Blythe leads the counter-party. Photo by
For a touch of Monday cheer, we commend the several hundred kazoo-playing, tutu-wearing "freaks, weirdos, misfits and regular people of good conscience” who turned up at a Richmond counter-party to drown out vitriolic Westboro Baptist Churchers protesting the existence of Danica Roem, Virginia's first only openly transgender legislator, who's also a journalist and heavy metal singer: "I'm from metal. This is my life." The event was organized by Randy Blythe, local frontman of the metal band Lamb of God; among Westboro's "hate-mongering" crimes, Blythe indignantly cited their efforts to sabotage the funerals of Mister Rogers and Leonard Nimoy/Mister Spock, "America's two greatest misters." "These people are coming to MY TOWN?!" he wrote. "They have left me no choice. In the name of all that is good and just in this world (we) will drown them out with cheap buzzing plastic noise makers." He stressed he was calling for "a celebration, not a counter-protest: “I’m not interested in arguing with these morons - I’m interested in having a good time at their expense."
About a half-dozen of the morons arrived in the capitolMonday morning, adding to their usual "God Hates Fags" trope with signs declaring, “God made you male or female. Be content and obey Him.” They were met, and quickly drowned out, by a joyful, buzzing, drumming, exuberant crowd of metalheads and others with signs reading, “Queer Jesus Loves Us More” and “God = Love” as Blythe conducted them, sort of. "It was very exhilarating," said Virginia Richmond. "It felt like it was for the right reason." Roem wisely used Westboro's presence, which drew protests from the university and broader community, for a fundraiser named #WestboroBackfire. “I set out to make the best out of a bad situation,” she said. “Flip the script on something negative (with a) unifying message about love conquering hate.” At last count, she'd raised over $34,000 for her re-election campaign, all from individuals in what she called “an incredible display of people power." Because this is not her first rodeo, Roem last week posted her incisive response to Westboro decrying her very existence: "Meh."
Lamb of God lead singer Randy Blythe leading counter-protesters to an appearance by Westboro Baptist Church at Capitol Square Richmond, Virginia. pic.twitter.com/7jAwqijFKi
— Chip Lauterbach (@ChipLauterbach) March 11, 2019