LGBT community supports couple bullied on Craigslist

Posted on: 5:24 pm, December 14, 2013, by , updated on: 09:32am, December 15, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -Anger over a gay pride rainbow flag that mimics the U.S. stars and stripes prompted a public demonstration by the LGBT community Saturday.  Demonstrators waved pride flags and displayed posters at the corner of South Grand and Wyoming. It was a rally supporting a LGBT couple who were targeted for displaying the gay pride flag on their Tower Grove East front porch.

Wednesday two white men in a pickup stopped as Meg Hensley and her partner Kendan Elliott were leaving for work.  The two say the men shouted slurs and criticized them for their flag. Later that day Hensley discovered someone had posted a photo of their flag with foul, anti-gay comments on the “Rant and Rave” comment section of the St. Louis Craig’s List.

“It wasn’t just anger there was a lot of name calling and bashing and even threats. It was very scary,’ said Elliott.  Hensley agreed saying, “On their post on Craig’s list it said we make them sick to see us every day. That makes me think they live in my neighborhood.”

Hensley spread her concerns to her neighbors via the Tower Grove East Facebook site.  She received a quick response with people promising to watch for the potential suspects in the area.

Both said the comments went beyond free speech into harassment.

Elliott said, “I think there is always that ethical dilemma of where do you draw the line,” adding but, “When someone is threatening me outside my home and then posting things basically encouraging other people to harass me at my home then I feel  like it crosses that line.”

Sayer Johnson of the Metro Trans Umbrella Group organized the street demonstration.  “We are a valuable part of this community and bulling and intolerance is not going to be stood for anymore,” he said.

Craig’s List offers a harassment flag button on its web site so readers can remove postings that contain personal information or harassing statements.   The couple praised the St. Louis Police Department for taking on their case.  They said the police will subpoena information Craig’s List in hopes of locating the person who placed the vulgar comments on the Internet.

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38 comments

  • Glenn Toles says:

    Anyone wanna bet it’s another hoax?

  • Aiden says:

    Glen it isn’t a hoax. The harassment and threats this couple is facing are entirely too real. They are taunted every day. It’s past time for our city to stand up against bigotry and protect all of its citizens. How would you feal stepping out of your house each morning not knowing if you and your loved one are going to be safe? Maybe instead of making jokes you could lead by example and start making your neighborhood a safe space for all people.

  • The premise of bullying at times can be absurd; i do not support nor observe its philosophy both pro or con. I am for a right to oppose and to be offensive. Hate Speech thankfully in this Country usually has to be accompanied by a threat against ones person or property.

  • David says:

    Seems to me this story was about defacing the flag and had nothing to do with their life style. So what is the real story? of course you can never get the truth from Fox 2!

    • Glenn Toles says:

      That was my take on it too; some people still take offense at the desecration of the flag. And the hoax angle is relevant. The incidents at Vassar, Oberlin, and the Dayna Morales hoax indicate that fake hate crimes are running neck-and-neck with the real thing, which diminishes actual hate incidents.

      • Adam says:

        I believe that this couple is telling the truth. I have experienced strangers who yell derogatory terms at me, thrown a beer bottle out of a passing truck at me, told me they hope I go to hell or die, etc. I think this couple is brave to hang a pride flag in front of their homes. While I usually feel safe in St. Louis, in many neighborhoods, it’s not unheard of for violent crime to happen to random people — so I often do all I can to avoid making myself a target. I am praying that this couple can live in peace and that no one will harm them. It’s not acceptable to harass people. In my neighborhood, we stick together and work with our Neighborhood Stabilization Officer to address these kinds of issues.

      • Ken says:

        You name three examples and call that running neck and neck. No Glenn, it’s not a hoax. Don’t justify your bigotry and ugliness by three examples. Every day people are harassed and even killed because they are different, whether it’s their sexual orientation, color, religious beliefs. Could it be Glenn that you are one of the losers who did this? Sounds like it. There is no justification for name calling and harassment.

    • Patty says:

      I agree David. If it was another nationality doing this to the American flag the same thing would have happened.

  • Amanda says:

    This is absolutely not a hoax nor is it about defacing the flag. This is about living your life without being harassed and threatened. It’s about respect for your fellow human beings and equality. No one should have to experience the very real torment that Meg and Kendan have gone through.

