Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

It’s Time To Fight Hate. It’s Time To Get Loud.

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raised fist patterned with the rainbow flag, symbolizing the fight for gay rights

“Darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable,

And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear”

Closer To Fine, The Indigo Girls

I believe that love always wins, that love will always defeat hate. This week that belief has been shaken.

Last Sunday, hate opened fire on innocent souls in their sanctuary. A gay night club was attacked. Hate drove murder into a place where love reigns.

Our nation is mourning. We are asking how this could happen. Why this would happen. We are trying to believe that love trumps hate. We are clinging to the feel good stories of heroes and community support. We are left wondering what we can do. Wanting to extend our love, to lift up the victims and the community, but feeling helpless.

Because our love is not enough. Yes, love can win. I still believe this. But love alone is not enough, not now. Not after hate came storming in on a Sunday morning.

So, it is with love that I say the following:

We need to fight.

We need to fight the hate that is becoming all too familiar in our country. Love won’t win if the loving people curl up on their couches and stay quiet. Not if we wrap our arms around each other but don’t raise our fist in the air in protest.

Now is the time to get loud. To get our hands dirty. To do some serious soul searching. To dig in and refuse to allow hate one more inch.

It means things are going to get uncomfortable. It means challenging beliefs and social norms. Norms that have been accepted in our country for too long.

The norms that say that being gay is a sin.

The norms that say that being gay is “unnatural.”

The norms that say that LGBT people are “freaks.”

“Mentally ill.” “Sick.” “Deranged.” “Deviants.”

Norms that say gay people shouldn’t get married.

Norms that give cover to parents who disown their children because they are gay.

Norms that say it’s ok for a clerk to refuse to grant a marriage license in the name of religious freedom. As if steadfast beliefs could actually be shaken by doing one’s job. Norms that allow good people to stand behind the clerk and support her bigotry.

Norms that have politicians saying that gay people adopting would be a social experiment.

Norms that have large religious organizations condemning a population of people.

Norms that have evangelists saying that hurricanes and natural disasters and even murder is the price to pay for homosexuality. Norms that allow these things to be spoken without widespread condemnation. Without their followers leaving their flock en masse.

Norms that repeat “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” A phrase used as a band aid for bigotry. Because bigotry is what it is when people themselves are classified as sins.

Think about that. A person is a sin. 

That is hate. That is demonizing a whole population.

Apparently these things are ok to say.  To say it as a “belief” makes it ok. Hate cloaked in ideology. Hate under the veil of spirituality.

But make no mistake, it’s hate.

I have heard these words sitting in a church pew. I have heard them shouted on the playground. I have heard them in casual conversation with adults. My kids have come home relaying stories of kids repeating these hateful words. I have read them in the comments section on my own blog post.

Words matter. Words spoken in houses of worship of many faiths matter. These words may not be said from a place of hate, but once spoken they become permission to condemn. To judge. To look down upon.

To hate.

And for some people? To kill.

Hate is swelling as we speak. Hate is running amok out of fear, fear of progress and fear of change. We see more hate when rights are being given to people who have been oppressed. As we progress and we give more rights to LGBT, as most of us welcome and love our brothers and sisters regardless of who they are, without any concern for who they love, as we move forward and make progress on being a better, more inclusive society… we see more hate.

Hate doesn’t like progress.Hate will always try to stop it. Hate will try to keep things stagnant. To regress. To make America great again. Progress is the antidote to hate, so hate will call in the reinforcements and do everything it can to stop forward motion.

Hate needs fuel. It needs people to buy into it. It needs people to repeat tired and senseless words of oppression and judgement. Words repeated so often over the years. Repetition. Routine. Tradition. Hate that survives in our modern day out of tradition. Is that a reason to allow hate to continue? Is tradition so important that we won’t stand up to words that speak hate? Hate infiltrates the routine. It repeats softly, sings it’s hateful words with a sweet melody. Repeat after me… 

I’m sick of hate. I’m tired of seeing it when I read the news, tired of hearing it from people who aim to be our leaders. Tired of hearing it from people who think they have the right to pass judgement. I’m tired of hearing kids spout off the hate they are hearing in their homes. The DNA of hate being embedded in their young bones. I’m tired of reading it when I write about LGBT rights.

I’m just tired.

But I refuse to give in to hate. I refuse to concede. I will call it out every time I see it or hear it. I will defy the sick social norms we’ve all become accustomed to.

Whether the hate comes from a twisting of an ancient faith, whether it comes from self loathing, whether it comes from fear of change, whether it comes from ignorance, I will not let hate go unchallenged.

