About 3 years ago, I sent an email to the SPLC asking why Peter LaBarbera was not on their list of anti-gay hate groups. I don’t remember the exact reason they gave me. It amounted to something saying they really didn’t know too much about him or something like that. I have since lost the email, so I can’t say I really remember the answer.
I now see, Mr. Labarbera is listed as a hate group along with a few other groups I also believe belong on the list. LaBarbera like many of those on the list make the claim that gay groups and liberals are trying to silence them, end the debate, etc. A claim I not only would refute, I find it amusing. A long list of bloggers, pro-equality groups and others have been debating LaBarbera for years. The issue is when we nail him on his facts, his faulty research or lack of decency toward folks like Jeremy Hooper at GoodAsYou whose wedding picture Labarbera has hijacked and defaced, Peter seems to run, hide or scream utter nonsense.
I would offer to Mr. LaBarbera and others who claim GLBT groups are trying to silence them, we have been debating for years and debates are useless and dialogue is impossible with someone whose relies on biased criteria as a starting point. As this point, I believe the debate is over. Even the idea someone would debate our lives and loves like it is just a political issue is pretty offense to me. Peter’s presentation of our lives leaves me feeling pretty irritated because I value honesty, integrity and most of all respect. A few of the values not met for me when I look at his blog.
Anyway, I mostly am trying saying that I am happy the SPLC has added Americans for Truth to their list. I appreciate it because it discredits many of the outright lies and attacks he inflicts on gays and lesbians. It also makes it more difficult for him to raise money and make a living at the expense of others.
I would also offer to Mr. LaBarbera and others like him that since leaving the world of daily blogging I have step into a world where I regularly see young lives taken by street violence. I see folks struggling to get jobs, feed families and find healthcare. I see incredible amounts of systemic racism against Black, Hispanic and other nonwhite groups. I see lots of areas where Mr. LaBarbera could place his energy and be a lot more inline with the message of the Jesus I learned about in the bible.
At a recent conflict workshop series I did here in New Haven, CT, a young minority woman said to me, “If you kill a Yale Student, it is National news, when you kill one of us, it is another day in the ‘hood.” I have to admit hearing these words from a young person hurt because I value life. I heard another state how it is easier to get gun than a job. I would love to see the LaBarbera’s of the world, the Bryan Fischer’s of the world and other anti-gay groups start putting the money and energy where your mouth is. You say you are really about god, Jesus and the bible then prove it by taking the thousands of dollars you are making at the expense of others lives and starting putting the money to the well being and enriching of others lives.
It has been awhile since I have written about things I see in the gay news and this just caught my eye as such a chance to use creative nonviolence to make a point. It would seem anti-gay activist and founder of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera is going to take a shot at political office. He is running for Republican State Central Committeeman for the 13 Congressional District of Illinois. I admire his use of the democratic system by running and hope GLBT folks do the same. I would love to see Peter running against a gay or lesbian opponent.
Of course, part of his campaign platform is based on his opposition to equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and anyone else who doesn’t fit into his view of pro-family. I couldn’t help but think wow, this is such a great opportunity for some creative nonviolence in action. The possibilities of how to turn this into something more positive are endless. For starters, any actions taken needs to respect Mr. LaBarbera’s humanity regardless of how he sees us as GLBT citizens. Attacking the message is really all that’s needed here. Mr. LaBarbera does have children and I have no desire for those kids to see hurtful stuff in the news about their dad. It is not the kids’ fault their dad chooses to be so outspoken against GLBT folks.
At the end of the day, Peter and I share some of the same human values. We both care about family, security, spirituality, stability for our country, and many other things. Where we differ is on the strategies to meet those human needs. I personally don’t ever want to lose sight of this in others regardless if they are unable or unwilling to see it in me.
Back to my idea, I love the idea of turning his campaign into a pro-GLBT event. Here are some of my ideas of how to make it work:
- Let’s hold a LaBarberathon…..we could raise money for GLBT youth by collecting donations for everyday he stays in the race or how about we get people to donate $5 for every time he says “homosexual agenda” in a speech.
