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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Does Homophobia Destroy Heterosexual Marriages and the Men in Them?

by @ 8:05 pm. Filed under Anti-Gay Bullying, Book Reviews, Joe's Rants

I am Gifts of Imperfection Covercurrently taking an online class based on the book, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, PhD.  Brown, who is a professor at the University of Texas, describes herself as a vulnerability researcher who studies authenticity, shame and courage. I was drawn to this class on Brown’s work because of her focus on empathy, connection and authenticity which are all running themes in my life because of my interest in Nonviolent Communication.

In her work, Brown defines shame as the “…intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging” and describes it as the “warm wash that comes over us that makes us feel small, flawed and never good enough.” It was hard to read that as a 41 year old gay man and not think about my childhood of being bullied, my teen years of trying to play straight and certainly my early 20s when I struggled to come to terms with my sexuality.  I am realizing from this book, this class and my own life that growing up gay is a crystallized example of being “in shame” as Dr. Brown describes it in her work.

I can remember after I was gay bashed in 1990. Just a few days after it happen I was looking in the mirror at a face I did not recognize because it was so swollen and black and blue. I was pulling my bottom lip down so I could count the stitches where my teeth caused a hole when I was kicked in the face .  I would try to use a hand mirror to look at the black and blue marks on my back.  I truly believe at that time that I deserved what had happen to me because I was gay. What happen was ultimately my fault because I was defective.  I was not worthy of love and belonging and I didn’t feel I had a place in my life where I belonged.   I know now and can name what that was.  It was shame.   It was the warm wash that came over me that I am convinced to this day is what caused me to physically heal in record time.  My doctors were amazed at how fast my black and blue marks, swelling and cuts and bruises healed.  I think I wished myself better to make the shame go away.

What was that shame really about? We live in a society where being gay is still viewed as weak, passive, the opposite of masculine.  While the last 25 years have brought great change to those views, it hasn’t changed enough to stop gays and lesbians from growing up feeling defective and unworthy of love for who they are.  The record suicide rates of youth bullied for their perceived sexual orientation is an example of just how damaging these views can be.

You can watch her Tedx Huston talk:

I am going to throw a premise out there I have been thinking about over the past few weeks about shame and homophobia.  We shame young men into being tough, into hiding their feelings, into hiding themselves and we do it with homophobia. I believe this damages heterosexual marriages and the men and women in this marriages.  Let me attempt to explain what I have been thinking.

Our picture for what a real man should be is really just “not a faggot” as the perception of the stereotype is this weak, emotional, effeminate, show tune loving guy who looks good in pink.  We raise our young men and boys by painting them a picture of what a man is supposed to be and then paint the opposite of that as a faggot. Thus making men want to avoid anyone thinking their are gay even if they are because it somehow makes them less worthy of love and belonging, (shame.)

Researcher Jackson Katz, an author, educator and film maker explored these ideas in his 1999 film “Tough Guise” where he breaks down the stereotypes we use to tell men what being a man is.  Before continuing to read the premise I am presenting, watch this short clip from the film and pay particular attention to what the young men say when asked the qualities of being a man.

One of the themes I have heard in this class from other men about living authentically is just how hard it is to be yourself in a world where you are programmed to live up to a certain framework of what a man is supposed to be.  I was thinking about this idea of the picture of what a man is “suppose to be.”  Men don’t show emotions. Men don’t show vulnerability. Men don’t show compassion.  Men dress tough, drive trucks, play football, burp, and fart.  The drink beer not wine.  They have steak and certainly they don’t eat quiche. Men also spend lots of time NOT doing anything that might lead people to think they are gay.  Some even going as far as killing other men to prove they are not gay, deemed the so called, Gay Panic defense.  They kill men who hit on them as opposed to just saying “thank you but I am straight but flattered.”

Despite the damage this is doing to gay men and boys, one has to wonder, what does all this do to heterosexual men and boys especially in light of all the new research out there in the past 10 years around mirror neurons, empathy, connection and motivation.  I have been reading a ton of books about shame, empathy and human connection and one of the things I find is that all these researchers agree, as men we are emotional, we are creative and those are not signs of being gay, but being human. In fact, many of the characteristics that get attributed to gay men are hold and hidden in straight men.

