The Darkest Shadow, part 2

On April 1, 2015 I stood before Judge Charles Crompton in San Francisco Superior Court and requested a restraining order against a psychotic fan of the classic TV series "Dark Shadows." Said fan, who claims to have been a "close friend" of series star Jonathan Frid, had been waging a slander and harassment campaign against me that went on for nearly five years. Though I blocked her on Facebook in 2010, she admitted to at least two people that she continues to "monitor" my page under a false identity. She contacted personal friends of mine in order to "warn" them about me. She urged people not to work with me in a professional capacity, gleefully telling anyone who would listen all about how "sick" I am.

I suppose there's a grain of truth to the "sickness" claims — I do, after all, live with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As I wrote in the first edition of this column, I developed PTSD after my parents subjected me to gay conversion therapy and years of religious mental abuse during my childhood. What my parents did to me, and what happened to me as a result, was the weapon my tormentor chose to use against me.

Since last summer Frid's "dear friend" escalated her campaign of bullying and hate. Her issue was a "Dark Shadows' LGBT Connection," column I had written about the show's massive gay fan base, and what Frid's status as a gay actor meant to them — she claims that I outed her idol.

I stood before Judge Crompton holding a letter from the doctor who treats my PTSD. The letter urged that the restraining order be granted — the doctor stated that the conduct of Frid's friend posed a danger to my health. I also had emails sent to me from my tormentor's personal email account: she was threatening to contact my editors.

Because of a minor clerical error in my court filings, Judge Crompton dismissed my request "with prejudice" — meaning that I cannot refile the request. The judge was offered my documents but he ignored them. Less than twenty four hours later my tormentor contacted me (and others) several times to gloat about her "victory," to ridicule my PTSD and to say that I'm a con artist for claiming to be disabled.

I am in fact considered disabled by federal law because of my PTSD diagnosis. I am entitled to access disabled services and am afforded legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act — Judge Crompton is now being investigated for possible ADA violation after his deplorable conduct regarding my case.

This hasn't just happened in online chatrooms, but during in-person encounters at Dark Shadows Festivals. Anti-gay attacks are frequent, with even LGBT identified fans participating in these attacks.

I was told by the organizers of the Dark Shadows Festivals that nothing would be done about this. DS cast members told me that "Frid's best friend" is a "nice person," an opinion they stood by after seeing the emails in which she threatened to contact my editors and made snarky references to how "sick" I am.

It's possible that the Dark Shadows Festivals are in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The Dark Shadows Festivals are wheelchair accessible and allow the admission of service animals such as guide dogs. But dating back to 1980s, the promoters of these events have knowingly permitted an environment of hostile aggression to escalate — this may be a violation of ADA laws which prohibit "exclusion, segregation and unequal treatment".

To date, more than two dozen people, several with severe disabilities, have told me they were subjected to this kind of treatment while attempting to participate in Dark Shadows fan events.

If you are disabled and are physically able to enter a venue but are made to feel excluded or unwelcome, your rights are being violated. This applies to all public venues and events, Dark Shadows fan events or otherwise. Disabilities covered by the ADA include emotional disorders such as PTSD, Bipolar, depression, and all physical disabilities.

For more information, or to file a complaint, please visit www.ada.gov

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