“I did mean to shock the local audience, because I wanted to get their attention and let them know it’s all based on hypocrisy,” Pamela Raintree, a Shreveport, La. transgender woman, proclaimed. She was discussing her appearance before the City Council on Jan. 17, when she held a rock in the air, daring a city councilman to stone her, challenging his use of the Bible to condemn homosexuality.
The dramatic action by Raintree, a self-described “stone hound” who has collected rocks in her travels, caused City Councilman Ron Webb, who'd proposed a repeal of an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance which passed in December (and which he’d voted against), to give up his effort. It also has Raintree now being celebrated as a hero among LGBT people around the globe after a video of the confrontation went viral, while her stone has become an artifact of transgender history.
“I had to challenge him on the one issue everyone was afraid to challenge him on, which was his religious remarks, and it turns out they were completely unfounded, except for that one word, ‘abomination,’" Raintree said in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress. “And it was in Leviticus where it’s mentioned, so I had to read him the passage from where he was pulling his text.”
So Raintree stood before Webb, lifting up her rock, and said, “Leviticus 20:13 states, 'If a man lie also with mankind as he lieth with a woman, they shall surely put him to death.' I brought the first stone Mr. Webb, in case that your Bible talk isn't just a smoke screen for personal prejudices."
Raintree, an activist in Shreveport for 25 years, said she sensed right away that her challenge to Webb would lead him to drop the repeal effort.
“I saw him cast his eyes down when I slammed that rock down,” she said. “And you could see on his face, ‘Oh, this one’s over.’ He didn’t make any public comment about it, so I’ll never know. He whispered in the clerk’s ear what he wanted to do. He didn’t have a leg left to stand on.”
Raintree is blown away by how much attention her action received.
“As far as it getting out on the Internet, that never crossed my mind,” she said. “I’m still stunned by it. I’ve gotten Facebook requests from all over the world. And an underground web site in Russia has picked it up. It’s unbelievable.”
And what about that history-making stone?
“I picked it up in the mountains of Kentucky or Tennessee a few years ago,” Raintree explained. “It was a memento from one of the trips I took. I’m a rock hound. I have buckets full of rocks.”
Raintree said she’s donated the rock to the local ACLU, which collects historical artifacts.