Homophobia and our refusal to accept and affirm gay men and relationships gives many bullies their power.  Just looking at the numbers of who gets bullied and what things bullies say to young men is a clue to just how powerful shame can be as a tool to make men feel small.  You want to make a man feel small, flawed and unworthy of love and belonging, call him a faggot.  Why is that so shaming, so powerful?  Because we allow it to be.  It reinforces to men that they have to appear macho not effeminate.  What would happen if we changed that stereotype?

I would like you think about what this shame and programming would do to a young, emotional and creative young boy who then grows up and marries a woman.   He has been programmed to not communicate his feelings because that is for fags.  So he is unable to express to this woman the things she really needs to hear from her partner to make things work.   He isn’t going to be told what to do by a woman because men who aren’t their own boss are again perceived as passive which is also another quality of the stereotype of gay men.  This leaves a man who faces conflict about chores and won’t be negotiating with his wife, he will want to be the boss.  God knows that last thing we teach young men is to be vulnerable, so it is unlikely he will be sharing honestly when he is in pain.

Two of the top reasons heterosexual marriages end are communication breakdowns and abuse.  I can’t help but wonder if these communication breakdowns are based in how we shame men into being “not gay” and would these change if we starting accepting gays and supporting them to be healthy, whole and authentic about their stories. If we accepted gay men, straight men would no longer care about being perceived as gay as it would no longer be a bad thing.  What if we taught men to have the courage to be who they really are rather than “not gay.”  That would mean calling a straight man sensitive wouldn’t send him into the warm wash of shame where he then wants to prove his “not gayness” to the world with destructive behaviors.

I would presume:

I really do think that homophobia hurts straight men just as much as it hurts gay men.   I believe it hurts heterosexual marriages for the same reasons.  Women with unrealistic and inaccurate views of what being a man is and men trying to live up to unrealistic and inaccurate views of the same.  Not sure I see that turning around anytime soon.  I do believe that affirming gay relationships, affirming boys desires to explore who they are will serious change so many of the negatives that comes from men trying to prove they “aren’t gay.”

When we can get society to the point where being gay is just no big deal.  It is no longer seen as negative.  We will also be removing the shame we place on men, gay or straight, when they do things out of authenticity like show emotions, cry, cook, dance, or ignore the Superbowl.

Brene Brown has started a bit of a movement of men and women committed to living authentic lives. To living”wholeheartedly” and willing to have the courage to tell and be okay with their own stories.  I truly believe that way to change some of the damage we do to men and boys is to get them to embrace who they are.  If you are a straight boy who likes ballet…good.  If you are a gay boy who likes pink, good.  It is all good, just be yourself.  Go dance barefoot in the kitchen to disney songs and it will make you no more and no less or a man.

I leave you with another of Brene Brown’s talks.  I find the information in her research her just transformative!

Monday, November 29, 2010

November Issue of Get Magazine

by @ 8:30 pm. Filed under Anti-Gay Bullying, hate speech, Joe's Rants

This is the article I wrote for Rhode Island’s Get Magazine.  They Titled the article, “It Gets Better and Other Life’s Truths by Joe Brummer” and made it one of their cover stories.   Feel free to spread it around.

It Gets Better and Other Life’s Truths

It is hard to know exactly where the right place would be to start thGetCover-Novis story.  Is it with the statistics on GLBT suicides?  Is it the statistics on GLBT bullying and violence in our communities?  Perhaps it is with my own experiences of being bullied or gay bashed?  Or is it the gut wrenching, distressing realization that those statistics have names and faces and we have seen 15 young lives cut short at their own hands in just 60 days.   Of course, these are only the lives we heard about in the news and minuses those that were lost and went unreported.