- We could do a silent protest of all his campaign events, press conferences and speeches while carrying signs with some of his more colorful quotes about GLBT folks and just refusing to talk (tribute to a Day of Silence). When people ask protesters to speak they can hand out cards that say why they are remaining silent. I think many would find that the mean-spirited things he has said about gays and lesbians don’t match up with the picture they know to be true from their GLBT friends, relatives, co-workers, etc. While he makes us out as monsters he also hurts and offends those with connections to the gay community. Bring his words into the light of day.
- We could also start a Political Action Committee and call it “Leatherman for LaBarbera” and collect money for his opponent.
I bet many ideas are out there about how to use creative nonviolence to address Mr. LaBarbera’s campaign against GLBT folks. Below is the list of what creative nonviolence is from the peace site, Pace e Bene.
It is my professional and personal opinion that hate speech helps to cultivate the culture of violence that currently exists for GLBT folks around the planet. Hate speech takes the “us vs. them” mentality and creates the justification needed for winning over an enemy and the objectification of gays and lesbians that allows people to use violence against us. Clinical psychologist, hostage negotiator, professor and author, George Kohlrieser writes in his book Hostage at the Table on page 106:
People do not kill people - they never have and they never will. People who kill [or use violence to injure] perceive other people as objects; they are killing in a state of detachment or broken bonding. The killer must see the other person as nothing more than an object or enemy to be eliminated. If at any moment that object becomes a human being - a person provoking empathy in the killer - the act of violence is stopped cold. The problem arises with those individuals who are so wounded in their attachment capacity that they cannot feel empathy, form human bonds or maintain bonding under high emotional stress.
Hate speech that objectifies GLBT folks into demons, possessed beings, a diseased threat, or immoral heathens is the exact type of stuff the aids wounded people into becoming killers or bashers. While anti-gay activist may not actively be promoting violence against gays and lesbians, they are certainly providing the material to help objectify us or make us seem less than human to a mind who is already wounded. They work hard to present GLBT folks as anything other than human by to conveying others that we are a threat to children, diseased, against god, or militant.
We currently live in a society that associates gays and lesbians with negative “things” and feelings. We hear young kids saying “that’s so gay” for anything they find negative or bad. Add to this culture of negative messages, the words of anti-gay groups like Americans for Truth About Homosexuality or Concerned Women for America that claim GLBT persons are not human but instead, “a threat to marriage” or “predators after our children” or “threat to our free speech” or a “threat to taxpayers” and you have a recipe for murder, violence, and hate crimes.
Research has shown that many killers and gay bashers show little or no remorse for their actions because they believe they were “justified” for taking out the enemy. The killers feel their victims had it coming because the killers didn’t see the victims as human but instead saw them as objects. This writer can’t imagine where they got that notion. Much like Kohlrieser points out, that in order for them to take the violent actions they have taken, a disconnection from the victim’s humanity must take place. At some point, the offender must have begun to see a gay and lesbian person as an enemy, a threat and no longer human. When one reads many of the quotes and comments from anti-gay writers, it is no wonder to me that killers can so easily see gays and objects rather than humans.
Excerpt from the link above:
“For the first time on Wednesday, jurors in the Bartow, Florida murder trial of Joseph Bearden - charged with the stabbing death of Ryan Skipper - heard testimony suggesting why some believe the killing was actually a hate crime. According to a key prosecution witness, the defendant admitted that he felt no remorse about killing Skipper - an openly gay man - because he had done the world a favor by getting rid of a homosexual. “
As an example of this type of dehumanizing of GLBT folks, I refer to a recent article written by Peter LaBarbera from the group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. In this article LaBarbera paints a picture of a transgendered activist as a “tranny” and while he never states it directly, he wants the reader to see transgendered folks as a threat to taxpayers or an enemy who will force to make others do things they don’t want to do. LaBarbera writes:
“No American should be forced to pay for these nature-rejecting procedures with his or her tax dollars. Homosexual groups like Human Rights Campaign boast of their support for taxpayer-funded “sex-change” operations in cities like San Francisco”
Even in just this small paragraph, the writer is trying to get the reader to see transgendered and homosexual persons as a threat to taxpayers and society as a whole. He is NOT making the case that a bill or piece of legislation is a problem for the taxpayer but the “homosexuals” themselves. There is even a failure to note that transgendered and gay folk are also taxpayers. By this simple distinction, this becomes not a piece to rally against legislation but a rally and call to arms against transgendered and gay Americans. To a mind that is already wounded this is just inspirational language to take GLBT human beings and make them objects worthy of elimination.
