Getting rid of (the idea of) second class citizens

“Fag”.  The word was etched into the red brick, an unmistakable manifestation of the hate that was still directed toward gays on the Christian campus where I spent most of my college years.

“I’m sorry buddy, it’s still there and it is going to be hard to get rid of.”

An act of bigotry

It was agonizing. One of my best friends in college was gay. He had noticed that someone had defaced a brick that he had bought to support a fundraising campaign. Unable to bear the pain of seeing the slur again, he had asked me to go check if it had been removed.

Originally the brick was elegantly inscribed with a dedication to my friend’s father, but the added detail that showed who had paid for the brick had evidently attracted one of the bigots that crawled campus.

My friend was close to tears. I felt sick to my stomach. It was my first personal look at the effects of the discrimination against gays that often is accepted in “decent” society. It made me furious. The experience marked one of the turning points for me in my understanding of the gay rights movement.

I am a Christian and struggle with finding anything that resembles a coherent Biblical theology regarding homosexuality. This post isn’t about arguing for or against a gay lifestyle. But I feel personally responsible for defending kind and fair treatment of gays in society and supporting any efforts aimed at promoting equality.

Taking a stand

Enter the work of another good friend from college. Actually, one of my best friends to this day: Aaron Beaumont, a Los Angeles-based musician and composer, along with co-creator Peter Berube, is in the second stage of development on “Behind Closed Doors: A Second Class Cabaret” a show that sold out completely for each night of its first run in 2010.  The show, set in a future where a tyrannical government brutally persecutes those that don’t fit into societal norms, won rave reviews.  It was nominated for two Broadway World LA awards, and legendary 35x gold and platinum songwriter Marty Panzer proclaimed, “every song is a home run.”

At its core it stands for equality for and solidarity with the LGBT community.  I flew down from Northern California to see the initial “workshop” version of the show and it was worth every penny I spent.

Behind Closed Doors is clearly headed for Broadway and you and I can help be part of its success. Right now, Aaron and his team are raising funds to complete a cast recording of the show’s songs in order to pitch the show to Broadway producers.

How you can help

The fundraising is already past the 60% mark and is only gaining in momentum. With your support, this very worthy project can succeed. Plus, a portion of proceeds goes to support the It Gets Better Project, aimed at helping LGBT teens during the years in which they will likely experience the worst societal abuse for their orientation. Lyrics from the show’s “One Small Choice” song sum up the spirit of hope that defines the show:

“No more whispering in the street

For no revolution ever stayed behind closed doors.

It grows from one idea

That no army can defeat:

Freedom, surely as the air we breathe, is mine and yours.

Come near my brother

Stand for another

Your world is yours to create.

Love is always a dangerous song

But when you sing it, I’ll sing along.

Come near my brother

Dream of another

World that is only so far

As your heart from the sound of your voice.

Freedom starts when you make one small choice.”

This is a project that deserves backing.  I’ve made my pledge. For more info and to join me and other supporters click here.

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