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August 18th, 2011

My Kids Know I Love Them And The Vomit Inducing Cesspool That Is Their Lives

Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by Jerry Buell, Mount Dora High School’s Teacher of the Year

Un…

Jerry Buell, a long-time Lake County social studies teacher, said during a recent Facebook exchange that he “almost threw up” in response to a news story about legalized same-sex marriage in New York.

Deux…

On the same July 25 Facebook post he said same-sex marriages were part of a “cesspool.”

Trois…

He went on to call the unions a sin.

Quatre…

“It wasn’t out of hatred,” he said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel.

Cinq…

“It was about the way I interpret things.”

Six…

“I’ve had kids that I’ve known that have been homosexuals,” he said.

Sept…

“They know that I don’t hate them. I love them.”

  

Le Curtian…Applaus a vous…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on My Kids Know I Love Them And The Vomit Inducing Cesspool That Is Their Lives

March 23rd, 2011

A Coming Out Story – Episode 14, “The Face In The Yearbook”

Wherein our hero learns how useful the school library can be…

Click on the image to go directly to Episode 14, or click Here to go to the main page.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Coming Out Story – Episode 14, “The Face In The Yearbook”

January 13th, 2011

All Together Mouseketeers…You Too Tommy…You’re One Of Us Too…

This was a part of my childhood.   Not a huge one, but an important one…

I never became a member…even at that tender age I wasn’t much of a joiner…but I watched what Walt Disney put on my TV screen regularly.   Mostly it was for this…

And this…

His vision of the future was a big part of my kidhood dreams.   I wanted to be there, to grow up into that world where a great big beautiful tomorrow was shining at the end of every day.   Somewhere along the line I stopped dreaming it.   Somewhere past adolescence, somewhere after the country as a whole, tired of the war in Vietnam, tired of the race riots, fatigued by so much inter generational conflict, lost interest in the frontier of space, so terribly soon after we’d just put our footsteps on the moon.

Though I never stopped dreaming about it, I stopped believing in Disney’s great big beautiful tomorrow.   I put it down to fantasy…a beautiful story I was told as a kid that I wanted to believe in, but would never happen.   The world just didn’t work that way.   But I think there was something else that was missing from that dream.   Something that, had I seen it, might have made me hold onto it for a little longer…maybe even leave childhood behind with a vow to work a little harder to make it real.

That something, was me.   I was missing from that future.   And so were a lot of other kids just like me.

Disney Channel’s Strict ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy

In the original ‘The Flintstones’ series, the only characters of color to appear were natives of Africa who participated in a cave scout jamboree. Worse yet, far off into the distant future, on ‘The Jetsons,’ the universe seemed completely dominated by white people as well.

These were just signs of the times and while toon tones began changing in the 1970s, it’s almost blasphemous nowadays to have a television show that doesn’t include diversity, often to a point where it almost just seems forced.

So at four decades post-Stonewall and more than a decade into the age of ‘After Ellen,’ it wouldn’t be unnatural for one to wonder just where The Walt Disney Company draws the line at diversity. In all fairness, the company has teetered on the issue, having both progressive human resources policies for same-sex couples (which incited the infamous and rather seemingly innocuous Southern Baptist boycott) as well as just recently relenting on allowing same-sex commitment ceremonies at the theme park resorts under public pressure.

So where exactly does Disney draw the line when it comes to acceptance of gays in ‘everyday life’?

Well you already know the answer.   Yes, Disney has been very progressive when compared to other media and entertainment companies.   Behind the stage.   On it…well we’re all still in the closet.   And if we’re invisible on stage, we’re also invisible in the audience.   To each other.   To ourselves.

That’s a shame.   Disney wholesomeness isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and in fact it’s only mine provisionally.   I like it to be there, but a steady diet of it would suffocate me.   And it would have when I was a teenager too.   But that Disney-esq sensibility about life is more me then not. I like my visits to Key West, they relax and de-stress me nicely.   But my visits to Walt Disney World rekindle something inside of me that I had thought long dead.   That, it’s a small world after all attitude.   That idealized Main Street USA.   That Tomorrowland, where we would all live someday in a world where science and the pursuit of knowledge weren’t just good things, but a great adventure.   Sniff at it if you like, but there are worse visions to have become attached to as a kid, to keep close to your heart as an adult, to hand down now to the kids among us.