A huge part of my message in writing this blog is that I believe there is a better way. I believe folks like Peter LaBarbera could learn a language of life that gets all of our needs met. I do believe that those who are opposed to rights for gays and lesbians can voice their oppositions without dehumanizing the very people they claim to love. There is a better choice and I can assure you, it is a choice. We can choose a language of compassion or a language of war.
Nine men in Senegal, Africa were sentenced to jail for homosexual acts including an outspoken HIV/AIDS Activist. The men will get 8 years in prison after being arrested in a raid on December 19, 2008.
This news really has me asking the same questions I have been asking anti-gay advocates like Peter LaBarbera, Stacy Harp or Matt Barber for years with no answer? Is this the end game? Throwing us in jail for ‘unatural acts’ and conspiracy?
I have wondered for years what the end game of anti-gay activists is, what are they working towards? What does the world look like if American’s for Truth or Concerned Women for America got there wish about gay folks. I have yet to ever get any real and definitive answer and I am guessing that is because this is what they are working towards. I can bet that given the chance, many ultra-conservative and literalists of the bible would have gays and lesbians jailed for being gay or worse.
I for one feel completely saddened for these men as all the science is pointing toward genetic factors and that homosexuality is not changeable despite the unproven claims of religious groups. I can only hope the international community steps in on this clearly human rights issue, frees these men and brings them to countries where they will be SAFE!
Back in 2002, a young man named Stuart Denton was arrested for cruising for sex at a Rhode Island adult bookstore. The papers published his name and picture. He was understandably humiliated and embarrassed. I don’t condone what he was doing as I wish for all of us to treat ourselves better, but I do understand that living in a homophobic world some are driven to live in the shadows. The news reports called these men “disgusting” and a “public health hazard”. People saw these men for the labels they were given and not their humanity. We saw their actions, but not their human side. Sadly, Stuart Denton hanged himself four days after his arrest. Later investigation showed no crimes had been committed by any of the men as they were in private booths.
Now, flash to 2008 and officials in Huntsville, Alabama have arrest two dozen men for cruising for sex in a scenic overlook area. Again, as with the men in Rhode Island, their names and picture are being posted on the internet and they are being kicked with a heavy foot from their closets. They are being painted as monsters by the media and most people will stop at the label never seeing the fathers, brothers and friends these people are. When we label people, we only see the label we give them not the human behind the label. The youngest being 25 years old but the oldest being almost 90, these men are clearly from a time and place where being gay is highly frowned upon.
Sadly, we live in a society that is not interested in restoring the community after a member of our community does something unlawful. We demand they are punished, but punishment does not restore, heal or rehabilitate the community or the offender. Nothing good comes from it except good ratings for the newspapers. I would have hope these men would have been treated with some dignity regardless what undignified things they were doing. Sadly, I can’t hope for such compassion to exist because the media and the far right wing would never let it be so. These men’s names should have never been printed and they should have been sent for treatment.
I believe with all my heart that it is the Peter LaBarbera’s, the AFA’s, the Stephen Bennett’s and the Stacy Harp’s of the world that maintain the culture of the closet in which these men live and suffer. It is this culture that drives men to live these secret lives in the woods, parks, rest stops or adult book stores rather than coming out of the closet and meeting a nice man and settling down. Perhaps running off to one of the two coastal getaways that allow gay marriage.
