WATCH: HISD Board gets earful on anti-gay flier

Manuel Rodriguez

Trustee Manuel Rodriguez in the hot seat as public condemns his homophobia

A standing-room-only crowd greeted the Houston Independent School Board last night. While the board’s monthly meetings often attract an assortment of parents, community members and gadflies many in the crowd were there with a decidedly non-educational issue on their minds: the anti-gay flier distributed by Trustee Manuel Rodriguez during his recent reelection campaign. As previously reported by Houstini, the flier encouraged Houstonians to vote against Rodriquez’s opponent, Ramiro Fonseca. because of his sexual orientation.

The first to address the issue were Rodriquez’s fellow trustees, Anna Eastman and Juliet Stipeche. Eastman spoke passionately of the importance of HISD’s anti-bullying policy which “protects people from harassment and bullying based on attributes we all have,” and said that she felt Rodriguez’s actions violated the spirit of that policy. Stipeche, near tears, read the names of teens who had committed suicide after enduring anti-LGBT bullying.

The board had planned to vote on a new ethics policy at the meeting that covered behavior by trustees. At the encouragement of two speakers, and the motion of Eastman, the board decided to delay that vote until December so that a policy stating that encouraging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression could be added.

After three and a half hours the crowd in the board’s chambers had dwindled, with most of those who had come to confront Rodriquez still waiting. When Board President Paula Harris finally opened the floor for public comment the first person to step up was Houston GLBT Political Caucus President Noel Freeman. Freeman told the board that the extant of Rodriquez’s homophobic campaigning was far greater than the flier which had drawn so much media attention. “What you all might not know is that he also went on television and said that he just couldn’t understand why a 54 year old unmarried man would want, quote ‘access to children,’” said Freeman. “That statement in and of itself, and the implications made therein is reprehensible and simply disgusting.”

Freeman asked that the Board remove Rodriquez as their representative on the Texas Council of School Boards, and as the board’s vice president. He went on to criticize the apology issued by Rodriquez after the election, saying that it did not address the concerns of the GLBT community, nor was it delivered to the community but rather to the press. “You cannot simply say ‘oops, I’m sorry’ and this all goes away,” said Freeman. “We will never forget what you did!”

Board President Harris had made frequent reference throughout the meeting to a group of students from HISD’s Milby High School, letting them know that their time to speak would come. As the students’ designated speaker stepped to the podium his hands visibly shook in nervousness. “When I first heard about [Rodriquez's flier] I did not agree with it because I believe that the message was that a gay person could not be as successful as a straight person and that really hurt me,” said the student. “My question to you is are you going to help us stop the bullying, or are you going to be a bully yourself?”

Perhaps the strongest response from the board was garnered by Paul Gonzales, who choked back tears as he described the challenges he faces as a gay man and parent of an HISD student. “I have a kid, and I have a kid that I have enrolled in HISD, and I love her. Me and my partner every single day are trying to show her that there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing wrong with our family. So for a board member to say that my family is reprehensible to him… I have to explain [to her] that there are still people who consider us not the kind of family that deserve respect,” said Paul to the board, who were fighting back tears of their own. “GLBT parents like myself trust HISD to give us that haven for our children, that they’re not going to be looked at any differently. But the words that we saw on this flier just made me cringe to think that this isn’t the place that I thought that it was.”

After the jump, watch some of the eighteen people who spoke to the board.

—  admin

Chronicle blogger blames ‘It Gets Better” project for LGBT teen suicides

Kathleen McKinley

Kathleen McKinley

Kathy McKinley is a self-described “conservative activist” who blogs for the Houston Chronicle under the monicker “TexasSparkle.” In a recent post McKinley took the “It Gets Better” project to task for what she believes is their culpability in the suicides of LGBT teens:

“These kids were sold a bill of goods by people who thought they were being kind. The “It will get better” campaign just didn’t think it through. They didn’t think about the fact that kids are different from adults. They handle things differently. They react differently. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE KIDS. You can grumble all day long how unfair it is that straight teens can be straight in high school, and gay kids can’t, but life is unfair. Isn’t the price they are paying too high?? Is it so much to ask them to stand at the door of adulthood before they “come out” publically? Because it may save their life.”

McKinnley’s primary confusion about the “It Gets Better” campaign (other than its name) is the assumption that the goal is to encourage teens to come out of the closet, or encourage them to become sexually active:

“Why in the world would you give teenagers a REASON to tease you? Oh, yes, because the adults tell you to embrace who you are, the only problem? Kids that age are just discovering who they are. They really have no idea yet. The adults tell you to “come out,” when what we should be telling them is that sex is for adults, and there is plenty of time for figuring out that later.”

