Last month Michael C. Quinton, a gay man living in East Tennessee, raising his adopted sons (biological great nephews), was the victim of a criminal vandalism. His car was totaled by the vandals, who cut up the interior of the vehicle with knives, going so far as destroying all of the tires and carving homophobic message on the exterior.
Michael reached out via Facebook, sharing his accounts of the incident and its impact on his boys. The messages have gone viral, but a few weeks later, little to no progress has been made in the case. The boys continue to suffer from a sense of lost security. But Michael continues to share his message.
He wrote the following to O&AN:
Since the events of last Friday, I've dealt with every emotion possible. With the car sitting here it’s a constant reminder of hate. It’s a constant reminder that there are people out there that fear my family.
Between trying to handle the insurance, raising the boys, working full time, trying to figure a vehicle that gets us to med appointments, school, baseball practice/games, my heart has become very heavy and brain overloaded.
In 2014 I was able to marry my now-ex-husband in New York. In 2015 SCOTUS ruled and we were able to proceed with adopting my great nephew together. By 2017, my divorce was finalized, and I proceeded to adopt my other great nephew that we had been fostering.
Besides adopting my oldest solo, the above could not have happened without that ruling. The events and hate that happened here that Friday quickly reminded me that everything the community has work towards could be destroyed, much like our car.
I've tried to live a private but open life. This event hasn't necessarily made me scared of personal harm. My biggest concern is the damage done to my children, who had a rough beginning as it is. Then there is the fear of what rights I have as a gay man being gone.
I don't attend every pride and I don't visit every bar. That doesn't make me less in this community. What I feel though is my being not vocal enough for our community has made me less. I respect those before me and around me that have made their voices heard, and continue to do so. I became complacent. With all respect, I believe a lot of folks in the community have as well.
I try to avoid getting into it about politics, however I notice things recently aren't looking so well. There are things so tragic happening around us daily. Like myself, I feel there are others that think “its going to be ok” or “this wouldn't happen to us.”
This event was a wakeup call. It’s not going to be ok. It did happen to us. My youngest could very well lose his special education. My oldest could very well lose his health insurance. What if I wanted to marry the most amazing boyfriend in my life. I could lose that. Obviously there is so much more we stand to lose if we don't stand up united.
Finally, I've struggled explaining this senseless act to my children. I keep preaching that love will conquer hate. I really do believe that, but I also I have to do more…. we have to do more. I have to be a voice, not only for my children but for myself. I also need to vote…. We all need to vote. It’s going to take more than the vote to change the negativity. I believe if the community truly supported one another so many positives could take place.
Peace, Love, Compassion, Perseverance, Resistance.
Michael Carroll Quinton