Maplewood, MN – Today we caught up to a Hmong Pastor protesting at a Lao Family dinner event. Tou Xai Lor is well known in the Hmong community for his progressive thinking as well as the radical changes he introduced to the Hmong Alliance Church. Last year Lor began performing marriage ceremonies for homosexual couples at his church. Even more controversial, he also married elderly Hmong men to their under-aged wives from Laos.
However, last month Lor did something many did not expect when he himself married a twelve year old boy from Laos.
Lor says, “I think it’s bullshit that we as a community turn away our heads when Hmong men marry under-aged girls from foreign countries, nor do we bat an eye at gay marriage, but the whole Hmong community is turned upside when I marry an under-aged boy from a different country.”
Three days before protesting the Lao Family event, Lor took to social media to inform the world of his protest. His simple message was, “Going to protesting Lao Family. Lmao!!!! #fight4rights.”
Lor’s actions began a series of counter protests from other groups. Representatives and supporters from the Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) community have shown up at the Lao Family event to protest Lor; their message is that this is not about gay rights. Many of them have already responded to Lor on social media saying he should not involve gay rights as this is a matter of people from the United States exploiting those that are vulnerable and under-aged in a different country. Most of the LGBT protesters carried signs that read “NOT 18” meaning this issue is about the under-aged.
If that was not enough, news of these protests have found their way to the Westboro Baptist Church. The WBC made their way to the Lao Family event to picket the event and this in turn caused an uproar in the surrounding community. People of all race, sex, and religion are now banding together to counter-protest the WBC.
There were in total five different groups protesting at Lao family: Lor, the LGBT group, the WestBoro Baptist Church, people who hate the Westboro Baptist Church, and a lady lying in the streets shouting “Black Lives Matter!”
We asked a representative from Lao Family, who only wished to be identified as Da General, what the Lao Family intended to do about these protests. Da General replied, “Well, to be honest we see this as a business opportunity. This is sort of like how the first few July 4ths started, with a bunch of different people just running around. So what we’re going to do is set up food vendors over here and there, get people to sell bootlegged movies over there, and have some Hmong sports going on over here.”
We at ZQ do not know what events these protests may lead to, but we’re glad Hmong people are getting involved in politics and business. What are your thoughts? ■