I hope time changes this to where men with same sex attractions are not living in fear, in the shadows having unfullfilling sex in the brush when they could be having meaningful and loving relationships out in the open. Perhaps, if Mr. LaBarbera rethought his work, he might see he perpetuates the same problems he hopes to solve.
As an afterthought, here in New Haven, CT dozens of men were arrested in a prostitution sex sting. Again, the pictures of these men are being posted for the sake of public humiliation. (A tactic I would call outdated and cruel) I agree with the article that calls prostitution a “very violent crime.” To sell yourself off for sex is to not love yourself. On the other hand, I know that to pay for sex means one may not have the proper self respect, self-esteem and needs some help. Rather than help rehabilitate these men, we are just humiliating them like dogs. I am sickened by how we treat people who do unlawful things when that treatment lacks humanity!
I long for the day we move toward “Restorative Justice” rather than “punitive justice” which just isn’t working.
Hat Tip to Queerty!
While I long for the day when I don’t have to write about Peter LaBarbera or Americans for Truth, sadly I choose to write about them because of my need for safety for myself and others like me. I realized today, while reading one of Peter’s latest posts how disinterested in the truth Americans for Truth is. Today, Peter is writing about Stephen Bennett a man who claims to have gone from gay to straight and is now married with kids. To start with this is not some huge deal as Peter would have you believe. Gay men and lesbian women have spent lifetimes married to opposite sex partners, that didn’t make it honest or right. Some stayed married forever and others decided they couldn’t do it any longer and came out as gay. Others, like me, have no attraction whatsoever to the opposite sex and just couldn’t have pulled off the married fake thing even though I wanted to, and I tried to. Deborah has finally forgiven me, I think.
Peter’s post talks about only one man who claims to have gone straight and then claims:
“So if we already know that men and women can leave homosexuality behind, why isn’t this phenomenon studied in the academy? What are “queer” activists afraid will be discovered”
I was angry when I read this, but also curious. What is the image Peter really has of us. He speaks of “queer activists” like we are some KGB organization in cold war Russia. He speaks of us as if we are not human beings, but those evil spy characters from a novel. Everyone fears the KGB and would have used force to stop them. That is what you do with the enemy. You stop them at any cost using all means available. That is how we have been conditioned to think by society. It would be hard for Peter to deny that.
His question also ignores some information of which we know for fact Peter LaBarbara has been made aware. Lots of people spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to “leave” homosexuality and the so called “change” he speaks of just never happen. People like Peterson Toscano, Christine Bakke or all the others whose lives where almost destroyed by trying to change their sexuality. Just because one man named Stephen Bennett, who has refused to prove he was ever gay in the first place, claims he is now straight and no longer has same sex attractions is no proof that all gays and lesbians could or should try to change their sexuality at the risk of harm. The evidence against “ex-gay therapies” and their dangers is well documented to be not worth the risk. They are ALL based on religious conviction, not scientific FACTS!
It is Peter’s tone, his choice of presentation about gays and lesbians painting us as the enemy that make his efforts hate speech. It is the enemy images he has and wants others to have of gays that scare me. Today, Good As You pointed me to a video of a girl who violently beat another girl and posted it on YouTube because the girl was a gay rights advocate. The local news reported:
The suspects told police the girl was a gay-rights advocate and that she was trying to impose her views on them. They didn’t like it, and they told police they didn’t see anything wrong with what they did.
The fight was clearly premeditated. In surveillance video, police told 24 Hour News 8 the suspects are seen pulling back their hair and getting ready. It’s also clear they say other people knew about the attack because of the number of people who were congregated around watching the fight.