Justin Aaberg (15) July 9, 2010 in Minnesota

Billy Lucas (15) September 9, 2010 in Indiana

Cody J. Barker (17) September 13, 2010 in Wisconsin

Tyler Clementi (18) September 22, 2010 in New Jersey

Asher Brown (13) September 23, 2010 in Texas

Harrison Chase Brown (15) September, 25 2010 in Colorado

Seth Walsh (13) September 25, 2010 in California

Raymond Chase (19) September 29, 2010 in Rhode Island

Felix Sacco (17) September 29, 2010 in Massachusetts

Caleb Nolt (14) September 30, 2010 in Indiana

Alec Whitney Henriksen (19) September 30 in Indiana

Zach Harrington (19) October 5, 2010 in Oklahoma

Jeanine Blanchette (21) October 5, 2010 in Toronto

Chantal Dube (17) October 5, 2010 in Toronto

Aiyisha Hassan (19) October 12, 2010 in California

All of these lives were cut short because they believed the world did not and would never accept them as they were, gay.  Many of them were not just bullied. They were tortured by their peers.  In some cases, the schools did little of nothing to protect or console them.   I know those days well. I remember first being bullied in the third and fourth grades for being smaller than most other kids.  I wasn’t much for sports and it seemed the world knew more about me being gay than I did or at least that is what they told me with the taunts and name calling.  One of the leaders of this little movement to beat the little Brummer kid we’ll call Billy C.  He once led a group of kids to my house to ask my mom if I could come out to play, my mom on the other hand was wise to this game.  I remember her in her night gown, pushing this kid into the middle of the street telling him not to mess with her son.  It was a failed threat as they continued to bully me well into high school.

Another kid who often bullied me in the sixth and seventh grade named Mike M would come threaten me each day at recess. Typical anti-gay names combined with some pushing, shoving and knocking me down left me constantly scared.  I would do my best to hide my fear and play it tough.   I would see him coming and begin to shake, sweat and feel helpless as I was a pretty small kid.  I once brought my little blue, Cub Scout pen knife to school and kept it open in my jacket pocket so when Mike came to mess with me, I could just scare him off.  When I did finally pull out the knife, one of the good nuns came and took it and never mentioned it again.  She also did nothing to stop the bullying.

In sixth grade, my family received endless prank phone calls for weeks on end. We would hang up the phone and it would ring again within seconds.  My parents eventually traced the calls, and the two school girls who were doing it claimed it was my fault because I shot them the finger when they teased me.

High school was no better, I remember Mike C and his goons forcing me to sing happy birthday to a teacher on a table in the lunch room on the first week of freshman year.  I was embarrassed, afraid and dreaded what was ahead of me.  I went home and hid in my room that day. The teacher did nothing.

I look at the story of Billy Lucas in Indiana where his bullies continued to harass him after his death by leaving crude comments on a FaceBook page created in his memory by his friends.   Even in death, these bullies were trying to send a message that being gay was a “bad” thing. What drives this?

The message gay youth hear is the same message many of us heard as we grew up.  Being gay is sinful, immoral, and disgusting.  We heard that gays are diseased, child molesters, to be feared.  Basically, we were programmed to believe we were inherently bad people just because we were attracted to members of the same sex.  It is no wonder with this message being the one youth hear, they choose to harm themselves.  It is also no wonder when bullies hear this; they believe their behavior should be celebrated because they are somehow doing society a favor.

The San Francisco State University Chavez Center Institute has found that LGBTQ youth who come from a rejecting family are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health in August of 1998 showed that out of 131 gay/bi males, 28% had attempted suicide.

The silver lining in these horrible events is the brain child of advice columnist, Dan Savage.  The “It Gets Better” campaign started with one video of Dan and his partner telling gay youth, it does get better.  Within hours of their first video post to YouTube, dozens, then hundreds of videos came from other gay, lesbian, trans, bisexual and even some of our best straight allies in the public eye.

Watching many of these videos I must admit didn’t just choke me up, I outright cried.  The stories moved me because the sense of concern for gay youth is so sincere.  I do think the award for best, “It gets better” video belongs to Fort Worth City Councilman, Joel Burns.

