Well over a thousand people rallied at UMass today in support of the LGBTQ community, and in the wake of UMass basketball player Derrick Gordon coming out as gay last week.
The rally was organized to counter the Westboro Baptist Church, an anti-gay church whose members came to picket on campus in response to Gordon’s coming out.
Kristen Phelan is a UMass sophomore from Cape Cod. She spoke at the rally about her own coming out. Phelan says the church’s protest motivated her to show up.
“I wanted to make sure that myself and my group of friends were there to be a positive presence, because there was a lot of hatred at first that went around when we found out they were coming, there was a lot of anger, and it’s important to be there to re-direct people, to remember that they’re people too, whether or not we agree with their views,” says Phalen.
In another part of the UMass campus, a handful of members of the church briefly picketed along a central road. A crowd of over a hundred people countered them across the street, yelling expletives and chanting.
UMass officials prevented media from interviewing members of the church during their protest, citing public safety concerns