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Watch: Bible-Believing Bigots Foment Violence Against LGBT People in Rural Pennsylvania Town


Check out this archaic assemblage of bigots at Coudersport, Pennsylvania's public library at a presentation meant to counter the screening of Out in the Silence, a documentary by filmmaker Joe Wilson about what it's like to be LGBT in a rural Pennsylvania town (Wilson's subject was Oil City, PA, his hometown, two hours away).

Library Wilson had screened Out in the Silence a month before the presentation you're about to see here, to a standing room only crowd and faced fierce opposition from the local Tea Party and Dr. Robert Wagner, who speaks in this video.

Behind Wagner, is Diane Gramley, President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Family Association, and a resident of Oil City who plays a central role in Wilson's film for opposing Wilson and his partner's same-sex marriage announcement in the local paper.

During Wagner's presentation, called "A Bible Believing Christian's Response to OUT IN THE SILENCE", he discusses his feelings toward transgender people:

Oits "I'm gonna put a ball bat in my car, and if I ever see a guy (transgender individual) coming out of a bathroom that my granddaughter's in, I'm gonna use the ball bat on him...In the good old days, before 'she-males' existed, they just called such people perverts." 

When Wilson discusses the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer and his views that gays should not be allowed to hold public office, he receives a round of hearty "amens" from the crowd.

Watch Wilson's film of Wagner's presentation, which he and his partner Dean Hamer traveled there to witness, AFTER THE JUMP...

Here's the trailer to Out in the Silence:

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  1. What a white hate filled violent anti-christian community this is.

    Wilson is very courageous and reasonable in the face of a room of white fundamentalist bigots who have no interest in any opinions other than their entrenched hate.
    I, for one, would not have been able to contain my fury at these Neanderthals......
    Cloudersport , Penn.; a name that will embody bigotry forever.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Sep 1, 2010 9:27:03 AM

  2. The encouraging thing about all videos like this is the number of gray heads in the room. Time is on our side.

    Posted by: Ken | Sep 1, 2010 9:27:23 AM

  3. Here's the full film (free streaming):

    Posted by: A. Beaverhausen | Sep 1, 2010 9:33:17 AM

  4. "Out in Silence" is excellent. I've met the filmmakers. They're very brave and resourceful men.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 1, 2010 9:41:35 AM

  5. Have no doubt that as each generation gets older new bigots will be rise up .... this fight is for the long term and will last long after each and every one of us is in our graves.

    We have a black President that only 7% of Republicans will say is not a Muslim.

    Remember the American peasants are just as real as any other peasant - except they live in middle class homes and some have College educations they choose to ignore.

    Posted by: tony x | Sep 1, 2010 9:42:12 AM

  6. I would agree with Ken in that the most encouraging aspect of this very disturbing footage is the overwhelming preponderance of senior citizens who make up the opposition. Demographics is destiny and the grandchildren of the people in that room do not approach the issue with the same closed-minded fervor.

    Patience IS a virtue and the next few decades will bear that out.

    Posted by: Jim in Colo Spgs | Sep 1, 2010 9:43:15 AM

  7. It is encouraging to see Tribal members take a stand. We live on the Eastern Side of Pennsylvania, surround by respected Colleges and Universities, yet we can't find a Lawyer to stand in our corner. We moved from Manhattan and they are not use to Gay Men taking a stand. For 27 years ( we are Seniors) we have been harassed and everyone has turned their heads. We have had one family harass us for 27 years. We share a road to our home with them and they have used ligation, harassment, fire arms to intimidate us to give up our rights to access. Other neighbors have used fire arms to harass us while taking walks and doing chores. Law enforcement has repeatedly turned it's head and in some case appear to have added and abetted harassment. However what has been the most disappointing is how the Local Gay Politicos have turned their heads. Like we broke some sacred code by questioning the hyprocracy of being called Fags by closet case Lawyers.

    Any suggestions. Been considering starting a blog to tell the story,solicit support and resolution. Have a paper trail that is a super highway.

