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11/08/2007

Stop exploiting my kid! That's MY job!

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images  Good As You Images Picture-10-51MassResistance's Amy Contrada dedicates her life to challenging LGBT rights. She keeps the organization's blog running, posting daily about how "depraved" and "evil" the gays are. She attends gay events, then proceeds to use the select photos she obtains to decry the organizers, attendees, and gay community in totality. On and off (when they have a broadcast home), she co-hosts a weekly radio show with Brian Camenker on which the duo kibitzes on whatever queer progression is ruffling their feathers at that particular moment. Or when businesses like, say, a grocery store do things like, say, sell tickets to a pro-gay play, she and her cohorts encourage followers to boycott said business. So basically if it were not for her efforts to keep gay equality at bay, nobody would even know her name.

In her endeavors, Amy has never for a second hesitated to post pictures and assumptions about any of the gays who she is condemning. The MassResistance website regularly features photos and captions meant to hurt and offend those featured. An example:

Picture 3-82

She doesn't tend to censor herself -- she speaks freely and offensively. So when Massachusetts gay activists learned that Amy's daughter was appearing in the very same high school production of The Laramie Project that her group was protesting, it was a story that simply COULD NOT go unmentioned. We admit we felt slightly uncomfortable about it in the beginning, as do we feel that since the family members of public and semi-public individuals did not sign up for it, they should not be pulled kicking and screaming into the spotlight. But this writer knows firsthand how sometimes when you are telling your story in a public setting, you have no choice to acknowledge those who are integral to that story. And since Amy has on many occasions made it known that she has children in Massachusetts' public school system, we, like many other gay outlets, chose to convey the information about her daughter's appearance in the place once it was already made public.

Our initial apprehension was assuaged in the forthcoming days, when Amy's daughter willingly provided an interview in which she revealed that she identifies as a lesbian. Again -- in terms of this "culture war," the fact that a anti-gay personality has a gay child is most certainly of note! All sensitivity should be taken to consider the family's well-being; but since the younger Contrada was gladly using the power of the Internet to speak out against her mother's actions and get her own story out, she was acting on her own free will (albeit as a minor). So the story made it's way through the gay news, and this was the money quote:

"I am a lesbian, which my mom still does not get. She just says that I am confused. I realized in around eighth grade, but I was in denial for quite some time because I was scared due to my mother constantly saying that homosexuality is wrong. How can it ever be wrong to love though? That’s what I’d like to know."

Now, of course this could not make Amy happy. It goes against everything she stands for, and also shines more light on the intertesting phenomenon of anti-gay activists who have gay kids. But rather than try and let the situation die down in order to protect her child's well-being, what has Amy now done? Well, in an extremely lengthy post on MassResistance's main site, she has posted the most private of private details about the situation with her child. Stuff nobody would ever know or ever need to know, all in some weird attempt to defuse the story. Here is a very brief sample just to give you an idea of how willing she is to let the world know every little detail about her daughter:

ACTON, MASSACHUSETTS (NOV. 7, 2007) Homosexual activists - possibly in cooperation with school staff -- have viciously targeted a 17-year-old special-needs student, the daughter of Amy Contrada, a MassResistance staffer. (It's outrageous that a parent is now forced to reveal once-private information in order to stop this assault.)

Claudia Contrada was born in Korea and was adopted by Amy and her husband as an infant. Claudia's special needs include psychological/emotional issues and learning disabilities. Amy and her husband had Claudia enrolled in private parochial schools until her special needs exceeded those schools' abilities to deal with them. Thus, in seventh grade, they had no choice but to enroll Claudia in the Acton-Boxborough public school system.

But Claudia is talented in singing and especially acting. She has a beautiful voice and a fantastic memory for lines and lyrics. She has won awards for her acting. Her therapists said that Claudia's participation in the school's drama program is directly related to treatment of her special needs.