I should have been a part of that vision when I was a kid.   All of us gay kids should have.   We were there in the audience, but invisible…even to ourselves.   So instead of Disney’s future, we got told we were mentally ill.   Instead of Disney wholesomeness we were taught that our desires were a sickness best kept hidden away from decent people, and especially children.   Our friends got the happily ever after.   We got the gutter.   The great big beautiful tomorrow we could all look forward too would be a better place because we would not be in it.   You can’t tell me that didn’t make a difference in the adults we all eventually became.

One of these kids will later come out of the closet…

I like to think that if Disney was alive today (yeah…he’d be 110 now…But if…), we Would be a part of that vision of the future.   Walt Disney was a pioneer, who revered the old days and idealized them in his Disneyland.   But he also never let the past keep him from moving forward.   The caretakers of his vision today alas, aren’t the visionaries he was.   But this world doesn’t get very many of those…

So according to [Disney Channel Worldwide President of Entertainment, Gary Marsh], if a character hasn’t had a crush on someone, it’s okay for the viewer to assume they character is implicitly gay and that should simply be enough. At least until the character develops an attraction for the opposite sex anyway.

Perhaps the correct answer is “we just aren’t ready yet.”

“A man should never neglect his family for business.”
-Walt Disney

Gay kids need to be brought into the Disney “family” audience too because they are part of the family too and there are worse examples out there to set for them then Disney.   “Someday” should come sooner rather then later.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
-Walt Disney

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on All Together Mouseketeers…You Too Tommy…You’re One Of Us Too…

January 25th, 2010

Do You Have A Place For Hate Lite Program…?

Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by Wheatland Wyoming School Board Member Joe Fabian

Platte County School District 1 trustees voted 4-3 to keep the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” banners down at Wheatland High and West Elementary.

The schools were two of 25 in Colorado and Wyoming taking part in the program.

One of the sponsors listed on the banner is the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado. Wheatland board members and parents took issue with that, according to the district.

Un…

Joe Fabian, [another] board member, said he believes the Anti-Defamation League is pushing an “agenda that is pro-gay marriage”…

Deux…

…and that the community of Wheatland is not supportive of that.

Trois…

“They wouldn’t want the organization, the Anti-Defamation League, dictating to their children that an alternate lifestyle is a normal lifestyle,” he said.

Quatre…

He implied students who were not supportive of the banner suffered discrimination.

Cinq…

He spoke of a “moral attitude by the community” and indoctrination of students.

Six…

“I don’t believe (homosexuality) is a normal lifestyle…

Sept…

…but I don’t have anything against them,” he said.

Le Curtian…Applaus a Voux…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Do You Have A Place For Hate Lite Program…?

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.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

April 15th, 2009

Loving The Sinner…My Mother Came At Me With A Butcher Knife Edition

In a week where headlines announcing two more gay bashings glided across my computer screen, along with the murder-by-bullying suicide of an 11 Year Old Boy who couldn’t take the fag baiting he was getting at school anymore, this headline somehow managed to grab my attention…

Young and Gay in the Bible Belt: ‘My Mom Came at Me With a Butcher Knife!’

After asking the conversation-opener of the group — "So, would you like to all share your coming out stories with me?" — a young woman on my right named Angie* immediately burst out, "My mother came at me with a butcher knife!"

Stunned, I was trying to process this when a young woman to my left whispered, "You don’t want to hear my story, it’s too violent." More violent than your mother attacking you with a butcher knife? How is that possible? What does that mean?

Maybe you don’t want to know.  The author of this AlterNet post, Bernadette C. Barton, has done these Gay/Straight alliance visits previously, as she says, "…during my campus visits".  Apparently this was the first time she’d done that in the God fearing Jesus loving South.  Never mind the stories you heard that day Ms Barton…all the stories you didn’t hear are staring you in the face right here:

Meanwhile, the alliance students, although attentive and respectful to Angie and one another, did not act disturbed or even very surprised by the butcher-knife story or the ones that followed. Their general demeanor suggested that these kinds of horror stories were simply business as usual in their lives.

I am 55 years old and ever since I came out to myself in the early 70s, and began to wander my way through the gay community and this never ending scorched earth war on our hearts and souls, I have heard stories from gay teens and grown adults alike, bearing wounds from their childhood days that would make a stone cry, if not a fundamentalist.  That time in our lives, when we are just discovering desire, and what it is to love another, and be loved by them in return, ought to be one of the most magical times in our lives.  Instead, it gets turned into this:

"My father called me an abomination and quoted Scripture."

