HRC to Sarah Palin: Use Daughter’s Facebook Slur as Teachable Moment

According to media accounts, someone watching the new Palin reality show posted on Facebook that the show was failing.  That prompted Willow Palin to respond by saying, “Haha your so gay. I have no idea who you are, But what I’ve seen pictures of, your disgusting… My sister has a kid and is still hot…. Tre stfu. Your such a faggot.” [sic]

Today HRC called on the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate and current reality TV show star Sarah Palin to come out against the kind of anti-LGBT bullying sadly typified by her 16-year-old daughter’s posting on Facebook. 

“Anti-gay language by teenagers often starts at home – or at least, that’s where it should be stopped,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “It is our sincere hope that Sarah Palin will take this opportunity to speak out and condemn these kinds of insensitive remarks.  It’s time for ‘Mamma Grizzly’ to teach all youngsters a lesson in decency and respect.”

Over the past year a number of teenagers have taken their own lives after being the victims of anti-gay bullying or harassment by other teenagers – most predominantly in the mid-teenage age range of Willow Palin.  Many public figures, including President Obama, have addressed the issue, telling teenagers who are struggling with their sexuality and the bullying and harassment that sometimes goes with it, that it will get better. Sarah Palin has remained silent about the bullying-related suicides while publicly supporting political candidates who oppose equality and have anti-gay records including Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Sharron Angle in Nevada.

“Sarah Palin has gotten away with not speaking up when the nation’s kids needed her most,” Solmonese said. “Sarah Palin, we ask you, will you use this as a teachable moment and tell all of our young people that this kind of language is simply unacceptable?”

To help stop the name-calling, bullying and gender stereotyping that so many students face every day, the HRC Foundation has developed the Welcoming Schools initiative.  This innovative program gives elementary school administrators, teachers and parents across the country the tools to prevent bias-based teasing and harassment among elementary school students.  It helps kids learn respect and tolerance early on, to prevent violence later in middle and high school.

“Willow Palin might not have gotten the kind of anti-bullying and name-calling lessons that could have made her think twice about this kind of language,” added Solmonese. “But there’s no reason her mother can’t use this moment as a way to reach out and make every young person feel valued and accepted.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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More ‘Teachable Moments’ via Bishop Eddie Long

Teachable moments on Bishop Eddie Long provided by Wallace Best, Ph.D., Professor of Religion, Princeton University:

Public denunciations of homosexuality often mask private same-sex desire. Just ask Ted Haggart, Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Richard Curtis, and Ken Melman. So, I was not surprised when I learned that Bishop Eddie Long, the Georgia mega-church pastor now facing charges that he abused his “spiritual authority” to win sexual favors, is a staunch opponent of gay marriage and a vocal critic of gay rights. In December 2004 Long led a “Re-Ignite the Legacy” march through the streets of Atlanta to, in his words, “present a vision of righteousness and justice.” Opposition to same-sex marriage was at the top of the march’s agenda, earning Long the title of “Anti-Gay Bishop.”

The charges by four young men have only recently been filed, and it is not yet clear if Long broke any laws. But as we wait for this story to continue to unfold and for the facts to become clear, there is much to learn from it already. If nothing else, the Bishop Long same-sex scandal has provided us with a crucial teaching and learning moment, and we must seize it.

To my mind, one of the most important lessons is this: If your pastor drives a Bentley and wears a watch with a value equivalent to your annual salary, it is time for you to find another church. But the lessons go even deeper, cutting to the heart of black church history and culture, particularly as it relates to issues of sex and sexuality.

Is it me, or is this scandal not being covered properly in the mainstream cable media? I’ve seen scant segments on the continuing story and fascinating observations from African Americans on their perception of the Bishop Long news item.




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—  John Wright