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October 2nd, 2009

And Since When Did You Care About The Sexual Abuse Of Kids Mr. Hannity?

GLSEN, The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, has struggled since 1990 to make schools safer for gay kids.  Here’s their mission statement:

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. 

They started as a local group in 1990, when there were only two Gay-Straight Alliances in the nation.  Since then they have helped nurture more then four-thousand in schools all over the county. They also sponsor the national Day of Silence, to draw attention to how anti-gay bullying shuts gay kids out of the education they need and deserve.

Predictably…all too predictably… they’ve been facing an onslaught of political attacks by the right since day one.  In a world where all children can learn in safe, nurturing environments, where does that leave people…kids and grown adults alike…who think bashing faggots is one way of telling Jesus you love him?  Worse, if kids are taught to respect their gay peers in grade school, they might also respect them in the adult world too.  That simply cannot be allowed to happen.

So GLSEN has been for many years, a major target for various right wing propaganda machines…

Behind its promotion of "tolerance" and "safety," however, are the sordid realities of what GLSEN actually supports. Just about every type of sexual practice imaginable is "celebrated" and even graphically described in first-person stories by students in GLSEN’s recommended literature. GLSEN also supports gender distortion through cross-dressing, even in books recommended for elementary school children.

Criminal, underage sexual contact between adults and minors is a frequent, casual theme in these materials…

-NARTH - GLSEN and Its Influence on Children, by Linda Harvey

Old-timers naturally recall Communist, Fascist and Nazi youth brigades as severing children from their parent’s religious traditions and beliefs.

Such American classroom indoctrination is now found in "hate" and sexual diversity training and in 3,500 nationwide Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) school clubs. Under color of a "Safe Schools Movement" battling alleged "bullying" of so-called "gay" children (K-12), some see GLSEN as a modern version of the Hitler Youth and as preparing the ground for a larger, sweeping, schoolroom Youth Brigade.  

-World Net Daily – GLSEN And The Hitler Youth, by Judith Reisman

GLSEN, which stands for Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, proudly claims that its goal is to promote safe schools for people of all sexual orientations.  Many of its programs are billed as "anti-bullying."  GLSEN presents itself as a benign organization devoted to tolerance and understanding.
 
In fact, GLSEN is anything but benign or tolerant.  What GLSEN actually opposes is "heterosexism."  In other words, GLSEN wants schools to rid children of the outrageous notion that heterosexuality is the norm, and make sure they’re clear that gender is merely a man-made construct.  They’re not really about stopping bullies.  They’re about bullying schools into adopting their radical pro-homosexual agenda.  Not only do they want to teach your kindergartener that it’s okay to be gay, they want to teach your middle-schooler how to be gay.

-One News Now – Mr. Biden Goes To GLSEN

Both GLSEN and PFLAG are activist groups that promote acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality and cross-dressing even in elementary schools. They help students organize homosexual clubs with or without parental knowledge; advocate job protection for openly homosexual teachers and ministers; and attempt to partner with schools and churches. Both groups have taken political stances in favor of "gay" marriage and against the Boy Scouts’ moral beliefs on homosexuality.

-Mission America – How You Can Help Stop P-FLAG And GLSEN

The homosexual monster has always been after your children.  That is still one of the most potent means of hate-mongering the struggle for gay equality, and it continues to make the gay community at large gun shy about reaching out to, and supporting gay youth.  GLSEN boldly and proudly stepped into the breach and not only reached out a hand to struggling gay youth, they have energetically taken up their cause.  They say you can always tell who the pioneers are…they’re the ones with the arrows sticking out of them.

Because their outreach is to youth, GLSEN is among the easiest of gay rights groups to smear with the accusation that their only purpose is to give predatory adults access to children.  It is a bedrock trope of the right that homosexuals are not born they are created.  As the slogan goes, Homosexuals don’t reproduce, they recruit.  In the context of gay youth, support, honest facts about homosexuality and sex education become a means to turn your children into homosexuals.  This is the accusation that is usually employed against GLSEN, if not outright, then as a barely concealed subtext.