Burns made his plea to young gay youth at a city council meeting where he spoke on camera of his own experience growing up gay being bullied, harassed and called a “Faggot.”  A word, many of us heard and were called before we even knew what it meant.   Burns, fighting back tears and even stopping at some points to regain his composure, says to GLBT youth, “This story is not just for the adults here who may choose or not choose to support me. This story is for the young people who might be holding that gun tonight, or the rope, or the pill bottle, you need to know that the story doesn’t end where I didn’t tell it, on that unfortunate day, there is so, so ,so much more.  Yes, high school was difficult, coming out was painful, but life got so much better for me.”

Beyond these touching moments and glimpses of hope, much pain still prevails.  These suicides have helped to draw the media eye to the very size of this bullying issue as suddenly dozens of reports have come in drawing attention to the violence gays and lesbians face.  An 11 year old boy in Ohio had his arm broken by classmates because he wanted to be a cheerleader.   In Newark, DE a young seven year old boy was locked in a port-a-potty screaming while the bullies knocked the unit over covering him in human waste.    In Dallas, TX, three teens were arrested for beating a 14 year old classmate on the bus while calling him a faggot.  The driver of the bus and the bus monitor did nothing to stop the attack.

We have a long way to go when it comes to protecting our youth.  Research shows when anti-bullying campaigns directly address sexual orientation, they are more effective than the ones that do not.   While anti-gay, religious groups fight against efforts to include GLBT voices in anti-bullying campaigns claiming these are attempts to push our agenda, students are still in harm’s way.

I remember being 20 years old in Southern NJ and having my head repeated kicked against cement next to the Cooper River while being spit on and hearing the words, “You ready to meet Jesus ya’ little faggot?” I remembering believing I was about to die and agreeing for a moment that I deserved it.   All the while, those committing these actions celebrated “getting the bad guys” we have been made to be by our government, our churches, our movies, our TV’s and our society.  I remember waking up 3 days later and seeing my head swollen three times its size, black and blue and stitches in my face. In those days, I believed I deserved what I got because it was true, I was a faggot.  I knew because Billy C and Mike C made sure I knew and never forgot.  Those views of me were changed by the love of some great friends and a great partner who I love and have lived with for the last 10 years.

Anti-bullying campaigns are just band-aids on the larger problem.  We need to completely change the way GLBT folks are seen.  No more demonizing, less than human debates about our lives in the campaign trails and Fox news.   No more laws that dehumanize GLBT folks by saying were are a danger to the military and our unions will destroy marriage.  If you portray us as an enemy to be defeated, then violence against us will just be celebrated.

If you want kids to stop killing themselves for being gay, then you need to change the message they hear that tells them they are less than human. Change the message to one of hope that truly says, “Yes, it does get better.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Open Letter to Prop 8 Proponents

by @ 9:26 pm. Filed under Anti-Gay Bullying, Gay News, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Joe's Rants, Nonviolence

I decided today that I don’t really care about Mormons or what they spend their money on.  I just want to live without fear of discrimination in my life.   I don’t really care if more or less blacks voted against me in this past election.   I just want to live without fear of losing my job because I am gay.   I don’t really care if Christian groups do or do not support my relationship with my partner, I would just like to know we are safe, legally protected and that my tax dollars are not being used against me or him and certainly not “us.”

I also don’t want to spend my time writing, protesting or speaking out for gay rights.  I would like to go watch TV on the couch with my partner and the dogs.   I don’t want to make signs anymore, or brainstorm the next protest chant.  I don’t want to spend hours on the internet searching for the peer reviewed science that corrects the lies and research misused by you and your friends.  I don’t want to spend hours at the State House waiting my turn to testify before a committee of men who behind close doors will laugh and call me, “Faggot” and let the bill to protect me die in committee.   I would like to go have dinner and a movie, then sit with friends and enjoy life.

I can tell you that I am tired as hell and emotionally worn down over the years of lies and funny looks because I am gay.   I am tired of the stereotypes, the misconceptions and the mothers shielding their children from me and my partner when I know deep in my heart, they would be safer with me than most other people.   I am tired of worry about what neighborhood I  choose to live in and if it is “safe” for people like me.   I really just want to live my life in peace.