Remember this the next time you hear some drooling numbskull yap, yap, yapping about how they’re not anti-gay, just pro-family, and that same-sex marriage will irrepairably harm children.  Presumably in some sort of way that a butcher knife, or their own parents calling them an abomination won’t.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

January 12th, 2009

Educational Film

You knew it was going to be an easy day in class when you walked in and saw one of the school’s Bell & Howell Filmosound 16mm projectors set up in the middle of the room. If the teacher was a technologically challenged sort, they’d let the class AV geek (sometimes that was me) thread the film through it and run it. You got to sit back and watch a film, and it was a safe bet that the film would be a lot more interesting and engaging then whatever teacher taught that particular class. Or to put it another way, you knew you had a good teacher when the sight of the film projector was a bit of a let-down.

My favorites were the Bell Labs educational films. Least appreciated on my list were the Highway Safety Institute films that grossed and scared the crap out of me to the point where I almost refused to get a driver’s license. Oh…and the sex ed films about the dangers of heavy petting. Who cared about that stuff anyway?

Then there were the films warning us about the dangers of homosexuality. I think I saw this one in high school…

Yeah, I laughed. As someone who actually sat through some of those old 1950s morality films, I can tell you that whoever did that one got it just about perfect…down to the stilted dialogue and cheesy narration. All that was missing from it was the randomly warbly sound of the old 16mm projector audio.

But some of us still remember the real thing…

That’s what me and my peers all got back in grade school. They were showing this crap to us as early as 8th grade. Before the personal computer came along, before the internet, before cable TV and home video, the only things we knew about homosexuals and homosexuality, were what we were taught in films like that one.

I’m sure those 1950s film makers had no idea, no clue themselves, that some of the kids watching that film were gay themselves, or that the others in the class would one day learn that an old classmate they’d gone to school alongside of is gay, and have to reconcile the kid they’d known with the image of the sick and twisted homosexual monster that they were taught. I’m sure those 1950s film makers had no idea, no clue themselves, what it was like to be either one of those kids, all grown up now, looking apprehensively at each other.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Educational Film

January 8th, 2009

Why Some Of My Best Friends Are Filthy Sodomites

There are several good articles in today’s Pioneer Press Online, about the hostile environment gay teens still face in school every day.  Even in the best of situations, where school administrators really want to make sure those kids can get a decent education, it is still difficult. 

Do gay-straight alliances make a difference?

A culture of tolerance

Don’t read, don’t talk

That last article, is particularly good because it touches on the "soft bigotry" of silence…

One way to enhance a culture of school tolerance is to include gay characters and themes in the academic curriculum, said Shannon Sullivan, executive director of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, a statewide non-profit group dedicated to ensuring the safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

Students who are gay or who are questioning their sexual identity will see themselves reflected in the curriculum and will feel more connected to their school which should have a positive impact on their academic achievement, she explained.

But of course, this is what the religious right calls pro-homosexual advocacy.  Never mind that they call teaching evolution pro Darwinism advocacy too.   And as in their attacks on science education, the Fundamentalists demand that if you are going to teach about homosexuality, then to be "fair" to "both sides" you must teach the controversy…

Last spring, for example, the Deerfield parent group North Shore Student Advocacy, opposed the inclusion of the Pulitzer prize-winning play "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," on the optional reading lists of some advanced placement English classes in Township District 113. (Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools are part of this district.) Set at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, the play focuses on political and social themes of the time.

Lora Sue Hauser, executive director of the parent group, declined to comment for this story. But Laurie Higgins, who taught in the writing center at Deerfield High for eight years before leaving recently to become the director of the division of school advocacy at the Illinois Family Institute, a fundamentalist Christian organization, weighed in.

Higgins said she opposes the inclusion of the play in the curriculum because the text is so "beyond the pale" in terms of its "obscene language" that there was widespread opposition to its teaching among faculty from both sides of the political spectrum.

But it isn’t just the sexually-explicit play that Higgins challenges. She said she is against the inclusion of any literature on the reading list for a public high school that affirms homosexuality as normal unless there are other books on the reading list which question that assumption of normalcy as well. The notion that homosexuality is biologically-determined is controversial and unproven, Higgins explained.

It’s only controversial because teaching the facts about human sexuality makes Fundamentalists pop their corks.  The evidence that sexual orientation is as much a biological fact as handedness is comprehensive and overwhelming.  But these are people who reject out of hand any scientific discovery that contradicts a literal reading of Genesis.  "Unproven" to them really means "unbiblical" and that is not something that is open to proof.  They don’t care about the science.  They spit on science and laugh.