  • Rae says:

    There was a lot more going on than just harassment over “defacing the flag.” This person attacked their “lifestyle” on the Craig’s List add and then as a final kicker added on the comment of defacing the flag. If you have an opinion about a display or lifestyle, ok you’re entitled to that. But to stoop to attacking, harassing, and bullying that’s a completely separate issue and one that no one should be exposed to. It’s not a hoax and shame on you for taking any chance you can to turn your eyes from the truth. These horrific acts are truly happening and you are only working to enable them with your bigoted silence.

    • Jen says:

      Well said Rae! I agree completely. It takes a lot of courage and poise to stand up for one’s self, and their community, in a situation such as this. I’m very proud of this couple, as well as their friends and neighbors.

  • Jamie says:

    It doesn’t matter if those people were upset about the flag or their lifestyle. What those men did was wrong. We are all people. Humans that should RESPECT, care, and love each other. Why is it so hard to be kind. This family was attacked it a very frightening way and those men need have actions taken against them. What if it was their home or family treated this way? Unacceptable.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Being harassed for being yourself, which is far from being a “lifestyle choice”, is incredibly real. Unfortunately it is something that not only Meg and Kendon face but the entire LGBTQI community face. It’s my hope that the more visible our community is, the more educated and accepting people will become. Kudos to the STLPD for perusing those that have been so hateful and to Fox 2 for covering the story.

  • Brittany says:

    I’m proud that Meg and Kendan had the courage to respond to these guys right away. No one should be able to harass someone on their own property and then encourage others to be hateful with a link to their address over social media. I am glad to see that the police responded quickly and that our community is supportive in standing up to hate and harassment.

  • Glenn says:

    I’ll stick with the hoax theory, since two guys in a pickup truck is about as clichéd as it gets (the only thing missing was the Easy Rider rifle rack). Having said that, I commend my brothers and sisters in the LBGT community for the opportunity to express my opinion, as I support you for yours.

    • Meg says:

      Actually Glenn, there was some kind of rack on the back of the truck. And one of the guys was wearing camo. Some cliches become cliche for a reason. Believe it’s a hoax if that makes you feel better, but I know that it’s not. Everyone who saw the post knows its not. The stranger who drove to my house based on the information given in the post, who left a note with her phone number on my mailbox to notify me about the post knows its not a hoax. And soon, when the police find out where the post came from, they’ll know it’s not a hoax as well.

  • Willa says:

    the basic structure of this incident is that two people were verbally threatened and assaulted, at their own home, for having a different belief than the two individuals that harassed them. Meg and Kendan had their civil rights violated, privacy invaded, home trespassed upon, and sense of security in their own neighborhood compromised.No matter the reason for the harassment, they were still harassed and threatened which the assailants should not be allowed to walk away unpunished from. The fact that Meg and Kendan are a proud part of the LGBTIQA community and displayed that sentiment has absolutely no legitimate affect on the two assailants other than a difference of opinion. People have different views every day. It DOES NOT give them the right to force those beliefs by harassing others and forcing them to live in fear.

  • Alexis says:

    Doug,

    Thanks for your irrelevant and unnecessary bible post! I always love a little fiction on a Sunday afternoon.

  • Homosexuals feel better when they band together to mock nation, church and normalcy. They don’t like any push-back. But that flag ought to be brought to their attention as offensive on a daily basis.

    At any rate, consider it payback for suing Christian bakers for not baking cakes for sodomarriage ceremonies.

    • Dan says:

      Push back? Interesting choice of words. Perhaps you’re envisioning this as a debate. I’ve found that debates are best for 2 or more people when they want to learn. At least, that is what debate was originally supposed to provide, a meaningful discussion wherein both parties leave with fuller minds, and sometimes more deeply held beliefs. This, however, was not a debate. It was an attack on someone’s beliefs, saying they are wrong for feeling attracted to a member of the same sex. Then they attempted to incite the public against them through the Craig’s List posting, thus removing any potential for productivity because they’ve now opened the discussion to an audience that does not know Meg or Kendan, and have framed the discussion with open hatred, never a good place to start. The LGBTQI community responded in the only way they could: with an open demonstration. Because that was where their opponents took it.

      Different beliefs are fine, but do not expect people to indulge you for long if you speak to them like this, it is not conducive to learning.