I would like to encourage Ms. McKinley to watch the “It Gets Better” project’s founder Dan Savages’ video. Please, Ms. McKinley, listen, and tell me if you hear Savage or his partner Terry say anything about teens coming out or having sex. I think what you’ll hear them say is that all of the things that most kids, gay and straight, dream of (falling in love, starting a family, having the support of their parents, co-workers and friends) are possible for LGBT teens. I think you’ll hear them talk about how difficult their teen years were, and about the fears they had that their parents would reject them, that they’d never find success and that they’d always be alone.

Choosing to have sex is one of the most personal decision a person will ever make. For LGBT people, choosing to come out is another. I have not watched all of the thousands of videos from people who have participated in the “It Gets Better” project. It’s possible that there are a few that tell kids to come out right away, or to become sexually active, but I doubt it.

Every video in the project that I have seen has had the same simple message: that the person making it understands how tortuously awful the experience of being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender in Junior and High School can be, but there is a wonderful world of loving, vibrant, successful, engaged LGBT adults out there and if queer teens can just hang on, just for a few years, they can join it. I doubt that any of the contributors to the project think that hanging on for a few years will be easy. I suspect that most of them remember, with excruciating clarity, contemplating ending those temporary years of terror with a permanent solution and that is why they choose to reach out.

I grew up without role models, where people like Barbara Gittings, Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk didn’t exist . I grew up in a small town where the two men with the pink house were talked about in hushed tones that immediately fell silent when I walked into the room, because it wasn’t appropriate for children’s ears. I grew up in a world where my mother wouldn’t tell me what “gay” meant, where the evening news was turned off if it reported on the AIDS crisis, where I wasn’t given words to describe who I was, and so the only word I could find was “alone.”

I was lucky. My suicide attempt failed.

I was lucky, I survived, and went to college, and found a church that embraced and loved LGBT people. That’s where I met doctors and lawyers and business owners and teachers who were like me. That’s where I met two wonderful women who had built a life together for over 50 years. That’s where I discovered I wasn’t alone and that being gay didn’t mean that i couldn’t have all of those things I’d dreamed of.

That is what McKinley missed in her blog post. In her haste to lay blame on anything other than the overwhelming prejudice perpetuated by schools, churches and governments against LGBT people McKinley missed the fact that kids need role models. In her rush to shove queer teens back into the closet she forgot that human beings need the hope of a better world, lest they give up in despair.

McKinley got one thing right in her post. She titled it “Are Adults Also To Blame For Gay Teen Suicides? Yes.” Adults are to blame for LGBT teen suicides. When adults hide the stunning diversity of God’s creation from their children they create a vision of reality that some of those children can’t see themselves in. When adults tell LGBT teens that they should be invisible then it is all too clear who is to blame when those teens believe them, and take steps to make themselves invisible permanently.

To all the LGBT kids out there: it does get better. There are adults who care about you and want all the wonderful things you dream of to come true, but you have to hang on. If you need to keep who are secret to remain safe then do so. If you need someone to talk to please call the Trevor Project at 866-4-U-Trevor (866-488-7386).

—  admin

Starvoice • 04.29.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Lesley Gore turns 65 on Monday. Much has changed in music since singer Lesley Gore recorded her biggest hit “It’s My Party” back in 1963. But maybe it was Gore who “changed” the most. The iconic singer came out as lesbian in 2005 and stated she knew in her late teens that she was attracted to women. Now we have to go back and listen to all her lyrics again.

……………………………….

THIS WEEK

Uranus, newly in Aries, cranks up spontaneous individualism and assertion. The sun is in Taurus, semi-square to Uranus provoking a lot of stubbornness. Don’t challenge others with an uppity, obstinate attitude; look for creative new ways to show loyalty and resilience.