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is holding its annual homosexual recruitment effort on April 9th at several hundred public schools nationwide. It bills this event as the "Day of Silence," which is an attempt to dramatize the alleged plight of "homosexual" teens who are fearful of going public about their sexual behaviors.Day of Silence, however, is nothing more than a clever propaganda campaign designed to silence opposition to the homosexual seduction of children-and to lure more sexually confused teens into a lifestyle that is fraught with physical and mental health dangers.

-Traditional Values Coalition – Homosexual Recruitment Programs May Face Legal Challenges

Radical activists foresee a time when homosexuals literally rub elbows with children in an effort to alter their views. Lesbian author Patricia Nell Warren wrote in The Advocate of “the bloody war in our high schools and colleges for the control of American youth.” Part of what was needed to win that war, Warren said, was that homosexuals “need to be mentoring, teaching, canvassing” both gay and straight kids.

Homosexuals are not fighting this “bloody war” in a haphazard manner. Instead, homosexual groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), are organizing and developing a national strategy to get into public schools. Based in New York City, GLSEN has been enormously effective since it was formed in 1990. Some 7,500 GLSEN members now promote their agenda in more than 80 chapters throughout the U.S., and the number of Gay-Straight Alliances in public schools registered with GLSEN now stands at 400. 

-The American Family Association – Homosexual Agenda: Targeting Children

The homosexual monster has always been after your children.  It should come as no surprise that this is the first thing the right jumped on, when President Obama nominated GLSEN founder, to head his Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools…

He wants homosexuality to be taught in American schools — in his book Always My Child, Jennings calls for a “diversity policy that mandates including LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] themes in the curriculum.”  But he wants only one side of this controversial issue to be aired, and apparently believes in locking sexually confused kids into a “gay” identity. That’s the implication of his declaration, “Ex-gay messages have no place in our nation’s public schools. A line has been drawn. There is no ‘other side’ when you’re talking about lesbian, gay and bisexual students.”

Jennings does not limit his promotion of homosexuality in schools only to high schools or middle schools. He wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education, which includes an essay declaring that “‘queerly raised’ children are agents” using “strategies of adaptation, negotiation, resistance, and subversion.”

Perhaps the most dramatic illustration, however, of Jennings’ unfitness for a “safe schools” post involves an incident when he taught at Concord Academy, a private boarding school in Massachusetts. In his book One Teacher in Ten (the title is based on the discredited myth, now abandoned even by “gay” activist groups, that ten percent of the population is homosexual), he tells about a young male sophomore, “Brewster,” who confessed to Jennings “his involvement with an older man he met in Boston.” But at a GLSEN rally in 2000, Jennings told a more explicit version of “Brewster’s” story. Jennings here quotes the boy and then comments: “‘I met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.’ High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people.”

Did Jennings report this high-risk behavior to the authorities? To the school? To the boy’s parents? No — he just told the boy, “I hope you knew to use a condom.” Sex between an adult and a young person below the “age of consent” (which varies from state to state) is a crime known as statutory rape, and some states mandate that people in certain professions report such abuse.

-Human Events - Kevin Jennings — Unsafe for America’s Schools

This story that Jennings had looked the other way at a case of statutory rape ran like an angry mob with torches across the right  wing noise machine…

Sean Hannity: "As The Washington Times said, ‘At the very least, statutory rape occurred,’ and he didn’t report it." On the September 30 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity said: "We have the safe schools czar, a guy by the name of Kevin Jennings, OK? And he writes this book, and he gives information to a 15-year-old — ABC News and Jake Tapper write about this tonight — a 15-year-old sophomore, and his advice to him when he’s having a gay relationship is, you know, ‘Did you use a condom?’ He knew it was an older adult. Now, as The Washington Times said, ‘At the very least, statutory rape occurred,’ and he didn’t report it. Now he’s saying that he made a mistake, only because it’s been reported on. My question is, where’s the vetting process? Why was he even put in this position?" Hannity went on to call for Jennings to be "fired."