Hate under the guise of beliefs has a long history. It was hate when interracial marriages were considered against “natural law.” It was hate that allowed Nazi Germany to commit genocide. It is hate that radical Islamic extremists employ to stone gay people to death. It is hate when Vladimir Putin jails people for being gay. It is hate when the influential American Family Association advocates criminalizing LGBT, advocates abducting the children of gay couples, among other despicable things. And it is hate when fundamentalist Christianity decries homosexuality as a sin.

It’s time to challenge some antiquated, misguided, despicable norms.

It means challenging people you may respect. It means calling them out. Saying “No more.” It means not tolerating hate speech.

Love sometimes means fighting. Hate doesn’t play fair. We can’t hug our way to a better place. The Civil Rights Movement didn’t make groundbreaking progress by disassociating and only looking at the positive. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought hate and injustice. He challenged notions that were being defended as faith. He advocated for love and peace while fighting oppression. He did it eloquently and fervently and loudly.

You can fight in the name of love. Change doesn’t happen with a whisper.

There’s much work to do, my friends. It’s time to challenge norms, change mindsets, change the words that are acceptable to say. It’s time to change what we accept. We have people who have been attacked. They have been attacked with hateful policies, with ignorant laws, with slurs and bullying.  And now they have been attacked in cold blood.

It’s time to shine a hot, glaring light on darkness and hate. It’s time to stop it’s angry feeding, to cut off it’s food supply.

Carry love in your heart while you shut down the hate you see and hear. Let love be the reason you decide No more. No more hate under the guise of faith. No more co-opting something we hold sacred to further an agenda. No more tolerating bigotry, no matter where it comes from. No one is above reproach in this battle.

No more staying quiet.

Let’s get loud.


42 Responses

    1. Yes! I agree. (another thing MLK preached.) I don’t understand hate. I really don’t. Even people who commit horrible crimes, I think about what happened to them, what went wrong in their lives to get them to that point. There are people I love very dearly who will probably not like what I’ve said here, at all. But I’m used to having people disagree with me (and me disagreeing with them) and it does not change how I feel about them one bit.

  1. We are spreading the word and hopefully educating many. I am worried that when this passes (after a couple of months) people will go back to not caring about the LGBT community. As you say, we have to be louder! xo

    1. I truly hope not. I don’t have a lot of hope for changes in our gun laws at the moment, but I really hope people start thinking about the words they use and how those words have an affect on others. I’m so glad I’m lucky enough to have met people like you, people who care about these things and won’t stop talking about them. <3

  2. Assault weapons, that’s how it happened. There are always demented people looking for something to hate. If they don’t have military weapons they can damage but not like this.

    1. Well, I completely agree with you on that. I don’t understand why anyone needs a high capacity magazine (or clip or whatever it’s called.) I think there are many things that need to be addressed here. Gun control, homophobia and how we investigate potential terrorists and mental health.

  3. I love your passion. I love YOU.

    I’m so sick of all of this. I want to fight back. I want to get loud. What do we do? I feel helpless. I will wake up tomorrow and love. But what else can I do? There has to be more because I don’t want my child growing up in a world like this.

    1. I don’t know what else to do. I know that where I live, you hear the anti-gay comments. A lot. You hear that it is a sin. You hear “Love the sinner, hate the sin” a lot. For those of us who live in the bible belt we have to start speaking up every time and call it out. We need our churches to stop preaching that it’s a sin and I think it might take the congregations to take a stand. Other than calling my congressman about the gun control bill, and writing about this stuff, I don’t have a clue what else to do. I don’t know if anyone does right now. That’s the frustrating part. I talked to my kids about it many times this week. They came to me asking questions, and we had some great discussions. I know you and I are raising good kids who will do good in this world. That’s something. Love you. <3

      1. LD and I watched the news last night. We never do that. But I wanted him to understand the details of the whole gun problem, the no fly – no buy policy, the 15 hour filibuster and all kinds of things. Then we talked about it all.

        I felt like I was doing my part, at least to some degree. You inspire me. Always.

      2. Here’s the problem. And I’ve been struggling with this. In the bible it says men shall not sleep with men, and woman likewise. Its clear in the bible that it’s a “sin.” But many Christians believe it’s not a sin. (I’m not sure where I stand. I think the bible is clear, but I don’t see the problem.)

        1. Mack, I was doing the exact same thing, thinking we were speaking hatred by not accepting the gay lifestyle because love. Once I actually prayed to God to please show me the right way to view this topic because I want to be right in HIS MIND, not mine…I can’t even begin to tell you how clear He made things for me. I posted a comment right after yours on this blog that has the article I was led to. HERE: is another article from that same site but the 2 articles clearly give BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE:

          May God bless you & I truly hope you choose to support God’s very own Word, not the world’s.