What Peter LaBarbera has yet to understand is that he did contribute to this climate of violence. Peter has not heard us when we explain to him that when you paint gays and lesbians as the enemy who must be stopped, people will feel justified in using violence to stop us. Peter may not be promoting violence directly, but he is promoting the justification for it. I am not sure what it would take for him to see this, but I for one know that as long as I read things written in the tone Peter writes them, I am going to be afraid that people will use violence and justify it with the arguments Peter gave them. I would challenge Mr. LaBarbera anyday to show me just what it is he is working towards. What is his end game and where are people like me in that picture? I believe the reason he won’t answer it is because the answer proves what he is doing is hurting more people than it is helping.
After I stopped laughing at the term “organized homosexuality,” I realized that what Peter LaBarbera is saying is scary. I was trying to see his point of view and on some levels I guess I can empathize with him. I can see he is saying that as a believer in god, he feels outraged the government is kicking the Boy Scouts out of their digs because they don’t support people who in his eyes shouldn’t be supported. In the eyes of Mr. LaBarbera, he is feeling shocked because he can’t believe the government is supporting what he believes in bad for America. I fully support Peter’s right to speak his beliefs, but I believe he should do it respectfully if he wants to be taken seriously.
Surely the homosexual (and atheist) lobby’s vindictive, selfish and shameless campaign against the Boy Scouts of America is one of the cruelest ever orchestrated by the Left. They could care less about this wonderful organization for boys, which they are helping to destroy and bankrupt through endless legal harassment.
Do you still have a problem saying that organized homosexuality is a force for evil in our society?
The problem is “HOW” Peter expresses his issues and concerns that makes it hate speech. Could Mr. LaBarbera not express his concerns without calling gays and lesbians “evil”, “Selfish” or “Cruel?” Using such language to discuss your opponet is only a demonstration of the pot calling the kettle black. Could he not express his opposition and respect his opposition’s point of view? Could he not express himself without using name calling, judgmental language and insults? That is the difference between an opposing view and hate speech. Most of what comes out of Peter LaBarbera’s organization is hate speech because it fails to present opposition in a humane and dignified method. If LaBarbera cannot manage to express his opposition to the inclusion of gays and lesbians into nondiscrimination policies in a way that is respectful to gays and lesbians than he is just another hate group.
Mr. LaBarbera fails to see that allowing the Boy Scouts to use a public building to house their organization for only $1 a year in rent means that gay and lesbian tax money is being used against them. It means that gays and lesbians are paying (by way of their tax dollars) to house an organization who picks and chooses who can or cannot be in the group. If the boy scouts get discounted housing, why shouldn’t a pro-gay rights group get it or an atheist group? Mr. LaBarbera fails to see that our freedoms are limited when we allow the government to support one faith based group or politically one sided organizations with tax dollars and not another. For the government to support the boys scouts is no different than the government supporting the Church of Scientology. Would Peter be okay with that one?
If he really expects GLBT tax money to go to organizations that consider us second class citizens then the selfish one isn’t us, but him.
Peter LaBarbera’s ability to over-simplify issues into scary “what if’s” is amazing, but also dehumanizing. I have a friend who was born with both male and female sex organs. While his appearance is mostly female, including being large chested, he also has working male sexual organs. A recent law created to protect people like my friend is being scrutinized and misrepresented by people on the far right, like Peter LaBarbera. Rather than using accepted scientific terms like “intersex” and “Gender Identity Disorder” so that people can discuss issues rationally and with all the facts, people like Peter use scary terms like “gender-confused” which if you ever met someone who has a gender identity disorder they are anything but confused.
Rational discussion of facts will bring us to a place where everyone is protected. Oversimplifying things only puts people in danger, confuses the facts and distorts outcomes. Most importantly it causes fear and fear leads to violence. Of course, as I said yesterday, I am convinced these right wing folks like Peter LaBarbera and friends are not at all interested in rational discussion or facts.
Those who live with a Gender Identity Disorder generally have this issues long before sexual maturity. Signs and symptoms occur at very young ages (2-4 years.) To equate this disorder with “cross-dressing” and “gender-confusion” is a complete misrepresentation of facts.
