For the first time, Brandiilyne Dear and Susan Mangum felt scared for their lives after the couple was threatened because of their sexual orientation.
“It really shook me,” Dear said, who received a threatening phone call after they starred in the Showtime documentary The L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin. “Since coming out I haven’t really been afraid, but for the time I felt fear.”
The call, which was made to their google phone number, was made by a man who called himself Billy Bob. He threatened to “kill, hog tie, and rape” the couple because of their sexual orientation.
“The things he was saying became very personal, and horrifying,” Dear said. “Now I am afraid to walk outside, I have a fear that I have never had before and I am not used to it.”
Since the call, Dear said she hasn’t left the house much.
The couple called the police to report the threat, but because it was from a blocked phone number, there were no leads.
“We will protect them like any other citizen,” said Police Chief Tyrone Stewart. “They have their rights, and their beliefs and are humans just like the rest of us.”
Stewart also asked anyone who has received similar threats to come forward.
“If they feel threatened, the threats should be documented,” he said. “We will do whatever we can to bring those people to justice, and that goes for any of our citizens.”
Dear posted the call to YouTube and received support.
“This one incident stands under a mountain of positive outreach. It’s a great example of how ignorant hate really is,” she said. “People need to see this and realize there is an underlying danger for LGBT people in the south and I think, I hope that they will understand that things have to change. Acceptance is not approval, but the hate has got to stop.”
While she is now more fearful, she won’t let the hate stop her.
“I do believe hate is dying in the South and times are changing, I am proud of the progress we have made, and this won’t deter me, it just makes me want to stand up even more,” Dear said. “I’m not going to stop speaking up and speaking out.”