      3. “We need our churches to stop preaching that it’s a sin”?!?! Are you serious? So you’re saying we need to side with the WORLD & not God. That’s *exactly* what you’re saying. It’s a crossroads, will you choose to bend to the ways of the world (which is enmity to God; SEE JAMES 4:4) or will you stay true to Jesus, which means we will NOT go along with the world’s decrees? (“If the world hates you, keep in mind hat it hated Me first.” John 15:18 but John 15:18-27 covers you being friends with the world, thus the world will not hate you.)

        UNDERSTAND: this is not the same rage that’s been expressed towards you due to your recent posts. You’ve angered ACTUAL CHRISTIANS & there IS such a thing as HOLY RAGE. (See Matthew 21:12; John 2:15; Matthew 21:11; Mark 11:15-18; Mark 21:12-13.) YOU ARE STILL NOT QUOTING SCRIPTURE WITH YOUR BELIEFS, which is VERY telling. It means that, although you claim to be a Christian, you’re speaking AGAINST Christianity, therefore THERE ARE NO SCRIPTURES TO BACK YOU UP & you’ve chosen the LOSING team. Jesus Himself spoke of people & churches like you in REVELATION 2 & 3. It’s a scary outcome so I strongly suggest you READ IT.

        I doubt you will but for those who ARE interested to know exactly WHAT the Bible says in both Old & New Testaments regarding homosexuality, this is an accurate article:

        But WHY FOCUS ON HOMOSEXUALITY, as though homosexuals are the only ones who sin?! I SIN, YOU SIN, WE ALL SIN, so NONE OF US ARE GOOD. Yet here you are, inciting all kinds of trouble & unfortunate for you that you’ve chosen to go against God. I’m not touching THAT with a 10 foot pole because He even addresses it before the incident ever happened; THAT is how AWESOME HE IS. He knows EVERYTHING before it ever happens. 2 Chronicles 20:15; 1 Samuel 17:47; Zechariah 4:6 CLEARLY SAY that the battle is not ours, but the Lord’s. The Lord Himself will fight against you & you’ve chosen that way because WHY, EXACTLY? You want a popular BLOG?!

        “..the prophets give false prophecies and the priests rule with an iron hand. Worse yet, My people like it that way! BUT WHAT WILL YOU DO WHEN THE END COMES?” Jeremiah 5:31

  4. As always, Gretchen, your writing is empassioned and brilliant. I can think of no one more perfect to sound a battle cry against hate. It has become paralyzing, frightening…leaving me wondering what kind of world my children will grow up in and live in as adults. Will what I teach them about love and tolerance and the words of wisdom to ‘live and let live’ be enough against the growing storm of hate this world seems to lean toward? I refuse to let hate become the norm for them. I stand with you.

    1. I refuse too. I refuse to think they are going to inherit all of our outdated disfunction and have to fix it themselves. And to see these mothers on tv Sunday morning, their pain… I couldn’t bear to watch it. I don’t know if you hear it where you live as much as I do. I hear anti-gay comments all the time. My daughter comes home weekly telling me horrible things the kids at school say about being gay. It’s scary as hell. And to think, there are gay children who are hearing this stuff from their parents and their friends and on the bus. It breaks my heart.

      Thank you for always having something supportive and kind to say to me. I miss your words and your writing <3

  5. Just, fantastically, frabjously, EXCEEDINGLY wonderful, G! Wow! I feel all fired up and now I want to go and shout this from the rooftops.

    I wish there were a simple way forward, with evident Actions Which Need To Be Taken, but we’re all making it up as we go along, and taking a stand, announcing allegiance to love, and opposition to hate, is a START. Acting lovingly, day by day, is a good follow-up, and one I’m totally on board with.

    I read a tweet yesterday from someone who said her lesbian friend was crying because she’s going to study in the US soon. I think even now, I’ve somehow got my head in a cloud about this, because in spite of all that still DOES go on here, the LGBT community in the UK enjoys a lot of protection and (I guess) far more acceptance than it does there.

    Which will be interesting when I rock up.

    (STILL can’t wait to be there, though)

    1. I get all giddy when you make up words for me 😉 I so wish there were evident actions to take part in. And maybe there will be. I think these things are never cut and dry, there’s never a simple path forward. But speaking up counts. And where I live it needs to be called out in a bad way. It’s the south and the more rural areas where you hear the homophobia the most. And I’m only talking about the “casual” way I hear it. I’m not on the receiving end of it or feeling the brunt of it. I pray and hope you don’t EVER feel that kind of ugliness from anyone when you move here. I think there are areas where the LGBT do have a good, welcoming community. I used to live in Atlanta and from everything I saw from my friends there in the gay community, it was a very inclusive welcoming place.