I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a parent of a young child with GID and read the garbage that Peter promotes and the harm he is willing to cause to promote his agenda. He has misrepresented the facts and there is nothing good that can come from misinformation. I wish people like Peter were less interested in “Winning” the culture war and more interested in the lives they affect. The fact he does this in his “god’s” name makes it even harder for me to understand it.
Crystal Dixon, the anti-gay side’s newest hero, is a human resource associate vice-president who made a handful of comments including:
“As a Black woman … I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are civil rights victims. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman. Daily thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle.”
I am so exhausted as a 38 year old gay man of hearing this tired old, just stupid argument that gays chose to be gay. It is easy to believe gays choose to be gay if you completely ignore everything we have ever learned about sexuality. It is easy if you just ignore we are human. It is easy to over-simplify it to a simple choice we made if, you completely ignore the facts, but that must be the case. It is easy if you ignore the terrorized faces of every kid crying as he tells his family he is gay. If you completely ignore the facts about the pain, suffering and shame that must be overcome to come out, than you can call it a choice. The Crystal Dixon’s of the world must just ignore all the facts.
I wonder if it is worth talking about facts anymore when people like Ms. Dixon, Ms. Harp, and Mr. LaBarbera don’t care about facts anyway. I don’t think it matters what the facts are they would dispute them anyway. LaBarbera and harp seems to be interested in being famous and powerful. I believe they care more about winning the argument than owning their damages.
I think we should just tell them what they wanna hear and be done with it. So hear it is. I chose to be gay. I woke up one day when I was about 5 or 6 years old and said, to hell with it all and me. I am gonna be gay. I am gonna be athletically useless just like the stereotype say I should be. I am gonna learn show tunes and learn tap. I am going to let the other kids beat the crap out of me and call me a faggot. Not sure why I made that choice, but yup, I did.
Along with making the choice to be gay, I would also like to admit that being gay is all about sex. There really isn’t anything more to this. It is just sex. In fact, my entire life has been about sex. Sex…sex…sex. I would write more about this but I have said it all. It is about sex. (how long will it be before this is taken out of context)
If this is what these anti-gay folks want to hear, we should just spoon feed it to them like grits on toast. Whatever it takes to show them how utterly dehumanizing and hurtful their claims are or force them to show their hands. What the fuck is your end game people? What does the world look like if you got what it is your are working toward? Are the gay people in camps waiting for the gas chambers? WHAT IS YOUR DEAL?
Paint me a picture. I would just like to know what the world looks like if these right wing, fundamentalist Christians actually got what they were working toward.
I see the anti-gay machine known as Peter LaBarbera has finally figured out that America is not having his one sided, negative only view of homosexuality, so he is moving on to Brazilian audiences who I can only image are eating it up. Of course the flip side is that they too will soon see that the gay folks they know and love don’t match the picture Peter paints.
Add to this Peter’s out right lies. He claims the pro-gay folks have more money than pro-family folks. That statement is just a lie. Peter states in the interview:
Americans For Truth (www.americansfortruth.org) is one of a tiny number of groups worldwide dedicated solely to fighting the homosexual and transsexual activist agendas. The homosexual activists spend far more promoting homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality than the entire, collective pro-family movement in the
. It’s not even close. They have the money and the power; we have God’s truth. USA
Problem is this is a proven lie. An outright, full fledged piece of untruth. Focus on the Family and the American Family Association have budgets that far exceed any pro-gay rights organization.
What strikes me, and leaves me feeling inquisitive is Peter’s posts promoting himself on various radio, print and tv. Every interview, mention in the papers and sound snippet available and Peter is there promoting Peter. He is his own best promo. That’s good since we all know I am not going to do it!
Also see Box Turtle Bulletin
Peter LaBarbera is calling on the media to demand a Federal investigation into the health risks of homosexual behavior. Peter hopes that such an investigation would lead to proof that homosexual behavior is somehow dangerous, but he fails to mention that such an investigation is completely impossible. To start which homosexual behavior is Mr. LaBarbera talking about? Is is the homosexual dancing? I thought that would be good for my blood pressure and keep me fit. Perhaps Mr. LaBarbera is talking about homosexual house painting? I know we homos love to decorate and that painting is a part of that, he must mean the behavior of painting? I admit, I have not painted in awhile and should really do something about that, but I am not sure the health risks of that.
