Fear

In an earlier post, I shared some recent experiences being gay bashed on the FourSquare.com website by a man I’ve never met. He established a fake venue to mock my volunteer work and described our home as “whoreville all dykes welcome.” 5 other people validated this offensive conduct by “checking in” to the site. No one challenged him, including his gay friends who are neighbors of ours.

Why did he do it? Well, we have our suspicions but nothing concrete at this point. Let me just say that it is uncomfortable overreaction to the potential trigger.  I’ve been slurred on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog. I’ve been yelled at by politicians. I’ve received “messages” from mutual friends. I’ve been shunned, ignored and defamed.

But this is the closest I’ve come to being a little concerned for my safety. The combination of a man who would go that far to defame me over something very minor that didn’t even concern him, his recent unemployment, his stated desire to purchase a gun and his use of alcohol as well as his proximity to me via our neighbors … well that’s a bit volatile.

I have some options to explore which I shall do on Monday. But there are other aspects I want to explore

Foursquare.com warned this man. That’s it. They also warned the other 5 people who checked in to the site, thus validating it.  I have formally protested that decision. It seems reasonable that the 5 people who checked in are culpable to a lesser degree that the person who set up the fake venue and the man who posted those comments (and became the Mayor.)  Those one or two persons should receive a stronger response to their homophobia and sexism as well as general bigotry. This was not a one time drunken stupid decision, it was an ongoing repeated pattern of homophobic conduct.

Facebook has also not responded. The posts I reported are still up. His account is still accessible (that’s on him for not changing privacy settings.)  Facebook is impossible to contact beyond clicking the “report” key. With FourSquare, I have multiple email addresses and Twitter access.

Then there’s the possibility that other LGBTQ folks were involved. How is it funny to use the fact that I’m a lesbian (and so is Ledcat) to bash us? How is that okay? FourSquare knows who checked in. That information could come to light if the situation escalates. That’s probably the worst part of this beyond the personal safety issue.

Finally, there’s the slap at a community project to help hungry people and the environment. Why go there?  There are folks on our very street struggling to get enough to eat. There are plastic bags blowing all over Manchester from the football fans and other litter bugs. This project impacts our very neighborhood. The person who established the site either knew about our project directly or brought this man up to speed. It was an intentional defamation of a project because I guess they just don’t care.

Finally finally, there’s the fact that someone reported the trigger to this man. Basically, I turned in some people to foursquare for checking in to our project when they had nothing to do with it … they were never physically here, they have not donated, they have offered no support.  It was getting in the way of our exploration of how to use foursquare as a social media tool, so I reported them. Mind you, I knew they were doing this all over the Northside … checking in to businesses that weren’t even open at that time of day. Just cheating. That’s annoying. I suspect that’s what precipitated this whole chain of events, but I’m not sure how they found out it was me. I’m not unwilling to share that information but only a few people knew. I hope they now realize what they unleashed. Thanks. I hope it was worth it.

So I’m pondering posting a petition to FourSquare for a strong response to gay bashing and sexism. Would you sign? Would you email them if I provided the ticket number?  Would you stand up for all the people smeared in this little scenario?

I’m not going to just let it go. But I don’t want to escalate a potentially volatile situation with someone who I don’t know. I think the players with power need to take a stronger stance and send a message.

Foursquare needs to hold them accountable.

Facebook needs to hold him accountable for posting “Hag Bag Headquarter welcome to whoreville all dyke welcome” on his page. Repeatedly.

The person who leaked the information needs to tell me. And try to fix it.

The other persons I’ll be contacting need to take it seriously.

No one should sell this man a gun.

And the LGBQ community, I hope, will say that gay people bashing other gay people is unacceptable period. Criticize my actions, decisions, beliefs and opinions.  Slamming women as whores and dykes is not okay and reprehensible if connected to other gay people.

In the meantime, I’m just a little bit afraid. I’m afraid my car might be vandalized or my property damaged. I’m afraid of an unknown actor with a gun and a bit of alcohol. I’m afraid that social media sites don’t take this more seriously.

But I’m not going to let fear deter me from standing up to homophobia. I’d appreciate your support.

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