Sadly, the reality is that I need to muster up some energy and make some posters to head out to the protest on Saturday because no matter how much the bullies try to get me to fight, I refuse to fight.   Fists never suited me or my style but don’t think for one precious minute that I am going to back down and let you push me around for another day.  It is our time and we are tired of being shunned, abandoned and beat up.   As Melissa said, “I am a giant” and will not be afraid, I will not back down and “you will not make me fall.”  I will not cower and I will certainly never give up until all of us can be free to go be with the one we love without the fear of you and your version of god.

Give it your best shot!  I have survived being bashed twice now.  Go ahead, hit me, punch me, pass your amendments but don’t think for one minute you have stopped me or even weakened me because you would be mistaken.   The arc of the universe does exactly what Martin said it does.  It leans to the side of justice.   I have seen it and I know it is true.   I don’t just believe in the “beloved community”, I am part of the beloved community.   I am the beloved community.  We are all the beloved community.

What may surprise you is that I won’t gloat when we are finally free and safe from harm.  I won’t rub it in your face.  I instead will invite you to dinner and welcome you into my home like a long lost friend.  I have not one ounce of hate in my bones.   I don’t look down on you and I don’t think less of you.   I feel sorry for you.  I will always be sad for those who suffer at the hand of ignorance and live in the darkness of fear of their fellow man solely because they didn’t take the time to seek out the truth.  I will still see you as my brother no matter what you do to me more because I refuse to see you though the dark and cloudy lens you are choosing to use to look at me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Day of Silence 2008 Part 2

by @ 11:20 am. Filed under Americans For Truth, Anti-Gay Bullying, Ex-gays, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Joe's Rants

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!

Read: Day of Silence 2008 Part 1

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day of Silence 2008 Part 1

by @ 6:46 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Anti-Gay Bullying, Ex-gays, Exodus, Gay News, hate speech, Joe's Rants, Nonviolence, Stephen Bennett

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 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:

Christian Response to the GLBT Youth: Day of Silence?

 

Monday, April 7, 2008

Christian Response to the GLBT Youth: Day of Silence?

by @ 9:38 am. Filed under Anti-Gay Bullying

Ex-gay Watch has pointed me to this article and effort by Dr. Warren Throckmorton that is suppose to be the “evangelical Christian Response” to the Day of Silence.   Day of Silence is a day where GLBT youth and their supporters vow not to speak for a day in protest of the violence and bullying gay youth experience on high school campuses.   Throckmorton is proposing a “Golden Rule” as the Christian response.

Youth who participate in the Day of Silence campaign pass out small cards explaining why they are not speaking.   Throckmorton is proposing that Christian youth respond by giving a card back.  Dr. Throckmorton writes on his blog:

For those Christian students who attend school on that day, we propose a different option. We believe the teaching of Christ in the Golden Rule should guide our actions and attitudes regarding all. We also believe that we should make school a safe place for all students.

Thus, we advocate students spread a message like this on the Day of Silence:

I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated.

Will you join me in this pledge?

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31).

Because the Day of Silence participants will be passing out cards describing why they are silent and what the Day means to them, we advocate exchanging a card or paper in return. Write or type the Golden Rule pledge on pieces of paper or an index card and pass it out at your school if the Day of Silence is being observed.

This “christian response” event in itself, is a contradiction to the Golden Rule.   Think about it, if you were having an event, would you want another group to “overshadow” or “compete” with your event.    The idea of protesting the protest to deliberately take away from the message is not in line with the Golden Rule.    Then why are Christians doing it?   

Why do Christians need a “response” to this event?   

Christians can’t let any gay event go by without having the response to it.   Yet if you stand up to them, they will scream that you are trying to silence them.  Are they not trying to silence the message of the Day of Silence by having their own counter “response” event?

Throckmorton should stop this lunacy and stop trying to take attention away from the GLBT youth and their event.   He wouldn’t want someone fudging his event, so why is he doing it to others?

Friday, March 28, 2008

20/20 to Focus on Homosexuality Tonight!

by @ 2:38 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Anti-Gay Bullying, Ex-gays, Gay News

Tonight’s two-hour show will have a segment on DNA, Biology and Sexuality.   Check your Local listings to see the time in your area.  I myself would love to see this sitting in a a room with Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barber, Randy Thomas and Steve Bennett.  I will instead write about this later after I see the show.