All jokes aside, there is no specific behavior that could be labelled, ‘homosexual behavior’. There is human sexual behavior. There is no sex act that is solely homosexual. Heterosexuals engage in the same “behaviors” that homosexuals do. So, I am not sure that Peter has made a reasonable request (or demand) that the Federal Government.
Secondly to that, what if they did find risks? What do you propose Mr. LaBarbera? What does your End Game Look Like? Do you claim to have some secret plan to end homosexuality that you would like to enforce on all gay people? What exactly do you want from us?
There seems to be some level of irony that an event designed and created to bring attention to bullying is being protested by bullies. Just this year alone, we have faced the tragic murder of Lawrence King who was murdered for asking another boy to be his valentine. King was often the target of bullies and suffered greatly through the tauting and teasing.
Study show us that bullying has long term effects including a link to depression. Kids who are bullied are more likely to drop out of school, get into trouble with the law and turn to alcohol and drugs. Often kids who are bullied are perceived to be gay by other children. This compounded with the negative enemy imaged of gays and lesbians by anti-gay organizations, causes children to take sometime violent measures to be sure no one “thinks” they are gay.
Today’s protest, the Day of Silence, is meant to make a statement about the bullying and the violence that can be associated with it. One would think the opposition to gay rights would be equally as opposed to bullying and violence and thus supportive of this event. One would think that Christian and other religious groups whose interest in in “saving” or ministering to gays and lesbians would be supportive of this event, but such is not he case.
The Rev. Ken Hutcherson is protesting the protest today at a school in Washington State. Now, I try to refrain from calling people names and labeling someone a bully would be name calling. I admit that fully, but I also admit that many anti-gay organizations and individuals just fit the definition of a bully. While there is no official definition of a bully, which has made it difficult for lawmakers to address the issue, the dictionary defines a bully as:
The Hyperdictionary: http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=bullying
1. [n] the act of intimidating a weaker person to make them do something
2. [adj] noisily domineering; tending to browbeat others
Synonyms: blustery, domineering, intimidation
See Also: aggression, frightening, terrorisation, terrorization
The first defintion, a noun, clearly describes the actions of many anti-gay individuals and organizations when you consider that many religious organizations are trying to scare gay people into going back into the closet or to try and change their sexuality. The second defintion, an adjective speaks for itself, in connection to anti-gay religious organizations as they can be some browbeating on their part to send us into the shadows.
With all that said, it is no wonder they would protest a protest that protests them!
Part one of my thoughts on the day of silence are really just an exact repost of what I wrote last year. Not much has changed for gay youth. The problems, the bullying and the violence have gotten worse rather than better and sadly, we lost a few beautiful young lives in the process. Below is a repost of what I wrote on Last year’s Day of Silence. I will be writing my thoughts for this year and posting them soon.
Today marks the 11th year of the “Day of Silence“, a day that marks the silence that is forced on those who are being harassed about their real or perceived sexuality. Studies indicate that 1/3 of all students report being harassed over sexual orientation issues. The problem is very real and the silence kids experience is a form of structural violence that does its share of psychological damage.
Currently, a group called “Not our Kids” is asking parents to keep their kids home to protest the protest which is the Day of Silence. The coalition is led by none other than ex-gay, Stephen Bennett and it has been pushed hard by groups like Americans for Truth led by Peter LaBarbera. The actions of this group, pulling kids from school, only highlights the problem and brings more attention to the cause. While this coalition thinks they are making some statement by pulling kids from school, they are actually helping to support the meaning behind the Day of Silence since it is these very groups who create the climate that fuels the hate that causes the silence gay youth are forced to tolerate. The people who support the Day of Silence should send the people who don’t a thank you card since the brouhaha they have created helps bring the problem into the light.
