Bloomington, including in the gay community, who were also offended by the picture. Those who are not part of a minority or marginalized group may have no personal reference when it comes to acts of hate. This picture, directed at children, might give them some idea of what it’s like. For members of the gay community who were upset by the image, we feel that only by facing hate, head on, can it be combatted. The organizations involved were brave enough to send us the picture. We felt it was our duty to publish it. We stand by that decision.