It is expected the show will focus on the science we have so far about sexuality.   They are also doing a piece on ex-gays, religion and sexuality.  This should be interesting.  A printed piece can be found here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Harassed Gay Teen Takes His Own Life

by @ 9:43 pm. Filed under Anti-Gay Bullying, Gay News, hate speech

A teen, harassed by his classmates at school for being gay has taken his own life.   He laid down on the tracks in front of a train.   He sent this text message to his family just before his death:

“Tell everyone that this is for anybody who eva said anything bad about me, see I do have feelings too. Blame the people who were horrible and injust 2 me. This is because of them, I am human just like them. I hope they rot in hell 4 what they made me do. They know who they are.  None of you blame urself mum, dad, Sam and the rest of my family. This is not because of you.”

This story is sad.  It shows the need for a better world for young teens coming out.   For as long as the world is filled with Peter LaBarbera types, Stacy Harp’s and Stephen Bennetts who spread hate and create a world where being gay is a bad thing, then bad things like this will continue.

My heart goes out to this boy’s family.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Threats of Anti-Gay Violence puts School in Lock down

by @ 1:45 pm. Filed under Anti-Gay Bullying, Gay News

After rumors of anti-gay violence a New Castle High School in Indiana has been placed under lock down.   Students who disagree with the idea of supporting gays with the Day of Silence spread rumors of violence causing the principles to put the school in Lock-down.  Students were removed from the school and moved to a field house while police officials searched the school.  The search revealed no threat.

This event just highlights why we need a day of silence and why we need hate crime laws that protect GLBT folks.   Mention support of gays and lesbians and violence will follow.

A high school in San Francisco was vandalized with Racist and anti-gay slurs and drawings.   In one place in the school has a middle finger spray painted next to a slogan that read “Day of Silence This”.

Thoughts on the “Day of Silence”

by @ 9:04 am. Filed under Americans For Truth, Anti-Gay Bullying, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Nonviolence, Stephen Bennett

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 Problem:

The Solution from Anti-gay groups:

?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Day Of Truth: A closer look reveals no truth, lots of Lies

by @ 6:46 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Anti-Gay Bullying, Ex-gays, Exodus, Gay News, hate speech

Daniel Gonzales wrote a great video piece on the “Day of Truth”. It has been release by “Truth Wins Out“. Dan examines the lies and misinformation behind the “Day of Truth” and shows you how their is sadly, little truth in the day of truth or the anti-gay industry behind it!

How Can Lies Be Truth? -An Examination of the "Day of Truth"

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I support the Boycott of a Day of Silence

by @ 6:46 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Anti-Gay Bullying, Ex-gays, Gay News, Joe's Rants, Nonviolence, Stephen Bennett

A coalition of anti-gay advocates led by Stephen Bennett, have banded together to urge parents to pull their kids from school on April 18th as a protest of the protest, a “Day of Silence“. I have been pondering this protest of the protest and think it is great! Good for them and good for the protest.

Here are the reasons why:

To start with the only kids left in the schools will be kids who are silent. I suspect, the numbers of kids who will stay home won’t be that big since the youth of today are far more accepting of gays, according to national surveys. The show of solidarity will be a very supportive thing for gay youth to see. The show of silence from more kids will send a stronger message to school officials of the problem at hand. (Read the latest reports on kids being bullied for their perceived sexual orientation, also read what mental health advocates say about the damage that does to youth)

Gay youth will see who their friends are and so will everyone else. Much like the Children’s March of 1963, the world will be watching this one. For one of the first times, many will see who supports violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians and who doesn’t. The community will see the number that support the violence, discrimination the gay youth face is smaller than those who are opposed to the violence. The Day of Silence is a protest for those who can no longer speak since their voices have been silenced by violence. Without the kids who will not participate the percent of kids who will participate will be greater. Rather than 20% of the kids present taking part in the protest 80% will be. This sends a clear message to administrators that lots of kids support the day of silence since the only kids they see will be silent ones.

The best way to be silent, is to not be there at all. So even though the intention is to not participate in the Day of Silence, these kids pulled from school are participating. The absence is their silence whether they know it or not. I guess I should send Stephen Bennett a thank you note for making the Day of Silence more successful by taking the problems out of it, the bullies.