The strategy here is simply to punish gay kids one way or another.  If the adults in their schools won’t make them feel ashamed to be living, then the strategy is to prevent the adults from saying anything good about them, and in that way maintain the climate of shame.  The lives and accomplishments of heterosexuals can be taught, but the lives and accomplishments of homosexuals must not be mentioned.  What it is for opposite sex pairs to love, honor, and cherish can be taught.  Whatever it is that same-sex pairs feel for one another cannot be told, cannot even be alluded to, because the very existence of same-sex pairs cannot even be mentioned.  Homosexuals are simply too disgusting to even think about, let alone talk about.  The purpose is to alienate gay teens from their peers, and hopefully, make them keep on hating themselves.

One more thing: The following leaped out at me from within the article on A Culture of Tolerance.  This is the same Laurie Higgins who was quoted above…

Laurie Higgins, who taught in the writing center at Deerfield for eight years before becoming the director of the division of school advocacy at the Illinois Family Institute, explained her position. She said she has compassion for gay and lesbian people and even has some in her life whom she loves, but she cannot condone their behavior which she views as immoral.

Some of my best friends are…  We are in that stage now in the struggle.  Since the fight over Proposition 8 I cannot count the number of bigots I’ve seen yap, yap, yapping in print that some of their Best Friends are gay.  Once upon a time they felt completely free to tell the world what sick, twisted, depraved monsters we are.  Now they have to mouth platitudes of how many gay friends they have first, before going on to explain why they’re twisting the knife in our backs.  Or in this case, kicking school kids in the face.  How they must hate us all the more, for making them do that.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why Some Of My Best Friends Are Filthy Sodomites

December 24th, 2008

Why We Fight…(continued)

The book, Prayers For Bobby, has been made into a film starring Sigourney Weaver….

More Here

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why We Fight…(continued)

November 8th, 2008

The Side Of The Comic Book Rack I Always Stayed Away From…

…had a lot of these in it…

When I was a kid, I just couldn’t imagine how even girls liked these.  Although I never actually saw any browsing that side of the comic book racks anyway.  Maybe they were too embarrassed to be seen looking at these.  Or maybe they just waited for the boys to leave first, before approaching them.  I can imagine the snickers coming from the boys side of the rack were a girl to wander over and pick one up…

But there must have been a market for these, because the comic book publishers kept grinding them out.  Some of the most famous names in comic book…er…excuse me…Graphic Novel history did these.   Here’s one by Jack Kirby…

At the age I was buying a lot of comics, I could barely stand to look at these.  They just completely creeped me out.  That whole icky love stuff just totally mystified me.  Who cares?  I used to fidget in my seat at the movies whenever the love interest parts of the story were going on.  I’d be sitting there thinking to myself, Ah Jeeze…come on, come on, let’s get on with it… 

Had I bothered to sneak a look inside one of these, I might have found something like this inside…

…which would have just confirmed my suspicions for me.  All that love stuff was for the birds.  Who cares?  Leave me out…please. 

I just couldn’t fathom it.  As I said…those things really creeped me out.  Why would anyone…even a girl…bother with crap like that.  Especially when you could buy a really neat comic like…oh…this one…

 

Or…this one…

 

Man…I couldn’t get enough of that when I was a kid.  For some strange reason.  Even though the stories were usually pretty lousy.

They say girls mature a tad sooner then boys in the romance department, and maybe that’s true to a degree.  Also, I was a bit of a late bloomer.  But there was a section missing from the comic book racks back then too, and had it been there, maybe I could have grown up understanding all that gooey, icky love stuff a little bit better.  Maybe by the time my hormones really started to percolate, I wouldn’t have been so fumbly, clumsy and deathly shy. 

I grew up in a world where homosexuals were twisted monsters who lurked behind schools waiting to pounce on kids my age.  The messages we all got back then to beware of strange men fell on the ears of gay kids too…and looking back on it, I can clearly recall flinching away whenever my thoughts began to stray toward how…attractive…some of the characters in my comic books were.  I didn’t want to be a monster.  I didn’t want to be sick.   So I just kind-of let my eyes wander over whatever it was something deep down inside of me had jerked them towards…

 

…and then wander away again without thinking about it too closely.  

What I really needed in my young teenage life was something that spoke to me.  Well…what I really needed was to grow up in a time when adults were willing to talk to teenagers honestly and rationally about sex and sexuality.  The girls weren’t getting any of that either back then really. 

