By Russell Jones, guest writer for Wipe Out Homophobia
So, how did a guy in Scotland, an ocean away from America’s most un-Christian Christian organization, the homophobic, equality-denying, corrupt National Organization for Marriage (NOM), get involved in battling their spiteful ways? Well, let me tell you…
I love a good argument. I had been battling racists and homophobia on Facebook for a few years, and over time built up some relationships with like-minded people all over the world. I was introduced to a page that was run by an employee of NOM, and on it, I found some of the most bitter and vile homophobia I had ever witnessed. Then the unimaginable happened. The page owner claimed a “change of heart” and the page which had a huge membership changed its motive. I then saw some of the most ridiculously desperate and vindictive yet pathetically laughable comments and arguments from people that saw their territory claimed by “the Gays.”
I argued with them, reasoned with them, and was utterly flabbergasted by them. They were impenetrable. They would not know truth, decency, and respect if it fell from a rainbow and hit them on the head. It was also draining at times trying to talk to these people. It was unrewarding, thankless, and even at times they left you feeling dehumanised if your guard wasn’t up.
We needed our own ground. Then one day, I thought up the name “I Bet This Turkey Can Get More Fans than NOM,” and within a couple of minutes the page was created. I forgot some things though. A plan, a mission, a direction, an identity. I had this page that people were joining very quickly and no idea what to do with it. So I decided it should be fun. That was the most important thing. News, information, support. But foremost it had to be fun. My own attitude toward our opposition clouded my attitudes toward decent people of faith though and in our very early days we did put out some rather bitter anti-Christian content. I do feel ashamed of this. Our page continued to grow and with it came equality-supporting Christians who are shining examples of their faith and I am delighted and proud to include them in our membership. I managed to put together a team of moderators who work really well together. We all have different takes on things, different backgrounds, and certainly different nationalities. What that means for the page is hopefully a great variety of content, with something for everyone.
We have attracted a great following who aren’t shy about giving us feedback and the greatest amount of that has been positive. A pleasant surprise and completely unplanned is that the moderators are collectively known as “the Turkey.” I find that really satisfying that people have accepted the page and its identity and have given it a nickname which wasn’t engineered by the moderators. It happened all by itself.
We relied very heavily on photos and cartoons in our early days, and found a seemingly inexhaustible supply on Google Images. Only thing was there was an end to the supply. There is a lot of stuff out there but loads of it just is not very good. I had to come up with an alternative. I love quotes. I love that bite-size insight into a person’s thoughts and attitudes. And so I got “googling” and have found and created images of a huge amount of celebrity/politicians thoughts on LGBT matters. And the members seem to like them too. Again I am running out and will soon have to come up with new tactics to keep the page fresh, new, and interesting.
Running the Turkey is hugely enjoyable. It is massively rewarding. I am so proud of what we have achieved with it. I especially love the affection with which our members communicate with us. I even have to check sometimes that I don’t have feathers coming out my arse as I am so used to being the Turkey.
Last week we achieved our aim. We surpassed NOM in membership. I was thrilled. I never really believed it was possible when we started. We didn’t have their money, their publicity, their staff. We only had one determined Scotsman, a team of wonderful admins, and a wonderfully diverse and appreciative membership, to encourage us along.
Our plans for the future really are to keep doing what we do. We are a completely spontaneous page. I never know what my next post is going to be. I still find it hard to call what people will and won’t like. I have certainly posted some complete stinkers that have not gone down well at all, but our fans stick with us with touching loyalty. We have from almost the start featured content about LGBT matters as a whole, rather than just NOM and marriage equality. I am also determined to keep our content international, to reflect our membership.
We get bothered by trolls more often than we once did. I am prone to arguing with them when I should ban them on sight. I want my page to be a safe place for everyone, and homophobia is easy to find. I would prefer that people did not find it on my page. I am also a strong opponent of the “grammar police.” These people get on my nerves entirely and are told that their behaviour is not welcome on my page. If someone takes the time and effort to communicate what is on their mind and share it with others, then how dare anyone pick them up on their spelling? It is rude, ungrateful, and I just won’t have it.
My final words should be of thanks to Edward, Bob, Kim, Tamara, and Alvin, who along with me are the Turkey.
Please readers, drop in and say hi. We would love to see you.