Day of silence is about kids being bullied by other kids who misunderstand, have been mis-educated by their parents and have misguided by their churches. If you are curious who is bullying the gay youth, it will be the absent youth on April 18th. Remember that hate is not born into people. Hate is taught to children by their parents. This action will help identify those kids who are being taught to hate by their parents. At least teachers will finally know who to watch out for!

Again I reminded myself that all tyranny falls. Even Stephen Bennett, one day I feel assured people will look back at him and say what they do about George Wallace or Senator Theodore Bilbo, now.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Propaganda Techniques and the use of the “adjective” in posts about crime

by @ 8:45 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Anti-Gay Bullying, Gay News, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Nonviolence, Stephen Bennett

One of the more interesting tactics of fear used by the anti-gay industry is the use of the adjective “homosexual” on a person who has committed a crime, even if that person was not a homosexual.   This is a tactic of fear, not reality and it helps to fuel the climate of violence against gays and lesbians.   The tactic involves this simple technique, when a person commits a crime, simple insert their race, immigration status, sexual orientation or religion.  For example a head line using this tactic would read:

Sentence of fifteen years for (fill in religion, sexual orientation or race here) murderer was pass down today

The object of the game, much like the propaganda of Joseph Gobbels, is to link said group to crime.   They want you to believe the fact they are homosexual, or black, or Jewish (or appear to be) is the reason they have committed the crime.  Have you ever seen a murderer called a “Heterosexual murderer”?   This tactic creates a false image of these groups by linking them to crime thus creating fear, thus creating the license for sick individuals to commit crimes of violence against them (hate crimes).  After all, these groups are the enemy, right?

In the cases I will point out here, I am focusing on GLBT folks, but if you click many of the links, you will see this tactic goes back many, many years.   Generally, this tactic is used mostly by far right groups like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Americans for Truth and Fred Phelps.   Often they twist the details of the crime to spin it so it seems like the criminals sexuality was cause for the crime.   The simple use of the adjective “homosexual” onto any crime suddenly makes it seem like “homosexuality” is really to blame and not the person.  It is a way of blaming all gays and lesbians for any one crime.

Generally, those who use this tactic are one’s who want you to believe that everything about homosexuality is evil, therefore anything gays do is evil.   Stacy Harp has been fond of this tactic, as well as Peter La Barbera,  and most of the far right Christian Press such as “lifesite” or “World Net Daily“.   Stephen Bennett is another who tends to use this tactic of attaching the adjective to the crime hoping to link the two.  Read this article from Stephen where he claims the criminals were “homosexual murderers”, yet none of them identify as homosexual and were in fact, married heterosexuals.

The reality is simple.   Crimes are committed by criminals and criminals come in all shapes and sizes, but only the anti-gay industry tries to connect the crime to the persons sexuality.   This tactic was often used by the Nazi’s who tried to link Jews to a number of crimes including murder.  This tactic was also used by David Duke’s racist movement against blacks.  Duke used a famous speech by Senator Bilbo of Mississippi who warned of America’s fall should “negro and white blood be mixed” to show how blacks commit crime at a higher rate then non-blacks.   Of course the statistics were skewed and misused to make a false case, but that created fear of blacks, again creating license to commit violence against blacks since they would be seen as the enemy.

This tactic is a license to sick minds to commit violence against GLBT folks because after all “those gays” are bad, evil murderers, predators, etc…. so it is okay to “get em”   This tactic is also license for everyday folks to discriminate against GLBT folks since the barrage of negative information is so great and widely distributed by the religious right.   As long as the anti-gay industry continues to paint GLBT people as evil, criminals, sick, drug addicted, violent, and many other myths they spread, the violence against us will continue.   As long as they fight hate crime laws, one of the few tactics to stop the violence, the violence will continue.     Hate Speech has a direct impact on hate crime.  Words have impact.