      • ‘Conducive to learning’? Learning? Is THAT the goal of the LMNOP Community these days? To educate? By defacing the flag of The Republic with homosexual symbols? No. By now it’s plain: the goal of the militant deviant is not to educate; it is to destroy, to mock, to demonstrate, to make themselves a political spectacle. And, then, ultimately, to silence critics.

        Some refuse to be silenced or pretend that the game is anything other than it is.

        If this event actually happened as “Meg and Kendan” say–and these days, “victims” have an ugly track record of perpetrating nasty hoaxes–then perhaps they might wonder if their sodomite microaggression against the American Flag might have brought it on.

      • Dan says:

        I see the spirit of debate has died within you. Insulting the vernacular of the person attempting to have a conversation with you is, at best, childish. Similarly, without any reasonable evidence of these hoaxes, you’ve created a situation in which nothing positive is produced. I don’t know why you believe the things you do, and you are not opening your mind to what I’m saying. That’s a shame, we all have such wonderful cognitive ability to understand the world, and the people, around us. Still, I hope some day it renews and you find a life full of connections and hope rather than hatred and narrow mindedness.

  • Mitchell says:

    No one should feel unsafe in their own community. Unfortunately, this happens every day. Freedom of speech should not be freedom to intimidate, threaten, and just be hateful. Regardless of your opinions, treat people with respect.

  • Gene Zepeda says:

    This happens everyday. Sadly alot of people are too scared to come and stand up against it. I keep seeing these posts about religion and choices. Find a different forum for your religious rants and opinions. This about hating someone because they’re different, and taking it too far. Im really proud these two stepped up against this. There’s so much more going on in the world to worry about, a flag, a lifestyle (choice- is an ignorant word used by ignorant people) and these pickup truck people wasted their time on something so small? And “The gays”??? Did I really even read that? We’re all human beings and we deserve to treat each other in a humane way. It doesn’t matter if I like someone or not, or understand them or not, I still treat them the way I want to be treated. If you dont like their flag, dont look at it. You think its disrespectful, fine, everyone’s entitled to their opinions. But there are plenty of other ways to disrespect the flag. They were trying to show that they are a part of the United States and are proud of that. Anyone should be able to get that… even if you do drive a pickup.

  • Anastasia says:

    Chad, Doug, and futurodellanazione- I’m sure there are pleanty of reasons that I could find to say you lead less than moral lives but I will stand above that and remain the gentle human being that your god would have wanted me to be. I will lead by example and show you that despite our differences in opinions, I still value you as a human being and will show you respect (even when you clearly show respect for others). That is what your god would want. Your god loves all that he created, regardless of whom they love, and so should you. May you find a place in your heart for peace and let the hate and intolerance go.

  • Kim says:

    Thank you so much for standing up, speaking out and sharing your story with the community. Kindness and respect for fellow human beings needs to be practiced on a daily basis. My hope is that the people who harassed and threatened you will come to a point in their lives when they realize the harm they have caused and make amends.

  • kelly says:

    Meg and Kendan: I’m super proud of you.

    Internet trolls: thank you haters for your constructive pearls of wisdom.

  • Jennifer says:

    Doug, you’re a boor. The article is about two people who are being implicitly threatened and you come here to push your agenda. Right from the get-go I’d say you lack empathy and your boorish behavior proves it. Set up your soapbox somewhere else, why not address the issue at hand?

    Meg and Kendan, good on you for not putting up with anyone’s threats and for taking it public, turning it around. This kind of thing is no longer acceptable and people need to know it. Hoping the brutes just go away is the way of the past. You guys shone light on the problem and those two have been flushed out like the roaches they are. You are brave and have my admiration!

  • Allison says:

    So appreciative of how Megan and Kendan are responding. It cannot be easy, but it’s such important work. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own home, neighborhood, and community.

  • jack long says:

    Sorry Doug many of varied backgrounds are getting a little tired of the Cafeteria Christians. The ones who pick and chose verses from a book with thousands of interpretations. One could easily criticize you for acting like a self appointment false prophet. Word for the wise….We stay out of your church, you stay out of our lives….

  • chad says:

    You should find a church it will benefit you in the long run.

  • Doug Bristow says:

    Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I pray you find your way to the Heart of Jesus before it is too late.

Comments are closed.