Lynne Stevens has always been one of the odder figures in the local anti-immigrant movement, mainly because she doesn't fit the profile of angry old coot, as personified by her peer, convicted public urinator Buffalo Rick Galeener.
A persistent protester of Salvador Reza's Macehualli Day Labor Center, and of the ongoing demonstrations at Sheriff Joe Arpaio's offices at the Wells Fargo Building by Reza's group Puente, Stevens is a big, burly lady in a weathered, greenish Gilligan hat, dark sunglasses and earrings. She's always packing heat, and usually has her video camera with her. A regular attendee of United for a Sovereign America meetings, she rides a red motorcycle, and bears a patch on her vest that states "Lesbian and Proud of It."
In the videos she posts to her YouTube site Jackie40d, she documents the mostly mundane comings and goings at Macehualli, Wells Fargo, and sometimes down at the Wal-Mart on 37th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix, where day laborers congregate in an adjacent parking lot. She also shows up at anti-Arpaio rallies and demonstrations to film, and to show her support for Sheriff Joe.
In these videos, she's been known to share some of her violent fantasies towards others. In an October 16 one, while observing day laborers congregated at Macehualli, she noted the small numbers of those present, and said, "Throw in one grenade and kill 'em all with one shot." In another, as she observed the beginnings of a big May 2 march to Joe's jails, she sighed, "Obama left-wingers, too bad you can't start shooting them."
Her sexuality has been the subject of some speculation within and without her movement. A lesbian nativist once suggested to me that she thought Stevens was transgender. Until then, I never really gave it much thought. The first time I ever saw her, I thought she was a man. But when I saw her lesbian patch, I corrected myself and apologized.
Recently, someone sent me a link to Stevens' page on the Web site "MySpace for T-Girls, the Premier Crossdresser and Transgender Social Networking Site." On it, Stevens is pictured in a dark wig and what she later informed me is sort of a camisole. Another pic shows her in makeup, in her bike helmet, with her "Lesbian and Proud of It" patch displayed.
Her bio states that she's "transsexual," is 65, and has been "living as female for years now." Her turn-ons are "TS's and CD's" (transsexuals and crossdressers). Her turn-offs are "extreme fruit cakes and open border people."
The Internet being what it is, I wanted to confirm this with Stevens directly. So I ran down to Wal-Mart this past Saturday morning and showed her the printouts of the Web page. She acknowledged the page and the photo as hers, but insisted that she only put it up because she wanted to talk to the transsexuals on the site. She denied being transsexual herself, and stated that she's biologically a woman and has always been so. From birth even.
"I'm a genuine, guaranteed lezzie," Stevens informed me. "I just have crazy TS girlfriends."
Asked about the statements on the site that she's transsexual, and that she's been living as a woman for years, she told me it was to grease the wheels of conversation.
"I put that in there because otherwise the TSes won't talk to you," she told me.
Stevens was quite polite and seemed undisturbed by my discovery. I wondered why she wanted to talk to the TS girls to the point of creating this page.
"To see where their brains are at," she explained, adding, "Most of them are so far out in left field...Some of them are interesting. They've got their heads half screwed-on right."
We went on to discuss how she's retired from being a computer programmer, but that she still does computer repair and builds computers. She also served in the Air Force five and a half years, leaving the service at the rank of sergeant. She said she was in Vietnam for a few months building an airfield. When I asked if she served as a woman, she nodded her head yes.
I inquired if she saw any irony in having a page on this site, a site devoted to an oft-persecuted minority, yet she herself is anti-Mexican.
"I'm not anti-Mexican," she stated. "I'm just, like, you have your country, we have our country. Go back."
Do the other nativists give her a hard time about her "Lesbian and Proud of It" patch?
"Nope," she replied. "Because they know I'd kill 'em. I have no use for men. I don't care. You give me a hard time, you could end up six foot down."
We talked about guns, as she was prominently wearing a huge Smith & Wesson on her hip. She said she has others.
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"I have a .22 which is for eliminating people down at the border," she informed me, nonchalantly. "I have a .22 rifle which is for plinking them off at longer distances."
Lynne claimed to go down to the border once a month, and that illegal immigrants are "fair game" because they've crossed the border, well, illegally. I accused her of pulling my leg, and reminded her that crossing the border illegally is a federal misdemeanor, while murder is a capital offense. (Not the other way around.) She assured me she was serious, and that she doesn't like to leave witnesses.
"If you're standing on the wrong spot on the border while I'm down there eliminating one of them, you don't want to be around," she warned.
I'm guessing Stevens is putting me on about such killings, but she sure doesn't sound like it sometimes. Whatever her status sexually, it's unfortunate that someone who might encounter discrimination because of her sexuality would be so hateful towards another minority group, even to the point of spouting violence. She's an eccentric lady, a study in contrasts, someone who blurts outs madness one minute, yet can be completely calm and friendly the next.