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Homophobic neighbours confront queer couple in their own home and tell them: ‘Your kind is not welcome here’

Lily Wakefield December 8, 2020
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A rainbow over a barn in Wyoming

The queer couple live in a remote rural community in Wyoming. (Getty/ Prisma Bildagentur/Universal Images Group)

A group of homophobic neighbours banded together just to go to a queer couple’s house and tell them: “Your kind is not welcome here.”

Colin Monahan and her wife Shannon Lastowski Monahan live in the rural community of Wapiti, Wyoming.

Recently, the couple heard a knock at the door and were greeted by a group of five neighbours on their doorstep, who said they needed to discuss a “neighbourhood issue”. One of the men at their door was familiar to the queer couple, as he had previously harassed them on social media.

The issue, it turned out, was that the Monahans are LGBT+.

Their neighbours had a particular problem with Colin’s gender expression. She told NBC that she dresses in a masculine way, and that she equally uses the names “Colleen” and “Colin”.

Shannon said: “One of the women said to us, ‘Your kind is not welcome here. You are not welcome in Cody Country and you need to leave.’

“She told Colin, ‘You pretend to be a man, and you need to leave.'”

When their local community heard about the incident, the couple received swift support, especially from local businesses.

One sporting goods store nearby, Sunlight Sports, declared on social media: “This is a tough thing to put into words. But, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are some people that shouldn’t come into Sunlight Sports anymore.

“If you hate your neighbours so much for who they are – who they love, the colour of their skin, where they were born, where they worship, or any of the other things that make up that person – that you need to treat them differently or harass them or make them feel unsafe in their own home, don’t come into our business.”

Other stores began stocking Pride flag stickers and badges, but the show of solidarity with Monahans caused its own backlash.

Local Facebook groups began filling with comments from homophobic members of the community discounting their story, calls for a hate crime bill in Wyoming as “dangerous” and “Orwellian”, and one man even described the queer couple as as “liberal socialist democratic homosexual transvestites from Chicago”.

It has been weeks since their neighbours showed up to spew hate on their doorstep, but the couple still feel nervous.

They have installed a security system in their home and Colin, a gun owner, has applied for a concealed carry permit for a worst case scenario.

She said: “The bigger story is this culture here, and ultimately, why Wyoming needs hate crime legislation. They don’t think that they have an issue, and yet they repeatedly have issues here.”

Shannon added: “We can’t be protected by weapons. We have an alarm system, surveillance cameras, all of that, but that can only help so much.

“It gives you a small sense of reducing the risks. But the courts aren’t going to protect us… It’s just a simple trespass. I guess I just never realised before how vulnerable we are.”

Related topics: Hate Crime Bill, Wyoming

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