Tuesday, June 09, 2009

More attacks on GLSEN'S Kevin Jennings - Now the Family Research Council gets in the act

While the lgbt community is distracted by marriage equality, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and anger at President Obama, the religious right is attempting to play the death of a thousand cuts game on GLSEN's Kevin Jennings

There seems to be an attempt to create a rising storm regarding President Obama's pick of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) founder Kevin Jennings as Assistant Deputy Secretary in the Office of Safe Schools.

The religious right have been steadily attempting to portray Jennings as a danger to children and another cog in the so-called gay conspiracy to indoctrinate children.

The usual characters, Peter LaBarbera, Linda Harvey, and One News Now, have already cast Jennings as some sort of psychological lamia out to strip children of their innocence.

Now the Family Research Council via its blog has gotten into the act. Let's look at the group's claims:

View of Christians

Addressing a church audience on March 20, 2000 in New York City — just days before “Fistgate” — GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings offered a stinging (and quite intolerant) assessment of how to deal with religious conservatives:

Twenty percent of people are hard-core fair-minded [pro-homosexual] people. Twenty percent are hard-core [anti-homosexual] bigots. We need to ignore the hard-core bigots, get more of the hard-core fair-minded people to speak up, and we’ll pull that 60 percent [of people in the middle] … over to our side. That’s really what I think our strategy has to be. We have to quit being afraid of the religious right. We also have to quit — … I’m trying to find a way to say this. I’m trying not to say, ‘[F---] ‘em!’ which is what I want to say, because I don’t care what they think! [audience laughter] Drop dead! It should be noted that GLSEN and Jennings make heavy use of the words “respect” and “tolerance” in their public rhetoric and in descriptions of their programs.

The claim that Jennings is bigoted towards Christians is debatably inaccurate. The quote says nothing about Christians, but rather some folks who oppose lgbt equality.

And based on how these individuals and organizations have opposed lgbt equality in the past, Jennings has a point with his comments.

However that is not the point. FRC tries to imply that Jennings is bigoted towards Christians much like a racist would be bigoted towards African-Americans. And the quote the organization uses just doesn't justify that implication, despite the profanity used by Jennings.

You will notice that the example mentioned "fistgate." FRC's blog goes into detail about this alleged incident further down:

GLSEN and “Fistgate”

GLSEN, which promotes homosexual clubs and the homosexual lifestyle in high schools, middle schools and grade schools and is the driving force behind the annual “Day of Silence” celebration of homosexuality

“The most notorious education scandal involving homosexual activists is a GLSEN sponsored conference that occurred on March 25, 2000, dubbed ‘Fistgate’ by conservatives. Three homosexual activists employed by the Massachusetts Departments of Health and Education led a youth workshop titled ‘What They Didn’t Tell You about Queer Sex & Sexuality in Health Class’ — part of the annual Boston-GLSEN ‘Teach Out’ conference held at Tufts University. The ‘Queer Sex’ session, advertised to ‘youth only ages 14 to 21,’ was attended by Massachusetts family advocate Scott Whitemen, who taped it while standing in the back of the room.

In the workshop, instructor Michael Gaucher, prompted by a teen’s question, verbally guided the students on the mechanics of ‘fisting’ — a homosexual slang term for a sadistic sex act in which a man inserts his hand and arm into another person’s anal cavity.

Another instructor, Margot Abels, said fisting ‘often gets a really bad rap,’ and described it innocuously as ‘an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with.’ Abels and Gaucher also guided the students on techniques of oral sodomy and lesbian sex.”

"Fistgate," which I have talked about repeatedly, is one of those phony moral panics created by Massachusetts religious right group Mass Resistance. The group illegally entered and taped a discussion from a Massachusetts state conference on teens and sexual behavior.

My take on the so-called controversy is here. But the most important thing about this situation regarding Jennings and GLSEN is other than helping to sponsor the conference, neither Jennings nor GLSEN had anything to do with the questions asked or the controversy that took place because of it.

One last point I want to make:

On Statutory Rape

‘In his own writings and books listed on the GLSEN [Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network] Website, I’ve reported, Kevin Jennings has given tacit nods of approval to sex between young teens and adults,’ (Linda) Harvey told WND. ‘In addition to that, the writings and books, many of which I’ve read and are incredibly graphic, seem to
normalize early teen same-sex sexual behaviors.’

As I have said so many times before, Linda Harvey is a phony expert. She is the founder of Mission America and a former ad executive who became "born again." She has no credentials or expertise. She also has a very, very negative view of anyone who is lgbt supportive. This is what she said three years ago:

When people have views supporting homosexuality, they should not be involved with youth in any way, period. Because they:

will provide inaccurate, misleading information to kids;
may limit a student's opportunity to hear warnings about the behavior;
may advocate or model inappropriate behavior;
may be directly involved in the molestation of kids themselves; or
may be in a position to allow others to do so.

