David-Elijah Nahmod is a film critic and reporter in San Francisco. His articles appear regularly in The Bay Area Reporter and SF Weekly. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter. His column entitled, “If You Could Read My Mind: A PTSD Memoir” appears monthly in Diversity Rules Magazine. The following is a special Op-Ed written by David.
In 2008 Kathryn Rock and Stephen Polich, a conservative, anti-Semitic, anti-gay couple in the Phoenix suburb Surprise Arizona, took out a restraining order against me by committing perjury. With the full knowledge of Judge Gerald Williams of Surprise, a Tea Party supporter who granted them the order, Rock and Polich then proceeded to harass and provoke me while Judge Williams’ order was in effect.
Rock and Polich were trying to stop me from contacting my former partner, who had moved in with them as a live-in nanny for their toddler. Beecher, my ex, had received mail at the apartment we had once shared, and I was trying to forward his mail to him–this went against Rock and Polich’s agenda–to this day I’m still not sure what that agenda was as I wasn’t interested in getting back together with Beecher. I just wanted to forward his mail to him.
Rock and Polich had also returned–behind Beecher’s back–condolence cards which were sent to him by gay friends after his mother had passed away. I was genuinely shocked by Rock and Polich’s behavior and asked for gay activists’ help in putting a stop to what they were doing. Never did I imagine that gay and lesbian activists would participate in Rock and Polich’s actions, but that’s exactly what happened.
Scores of gay activists responded to my requests for help by making fun of the fact that Beecher and I were no longer together. Several gay men and lesbians actually contacted Rock and Polich and urged them to escalate their harassment towards me–I was told that being gay justifies what these “activists” had done and that I was an “anti-gay bigot” for not supporting such conduct.
In late 2008 Niki D’andrea, a lesbian journalist in Phoenix, put my name in headlines and ridiculed me. Among other things, D’Andrea made an issue out of my being Jewish and wrote that I’m bi-polar, which I am not–D’Andrea literally made that one up. I asked D’Andrea why she had done this.
D’Andrea freely admitted that she had written her stories specifically to prevent me from getting support of any kind. “But I’m an out lesbian,” she said. “Which makes it OK.”
To this day not a single gay activist will admit that what D’Andrea did was wrong.
It should be noted that Phoenix New Times, the publication D’Andrea was writing for at the time, has quite a colorful history. The paper is owned by a company called Voice Media Group (then called Village Voice Media). Soon after D’Andrea wrote her stories about me, Voice came under fire for accepting ads from child sex traffickers—this was extensively reported by CNN. The company also attracted attention for driving a man to suicide by “reporting” misleading inflammatory half truths about him in Miami New Times, their Florida publication—this incident was reported by a number of news outlets and became the subject of the documentary film Miami Noir. The company also published stories designed to denigrate the identities of bisexuals and transgenders. They had no problem finding gay and lesbian writers willing to participate in their shameful behavior.
D’Andrea’s stories about me emboldened Kathryn Rock, who began impersonating me online. She also sent me emails with phrases like “you emasculated Jewish bitch” and “you ignorant Zionist fool” and then proceeded to harass my friend Carl Szulczynski, who lives in the Chicago area with his husband and their two sons. Carl was shocked by what he was seeing and demanded to know why gay activists were participating in this sick behavior. Several gay activists responded to Carl by ridiculing his past as a homeless, bisexual identified teen.
A definite pattern of conduct was emerging.
I finally did what I should have done on day one–I called the police. Around Christmas 2010 Surprise AZ Police officer Mark King visited the Rock/Polich home twice and questioned them about their behavior towards me.
Officer King also interviewed my ex Beecher who was still living with Rock and Polich. Imagine my shock when Beecher freely admitted to the officer that neither he nor anyone else in that household had heard from me in years and that he knew that Rock and Polich had indeed been harassing me. Beecher also admitted that it was Rock who had posted a series of inflammatory comments under a variety of false identities at my friend Carl’s blog–among other identities, Rock had impersonated Beecher himself at a blog posting which had nothing to do with any of us.
Thanks to Officer King the nightmare I had endured for over two years finally came to an end. Things would never have spiraled so far out of control had gay and lesbian activists not intentionally inflamed the hate I had been subjected to.
But wait–it wasn’t quite over. Through 2014 I endured eight separate unprovoked incidents in which a variety of gay activists forwarded Niki D’Andrea’s lies to my editors in an attempt to get me fired from the publications who employ me. I’m still being told that any criticism of their behavior constitutes “anti-gay bigotry”.
My story is not unusual. Every day I hear about more examples of gay-on-gay hate. Every day I see gay and lesbian activists hiding behind false accusations of “anti-gay bigotry”–against other LGBT people–as a justification for trying to destroy other people’s personal and professional reputations–I’ve even seen gay activists go after other LGBT people’s relationships.
In 2013 I wrote Bullying Is Not a Gay Right, a piece for South Florida Gay News. In that piece I recounted the behavior of Kevin Patrick O’Neil, a middle-aged gay activist who participates in the bullying of suicidal LGBT youth while hundreds of gay activists knowingly look the other way. The Trevor Project, the advocacy group which claims to be saving our kids’ lives, is among the numerous LGBT organizations which has given O’Neil’s behavior a free pass–even though I have copies of threatening emails which O’Neil sent to a lesbian suicide attempt survivor young enough to be his daughter.
I in fact sent copies of those emails to over 400—yes, FOUR HUNDRED—gay activists. Responses included jokes about mental illness, accusations of anti-gay bigotry and comments like “I would have treated her the same way. Tell the bitch to grow up and get over it.”
To this day, not a single gay activist has condemned O’Neil’s behavior. Not a single gay activist has asked me if the girl O’Neil attacked is OK. Not one. (She’s fine, I’m happy to say, not that gay activists care.)
So what’s wrong with this picture?
In January 2017 Donald Trump becomes our President. The President-elect has surrounded himself with a who’s who of anti-gay bigots, most notably white supremacist Steve Bannon and Vice-President Elect Mike Pence, who supports gay conversion therapy and who opposes LGBT equality laws.
How then can gay activists continue to justify their own abominable behavior in the light of what we’ll soon be up against? What the hell has happened to our community? Where is our decency, our humanity? Where is our common sense?
There are people coming into power who want to take our rights away from us. Some of them want to “cure” us while others would love to see us dead. How we can defeat these very real enemies when we attack each other so maliciously, so completely without just cause and with such reckless and gleeful abandon?
Now more than ever we need to stop enabling the bullies and haters within our community. We must reject gay-on-gay hate and tell those among us who behave in this manner that there is no place for them at the table. We need to learn what the word “community” really means and we need to support those of us who need our help.
There are people out there who want to destroy us. When we seek to destroy each other we are giving the anti-gay exactly what they want. If we sincerely want to survive the Trump presidency then we need to stop this behavior.
We need to stop it now.