 

Even so…as horrible as it was back then, to even contemplate being homosexual, had I seen something like this on the comic book racks, I would have snatched one up instantly…

 

I don’t know if I could have worked up the courage to actually take it to the cashier or not…but I’d have gotten it out of the store one way or the other…

Well…of course there would have been no "explicit content" allowed.  But just the idea that boys could fall in love with other boys, and that it was okay, and that you weren’t a monster if you felt sexually attracted to one, would have made so much of a difference in my life later on…  So very, very much of a difference…

Romance.  Maybe it wasn’t so icky after all…

…maybe I could find one of my own someday…

 

Every time I buy one of these now…and I have several bookshelves full of them…I have to laugh at how contemptuous I felt toward those girl’s romance comics way back when.  Yes…they were horribly sexist.  But at least love always won in the end in those things.  It was something you could hope for, for yourself too.  Here’s a portion of the back cover of Constellations In My Palm

 

What would you do if you lost the best thing that happened to you because of your own pride and selfishness?   What would you do if you lost the best thing that happened to you because you were taught to be afraid of it?  What would you do if you lost the best thing that happened to you because you were never taught how to reach for it like the other kids were?   What would you do if you had another chance and lost it again?  And again?  And again?   What would you do if you spent your whole life trying to get beyond that fear and confusion they put into you when you were a kid, and you couldn’t? 

My generation, and the one just before us, the pre Stonewall generation, began this movement to break down those barriers of self loathing, fear and confusion, and reclaim our human right to love and be loved.  And this is our great victory:  that gay teens no longer have to live in a world where all they ever hear about themselves is that they are sick, broken, twisted, monsters. They can grow up now, believing that they are fully human too.  They can grow up now, believing in the promise of love too. 

It was, and still regretfully is, a hard and bitter fight.  But every day now, more and more of us are finding our way to the promise land.  Even, thankfully, some of us older gay folk too.  Some of us will only stand on the hillside just beyond, never to find our way in after all, stricken by how much more beautiful it really was, how much more beautiful then we could have ever imagined, back when we first started fighting to win it back.  But we can take heart in this, and carry on:  so no kid will ever have to grow up in a world that tells them they will never find love, never be loved, because they are gay.

 

by Bruce | Link | React! (7)

August 20th, 2008

Why I Read The Gay Press

The Holmes County School District, which was the site of a court battle over the right of students to declare their support for their gay and lesbian peers, has begun court ordered sensitivity training classes for it’s teachers and staff.

Can you spot the difference between these two news stories on this topic?

First, the local TV News station…

Fla. principal accused of gay ‘witch hunt’

Employees of 1 rural Florida school district are starting the new school year by attending sensitivity classes.

A federal judge’s ruling prompted the classes at the Holmes County School District. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the district when a principal banned students from wearing rainbow-colored clothing or other items that he said showed support for homosexuality.

Principal Davis enacted the ban, and suspended students who violated it, after one student told him she was taunted for being gay. Davis told the girl that it was wrong to be gay, order her to stay away from younger students and called her parents. The girl’s friends wore gay pride T-shirts and other clothing in support.

A federal judge ruled that Davis and the district violated the students’ free speech rights by banning the clothing.

Next…365Gay.Com…

Florida school at center of GSA battle begins sensitivity training

Teachers and staff in a Florida school district which was at the center of a long legal battle over gay/straight alliances are back in the classroom – this time as students in sensitivity classes.

The Holmes County School District set up the training sessions after losing a federal court battle in which the judge blasted the principal of Ponce de Leon High School principal David Davis for leading a “relentless crusade” against homosexuality.

U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak said in his ruling last month that principal David Davis “embarked on what can only be characterized as a witch hunt. The ruling also said that Davis led “morality assemblies” that ignored the First Amendment.

Davis has since been replaced as principal.

During the two-day trial in May, Davis testified that he believed clothing, buttons or stickers featuring rainbows would make students automatically picture gay people having sex.

He went on to admit that while censoring rainbows and gay pride messages, he allowed students to wear other symbols many find controversial, such as the Confederate flag.

Heather Gillman, a 16-year-old junior at the high school, sued the district with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union after she was told she could not wear buttons, stickers or clothing that supported LGBT civil rights.

After she received the warning, the ACLU last November sent a letter to the school board’s attorney on behalf of Gillman, asking for clarification as to whether a variety of symbols and slogans, such as the rainbow flag or “I support my gay friends,” would be allowed at the school.  

The school district replied that it would not allow any expressions of support for gay rights at all because such speech would “likely be disruptive.” 