That's just a tiny sample; to get the full gist you have to read the whole piece. On it, she has even posted this unbelievably private picture to accompany the story:

Picture 5-89

Because that's the way you protect your teen child's privacy -- by posting a picture of their bedroom wall. But since she has done so, this gay male writer will just say as an aside: I once had a Cindy Crawford poster on my wall. The wall hangings of a teen who lives in their parent's home is not an accurate indicator of internal feeling!

But getting back to the situation at hand: Do we think Amy is genuinely distraught by the way this has played out? Absolutely! But you don't handle that by revealing details that nobody ever needed to know! The gay community has been nothing but supportive of Amy's daughter (which you can see in the messages that Amy has meticulously posted on MR's site). The only person that has been criticized in all this is Amy, someone who (a) did sign up for all this, and (b) would be criticized for her anti-gay work regardless of this development. But by posting this new article in which she reveals private details, she has chosen to open her daughter and her family up to criticism and teasing from all sides. And for WHAT purpose!?! Her daughter has still said her piece about being a lesbian. Nobody expected Amy to react in any way other than to accuse the school system and liberals of "indoctrinating" her child. Amy's article is just unnecessary piling on from a point of view that was of no one's concern!

Would Amy have turned it into a story if a gay activist's 17-year-old daughter revealed to her that she identifies as "pro-family" and thinks her parents' "lifestyle" is disgusting? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! And for right or wrong, the gay media and blogosphere did the same with the reverse scenario. Rather than blame the "selfish, self-centered nature of the homosexual movement and its obsession with children" for the way this has played out, and rather than say that "the homosexual activists cruelly use other people's children, leaving the parents to pick up the pieces," Amy should perhaps issue a terse statement in which she succintly asks for respect for her daughter's privacy as they come to a place of understanding. But by handling this in the way, Amy, in our opinion, has lost all right to criticize anyone for "exploiting" her child!

For the entire piece:

Homosexual activists violate special-needs student, daughter of MassResistance staffer. [MassResistance]

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Your thoughts

Amy has trouble telling the truth. She deliberately seeks to deceive. Take, for example,

". . . Contrada's daughter is clearly a brave, compassionate, and inspiring young woman who is willing to lead in the face of adversity - in this case coming from her own mother. .. we have seen how [Amy] Contrada's style of homophobic religious terrorism can painfully tear families apart . . . [commenter:] I can't even imagine the horror of living in a house with that bitch Amy. Poor, poor kid."

It would seem that this was all written by Snyder - it's all in the same quotes. But the "bitch" comment was made by someone else commenting about his article. It would be roughly equivalent to her now claiming that YOU called her a bitch because I posted the quote. It's totally dishonest and Amy knows that it is.

Second example:

A recent posting on Snyder's website is an article titled "Queering Christ" which included the quote, "I had sexual intercourse with Jesus. Sometimes he was the top, and sometimes he was the bottom. My relationship with Christ was mutual and deep." But Snyder's main passion seems to involve adolescents.

There's no way of reading this without thinking that Snyder wrote it. She even talks about his "main passion". But, of course, this was just Amy seeking to confuse her readers. It was actually written by Jason Lydon.

But the great irony here is that all the folks that contacted Claudia did so with compassion, care, and consideration for her difficult position without trying to pressure her. Although Amy sees "evil", any rational person would see reasonableness and support for a kid in a tough situation.

And by contrast, from her own postings Amy seems downright crazy.

And she seems to be trying to portray Claudia as mentally retarded. Claudia doesn't know what a lesbian is? Really? After living with Amy this long? And Claudia's confused and unable to function normally?

WOW!!! Thanks, Mom. You put your hatred and vile agenda over the best intersts of your kid.

But Amy got her revenge. She pulled Claudia out of school and away from all her friends.

Cruel, cruel, visious, nasty woman.

She'd better hope that the God she claims to pray to isn't giving her too much attention. With that sort of cruel treatment of the "little one" He put in her care, I wouldn't be surprised if lightning bolts came through her ceiling.

Posted by: Timothy | Nov 8, 2007 6:03:48 PM

Good work, Timothy! And yes, she totally makes Claudia sound as if she operates on a level much lower than that of a typical 17-year-old. Judging by Claudia's own words, however, she seems pretty together to me!

