Here in the last week or so, qnotes staff members have been looking through past issues of the paper, our online news coverage and in other community resources for possible candidates for 2010’s Person of the Year.

Since 2007, we’ve honored one individual each year who staff felt exemplified the ideals of the LGBT rights movement and stood out among all other advocates, activists and community members in their outspoken work and advocacy on behalf of LGBT people in the Carolinas. In 2007, we honored Elke Kennedy. Transgender advocate Angela Brightfeather was our 2008 honoree. And, in 2009 we honored both a Person of the Year, Ian Palmquist, and Person of the Decade, Sen. Julia Boseman.

But, now, I think, we have the most perfect candidate for (Anti-Gay) Person of the Year, if we ever decided to hand out such an “honor.”

Last week, a lesbian couple was asked to leave Raleigh’s Cameron Village shopping center after they were accused of being too affectionate by security¬†guards. What had the couple done? Hugged, and shared a brief kiss. Luckily, one in the pair wasn’t going to lie down and take. Caitlin Breedlove, co-director of Triangle-area social justice group Southerners on New Ground (SONG), stood up to take action against the discrimination. Cameron Village has since apologized and suspended the guard responsible.

But, in a follow-up report in Raleigh’s News & Observer, a local anti-gay, mega-church pastor makes what has to be the most phenomenally funny anti-gay comment I’ve ever heard. In fact, I literally laughed out loud sitting at my computer this morning and came dangerously close to spewing coffee all over my keyboard. And, for that, he’s certainly in the running for (Anti-Gay) Person of the Year.

From the N&O (emphasis added):

The Rev. Patrick Wooden, pastor of Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, defended the security officer for trying to maintain decorum and said it is a “disgrace” that she was suspended. Wooden, an outspoken local critic of homosexuality, said it’s the couple that needs sensitivity training.

“If people are out there shopping with their little children, what are you going to say, ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it?'” said Wooden, referring to the popular song by Katy Perry.

How’s that for wit? An anti-gay pastor who not only hates on gays, but is familiar enough with popular culture to insert in the same breath a nod to one of the gays’ favorite songs. That’s funny. If Wooden is looking to convert the gays, he might want to go back to the drawing board for better sound bites. There’s no way to convert us if we’re laughing our asses off.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

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