-Media Matters For America - Fox, right-wing media claim Jennings covered up "statutory rape"

But there is a problem with this.  First, Jennings now says the boy was 16, not 15, which is the age of consent in Massachusetts.  That would mean there was no statutory rape.  But that is beside the point.  The problem the right has with Jennings isn’t that he looked the other way when an older man had sex with a kid.  Here’s the problem:

In a 1994 book, he recounted his experience as an in-the-closet gay teacher at a private school, and he described a 1988 episode in which a male high school sophomore confided to him his involvement with an older man. Jennings was 24 years old then, and as he wrote, "I listened, sympathized, and offered advice. He left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated."

In a 2000 talk to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which Jennings had started, he recalled that this student had been 15 years old, had met the older man in a bus station bathroom–for that was the only way he knew how to meet gay people–and that he (Jennings) had told him, "I hope you knew to use a condom." Jennings’ best friend had died of AIDS the week before his chat with the student. According to Jennings, the student replied, "Why should I? My life isn’t worth saving anyway."

-Politics Daily - The New Right-Wing Hit Job: Kevin Jennings

Emphasis mine.  Jennings told this kid his life Was worth saving.  That’s the problem.  Make no mistake…that is Exactly why they are whipping up the standard right wing feeding frenzy over Obama picking him to head the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.  Jennings told a gay kid his life Was worth saving.  That is the wrong message to give to gay kids.

This incident happened in 1988 and both Jennings and the kid were in the closet.  Here David Corn almost grasps it:

The right is vilifying Jennings because he didn’t tell the student’s parents or the authorities that this closeted gay student was having sex with an older man. That is, he didn’t out this student, who was clearly troubled by his inability to be open about his sexual orientation.

Conservatives who oppose gay rights generally don’t display much sympathy for people who have to keep their homosexuality hidden–and don’t show much concern for how that affects their lives. But I can imagine the difficult situation both Jennings and the student were in. The student needed a confidante, and Jennings had to worry about the students well-being, which included protecting his secret. (Had there not been so much anti-gay prejudice, of course, the two would not have been in these respective positions.) It’s possible that Jennings helped save the kid’s life by encouraging him to think about condoms. It’s possible that outing the student may have led to terrible consequences. There’s no telling. But only someone blinded by ideology would refuse to recognize that Jennings was contending with thorny circumstances. Perhaps he didn’t make the right decision. It was a tough call. But the go-for-his-throat campaign being waged against Jennings is mean-spirited and fueled by an any-means-necessary partisanship.

Well…no.  Partisan it surely is, but the fuel on this fire is hate, pure and simple.  Jennings should have brought the police into it, not to look into a case of statutory rape, but to have the kid locked up for having sex in a public place, where he would likely have been raped by older inmates. The kid should have been outed to parents and family and peers and everyone he knew.  His life should have been made so miserable that the only smile to grace his face would be the one he made as he slit his wrists.  That instead the kid walked out of Jennings office with hope instead of despair was unforgivable.  That is what this is all about.

It is grotesque to take at face value the word of bigots who have opposed with scorched earth political warfare even the smallest efforts to stop the bullying of gay youth in schools, that they are appalled that Jennings looked the other way at a case of child abuse.  If they are appalled at anything, its the prospect of real work being done now at the federal level to insure that schools are actually made safer for kids…all kids…and that gay kids can get an education too, and grow up healthy and strong and walk proudly into their future.  That must never be allowed to happen.  Because our hopes and dreams are their stepping stones to heaven.  Because if we don’t bleed, they are not righteous.

One Response to “And Since When Did You Care About The Sexual Abuse Of Kids Mr. Hannity?”

  1. Bill S Says:

    Brewster, the young man at the center of this controversy, just recently released a statement on the matter. According to him, he was 16 at the time-the legal age of consent in Massachusettes.  He also assures us he was, and is, perfectly fine:
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/200910020029
    Whether that will be enough to get the bigots attacking Jennings to STFU, I can’t say. I’m not holding my breath though.

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