………………………………

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Life’s tough blows have been piling up, but don’t let it give you piles. Much as people depend on the solid, reliable you, you need to be able to let it out and lean on someone else.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Your friends are only human. Don’t take disappointments to heart. Cutting off communications is a big mistake, but so is over-talking the problem. A short break may be best.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Your friends’ ideas fare too much from the heart, not enough from the brains. Going along with them could hurt your rep and your wallet. Thank them for their ideas and change the subject.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
In your ideal relationship you’re the star married to your agent or manager. That means you can’t always be the boss! Arguments are normal but listening remains more important than speaking.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Novel sex techniques are a blast but require some safety. They also open up a lot of suppressed feelings. How well do you know your partner? Just be sure that he or she can be trusted.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
You and your mate have a great time exploring kinky new fun. Anything from silk scarf bondage to cattle prods is open to testing. Slow, careful and easy is the best approach, at first anyway.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
You are part of a team and everyone else is as important as you. As much as your special talents do contribute to the team, cultivate humility as one of those talents.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Argue about movie, art, sports, anything fun or creative; you’re sure to find amazing new ideas. Keep your mind and ears open and respectful of other notions. Be polite with the idiots.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Livening up your home life should be a fun creative challenge, not a painful economic one. Unleash your dark side in planning changes, but not in how you treat housemates.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Criticism of family, housemates or your community is surprising in its harshness. If you can’t be kind, give your loved ones a break and look for schmucks who deserve your wrath.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Financial surprises work your nerves. You need a break. Try something new and different even if it’s just a quiet stroll in a park or country road you’ve never trod before.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
The cost of living force some choices in how you unwind. Look ahead 10 years and imagine what friendships, talents and skills you’d like to have developed through your hobbies.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 29, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Will Corbin Fisher’s Gay Porn Piracy Crackdown Inevitably Out Gay Teens?

Like movie studios and record companies before them, it's hard to fault companies like Lucas Entertainment and Corbin Fisher for trying to fight online piracy. Both companies have launched legal battles against Internet users trading their porn flicks on BitTorrent without paying for them. (Corbin Fisher went so far as to offer a two-week amnesty period where users could come forward and pay a one-time $ 1,000 fee and lose any risk of a lawsuit.) But with lawyers preparing to go fishing for the names belonging to tens of thousands of IP addresses, are these gay smut companies also about to out gay teens? And adults?

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—  David Taffet

Watch: Yankees Fans Proudly Torment 2 Male Teens With ‘Y R U Gay’ Anthem

It's no secret the New York Yankees' stadium is filled with fine members of society who know all the words to "Y R U Gay," the uncreative spoof on the Village People's "YMCA" that's used to taunt fans of the opposing team. Videos of fans targeting complete strangers are not new to the Internet. Generally speaking, "Y R U Gay" is (one of?) the theme song of the Bleacher Creatures, a loosely knit group of Yankees fans in the cheap seats in the back. And while, after being alerted to fans singing the song (because they were blind to it otherwise?), the team's flack said "the Yankees have zero tolerance for this and any kind of abuse," and that any singing "Y R U Gay" will "not be tolerated," and that security will begin policing the bleachers for such public performances, here we see what appears to be two mop-haired male teens being surrounded by a group of adult men, waving their fingers in the younger guys' faces, asking them why they're gay, and testifying they saw them "sucking some D-I-C-K.:

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Watch: Sigourney Weaver Tears Up Over Bullied Gay Teens

 

Weaver

Sigourney Weaver appeared on CNN's American Morning yesterday to talk about her role as Mary Griffith, the real-life mother of a bullied gay teen, whom she portrayed in Prayers for Bobby, which is now out on DVD.

The issue of bullied gay teens clearly resonates with Weaver, who choked up talking about the role. She also talks about lgbt civil rights and 'DADT' briefly at the end of the clip.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Ever wonder why gay or lesbian teens kill themselves at higher rates?

So much for the myth constantly being paraded by the right that gay and lesbian teens kill themselves at a higher rate because they are innately unhappy with their supposed choice of being gay or lesbian. A new study from Yale’s “The Office Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics” proves society punishes them simply for being who they are.

Gay and lesbian teens in the United States are about 40 percent more likely than their straight peers to be punished by schools, police and the courts, according to a study published Monday, which finds that girls are especially at risk for unequal treatment.

The study, is a welcomed one, when there has been such a focus on why gay teens tend to commit suicide at higher rates:

The study brings punishment differences for gay teens into focus at a time when public concern about torment and bullying is heightened. In September, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student jumped off a bridge to his death after his gay sexual encounter was allegedly filmed by a roommate on a webcam and announced on Twitter.

Andrew Barnett, executive director of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, in Washington, says it best:

“This is a symptom of school administrators, teachers, court officials, police officers – anyone who works with youth – not necessarily being equipped to handle the challenges” faced by the teens in their care, he said. “It’s much easier to punish the youth than to work with them and figure out why they may keep getting in fights and what is leading to this behavior.”