The district then said that such symbols and slogans were signs that students were part of a “secret/illegal organization.” 

The problems began in September 2007 when a lesbian student tried to report to school officials that she was being harassed by other students because she is a lesbian.  Instead of addressing the harassment, students say the school responded with intimidation, censorship, and suspensions. 

Prior to the release of his written ruling, Smoak issued an order that forces the school to stop its censorship of students who want to express their support for gay people.  The judge also warned the district not to retaliate against students over the lawsuit.

The AP went one better too…running a story all about how the locals support the principle that started all this, headlined, FL. Town Backs Principle In Gay Student Case.  It mentions nothing about the morality assemblies, the fact that confederate flags were allowed to be worn but not t-shirts supporting the gay students, or that Davis said students wearing gay supportive messages would make people think of gay sex, or that the district declared gay supportive students to be part of an illegal secret organization.  It did say however, that the townsfolk were sincerely baffled about the judge’s "scathing rebuke", and why the principle had done anything wrong.

The AP also says that "Many in the community support Davis and feel outsiders are forcing their beliefs on them."  That would be as opposed to forcing dissenters to keep their mouths shut while they force their piss ignorant beliefs about homosexuality on gay people, their parents and their friends. 

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

August 16th, 2008

Brandon McInerney Shot Larry King. The News Media Will Now Bury Him.

What She Said…

When the kids were killed in the Columbine High School shooting, no one asked what they did to get themselves killed. Every moment of the press coverage was dedicated to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

What they wore, who they hung out with, how their parents were raising them – even the spots they parked their car in when they arrived at the school that horrible day.

Do we know what Brandon McInerney wore that day? Do we know how he got the gun into school? Do we know what created such rage in this boy of 14 to have him take a gun at point blank range and shoot? Do we know who his friends were, what pushed his buttons, what kind of movies he watched or internet sites he visited?

No. We know what that Larry King favored a pair of brown stilettos.

-Sarah Whitman, The Killer, Not The Killed

After all the stink the news media has been raising about the clothes Lawrence wore in school, you’d think he was dressed to go see Rocky Horror when McInerney walked up behind him and shot him in the head.  In fact, the day he was killed he was wearing tennis shoes, baggy pants and a loose sweater over a collared shirt

As a parent, I cannot understand the King’s lawsuit. They are blaming lipstick and glitter instead of the gun and the hand that held it. The message, loud and clear, is the dominant culture can wield a gun and shoot at will at anyone who doesn’t conform. And our Schools should enforce that conformity.

In doing so, they put my son, and anyone like him, at risk. And that really makes me want to scream: How can you miss the point?

It’s the killer, not the killed.

Emphasis mine.  And it’s not just King’s parents who are content to put other people’s kids at risk.  It’s McInerney’s lawyer, William Quest, who promised out of one side of his mouth, shortly after the first tendrils of his gay panic defense began to appear in the newspapers, that he wouldn’t put Lawrence on trial.  Hahahahahaha.  It’s a safe bet he’s been behind the media rush to portray 14 year old Lawrence King as a transvestite sexual predator, and taint the jury pool in McInerney’s favor.  Even if he doesn’t succeed, without a doubt there will be other dead gay kids because of it. 

And perhaps more dead gay adults too.  The bedrock of the gay panic defense is that homosexuality is so revulsive that acting violently toward homosexuals is a normal and reasonable reflex.  From there it is a simple step to conclude that homosexuals must assume responsibility for violence against them to the degree they are openly homosexual.  The gay panic defense is another way of saying Their blood is upon them…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Brandon McInerney Shot Larry King. The News Media Will Now Bury Him.

August 15th, 2008

Giving Their Son’s Killer Permission To Kill

Looks like the parents of Lawrence King have bought into the defense strategy of their son’s killer.  News reports I’m seeing this morning are that King’s parents have filed a claim against the school where he was shot to death, asserting that it was their failure to enforce the dress code on their son that led to his death (so far all I see is the AP report, which I’m not linking to because of the blogger AP boycott).  In other words, because Lawrence felt himself more feminine then the other boys, and the school allowed him to dress more femininely, the school made him a target.

This is so unbearably sad.  The poor kid’s parents seem deathly ashamed of their own son, even in death. He had to know how they felt about him before he died.  And maybe that was why some of the teachers at his school took him under their wing as they did.  Lawrence’s parents aren’t arguing here that the school failed to protect their son, but that they failed to keep him in the closet.  They are granting the premise of their son’s killer and his lawyer, that hate has more right to walk in the hallways of the public schools then gay kids do. 

