The Klan Comes for Me.

From This is Queerish:

That we would still be fighting the Civil War over 150 years after that surrender is either a great shock, or entirely predictable, depending on whom you ask.

Jenny Boylan
Aug. 18, 2017

Boothbay Harbor, Maine

The Burnt Island Light stands at the entrance to Boothbay Harbor. Built in 1821, it’s the second oldest lighthouse in Maine, and it’s one of the things that makes this town postcard pretty — along with its rocky shores and hushed coves. At this time of year, the streets are full of tourists and “summerpeople,” folks who’ve travelled here from around the country to enjoy — as our state bumper stickers say — “the way life should be.”

On Wednesday morning, fliers for the Ku Klux Klan appeared in town. This was the day after the President allowed as how some of the Neo-nazis in Charlottesville “were good people.”

That white nationalists, Klansmen, and Nazis live in Maine should surprise no one. The Klan thrived in this state in the 1920s, and in large measure was responsible for the election of Ralph Brewster, of Gardiner, as Governor in 1922. Back then, the victims of the Klan’s hate were the usual targets — immigrants, people of color, and Catholics.

But the fliers appearing this week have a new target.

TRANSGENDER IS AN ABOMINATION, they read, and quoted Deuternomy 22:5 (the one in which the Lord takes a very particular interest in what you’re wearing.) This was accompanied by a ripped photograph of a creepy dude with a beard and a bad wig looking menacingly at a terrified schoolgirl. THEY ARE JEOPARDIZING THE SAFETY OF BATHROOMS ACROSS THE NATION FOR OUR WOMEN AND CHILDREN, it continued. This was followed by a website URL for the Klan.

That website urged people to call the 24-Hour 800 number Klanline, where a recorded voice urged callers to “have a great white day.”

I’ve lived in Maine for just shy of thirty years now, sixteen of those years as an out trans woman. I’d be lying if I said that everyone I’ve encountered was universally accepting, but mostly people have been pleasant enough — and indeed, earlier this very day someone who’d seen me on television stopped me on the street to tell me her “heart had opened.” On another occasion, a conservative friend of mine (who’d been worried about my appearance pre-transition as I unexpectedly became more willowy) discussed the denouement of that transformation with his brother. “I finally found out what was wrong with Boylan,” he said.

When his brother asked him, “What?” my friend replied, with a grin: “Not a goddamn thing.”

And yet, here we are, in 2017, with a president allowing as how both Nazis and those who oppose them are morally more or less the same. Meanwhile, our Tea Party governor, Paul LePage, said on the day after the KKK flyers appeared that taking down Confederate statues was the same as taking down monuments to the victims of 9/11. (He also said that he didn’t hear anything about the disaster in Charlottesville until Tuesday because he doesn’t watch television or read newspapers. He calls journalists “pencil terrorists.”)

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