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 8, 2007 6:12:32 PM

What 54 year old man posts photos of a 17 year old girls bedroom? Brian Camenker of MassResistance.

Posted by: mark snyder | Nov 8, 2007 10:35:57 PM

Oh, do we think it was Brian who posted this? I just assumed it was Amy herself writing it.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 8, 2007 10:39:29 PM

Typically "Brian does the web site and I do the blog" that is a direct quote from Amy to me during pride this year. "We have fun don't we? " she said. She also said a lot of scary awful things to queertoday blogger Trevor including that she was afraid her son was going to get aids from his gay roommate at Oberlin.

Posted by: mark snyder | Nov 8, 2007 10:42:56 PM

Oy. Scary stuff.

Well, regardless of who penned it, Amy clearly was the source for all the details and photos. And it was still a disgusting parental choice.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 8, 2007 10:47:09 PM

That's the cutest lesbian on her wall I ever did see.

Posted by: Franc | Nov 8, 2007 11:49:58 PM

I dunno. Given the level of personal emotion (and the bedroom photo and hacked Facebook e-mails) in the massresistance.org rant, I have a hard time believing that that's Camenker. It sure looks like zero degrees of separation (from Amy's fury) to me.

Posted by: Rieux | Nov 9, 2007 1:07:31 AM

That poor kid.

What makes the least sense of all (out of many not-sensical things) is that Amy had to have given permission for Claudia to participate. I'm sure drama is very important to Claudia, and I'm all in favor of kids participating in productive activities to keep them out of trouble, but are there no community theatres nearby that are doing, I don't know, "Oklahoma!" or something? Why let her participate in this play and then, halfway through the run, pull her?

Also the reference to "Amy and her husband", not "Claudia's parents." Makes it sound like the husband doesn't accept Claudia as his child, but then, I don't really know the family dynamics here.

Posted by: Molly | Nov 9, 2007 10:52:31 AM

Not to mention, now the whole world knows Claudia has a LiveJournal.

Way to protect your kid, there; post as much private information as possible about her on Teh Interwebs so she's EASIER to find.

Posted by: Molly | Nov 9, 2007 11:08:31 AM

You're absolutely right - and make a great point. It was Amy that decided to reveal private issues about Claudia's life. The only private things we knew about Claudia before were things she willingly told everyone else. Hopefully, Claudia is reading a lot of these posts and can take heart knowing that she has an entire community's thoughts and prayers (for those who pray) with her. She may need it to contend with whatever crazy actions Amy Contrada may take, regarding her very own daughter no less.

Posted by: Ryan | Nov 9, 2007 3:55:40 PM

good lord. I hope this child knows we are there to support her. hang in there till your 18...

Posted by: ALLAN | Nov 10, 2007 9:57:23 AM

Molly said, "... Amy had to have given permission for Claudia to participate."

Sounds like Amy is suffering with Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome with religion or religious beliefs as the mechanism. If that is the case, she needs professional help.

Posted by: Pete | Nov 10, 2007 8:12:53 PM

Pete,

I don't even know if it's a religious issue so much...I don't see MassResistance's site being all full of fundamentalism as some other sites. Admittedly, I try not to read it very often.

I do wonder, however, if this is the same basic motivation as the Phelpses switching to boycotting soldiers' funerals...they weren't getting enough attention just targeting Teh Gays, so they chose another group to harass so the media attention increased.

After SSM passed, MassResistance wasn't getting the attention they used to, so they chose to use a child* to get attention again, which we're all cheerfully giving them.

(*I don't really think a 17-year-old is a child any more, but she is a minor. wikipedia says that, in fourteen states, a 17-year-old is no longer a juvenile, in terms of legal proceedings.)

Posted by: Molly | Nov 11, 2007 10:38:37 AM

Is anyone starting a scholarship fund for this girl? Because she's going to need it.

Posted by: | Nov 14, 2007 1:57:18 PM

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