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It’s Not Just for Juveniles 

It’s Not Just for Juveniles 


Faced with the prospect of a constitutional ban on marriage equality in Arizona, the woman behind defacing Yes on 102 posters that say "Yes to Hate" channels her inner teenager -- and lives to tell about it.

I circle the cage once, then twice, before finally realizing that I'm an adult. I can just ask someone to unlock it. "Excuse me, um, Krylon, please."

And without batting an eye, the mild-mannered guy wearing an apron inserts a key, opens the door, and hands me a can of Krylon "True Blue" spray paint. Being an adult rocks! When you're an adult you can do anything you want. You have a car and a wallet full of $1 bills; you're smarter than dumb kids, and no one assumes you're up to no good. This last point comes in handy in my case, because tonight I'm launching my one-woman protest against Arizona's "Yes! on 102" campaign, which tells us marriage is a union between one man and one union.

"If you get caught you can be arrested," my girlfriend says when I tell her my idea to alter the "Yes on 102" signs with spray paint.

"Really?" I ask.

"You're an adult. You can go to prison."

"Prison? How about jail first?"

"Behind bars. Does it matter whose bars? Speaking of bars, could you pick up some protein bars for me? Oh, wait, you'll be in prison; I'll get them myself."

What happened to the good old days? You know, the '80s, when Keith Haring made a living spray-painting illegally. When you could crank-call the teacher who gave you an F in P.E. without your name popping up on his caller I.D. When the worst thing that could happen as you toilet-papered your enemy's house was that his dad --who had served in 'Nam and suffered from something called PTSD -- would run out of the house waving a gun and screaming "Foxhole!" When marriage was between one miserable man and one miserable woman (my parents). When Cagney and Lacey never would have arrested a lesbian activist -- at least not without frisking her first.

But it's 2008 -- 8:30 P.M. on October 8, to be exact -- and the Arizona sun has just set. My girlfriend is behind the wheel of the getaway car and I'm shaking the can of spray paint, the sweet sound of civil disobedience. We spot a sign, and though it's located at a major intersection, it feels like the right one to start with. We cut the engine, then the lights, and coast the car to the edge of a nearby dirt lot. My girlfriend whispers "Hurry up!" and motions for me to get out.

I'm wearing a light-blue polo shirt, brown corduroy pants, and sneakers that resemble bowling shoes. As I shake the can and head toward the sign, I realize I must look like an angry pro golfer who got kicked off the tour, so I pull my collar up to complete the look. Just think how the cops would describe me when they call in the all-points bulletin: "Lesbian golfer in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Short, spiky hair; argyle sweater vest. No, this isn't a joke!"

The sign is bigger than I imagined.




Because the text is justified to the left, I have a fair amount of space on the right to add my slogan. I start spraying. The exclamation point quickly becomes a T before I add the other letters: O H A T. When I finish, the sign reads "Yes to HATE!" My heart is beating fast, like the one time I did cocaine at a Boston queer bar that was named after a Frenchman. I am untouchable, unstoppable, under the influence of activism and toxic fumes, retracing the letters with spray paint over and over again, so people will really see them when they drive by in the morning. I am fueled by adrenaline. Suddenly I understand why teenagers tag, why yahoos own guns, and why the road is filled with rage. When the nozzle begins to spit the last sprays of paint I run back to the getaway car, giggling and exhilarated.

"DUDE, I rock! Gays rock! Love rocks!" I say to my girlfriend.

"Do cops rock?" she asks, turning the key hurriedly.


"Well, there's one now -- let's go!"

And with that we tear out of the dirt lot, away from the scene of a crime totally worth committing and into the quiet Arizona night.

While some groups are more than happy to vote for hate, I am happy to remind them -- with graffiti, if need be -- that we are all entitled to a voice. And this reminder, according to the can, will last for up to four months.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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