Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook: Taking a Stand for Tolerance

Commentary by David Alex Nahmod

Many of us complain about homophobic hate speech, but few of us take action.

Not so with Kevin Patrick O'Neil. A web designer by trade, the Durham, England resident grew tired not only of the anti-gay hate speech appearing on Facebook, but of the racism and sexism as well.

 


A few months ago, O'Neil launched a Facebook page of his own: Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook. The results were astonishing. Hundreds of people from all spectrums of the LGBT umbrella signed on every day, including straight allies.

"We have well over 15,000 straight members," says O'Neil. "I appreciate every single one of them and thank them for their support".

At last count, the group's membership was rapidly approaching 70,000. It's accomplishments are impressive: O'Neil posted a Fox New Channel poll which asked the right wing network's viewers to weigh in on California Judge Vaughn Walker's overturning of Prop 8, the gay marriage ban. Thanks largely to votes from Wipeout members, the poll now stands at 72 percent in favor of the judge's decision.

Wipeout members have also joined in a petition drive to save the life of a gay man in Iran. O'Neil most recently urged European members to attend an anti-gay bashing rally in Amsterdam.

On a lighter note, Wipeout members contribute their own artwork and videos to the page. Alex Peavy, who, at 13, is the group's youngest member, has built up quite a fan following with her many rainbow colored drawings which promote love and tolerance among LGBTs and all peoples.

O'Neil has since launched a companion website to help promote the Facebook page: www.WHOF.net features blogs, a public forum, merchandise, and a link to the Facebook page.

You can also make a donation to the group at the website: please keep in mind that O'Neil and his staff of five run Wipeout as volunteers while continuing to work at their day jobs.

"We actually achieve what we set out to do," says a justifiably proud Kevin Patrick O'Neil. "We've gotten 1,566 homophobic pages removed from Facebook, and we have a real sense of community building in the group. Know how we did it? We listened to the members, and we got rid of the bigots, and the self servers and the haters. We kept the genuine, nice, normal, average, wonderful people that we have today, and we all worked together to make our voices heard."

More info: www.WHOF.net

David Alex Nahmod is a San Francisco based freelance writer who also writes for the B.A.R. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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