Sadly, the religious right refuses to see the damage they cause.  They sadly have little interest in curbing the violence and continue to fight all other efforts to fight the violence against gays and lesbians.    They create the climate of violence by their demonizing (which they say is morally justified) of homosexuality and then deny any part in the violence that happens to gays, the bullying of youth, the discrimination.   We must fight such hate not with more hate, but with unarmed truth and love.

Call your elected officials today and tell them you support hate crime protections for ALL.

See the side by side of anti-gay and anti-Jewish hate speech at hatecrime.org

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Anti-Gay Groups, Violence and Gay Youth

by @ 7:05 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Anti-Gay Bullying, Ex-gays, Exodus, Gay News, Hate Crimes, hate speech

While bullying and violence continue to be a problem in this country for all youth, anti-gay forces have done zilch to solve this problem.  365gay.com is reporting today that two states, Florida and Iowa have anti-bullying laws on the table that are moving forward with protections for students perceived to be gay or lesbian.   It doesn’t really matter if the students are or are not gay, it is about how people perceive them.  Just so the anti-gay forces don’t try to claim this is a special rights thing, it covers all students, even if those students claim the ex-gay identity.

A father whose son was badly beaten in school by other students told the school board:

“For 22 minutes of my life I had to sit there and watch that clock tick by, and I had to contemplate I was going to have to go home and tell my wife we didn’t have a son no more”

It is proven by the science, over and over again that kids are bullied based on sexual orientation.   Many of these kids are not even gay, but seen as gay by their peers.   Anti-bullying laws would send a message that this violent behavior towards fellow students is wrong, yet anti-gay groups are against any form of anti-violence, anti-hate crime, or other that would reduce, stop or prevent violence against GLBT students, and even adults.

SO what are the alternatives?  What could we ask of anti-gay, especially religious organizations that respect their beliefs, yet stop the violence.   Would it even matter?

Anti-gay organizations see anything that protects gays as supporting the “lifestyle” as they call it.  They claim that anti-bulling laws are just a way for gays to gain acceptance in society by playing the victim.   Yet the statistics clearly show that no one is playing victim, this problem is real and exists.  No one is playing anything, they are suffering from something and it is violence.  They fall to realize that some level of acceptance is necessary to stop the violence, even if that is just tolerance.   But many anti-gay groups seem to have a zero tolerance for anything gay.   So what are they doing to stop the violence?

While anti-gay groups like Americans for TruthMission America and Exodus International propose that GLBT folks are pushing agendas in the schools, real kids are the victims of violence and torture and they are doing nothing to stop it.   They are also preventing anyone else from stopping it.   Does that mean they support it?   If you ask them they scream no, but actions speak louder than words. What are these groups doing to stop the violence…..not a fucking thing.

Previous coverage of this issue:

Conservatives refuse to stop the violence against gay youth

Making Schools UNSAFE for Gays and Lesbians

Exodus Youth makes insincere attempt to curb violence

The Climate of Hate Continues with Help from Anti-gay Conservatives

Hell and anti-gay violence for youth

 

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hell and anti-gay violence for youth

by @ 9:22 pm. Filed under Anti-Gay Bullying, Gay News, Hate Crimes

This story is sad, but unfortunately a reality for so many gay youth!

A GAY teenager was forced to take refuge in a town centre bank after he was chased down the street by homophobic louts, writes Steve Creswell.

And the 16-year-old told the WHT the incident was just the latest in a string of callous attacks which are making his life a daily nightmare.

The youngster, who did not wish to be named for fear of further aggression, was walking down Howardsgate in WGC when a car pulled up alongside him.

Three lads then yelled ‘oi, you gay ****’ before one jumped out and started chasing him.

“It was terrifying,” he said.

“They drove on the pavement and chased me to the bank where Halifax staff had to lock me in for my own safety.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed officers had attended the scene at around noon on December 19 and arrested an 18-year-old.

He was later cautioned for using threatening words and behaviour which included homophobic remarks.

The victim said he had been shouted at or attacked at least 30 times in the past few years, just for being gay.

“The week before this I was pushed into a bush and threatened with a knife,” he said.

“It’s really upsetting for me. Being gay isn’t about anything other than loving another human.

“Welwyn Hatfield should get used to the idea and be more open-minded.

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