It’s one thing to argue that the school let the bullying that Lawrence endured escalate dangerously.  It is another thing entirely to argue that letting Lawrence be openly gay led to his murder.  Waving the dress code around is a calculated and disgustingly cynical ploy.  It sidesteps the question of whether the code itself embodies discriminatory gender norms.  Gay and transgendered children should feel welcome and safe and secure in school too, or they cannot assert their right to an education.  Shoving them into the closet, for the sake of the delicate sensibilities of bigots, punishes them simply for existing, forces them to try and learn, somehow, in an environment where they are made to feel deviant, outcast and ashamed.

I read elsewhere that Lawrence’ father has complained bitterly that the gays have turned his son’s death into a cause.  As though the safety and welfare of all the other gay and transgendered kids in the public schools isn’t something worth fighting for.  It’s one thing to forgive his son’s killer.  The boy is only 14 after all.  But it’s another thing to excuse him.  Many gay and transgendered children know with horrible sickening clarity, some living on the streets because they were thrown out of their homes, that their parents would excuse their killer too.  Some would excuse them with great sadness.  Some would applaud.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

July 24th, 2008

The Difference Between Helping Children And Kicking Them In The Face

PFOX, (Parents and Friends of eX-Gays), would have you believe it’s different from P-FLAG, (Parents and Friends of Gays), in that PFOX supports people who are "struggling with homosexuality" and P-FLAG does not.  But that’s not it. 

Here’s the difference:

Anti-Gay Distortions of Research

Take a look at this story at OneNewsNow, which begins:

Quoting a recent study, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is warning of the increased risk of suicide that is linked with young people who identify themselves as homosexuals before achieving full maturity — a process encouraged by many homosexual high school clubs.

The study in question, as it turns out, is a seventeen year old work published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, back in June 1991.  Not exactly recent…but never mind.  What PFOX is saying there is that supporting gay teens as they come out to themselves puts them at risk of suicide.  Their solution?   

Schools should not be encouraging teens to self-identify as gays, bisexuals or transgendered persons before they have matured. Sexual attractions are fluid and do not take on permanence until early adulthood. Rather than affirming teenagers as ‘gay’ through self-labeling, educators should affirm them as people worthy of respect and encourage teens to wait until adulthood before making choices about their sexuality. If teens are encouraged to believe that they are permanently ‘gay’ before they have had a chance to reach adulthood, their life choices are severely restricted and can result in depression.

So says PFOX Executive Director Regina Griggs.  Note the doublespeak there about affirming them as "people worthy of respect".  But how much respect is it, to tell a kid gay kid they don’t have to be gay if they don’t want to?  Look again, at what came slyly out of the other side of her mouth there…

Sexual attractions are fluid and do not take on permanence until early adulthood.

Thats religious rightspeak for There Is No Such Thing As A Homosexual.  Don’t believe me?  Look again…

If teens are encouraged to believe that they are permanently ‘gay’ before they have had a chance to reach adulthood, their life choices are severely restricted and can result in depression

Permanently ‘gay’.  Note both the quotes around the word gay and the word permanently preceding it.  You don’t have to be gay if you don’t want to.  Change is possible.  This is what PFOX wants teachers to tell the gay kids that come out to them, and/or to their peers.  Griggs is sliding that under the radar their, in a cotton candy cloud of PFAUX respect.  But in today’s hostile school environment, where the word Gay has itself become a generic put-down among school kids, a kid who comes out, almost certainly already knows how impossible change actually is for them.

And that has consequences.

But leaving aside the fact that a 17 year old study was cited as "recent" and was cited as evidence against the existence of GSA clubs, which didn’t exist at the time of the study, this argument also makes a causal claim that can’t be justified by the study itself (see the full text of the study here).

First of all, they make no distinction at all between correlation and causation. If a higher percentage of those who self-identify as gay or bisexual early attempt suicide compared to those who self-identify later, is that a causal relationship or might both factors be effects of some other cause? Griggs makes no attempt to analyze this, it is enough for her that there is a correlation.

