Southern Discomfort: Not so fast – “Queers Not Welcome”

H. Lukas Green and Jody May-Chang©
May 3, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

As determined as the women were to move forward with their plans to have a concert, some locals were just as determined to put a stop to the very idea that gay people and their supporters would be able to gather for a day of music and fun.

Realizing that holding a concert in Casar was impossible because of the shrill voices of contempt and hypocrisy, Leedy and Beasley secured a venue in nearby Lincoln County. When they announced the news of the new location on their website blog that a contract was about to be signed, the local media had a field day.

The Lincoln Times-News publishes a story on April 4, 2008, quoting a local Baptist Minister’s disapproval of the so-called “lifestyle” that would be coming to his area. Others would soon follow in the media with anti-gay rants.

Elected County Official Fans The Flames of Bigotry

Lincoln County Commissioner, Alex E. Patton, made it very clear that he would do everything possible to prevent the concert organized by Leedy and Beasley.

“I will do everything within my power as a county commissioner to keep this event from taking place,” Patton was quoted as saying in the Lincoln Times-News on April 4, 2008. As if standing on a stack of Bibles, he pontificates that he will make certain that every pastor in Lincoln County will hear about this if that’s what it takes to stop this gay-friendly concert from taking place.

In no time the self-righteous bigots who ignore Jesus’ teachings about “love thy neighbor” and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” started their agenda of hate with vile signs and a billboard.

A billboard that appeared seemed to parrot The Star’s doomsday headline (“Camp What?”), only with various Bible passages inserted as if to justify their hatred.

Lincoln County Norht Carolina Anti-Gay Hate Billboard

The billboards hellfire and damnation scripture references that read: “CAMP WHAT? IN LINCOLN COUNTY? IF (Abomination) Leviticus 18:22 AND (Defilement) 1 Timothy 1:10 THEN (Death) Romans 1:32 HOWEVER, IF (Repentance) Ezekiel 14:60 THEN (Eternal Life) John 3:36”

These modern-day Klan members use billboards and signs instead of burning crosses or marching around in hoods. They want to instill fear into the gay community by bulling them and putting them in their place – which is back in the closet.

Lincoln County North Carolina Commissioner Alex PattonPatton told PrideDEPOT.com he has a problem with the festival”s “embarrassing and controversial name.”

“Let’s see, they are lesbians and the camp is named Lickalotta. It does not take a lot of imagination to figure out what most folks think, and Bushfest [correct name is Bushstock] as well.” Patton says.

If Patton is correct when he says that he is representing the “overwhelming majority” of his community, than it’s easy to assume that the majority judges a book by its cover. And they reinforce the notion that when they hear about lesbians, all they think about is sex. Now that’s twisted!

“My record is clear supporting Christian values and I will continue to do so whether I am re-elected of not,” Patton said.

Patton defends his statements by saying that ordinances were violated.

“They should have applied for a permit to hold this festival” he said. “This community is highly offended by the name of this and their disregard for our laws and ordinances.”

Patton admitted that he informed the Sheriff of the proposed festival as soon as he heard about it to give the sheriff “time to plan.”

CJ Johnson, a friend of Leedy and Beasley helped the women find a place to store their trailer after their eviction from Golden Valley Campground.

According to Johnson, the event was over a month away with ample time to apply for the appropriate permits if needed. “I have never heard of the fact that you had to apply for a permit before posting it as a possible location for some event on your own website,” said Johnson.

“I could walk around and talk about putting a circus in my backyard, but until I start unloading the elephants and put up the circus tents, there is nothing anyone else could say about it!” she adds.

When PrideDEPOT.com asked Lincoln County Sheriff Tim Daugherty if there were any laws or ordinance that would prohibit such a music festival he replied, “Not to my knowledge.”

Singleton Bows to Anti-Gay Pressure

Shortly before Leedy and Beasley’s eviction from Golden Valley Campground the women were introduced to Mike Singleton. Several sources told PrideDEPOT.com that Singleton represented himself as the owner of the property that was planned as the alternative location for the music festival.

Leedy says Singleton called her a couple of days after the April 4 Lincoln Times-News article appeared wanting to know what the women had done. He quickly distanced himself much like the Hoyles did during the eviction. He informed the newspaper that he never told the women they could hold the event on the site.

Johnson refutes that saying that she not only walked the land with the women, but that she heard Singleton offer to help by bringing in flat bed trailers for a stage, equipment to clear the road, a trencher to dig water lines and more.

The most surprising thing that the women learned was that Singleton did not own or lease the land, he was only a tenant. Leedy or Beasley said they assumed that Singleton owned the property. Both women were very upset especially after what they had just been through at Golden Valley Campground.

“We had just moved all of our stuff there, so here it is again 38 days prior to Bushstock what are we doing, we”re moving our RV again. We’re moving the stage materials,” a frustrated Leedy said.

Leedy said she she got nowhere when she confronted Singleton.

In a newspaper article, Singleton was quoted as noting concern about negative public reaction to his dealings with the women.

“I have to live here,” he said. “I have to deal with the repercussions.” “I don”t think I”m going to stay in Lincoln County after this.” – Singleton quoted: Lincoln Times-News 04/09/08.

PrideDEPOT.com contacted Singleton, but he declined to comment.

“I actually think it is a real shame that everyone thinks they have won and run off the LGBT community from this area,” Johnson said.

She explained that she would like to see people come from all over show up for a peaceful march or rally.

“Just to show them they didn’t win,” she said.