Anonymous Anti-Gay Mailing Targets Ferndale Businesses

Anonymous Anti-Gay Mailing Targets Ferndale Businesses

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 24, 2018)

Ferndale, MI – Several business owners received an anonymous letter in the mail over the weekend decrying the community’s prevalence of rainbow flags.

“Truth, like vintage postage stamps, is valid despite the passage of time,” the letter began.  “This past June my wife and I were given a quick tour of your town while we were visiting Detroit. We noted that many of your businesses had colorful flags displayed in their Front windows, but they were not American flags…”

The letter went on for two pages of small print quoting Bible verses and condemning LGBT people.  “You have rolled out the red…no, rainbow carpet for them.  THIS IS MADNESS.”

The letter goes on to say “I have read history’s record regarding a perverted Roman woman who somehow induced a goat to have sexual intercourse with her in public view! Such brazen bestiality is horrible and appalling, and yet I suspect that if such a woman were to perform such an act at 300 E. 9 mile Road, the city fathers would erect a statue in her honor!”

The sender called up on businesses to “REPENT!”

Ferndale is known for its embrace of the LGBT community.  It is home to Affirmations Community Center, the annual Ferndale Pride festival, and a city council that voted to have the rainbow flag added to the collection of flags at City Hall.

Ferndale Police and Ferndale Fire Department also received the letter in the mail.

The letters were postmarked from Houston, TX, with no return address.  The letters had multiple stamps on them, many from the 1970s including a stamp featuring a young girl and the words “Retarded Children Can be Helped,” which was considered acceptable at the time but is now generally considered insulting.

Angela Fisher was one of the recipients, who ended up getting two.  “I was just stunned. It completely floored me. I was initially outraged and just sad. When I got the second one however, I realized that some mentally unstable person paid to get a mailing list,” she said.

Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter wants to reassure the community. “The anonymous coward that sent this hateful mail will only serve to strengthen our resolve to be an inclusive and welcoming city for everyone,” he said.  “I encourage anyone who received the letter to report it to the Ferndale Police Department at detectives@ferndalepolice.org, and include your name, email, telephone number and a photo if possible of what was sent. We’ll also partner with national organizations that track this type of hate.”

Ferndale Police released a statement about the letters, saying “The letter contains no threats; however, its condemning language and the violent tone of the accompanying literature can be inferred as threatening.”

Blumz by J.R. Designs, a floral and wedding planning business, is a sponsor of Ferndale Pride as well as many other events that bring people of all kinds together.  It is also successful gay-owned business that is thriving not just in Ferndale, but in Holly and Detroit.

To owners Jerome Raska and Robbin Yelverton the flying of the rainbow flag is a non-issue.  “Personally I think Robbin and I have moved beyond that.  When someone is hateful of others, we think they are the obscure ones. Who is this person with these out dated values? They don’t affect us,” Raska said.

From a business perspective, it makes sense to welcome everyone.  “Flowers speak a universal language.  We do weddings and events for a diverse clientele – different races, genders, orientations, religions. We see everyone as individuals, and we celebrate that.”

It is unknown how many people received these letters, but more are stepping forward as the posts gain momentum on social media. This story will be updated if more information becomes available.

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