We’ve all seen them in one form or another — zealots, probably working in overdrive to bottle in their own confusion over same-sex attraction, who have been conditioned into homophobia to the point of taking to the streets to broadcast their hateful message.
Usually, the best course of action is to just ignore these fools. Arguing doesn’t work, and getting angry is exactly what they want. But as one high school junior in Tillamook, OR proved, there is a right way to engage this kind of hate speech — with love.
When Makaila Ragan noticed two men standing at a busy intersection outside her mother’s work with antigay signs, she took a bold step and joined them with her own sign that said “I [Heart] Gays.”
“I was so irritated because I see them all around town and all they ever do is make people feel like crap about themselves,” she told local blog the Tillamook County Pioneer.
The men were quick to spout more vitriol at Ragan. “They were calling me names, and asking my mom questions, like, ‘How many times did you have to get an abortion before you were able to have your daughter?’ and saying, ‘You’re going to burn in hell right along with your daughter.’ The things they were saying were just awful, but I didn’t let them faze me.”
Ragan didn’t budge, and as the hours ticked by, more and more people started showing up to offer her support, drowning out the antigay message with positivity.
An estimated 45 people joined her in demonstrating, and in the process, some of the supporters launched a Tillamook for Love Facebook group. Ragan announced her plan to counter-demonstrate again.
Here’s what the scene looked like after a few hours: