The times, they are a…fucking disappointment mostly. But there is one silver lining. Thanks to the internet and misunderstood geniuses like Elon Musk (the self-driving car of CEOs) we are now all privy to the VERY BIG FEELINGS of men who like football.
Remember the good old days? When Republicans were angrily burning their nikes and pledging an NFL boycott because a Black man had an opinion. Well, Meltdown Season has returned, and this time the threat is none other than the lovecraftian horror known as female pop music.
Taylor Swift is in her athlete era. Suddenly, a whole swath of people who never gave a fuck about carbon emissions are out holding hands with Greta Thunberg. What does it take to make a Republican “go woke?” A little blonde pop star.
But this reaction to female fandom isn’t new. We see it whenever a woman is too much of something- too loud, too honest, too comfortable in spaces reserved for men.
As a Queer woman, I am contractually obligated to follow at least one sport. Long ago, I had an ex who liked the Raiders. Long story short, left the guy but kept the team. Now, each year I get up to 3 CEUs (Masters, Bisexuality) for fulfilling my football viewing obligations.
Of all the things I do that piss men off, having a football team is near the top of the list. Even expressing such a preference typically comes with an entrance exam. Wear a black and silver t-shirt and a man will materialize to ask you if you even know the name of the quarterback. A similar effect occurs when a woman wears a band t-shirt. The arenas may be slightly different, but the problem is the same. A “woman” has entered a space that is owned by The Men. Allowing women in that space inherently devalues it. Whenever women like something en masse, the cultural narrative quickly deems that thing as frivolous, unserious, and other updated versions of “hysterical.”
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that this year Taylor Swift would be able to make the cringiest NFL fans so mad that they would be forced to devote their loyalty to….San Francisco?
Yes, America’s Queerest City is getting the love and support of Republicans across the country. Suddenly, men who love to own the libs are using phrases likes “carbon footprint” and “billionaire class.” While musical taste is subjective, I think we can all appreciate the joy of watching stupid people get angry. And with that goal in mind, Taylor Swift is this year’s MVP (Most Valuable Popstar).
The Gallatin County Republicans has caused quite a stir with an invitation to their annual fundraiser dinner. You may have already seen it circling online. If not, we’ve included it below. We think this invitation pretty much speaks for itself.
Read the Democratic Party’s response here: https://www.montanademocrats.org/news/mtgop-calls-hundreds-of-thousands-of-montanans-peasant-families
“If you are a God fearing, truth loving person, do not patronize this place.” Beware, dear reader. The Queers are out to get you caffeinated. The cat’s out of the bag. Shortly after stealing the rainbow from God, the LGBTQ+ community moved on to the next logical step, creating safe spaces in the form of coffee shops. We want to supply you with that extra pep in your step you need to sin.
Lucky for all the God fearing, truth loving people out there, Luna Coffee has finally gotten their comeuppance. One man is on a mission to protect the people of Great Falls from the gay agenda (iced coffee and board games) and he is sending a LOT of emails. He’s also calling, leaving messages, and review-bombing Luna on google and yelp. This dude REALLY hates gay people, and he definitely doesn’t want to drink their coffee.
A few favorites from his correspondence include his assertion that, “I have heard this establishment is “lgbtq” owned. 2024 is going to be different for you.” Why is “lgbtq” in quotation marks? Are you implying we aren’t real, like Santa Claus and the trickle-down economy? Honestly making me feel ethereal, and I like it.
Later, he writes, “Do NOT ENDORSE sexual perversion and degeneracy in the public square!” What I like here is the phrase “in the public square!” Feels like a real throw back. This man wants to put someone in the stocks and he is not afraid to show it.
In his One-Star review written under the name “Mr Sonoranbird” he asks, “What side of the conflict of this insidious ideology will you be on?” Fair question. As a bisexual, I refuse to choose sides.
I can confirm that Luna Coffee is indeed an LGBTQ+ owned business. (I am sharing this with permission, which should always be the practice!) Last time I checked, they had an extensive tea and coffee menu, but no visible Gay Agenda anywhere. Rather, Luna is a local business that contributes significantly to our community, both as an employer and as an accessible community space.
It’s easy to dismiss people like “Mr Sonoranbird” as stupid. Often well-meaning folks suggest that the recipients of discrimination should shake it off, not let it affect them, don’t even respond. But that’s not how it works. It doesn’t stop discrimination, and it doesn’t acknowledge the very real effect these kinds of messages have on people. The truth is, messages like this often escalate into real world danger. Along the way, they make people feel unsafe and unwanted. One-star reviews can indeed drive down business, and could ultimately result in jobs lost.
Community means protecting one another from shit like this. So let’s not dismiss this. Instead, let’s show Luna Coffee some support. Here’s what I’m asking. Over the coming weeks, make an effort to stop by Luna Coffee. Try something new on the menu. Snap a selfie, send it to us, and we’ll compile them to share in an update. Leave Luna a good review. Help us further the gay agenda of creating a community that stands up for one another.
Yesterday, City Commissioner Rick Tryon’s hate-blog “E City Beat ” published a letter from William Ross. Ross was previously featured on our blog after he protested the Great Falls Pridefest with a sign reading “Fags Deserve Oppression.” Ross yelled at families and attempted to start altercations as people walked by him. Ross even gave an interview to a local news station in which he lauded LGBTQ+ suicide. To the shock of no one, Commissioner Tryon has sided with this hateful bigot.
There are some misrepresentations in E City Beat’s article that need to be addressed. Firstly, I am not on the Board for the Great Falls LGBTQ+ Center and did not organize Pridefest. My term on the Board ended about 2 years ago. I continue to support and promote Center events, but my presence at Pridefest was solely as an attendee. Pridefest was amazing and a lot of folks put a ton of work into making it happen. It is unfortunate that William Ross tried to ruin the event with his hatred.
In his letter published by E City Beat, Ross claims that he was assaulted twice at the event. To be clear, Ross was armed with a gun and screaming at people. When Ross tried to start an altercation with a man using the crosswalk, I physically got in front of Ross, while a security volunteer pulled the other man away. Although Ross was the instigator, I did not want hundreds of families at Pride to witness any violence. The below photo was sent to me by a Pride attendee. It shows me and a security volunteer walking Ross away from the altercation. This incident, and Ross’s following verbal threat, was reported to the police.
Now Ross is claiming that his free speech was infringed after his employer, Culligan Water, terminated him. This claim shows a fundamental misunderstanding of our Constitutional right to free speech. Our speech is protected from government interference and punishment (with some caveats around hate speech which incite violence.) Freedom of speech is in no way freedom from consequences. Private sector businesses are indeed allowed to enforce codes of conduct. Businesses are concerned with their profits, and employee conduct that may lose them business is often a terminable offense. That’s Capitalism baby. Ross was absolutely allowed to use his freedom of speech and his freedom to protest. Now he’s suffering consequences for his choice to behave like a hateful unhinged bigot.
However, more concerning is the choice for Commissioner Rick Tryon and Phil Faccenda to give Mr. Ross a platform. In his letter, Ross argues that people should be allowed to voice their opinions. Mr. Ross was indeed allowed to do so. If your opinion is that a marginalized group of people deserve oppression we have a term for that- discrimination. How is it appropriate for an elected city commissioner to promote discrimination and normalize hate speech? If Mr. Ross had made racial, ethnic, or religious slurs, would Tryon still be giving him a venue for his hate?
As evidenced by the activity of the White Lives Matter movement in Great Falls, there are citizens who believe that Jewish people should be eliminated. There are people who believe that the White race is superior and that all other ethnicities deserve genocide. Are they free to make these statements? Yes, to a degree, inasmuch as they are not actively inciting violence. But should a city commissioner be giving them a platform to promote this hateful ideology? I, for one, think that Tryon’s actions here conflict with the Official Code of the City of Great Falls Code of Ethics 2.21.020(B) and 2.21.030 (B) (C) (D) which read:
B. The vitality and stability of representative democracy depends upon the public’s confidence in the integrity of its elected and appointed representatives
[…] Such ethical standards shall inspire and stimulate each officer and employee to […]
B. Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by the government and maintain a constructive, creative, practical attitude toward urban affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant;
C. Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships so that each public servant may merit the respect and confidence of elected officials, of other officials and employees, and of the public; and
D. Recognize that the chief function of local government at all times is to serve the best interests of all of the people
And examining the Ethical Standards section:
A. No officer or employee of the City of Great Falls shall have an interest in a business organization or engage in any business, transaction, or professional activity which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her governmental duties
D. No officer or employee shall undertake any private employment or service which might prejudice his or her independent judgment in the exercise of his or her official duties.
City Commissioner Rick Tryon, through his blog E City Beat, has a significant history of attacking both public figures and private citizens alike. How is it appropriate for a city commissioner to continuously attack the citizens he is elected to represent? Perhaps Mr. Tryon needs reminding that he is duly obligated to represent the best interest of all citizens, even if they’re Queer.
First, we stole the rainbow from God. Today, the LGBTQ+ community celebrated yet another victory.
Braxton Mitchell’s own hateful words have come back to bite him as a judge temporarily blocked Montana Drag Ban- HB359. Several plaintiffs, including Two-Spirit author, Adria Jawort and the Great Falls LGBTQ+ Center, have filed suit over the new law, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional. Adding fuel to these claims, the city of Helena failed to approve permits for next weekend’s planned Pride parade prompting Montana Pride to join the lawsuit as well.