    Posted by: Jerry | Sep 1, 2010 10:11:32 AM

  8. James Carville once remarked that Pennsylvania is Philadelphis on one side, Pittsburgh on the other and Alabama in between. Equating the nortehr tier of PA to Alabama is unfair to Alabama. Diane Gramley and her ilk have taken to the road, trying to protect what is left of her facade of just being a loving christian and not a hate-monger. What distresses me most however is that her cohort in this escapade is Robert Wagner, a physician -- One who has taken an oath to "do no harm" is advocating violence against transgender people. What is the difference between him and Lester Maddox with his pick-axe handle treatening to beat any person of color who came to his restaurant.

    Again, the AFA of PA, is shown to be a group of extremists and Christo-fascists, who only accept their narrow view of christianity and have an unhealthy fascination with who uses which bathroom.

    Posted by: Bob | Sep 1, 2010 10:15:07 AM

  9. I'd like to take a bat to this guy's face, and let me tell you, he'd lose. Lose badly.

    Posted by: Beegee | Sep 1, 2010 10:28:52 AM

  10. Cranky old people. They'll die off soon enough.

    Posted by: dc20008 | Sep 1, 2010 11:17:50 AM

  11. The comments made at this public meeting are disgusting...plain and simple...but these people do not speak for ALL Pennsylvanians. We certainly have our challenges here in the Keystone State, but decent people have challenges everywhere. The film makers, Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer, are just two examples of good people doing good work. And we all keep fighting...just last week, after several long months of positive discussion the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation finalized an agreement with the statewide LGBT advocacy organization, Equality Pennsylvania, on a new gender marker policy for state driver's licenses.

    Under previous policy, transgender individuals looking to be represented on their driver’s license as their presenting gender were forced to prove that sexual reassignment surgery had occurred. With the newly adopted policy, transgender citizens of Pennsylvania will be permitted to change the designated gender on their driver's license when they are living full-time in their new gender and it can be verified by a licensed medical or psychological caregiver. This policy change has been met with great public approval with some even going so far as to say it is "good government." A rare comment these days.

    So good people do exist all over Pennsylvania, but until comments like this are no longer uttered to even the smallest of approving crowds anywhere in the state, none of us will rest.

    Posted by: Ted Martin | Sep 1, 2010 11:23:53 AM

  12. Whenever I hear the phrase "the good old days," I think of that saying, "Oh for the good old days - when children were working in coal mines and the poor did as they were told."

    These relics are at the margin now.

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 1, 2010 11:26:19 AM

  13. The good old days, eh? Nostalgia is stagnation, and those who insist on living in the past have no purpose. Things that have no purpose should be disposed of.

    Posted by: jmatts | Sep 1, 2010 11:29:52 AM

  14. I also wondered how Pennsylvania elected a guy like Rick Santorum ...

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Sep 1, 2010 11:32:56 AM

  15. Memo to the fat, gluttonous, bigoted "doctor", Robert Wagner:

    I, too, carry a baseball bat in my truck. Got some news for ya, gramps. The next beat-down one of my LGBT brothers or sisters endures, I am going to your red-neck of the woods, I am going take that ball-bat out of my truck and I'm gonna smack your stupid, ugly, nasty-ass, melon-head clear into next week.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Sep 1, 2010 11:41:38 AM

  16. Do not put the blame on Coudersport, PA. No one really believes or really pays attention to him. He's a nutcase.

    We just have to give support to the LGBT community in the small towns all over and help them fight the good fight.

    Posted by: dean | Sep 1, 2010 12:02:45 PM

  17. @Jamal49 - Right on!

    Posted by: mek27300 | Sep 1, 2010 12:07:29 PM

  18. I bet Wagner is a child-toucher.

    Posted by: Tweety | Sep 1, 2010 12:13:33 PM

  19. I must say that this one community doesn't reflect the whole of Pennsylvania.

    I am an open and out gay man, and I was elected this year (2010) to public office in my Luzerne County district. My district has a suburban center, but the majority of it is rural, conservative, and reliably Republican. I am the first openly gay person to be elected in Luzerne County's history (with the voters knowing ahead of time what they were getting), as well as the first Democrat to represent my district in 15 years. Currently, I'm 2nd District Chairman (with jurisdiction over 23 municipalities) for the Luzerne County Democratic Committee, and sit on the County Committee's Executive Board.

    Luzerne County is half-urban/half-rural. It encompasses boroughs that blend together into one metropolis, as well as the City of Wilkes-Barre, and it's urban/suburban stretch spreads without seams into Lackawanna County and the City of Scranton. We are NOT part of the "Alabama" feel of Pennsylvania, however, there are many rural parts to our area where I can see why people can get that impression.