As usual, groups like Americans for Truth, Stephen Bennett Ministries, Faith2Action and others ignore the real problems and offer no alternative solutions to the problems. They claim that homosexuality shouldn’t be discussed in the school, along with an array of issues they have deemed moral issues. I would ask, what gives these folks the power to decide what is a sexuality, science, educational or moral issue?
Homosexuality is not just a moral issue, it has a human face, especially when we are talking about youth. Anti-gay activists are so quick to call any outspoken advocate for gay rights “militant”, “Radical” or “Extreme” when we demand fair treatment or equal rights. The true facts show that these groups are far more militant in action and go to far greater lengths to spread misinformation and untruth than any other political group I have experienced. They claim up and down to be religious groups, but religion plays a small role and politics seems to rule the day.
Gandhi held the belief that each side of a conflict holds a piece of the truth and a piece of the untruth. He believed that nonviolent conflict resolution could be found if each group sat down and pulled together the truths each held and dispelled the untruths. I have personally seen more gays and lesbians willing to do this than I have ever seen from anti-gay groups. I have seen more gay activists willing to compromise for peaceful resolution on the issue than I have ever seen from groups like Americans for Truth or Faith2Action. I see these groups fight, complain and make demands to silence and dehumanize gays but rarely do we see any of them offer solutions to the problems gays and lesbians face and as it has been stated a thousand times in history, if you are not part of the solution, than you must be part of the problem.
The reason most commonly cited for being harassed frequently in schools is a student’s appearance, as four in ten (39%) teens report that students are frequently harassed for the way they look or their body size. Right behind was sexual orientation as one-third (33%) of teens report that students are frequently harassed because they are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.
LGBT students are three times as likely as non-LGBT students to say that they do not feel safe at school (22% vs. 7%).
90% of LGBT students (vs. 62% of non-LGBT teens) have been harassed or assaulted during the past year.
The Solution from Anti-gay groups:
Other posts on the Day of Silence:
Peter LaBarbera known for doing “research” at gay baths and street fairs like the Folsom Fair, should be packing his bags and heading to Florida to protest this “HETEROSEXUAL” sex club that holds “Naughty Teacher” Night and other fun gatherings. They have Friday Night “Kinky Ice Cream Social” and a hot tub for 5 that can “get pretty hott”.
The club, called the Hunt club, appears to be someone’s home. It is a place where “members” can go for sex and socializing and condoms are provided. Neighbors began protesting last Friday during the Naughty night. They say, “community values” are important in the neighborhood, but denied suggestions that staunch Christian beliefs were propelling the protestor’s opposition. Of course that because all the real Christians are at Folsom video taping the side action and protesting the gays.
If this were a gay thing, LaBarbera would be on a plane with his video camera ready to expose those nasty homosexuals. Since it is a residential community of heterosexuals in Florida, I doubt the same amount of exposing will go on from the anti-gays. The reason is that if anti-gay organizations gave this heterosexual behavior any attention it would show that homosexuals are more similar to straights than different.
In the year 2008, the only way to bring in the brightest and most promising teachers is to offer the best benefits and salary. Illinois took a turn today that will insure that they cannot attract the best and the brightest teachers for their schools. The Illinois House of Representatives voted 43 to 67 to defeat HB 4731, a bill that would have allowed unmarried and same-sex partners of public school teachers to qualify as surviving spouses for purpose of survivor and death benefits. Without this legislation, schools now have fewer tools to attract the best teachers. This is truly a sad day for Illinois.
Of course, the pro-family/anti-gay Americans for Truth is doing a happy dance thinking they have done some great service to their State and the Country. I feel sad they are unable to see the damage they are causing youth in that state. Without this legislation, many of the brightest teachers will be choosing employment in schools that respect and acknowledge their relationships. This will limit the State of Illinois to only hire teachers that fit into a limited category, therefore leaving some of the best teachers open for universities and schools who do offer better partner benefits.
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"Be the change you wish to see in the world"
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
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