My answer why gay and lesbian kids get picked on more than straight kids? Because they can. Therefore, the adults in the LGBT community, who know all too well how this behavior plays out for LGBT teens need to be their advocates every chance we get. We are their only hope, and in the words of Harvey Milk, “We’ve got to give them hope.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Let’s Meet 2 Adult Men Accused Of Getting Teens In Their Care Drunk And Raping Them!

Today in disgusting men who assault younger male victims, I've got a twofer for ya! First up is Ronnie Sagere (pictured), a 34-year-old Brooklyn man accused of raping a boy he met while working at the Cleveland Christian Home. After the boy was discharged back two his parents, the pair became Facebook friends in September and Sagere began showering him with clothes and other gifts, prosecutors allege, before Sagere got his 17-year-old victim drunk on Four Loko (yes, that crap) and "had his way with him." Oh, and Sagere — who is being held on 0k bond on charges of rape, gross sexual imposition, and kidnapping — is reportedly HIV-positive, which added a "felonious assault" charge. Not enough for you?

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New Study Offers Remarkable Statistic on Teens Raised by Lesbian Mothers

The following comes from the Director of HRC’s Family Project, Ellen Kahn:

A Nice, Round Number Says A Lot

Amid the ongoing public debate about whether LGBT parents are “good enough,” and assertions from our conservative opponents that children raised by lesbian and gay parents are “at risk,” another powerful study published today that should put a pall on this conversation.

0%—that is the number of 17 year olds raised by lesbian moms, who report being physically or sexually abused by a parent or other adult caregiver in a recent report from the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study.  This number is quite remarkable, particularly in contrast to the dreadful statistic that in general, 26% of adolescents report being physically abused by a parent or caregiver, and 8% report being sexually abused.

In addition to the 0% abuse statistic in this study, just 2.8% of these same teens identify as gay or lesbian, consistent with statistics in the general population.  This should go far in debunking the myth perpetrated by anti-LGBT forces that children raised by gay parents are more likely to be gay themselves (as if that’s a bad thing!)—that we can somehow wield that kind of influence on sexual orientation. I’m sure many of our parents would be the first to testify that as hard as they tried, prayed or wished for us to be heterosexual, they could not influence us.

78 teens were included in this groundbreaking longitudinal study headed by Dr. Nanette Gartrell, all of whom were born into lesbian-headed families.  I hope that people pay attention to this study and are curious about why these particular families do not experience violence. I also hope that professionals and organizations that support families and children can identify effective approaches to supporting the millions of children and youth who do face abuse in their own families.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Phony Christians shedding crocodile tears over the bullying of lgbt teens

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Of all religious right responses to the recent suicides of gay teens and bullying against lgbt youth in general, the following has to take the proverbial cake:

Real Christians Say 'No' to Bullying and Homosexual Behavior

A coalition of pro-family leaders today urges Christian families to be faithful to biblical morality and discerning in the face of false and irresponsible accusations. Christianity and traditional values are not the cause of teen suicides, and attempts to link the two are deceptive and will ultimately harm children.

“Gay” activists nationwide are fueling an effort to indict traditional moral values as “guilty until proven innocent” in some bullying incidents involving teens. Their proposed solutions end up sexualizing teens at young ages into known high-risk behaviors and silencing concerned parents.

Now, the U.S. Department of Education seems to be joining the effort, setting the stage for implicating traditional morality as the cause of some cases of bullying, and using the force of federal government to force pro-homosexual, pro-”transgender” indoctrination programs onto local schools.

“Just say no” to these outrageous and unsubstantiated claims, said Buddy Smith, Executive Vice President, American Family Association (www.afa.net). “Bullying can be prevented without endorsing homosexual behavior. Activist adults essentially are saying that American parents who want their kids to avoid high risk homosexual sex acts and remain abstinent until traditional marriage, are harming kids. This is preposterous, and local parents and communities need to resist enforced political correctness.”

Authentic Christians will remember several key concepts from Scripture:

1. Homosexual behavior is always a sin, God's plan for sexuality is male/female marriage, and God has not changed His mind about this (Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; Matthew 19:4-6; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

2. Jesus described marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and that humans were created male and female “from the beginning.” Gender change is a defiant and ungrateful sin against God's direction and design (Matthew 19:4-6)

3. Violence against children is wrong. Jesus was very clear in his protection of children and also had harsh words for those who would forbid children from knowing His truth and love ( Luke 17:2; Luke 18: 15-16). “Gay” activists want to keep children from knowing, loving and following the real Jesus Christ. At the very least, schools must not interfere in the desires of parents to raise their own children to follow Christ and live out biblical morality.