    We held the largest Northeast PA GLBT PrideFest this year with minimal protest, and it's becoming a more accepting place, exponentially, I'd wager, with each passing year.

    Oil City is a long way away from us, but if tolerance -- and eventually acceptance -- can take root here and flourish and grow, then it can happen there too, with time.

    I am a proud American, and an even prouder Pennsylvanian. This is my home, and our future is a bright one. If we can stand strong, stand true, and fight hatred, we can win. Love always carries the day, and goodness and light always prevail. I haven't yet seen Out In The Silence, but I am greatly looking forward to it, and I'd like to congratulate the filmmakers on what appears to be a soild, good documentary with an awesome message.

    Keep on Rockin', Guys!
    Chairman Casey Evans (D)
    2nd District, Luzerne County

    Posted by: Casey | Sep 1, 2010 12:14:34 PM

  20. One more thing I didn't mention earlier. Equality Pennsylvania's colleague organization, Equality Partners of Western Pennsylvania, also did a terrific job in organizing a session after this event where supportive and interested people from the area talked about LGBT equality and ways they could take action to create a society ruled by fair treatment for everyone. Once again, another example of real people doing good things in rural communities. Pennsylvania may have a long way to go, but fairness has many allies here.

    Posted by: Ted Martin | Sep 1, 2010 12:22:09 PM

  21. Don't play the victim to fundamentalists; they'll only see it as a sign of weakness.

    You have to counterattack. When the crowd cheered the idea of banning gays from public office, I would have said said:

    So you want to ban all gays not just the practicing ones? What about murderers? Should they be banned from holding office? Looks like the crowd has turned on you, Dr. Walters. After all, you just declared your intent to commit murder- not self defense because you required no evidence that any crime had been or was about to be committed."

    As for the rest of you, how many of you are straight? Do you know where babies come from? Are you pro-life? Certainly, if you believe gays caused the AIDS crisis (which is debatable because many were infected years before any cause was known) then heterosexuals knowingly caused what you call the 'abortion Holocaust.'

    So, just how many of you would be eligible to run for office by your own standards? I won't even discuss your support for the Iraq war which murdered thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians.

    Posted by: Frank | Sep 1, 2010 12:38:00 PM

  22. Someone should have just dropped a grenade in the library once the filmmakers were out and safe.

    Posted by: Bobby | Sep 1, 2010 1:49:50 PM

  23. I also live in and have a business in Coudersport, PA, and I can say that most of us around here think Robert Wagner is a craziness-spewing nut job. It is chilling that there are still enough people to pack the library who listen to him, but they're in the minority. I very much resent that this hateful and worthless dreg of humanity is giving my community a black eye like this.

    Although I must concede that around here, folks do tend to be ignorant and fearful of any difference whatsoever, they actually stand down and can be friendly as they get to know new people. The really unfortunate thing about living around here is that the ones who continue to put themselves out in public are the Robert Wagners. There are a lot of open-minded and good people around here, too, but they are reticent to speak up, and it's not fear of Wagner and his baseball bat. I've met him and he wouldn't have the balls to knock out someone's headlights with this supposed ball bat of his. Big talker.

    The thing about "Dr." Robert Wagner and his cohort is that they trot out the Bible, wave it around, and quote only those verses they have taken out of context and twisted, to make it convenient for their purposes. Forget the stuff about loving everyone, forget the stuff about it not being for us to judge each other.

    I truly regret that this kind of thing is how Coudersport gets into the news. Good things go on here. There are lots of good people here. I just hope someday soon, the ignorance gets bred out of some of these people.

    Posted by: April | Sep 1, 2010 2:32:58 PM

  24. @Jamal49 - Honey, if you need help, I'll go with ya' and bring mah guns... Would like to see that fat turd of a man dance to my bullets rhythm.

    Posted by: RoTN | Sep 1, 2010 3:20:17 PM

  25. Ted Martin

    I will say that I was disappointed in the response I receive from your organization. I felt the representative was dismissive and condescending- like my request was annoying him. I am sure you have done some great work. I even made a donation to your group. I suspect it is all about politics .

    Posted by: Jerry | Sep 1, 2010 4:18:04 PM

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