In today’s ruling, Judge Morris cited Representative Mitchell’s own words to prove the discriminatory intent of his bill. Morris writes,
Plaintiffs highlight […] that Representative Braxton Mitchell’s introduction in support of H.B. 359 justified the legislation on the basis that drag shows expose children to ‘mature themes’ and ‘inappropriate activities,’ purportedly risking that children ‘adopt and accept certain stereotypes or attitudes,’ ‘creat[ing] an inadequate understanding of gender roles’ and ‘damag[ing] [children’s] long-term social and emotional development.’
Judge Morris confirms what members of the LGBTQ+ community have said all along. The intent of this law has always been discrimination. Representative Mitchell spent the last legislative session making hateful and misinformed comments about the Queer community and pushing bills that will now cost Montana taxpayers. Each time the state passes an unconstitutional law, taxpayer funds are used to defend that law in court. And although I’ll never tire of watching Attorney General, Austin Knudsen, lose in court, the reckless waste of our tax dollars should outrage Montanans.
After today’s ruling, the city of Helena has indicated they will issue all necessary permits. The lawsuit against HB 359 has its next hearing set for August. In the meantime, we’re going to keep celebrating Pride.
Check out all the Montana Pride activities here: https://montanapride.org/
Pride month has come and gone, but the consequences for a local bigot are just beginning. The Great Falls LGBTQ+ Center hosted its first annual Pride Fest on June 24, 2023. The event featured performers, a slam poetry contest, food vendors, and numerous local artists and businesses. Focused on family fun and inclusion, hundreds of community members joined in the fun.
The only blight on an otherwise lovely day was a single angry man. Holding a sign that read, “F*gs Deserve Oppression” the lone “protestor” walked the perimeter of the Festival. He alternated between blowing a whistle and screaming slurs at passersby. A Festival volunteer followed a few paces behind the man in an attempt to prevent any violence. But violence was clearly what this man was after.
After sharing photos and videos on social media, numerous citizens wrote in identifying the man as William Ross. Research shows that Ross is a Great Falls local and a
“Master Mason” at the Euclid Lodge No. 58 AF & AM. The Lodge’s facebook page shows Ross on the right in their cover photo.
The universe loves irony, and Ross was previously quoted in an article about the Masonic temple. Ross states, “Yeah, that we’re [Masons] a bunch of devil worshippers, child sacrifice, goat ridden’ degenerates. That is the farthest from the truth in every way possible.”
The Freemasons themselves seem to preach a different ideology than the hate displayed by Ross. Euclid 58’s website describes the Freemasons, writing, “ Masons represent virtually every occupation and profession, yet within Freemasonry, they all meet as equals. Masons come from diverse political ideologies, yet meet as friends. Masons come from varied religious beliefs, yet all believe in one God, in religious tolerance, and in individual freedom of thought and conscience.”
You can read about the lodge (and even CONTACT THEM) by accessing their website here: https://euclidlodge58.com/aboutMasons.html
As Pridefest went on, Ross’s behavior escalated. Eventually Ross yelled at citizens crossing the street and engaged in a physical altercation with a man leaving the event. Despite his bravado, Ross immediately began screaming “I’m being assaulted.” Dear readers, Ross was in no way being assaulted. Rather, I put myself in front of Mr. Ross while a volunteer pulled the other man away. After this incident, Ross told Pridefest volunteers that he had a weapon and was willing to use it if he felt “threatened.” Ross was calling people “f*ggts” – it’s quite clear that he was not the one being threatened. One volunteer believed they saw Ross with a gun, at which point the police were called and a report made. Ross left shortly thereafter.
Although Ross openly marched with his sign and even interviewed with a local news station, he then requested his face be hidden for the interview. Most assuredly, Ross has the legal right to yell slurs at people he hates. However, freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences.
After Ross was identified, WTF406 reached out to his employer, Culligan Water. Culligan’s website lists the company’s “Commitments” with #4 reading “Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Read our correspondence with Culligan below:
Culligan Great Falls Telephone: (406) 761-5050
I write for What The Funk 406, a blog that covers local politics. I am also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and on June 26, 2023, I attended Great Falls Pride Fest. During this event, a lone individual carried a sign reading “Fags Deserve Oppression.” The man yelled slurs and his behavior eventually escalated to the point that he had to be physically separated from event attendees.
I took the attached video and also shared pictures of the individual on social media. Multiple community members reached out and identified this man as William Ross. Some of the folks that contacted us recognized Ross as a Culligan employee. They also expressed concern about Ross delivering water to their businesses.
A quick look at the Culligan website shows the company has multiple “Commitments.” Commitment #4 reads, “Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
With this commitment in mind, we request your response to the following questions:
Is Culligan aware of Mr. Ross’s behavior on June 26, 2023?
Does Culligan share Mr. Ross’s view that “Fags deserve oppression?”
Further, should LGBTQ+ community members such as myself feel safe doing business with Culligan and allowing such employees into our offices and homes?
I appreciate your time and will happily answer any questions you may have about the attached photos and video.
As of this evening, WTF406 has received no response from Culligan.
The man identified as William Ross held this sign during Pridefest.
This video shows Ross screaming at Pridefest attendees