Hundreds Attend LGBT Counter-Protest of Westboro Baptist Church
Protesters show their support for the LGBT community in Philadelphia,
In a packed auditorium at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, attendees from across the country gathered for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) LGBT Caucus.
Rev. José Román, LGBT and HIV prevention activist, community leader and New York native began the Caucus.
“I’d like to begin by thanking all of you at the LGBTQ Caucus [for] the honor that allows me to stand before you this morning to help lead our moment of silence for the brothers and sisters who we lost in Orlando, Florida,” Román said.
Facing the crowd, Román bowed his head, asking for everyone to join in for prayer and contemplation. No one realized that just a few blocks away from the convention center, a counter protest to protect LGBTQ individuals from a demonstration led by Westboro Baptist Church was taking place.
Standing across from the Mazzoni Center, where many LGBTQ members obtain free and affordable health care, four members of the Church led the anti-trans initiative and held signs protesting LGBTQ rights and identity.
In contrast, the counter-protestors across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church attendees numbered in the hundreds. The Mazzoni Center called the protest, “The Great Wall of Love.” The wall was formed to shield protesters from any language, signs, and physical contact from Westboro Baptist members on their way to the clinic.
Holding the signature rainbow flags and donning cloth “angel wings,” protesters lined-up along Locust Street to form a human shield. Together they sung songs and played music, drowning out chants and jeers from members of Westboro Baptist Church.
“We are not here for them. We are here for the patients of the Mazzoni Center. We’ll protect the patients. Be sure to drown them out with your love... Keep your cool. Stay with love in your heart,” one counter-protest organizer said.