August 21, 2014 at 8:37 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Lesbian Miss. couple in documentary threatened

Brandiilyne Dear, Susan Mangum, The L Word Mississippi, Dandelion Project, gay news, Washington Blade

Rev. Brandiilyne Dear and Susan Mangum (Photo courtesy of Rev. Brandiilyne Dear)

A man earlier this month threatened to attack and sexually assault a lesbian Mississippi couple who appear in a Showtime documentary.

Rev. Brandiilyne Dear, founder of the Dandelion Project, a support group for LGBT people in the Mississippi Pine Belt, said she and her partner, Susan Mangum, received a phone call at their Laurel home on Aug. 16 from a man who shouted obscenities and threatened them with violence.

Dear said the man, who called on a phone line for the gym the couple owns, threatened to sexually assault her and her partner as Mangum “began to retaliate verbally” against him.

“You’re a Christian, is that what you’re telling me, sir?” Dear told the man in a clip she posted to YouTube. “You’re a Bible-believing Christian and you’re calling and you’re calling to rape us.”

Dear said in a press release that she and Mangum reported the incident to the Laurel Police Department and the FBI, but they said they could not do anything because the man who threatened them called from a blocked phone number.

“The fear I feel as a result of this threat resonates with many and serves as awareness of the underlying danger we all face being LGBTQ in the South,” said Dear.

Dear, Mangum and other members of the Dandelion Project appear in “L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin” that premiered on Showtime on Aug. 8.

Dear, an ordained minister and former crystal meth addict, founded the Dandelion Project after she came out and was kicked out of her church.

The organization — which has more than 50 members who live throughout the Mississippi Pine Belt — has produced a number of video campaigns that promote acceptance of LGBT people. The Dandelion Project has also supported efforts against a state law that advocates contend allows business owners to deny services to LGBT people based on their religious beliefs.

“I’m not willing to live quietly,” Dear told the Washington Blade last month during an interview in Laurel. “We need to live authentic lives and our communities need to see us and so we really encourage people to live authentic lives, especially in this area.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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