      And I can’t WAIT for you to get here too! I will be driving or flying or hitchhiking if I have to to come see you!

      1. Well we’re hoping (*I’m* hoping) there might be a ‘welcome home’ type party for me shortly after I arrive, and you will MOST DEFINITELY be invited to that.

        I think there’s a pretty good LGBT community in OKC, but I still just don’t ‘get’ how anyone would want to shoot me for being how I am, but…I guess it’s a good thing not to understand hatred, right?

        As to the casual way, I think that happens everywhere. THAT sure happens here.

        SO glad you wrote and you’re using your voice to do what you can.

        And which word? Cos none of mine were made up…were they?

        1. If there’s a party, I’ll be there. If there’s not a party I will still show up and invite myself to stay for a while. 😉

          I don’t understand the hate. I just read an interesting article about a scientific study that pointed to homophobia being linked to repressed homosexuality. We’ve certainly seen that play out in public here. There was (more than one) congressman who was very vocally anti-gay and eventually got busted in compromising positions with gay men. The article points to the rage that some men may feel when they see gay men or feel aroused in spite of themselves. And the Orlando shooter’s ex wife has said he was gay and there is evidence that could be true. The whole crux of it is… if we didn’t condemn it and if our churches didn’t call it a “sin” and condemn it, people could just be who they are and not have to live a lie and be accepted for who they are. I truly think it would solve a lot of problems.

          Oh. “Frabjously” Isn’t that a made up word? Or is it Brit speak? 🙂

          1. Ohhhhh my lovely, you have been MISSING OUT! “Frabjous” is borrowed from Lewis Carroll’s poem ‘Jabberwocky’, which is utterly, UTTERLY marvellous. And yes, British 😉

            I think wherever there’s a referential authority telling people something is ‘wrong’ or inherently ‘bad’, there will be those who feel ashamed because they identify with the thing that has been decried, and then become hostile to any who exhibit those traits.

            I’m sure there’s a saying somewhere that we least like in other people the things we least like in ourselves…does that ring any bells? It makes utter sense though, in some ways, though not for all prejudices. Whichever way, though, prejudice is awful stuff and I wish there were more effective ways of combatting it. I suspect there have always been prejudices, though, which shape the bounds of humanity, and there probably always will be.

            YAY to you coming to visit whichever way, and for however long, and whenever it fits. That’s a BEAUTIFUL thought <3 <3 <3


    1. I FEEL THE SAME! I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE COFFEE WITH YOU AND TALK AND HAVE DEEP DISCUSSIONS! Am I naively optimistic to think that what happened in Orlando is opening people’s eyes and making them re-think the way we treat the LGBT community?

      1. I think it is having a meaningful impact… for now. For this week. Sadly, I THINK PEOPLE MOVE ON TOO FAST! ON TO THE NEXT CRISIS, NEW ITEM, SAD STORY! WE NEED TO KEEP YELLING. Where do you live? What area of the country? Last night at the Copa America World Soccer match, the US team captain wore a rainbow armband… THAT is something you don’t see often!

  7. I think the thing I keep going back to is anger, frustration and grief have never helped me be a better person and or helpful to my friends and family who need it.

    I’ve said “I love you” a lot since Sunday morning, including to me gay best friend and my Muslim coworker. We have to fight, but fight with love in our hearts.

    1. I’ve been holding my kids closer this week, that’s for sure. Seeing those moms on tv Sunday morning, not knowing if their children were ok… it was too much to take. I’ve been sad and yes, a little angry this week. I had to take a few days to calm down before I wrote this. I didn’t want it to be an angry post. I hope it wasn’t.

  8. Thank you for speaking out about this tragedy. The norms really do need to be challenged, and in the face of this tragedy in the LGBT community it’s so nice to see so many people standing together, fighting for love.

  9. Hang in there. I think things are actually getting better, although it is a slow progress with a hell of a lot of bumps along the way. Part of that progress is the little things, like people actually getting to know gays at work / play / school etc, and realizing they are human beings just like the rest of us. Part of it is people standing up for what’s right, as you advocate, to try and educate others. I am heartened by the long lines of people who stood patiently to give blood in Orlando. Ignorance and hate are still here in all their glory, but there’s a whole lot of people, especially younger people, for whom the issue of homosexuality is a non issue.
    I remember being out with a group of businessmen 10 or 15 years ago, where a few were making comments about gays. Wish I had stood up and said something then.

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