I used to get chastising or even flat-out nasty emails, and still sometimes do. It’s funny how often those emails start with the words, “I’m not homophobic, but…”
I’ve gotten far fewer anti-gay emails by including that message near my email address, at the bottom of my About page.
Best hater email story: Remember a few years ago when JK Rowling mentioned that Dumbledore was gay? Fox News started shouting about how WRONG!!! that was, and its viewers got OUTRAGED!!! And I started getting nasty emails, as I always do when Fox News goes on an anti-gay tirade. More than the normal amount. (Normal, at that time, being a few every month or so.)
My usual response to this type of email is to hit “delete.” As soon as I recognize that the email is a hate missile, boom. It’s gone. I don’t need that toxicity in my life.
But one email started out saying something like “I’ve never read your books…” And with that boastful ignorance as the shining introduction, this person went on to berate me for including LGBT characters. In books she had never read. She went on to say some really nasty stuff about gay people.
And I was having a bad day, and instead of “delete,” I hit “reply.” And my memory is a little blurry, but it’s HIGHLY possible I used the word “idiotic” in my response. I’m certain I used “willful ignorance.” I know that I assured this person that my son was neither broken nor a sinner. My subtext was a very absolute and thinly veiled “Bite me.”
Well, I got quite the reply — including a vow to make sure no one in this person’s church and community ever read my books. Blah blah blah. But then I started getting emails from her friends. Boom. Three more emails in my inbox, filled with misspelled hate.
And I thought, “Holy crap, what if she belongs to one of those 20,000 member mega-churches?” Frankly, I didn’t (and don’t) care if haters refuse to read my books. I just didn’t want all that poison gumming up my email inbox.
So I posted a brief message on Facebook that went something like: “Hey, gang. Suz here. Um, I’m getting attacked by an anti-gay group who’re sending me nasty emails. If you’ve ever wanted to email me to tell me how much you’ve enjoyed reading about Jules and Robin, now would be a really good time…? Thanks…” I included my email address.
And — boom — my post went viral, and I ended up getting about 2,000 emails, many of them saying “I love Jules” in the subject header.
Total count from the haters? Five.
Thanks to all who filled my email inbox with love!