It never occurs to Griggs that those who attempt suicide soon after self-identifying as gay do so because that is when they first become aware that their identity is in such stark conflict with societal expectations. As any gay person can tell you, the initial coming out period is the most difficult because it often leads to serious conflicts with friends and family (and that was even more true in 1991 than it is today). She also ignores all of the other far more important risk factors that are obviously more likely to be causal. The study notes:

In 44% of cases, subjects attributed suicide attempts to "family problems," including conflict with family members and parents’ marital discord, divorce, or alcoholism. One third of attempts were related to personal or interpersonal turmoil regarding homosexuality. Almost one third of subjects made their first suicide attempt in the same year that they identified themselves as bisexual or homosexual. Overall, three fourths of all first attempts temporally followed self-labeling. Other common precipitants were depression (30%), conflict with peers (22%), problems in a romantic relationship (19%), and dysphoria associated with personal substance abuse (15%).

There are far more serious risk factors for suicide in the study, all of which are ignored by Griggs and PFOX. For instance, 61% of those who attempt suicide were sexually abused, while only 29% of those who did not attempt suicide were sexually abused. There’s an obvious causal factor. Those who attempted suicide also reported much higher rates of friendship loss due to being gay, drug use and having been arrested. Again, these are far more rationally viewed as causal factors in suicide than the age at which one self-identifies. Griggs ignores all of this because it doesn’t fit her ideological preferences.

But to call it ‘ideological’ ennobles it.  This isn’t ideology, it’s hate.  A hate so bottomless it will cheerfully let children kill themselves rather then allow them to have the support they need at that critical moment in their lives.  What Griggs is saying there to kids, stripped of its PFAUX respect, is that thinking you are gay will make you kill yourself.  That is, seriously, the message they want kids who are just coming into puberty and feeling same sex desire for the first time in their lives to hear, and internalize.  These feelings are going to make me kill myself.  And when they can’t stop themselves from having those feelings, feelings they’ve never had before, feelings that seem to come out of nowhere whenever an attractive classmate walks by, feelings that they have no control over whatsoever, what do you think is going to happen?

Here’s what: Griggs will cheerfully blame those of us who want gay kids to feel good about themselves when those kids take Griggs message, that thinking you are gay makes you want to kill yourself, to heart and actually do it. 

And there is the essential difference between P-FLAG and PFOX.  One group supports gay people.  The other, ex-gays.  And it doesn’t get any more ex then dead.

[Edited a tad for clarity…] 

by Bruce | Link | React! (6)

May 6th, 2008

Zach Speaks

Morgan has posted to YouTube the rough cut he currently has of the opening sequence to This Is What Love In Action Looks Like. It looks to be a fantastic documentary when he gets it all put together. And for the first time, people will get a chance to hear Zach speak for himself about what happened to him.

In this clip via the historical footage Morgan managed to dig up, you get a taste of what it was like before the gay rights movement came of age. The captioning Morgan adds to it captures the sense of the times perfectly…

Once upon a time…
There were some monsters…
Everybody was scared of them…

I was a gay teen back in those days, although I spent most of it in a comfortable cocoon of ignorance. But that’s exactly how it was. Homosexuals were monsters. And then one day I realized I was one of the monsters they were talking about. Watching those clips Morgan found brought that whole period of time back to me. And for the haters, it’s still true to this day. We are monsters, not human beings. That is why the Ex-Gay ministries appeared. Not to save our souls, but to impress upon us that we are monsters.

There’s only a small portion of the interview Zach gave Morgan here. And I think I can say now that this is out, that I was privileged to be there to witness and photograph it (I agreed that Morgan would have the copyright to the photos). There is so much I haven’t been able to say these years, biting my tongue while others waved Zach’s first blog post after leaving Love In Action as proof that he had taken LIA’s side of things and ultimately agreed with what had been done to him. And Zach, let it be said, isn’t interested now, and wasn’t really then, in being the center of a media storm. The poor kid just wanted to live his life. When he cried out for help, it was to his friends. That it quickly spread all over the Internet and became an international media storm was as much a surprise to him as to anyone. But he’s smart, he’s got a good heart, and he’s perfectly capable of speaking for himself when he wants to. I think that comes through pretty clearly in the few moments you see of him in this clip.

There will be more of the interview with Zach, and much more of the events surrounding the Love In Action protests, when Morgan finally finishes his edits and premieres the documentary. I have no ETA and I don’t think Morgan does either…he’s working hard on getting it right, because its so important. It’ll be done when it’s done.

And before you ask…yes, I am listed as an Executive Producer on this documentary. But seriously…all a producer does is produce money. The film is 100 percent Morgan’s, and I cannot speak for or about anyone involved in the production or anyone interviewed in it beyond what you can already see here. Morgan and crew can all speak for themselves, and probably will if you ask them. Morgan can be reached Here, at the Sawed-Off Film’s web site. You can see a collection of Sawed-Off YouTube clips Here.

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

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