4. School boards aid child corruption and insult faithful families when they allow “gay-straight alliances,” homosexual indoctrination programs, permission for use of opposite sex restrooms, and any of the other ridiculous demands of the “gay” lobby.

So in other words, in spite  a CNN poll which says churches contribute to the problem of gay teen suicide, these folks who call themselves “real Christians” continue to play the “it's the rabid homosexual activists” card.

Personally, I'm astounded by the audacity of these folks because you see, I don't necessarily blame the church for this problem. And of course I don't blame the lgbt community.

 The problem is staring us all in the face. It's these “real Christians” that are to blame. For years, they have bent over backwards to demonize the lgbt community, making us look like the other, and basically calling us evil. Their actions and comments create an atmosphere that make it difficult for not only lgbt teens but lgbts in general.

 

And now they have the temerity to push a statement blaming other for their actions.

You think I am wrong? Well let's look at some of these folks on this list:

1. Linda Harvey, president of Mission America – The former ad executive who “found Christ” and also publicly said gays and people who support us shouldn't be around children because, amongst other things, we will cause them to be sexually abused:

When people have views supporting homosexuality, they should not be involved with youth in any way, period. Here’s why:
• They will provide inaccurate, misleading information to kids;
• They may limit a student’s opportunity to hear warnings about the behavior;
• They may advocate or model inappropriate behavior;
• They may be directly involved in the molestation of kids themselves; or
• They may be in a position to allow others to do so. – Fairy Tales Don't Come True: Impressionable Kids and Homosexuality

 
2. Micah Clark, American Family Association of Indiana - who in 2002 bragged that during a hearing on domestic partnerships in Indianapolis, he not only cited the distorted data of Paul (gay men stuff gerbils of their rectums) Cameron, but sidestepped a councilmember who called him out for it:

“The author of the (domestic partner benefit) bill . . . tried to come at me for using a Paul Cameron study. I diverted that one pretty well by pointing out that I have spoken with Dr. Paul Cameron and her information was wrong. In any event, I said it was published in a well respected peer review journal and the research has not been disproved. I have been waiting for that one for years.” (Indianapolis Rejects Domestic Partner Benefits, Concerned Women for America, August 8, 2002)



3. Gary Glenn, President, American Family Association of Michigan - who this year said that we should “criminalize homosexual behavior.”

4. J. Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs, Liberty Counsel – who not only defends countries which persecute lgbts, describes gay relationships as “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love”, but also makes it a point to encourage people to focus more on the “ick factor” of gay sex.

5. Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel – who recently implied that children raised in gay households have a danger of catching HIV/AIDS.

6. Peter LaBarbera, President, Americans for Truth – who really needs no introduction.  When it comes to demonizing lgbts, LaBarbera has not only written the book but also the movie. These are just a few of his acts:

1. Smearing gays via a CDC report on an increase on HIV while intentionally downplaying the part of the report which clearly places the blame on this increase on homophobia (while at the same time implying that the report “dispels the homophobia causes AIDS propaganda”)

2.   Defending a bill which would lead to the imprisonment and possible genocide of Ugandans simply for being gay or lesbian.

  3. Going to subcultural leather events and using the “racy” behavior of gays attending to stigmatize the entire lgbt community while ignoring the behavior of heterosexuals at the same events.

4 . Making ugly comments about a “transgender quota” in the Obama Administration simply because the president appoints a (very, very qualified) transgendered woman to an office in his administration.

5. Instigating a  highly inappropriate comment about gays, lesbians, and sexual intercourse; a comment so ugly that it led to a feud between three religious right groups.

6. Continuously citing the work of the discredited researcher Paul Cameron, even when made aware of his dubious history of getting kicked out of medical groups, censures and rebukes.

7. Aiding and abetting Conservapedia spread lies about gay health using the fictional term “gay bowel syndrome.”

8. Freely admitting to errors when it comes to claims against the gay and lesbian community but not taking responsibility for them.

9. Falsely accusing the Democratic National Convention and the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of putting on a sadomasochistic event.

10. Attempting to imply that a staph infection was the new HIV and then lying about his implications when caught.

When these people come out with this statement about bullying and everyone focuses on the church, we all miss the point. The church is not the problem, it is these folks who exploit the beliefs of the church who are the problem. And they need to be exposed.

Because quite frankly, their statements on the bullying of lgbt teens is the equivalent of a pyromaniac issuing a statement about fire prevention.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin