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A Laurel couple has received death threats after starring in a Showtime documentary called The L Word Mississippi: Hate The Sin.
The documentary aired August 8 and explored the trials a lesbian couple faces while living in Mississippi.
On August 16 Brandiilyne Dear and Susan Mangum received a phone call to their google phone number. The man on the other end of the line identified himself as Billy Bob, and threatened to 'kill, hog tie, and rape' them because of their sexual orientation.
Dear, who runs a LGBT support group called The Dandelion Project, fears for her and her partner's life.
"It really shook me. Since coming out I haven't really been afraid, but for the first time I felt fear," said Dear. "The things he was saying became very personal, and horrifying. Now I am afraid to walk outside, I have a fear that I have never had before and I am not used to it."
The phone call has made Dear go into seclusion.
"I'm trying to stay really safe," said Dear. "I haven't really left since the phone call. I have been in my house for the most part. I'm just taking it one step at a time."
Dear said she has reached out to the police, but because of the blocked phone number the local authorities were at a dead end. Dear was advised by a friend to contact the FBI.
Police Chief Tyrone Stewart said he is going to do everything in his power to protect the Laurel LGBT community.
"We will protect them like any other citizen. They have their rights, and their beliefs and are humans just like the rest of us," said Stewart.
Stewart also encouraged all Laurel residents to come forward to the police if they were ever to be in a similar situation.
"If they feel threatened, the threats should be documented. We will do whatever we can to bring those people to justice, and that goes for any of our citizens," said Stewart.
Dear did say that after she posted the phone call to youtube, a flood of support followed.
"This one incident stands under a mountain of positive outreach," said Dear. "It is a great example of how ignorant hate really is. 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."
Dear said although she is fearful now, she will not let the incident define who she is.
"I do believe hate is dying in the South and times are changing, I am proud of the progress we have made, and this wont deter me, it just makes me want to stand up even more," said Dear. "I'm not going to stop speaking up and speaking out."
Lesbian couples in Mississippi and a Hattiesburg pastor are being featured in a Showtime documentary called "The L word Mississippi: Hate the Sin." The documentary explores what it is like for lesbianMore >>
Lesbian couples in Mississippi and a Hattiesburg pastor are being featured in a Showtime documentary called "The L word Mississippi: Hate the Sin."More >>