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This is a letter to the community from San Diego small-business owner Brian L. Lyons.
Three years ago, I moved to San Diego with the dream of starting my own marketing and design firm. I was getting ready to turn 30 years old and had spent years working for the man so I decided at the time that it was now or never. I had visited San Diego numerous times, and had my fair share of fun in Hillcrest. I felt free here. I felt peace here. I felt love here. So I did it. I packed up my entire existence and moved to this magnificent city.
In the past few years, I have turned into a full-fledged entrepreneur at the helm of a very busy and successful business. And it is greatly in part to standout San Diegans Benny Cartwright, Ken St. Pierre and Johnathan Hale. These gentlemen, along with LGBT business owners, nonprofit organizations and many others have welcomed me into their lives and have always made me feel appreciated, respected, and quite frankly, like family.
Recently I have had the misfortune of reading some incredibly hateful and downright vicious words written by Nicole Murray-Ramirez (published in the LGBT Weekly column “Conversations With Nicole”) about some of these people who are my heroes, my mentors and my friends. Then a mere few weeks later, Mr. Ramirez publicly called Benny Cartwright a bigot, and at that point I decided to speak out.
According to Wikipedia, a bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.
In all of the years that I have known Benny Cartwright, he has not only been the complete opposite of a bigot, but has unknowingly made me personally find things within myself to change to become a better person, more tolerant, more willing to give back, more open to change, basically, more Benny-like. I challenge Mr. Ramirez’s defamation of Benny and demand that he make a formal apology for this bullying.
I am a firm believer in the First Amendment right to freedom of expression, which encompasses the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press; however, there IS a line that has been crossed here, as Mr. Ramirez uses these freedoms with the intent to harm others.
In an article published on Thursday, May 19, 2011 on the LGBT Weekly website, Stampp Corbin, publisher, states “Murray Ramirez has the right to his opinion.” And he is correct. We all are allotted that right in this world. But where should LGBT Weekly draw the line? That publication is maintaining a platform for Mr. Ramirez to spread his hurtful, hateful slander. In our society, we call that bullying.
Mr. Ramirez, I have never met you, and I probably never will. So please listen to me, because this is simply coming from reading your articles and watching you speak at events. You are revered by some as a leader in San Diego, and you have contributed immensely to our community, so why don’t you graduate from high school and start using that power for good instead of evil?
I hope you realize how much hurt and pain you put out into the world when you write articles like “The New Queens of Mean.” What if their mothers google them one day and see those evil words. What if YOUR mother could hear you saying those things!
Quite simply, please stop. If you have opinions or views on any particular issue, feel free to share, but please, please, please stop with the name calling, the slander, and more so, the bullying. It's time to graduate high school and start sharing the love and joy in this short life.
Brian L. Lyons