I think it's safe to say that Harvey is not a credible source of information regarding lgbts.

The attacks on Jennings is important because they are taking place while the lgbt community is distracted with marriage equality, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and our anger at President Obama for allegedly not moving fast enough on our issues.

How long will it be before a letter signed by several religious right groups asking for Jennings's removal goes out to the media?

We had better get on the ball with this before we are caught with our pants down.

Past writings on the religious right attacks on Jennings and GLSEN:

'Fistgate' and President Obama - religious right pushes a pitiful attempt of guilt by association

More right wing lunacy on Kevin Jennings courtesy of Kevin McCullough

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Will said...

This doesn't have anything to do with homosexuality or heterosexuality, but Kevin Jennings and GSLN have been pushing "literature" on school children which encourages them to seek out adult sexual predators to service.

Quoting _Queer 13_ about one young victim of statutory rape: "I really did enjoy those sexual encounters. That feeling of doing it to them and them doing the same for me was just too damn good."

This material should disgust homosexuals and heterosexuals alike.

BlackTsunami said...

Jennings and GLSEN have not pushed anything on anyone. You forget or cared not to mention that GLSEN ADVISED that adults review the books for mature content before exposing them to students.

But Will, it is about homophobia and I will tell you why.

You threw out one passage out the book. Did you even read the entire book. Here is the part you missed:

"This was the year I realized I was helpless, different, wholly alone and defenseless. This was the beginning of my worthlessness. It was always pointed out to me that I wasn't good enough and that there was always someone somewhere doing better, and that no matter what I did, I could still have done better."

This young man is talking about his experience being a gay youth in a society that rejects him. The book was not "porn" or designed to get someone horny, but to tell experiences that are born out of societal rejection.

What is disgusting is the fact that so many people are focused on using the words to smear Jennings that they are not paying attention to what's behind the words.

Blaming GLSEN is like blaming the messenger.

Will said...

Your accusation of homophobia is completely baseless and ignorant.

This isn't about young people innocently exploring their sexuality with other members of the same sex, this is about sexual predators using the public school system to recruit victims.

Kevin Jennings and GSLN push books promoting statutory rape and documenting explicitly how young men can contact adult predators. The material also pushed the advantages (money and transportation) that come to young boys who provide sexual services to adult predators.

You are letting your sexual orientation cloud your moral judgment.

BlackTsunami said...

You claim that homophobia has nothing to do with the smears against Jennings and then you proceed to contradict yourself by taking on the form of Anita (gays can't reproduce so they recruit) Bryant.

I mean read what you wrote. You border on actually accusing Jennings and GLSEN of running a pedophilic sex ring.

I would suggest rather than gleaning pieces of those books, you actually pick up one and read it in its entirety. Maybe you will get an understanding of what these lgbt youth are going through. Again don't blame GLSEN because they are merely giving these kids a voice.

Will said...

Anita Bryant! There's a name I haven't heard, outside of the lyrics to a Jimmy Buffet song, in more than two decades. It's amusing to see that someone is still keeping her memory alive.

Defending pedophilia does not equate to defending homosexuality and rejecting pedophilia does not equate to rejecting homosexuality.

Those works do not give a voice to the victims of pedophilia, they give a voice only to the pedophiles who are pushing the works on innocent children.

This isn't an issue of homosexuality or heterosexuality. You're stuck on an irrelevant issue.

All kids have difficulties with understanding and accepting their sexuality -- whether heterosexual or homosexual. Pushing them into abusive relationships with adult sexual predators is not a solution for those difficulties.

Take this paragraph, for example:

Even though Tom was older, almost twice Dan’s age, Dan felt unthreatened by him. Dan admits Tom was a “troll” in every sense of the word—an older closeted gay man seeking sex with a man much younger. But Dan says he was not intimidated by the discrepancy in their ages. “He kind of had me in a corner in that he knew I didn’t have access to anything I wanted.” says Dan. “But everything was consensual.”

Would it matter at all if "Dan" was a male child or a female child? Of course not! Statutory rape is statutory rape -- regardless of the gender of the child.

Here's another excerpt to consider:

Home alone one day, he called the telephone number listed in the ad and set up an appointment to meet a man named Tom. Tom offered to drive to Zimmerman. So, over the phone, Dan directed him to a secluded road in his subdivision. “Stop where the pavement ends,” Dan told him.

Do you feel that it's safe for children to meet adult strangers on secluded roads? Does it matter if the child is a boy or a girl? Of course it doesn't! This is not safe behavior for any child -- regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

I'm sorry that you may have had a hard time coming of age, but the truth of the matter is that we ALL did. Nothing that you experienced can morally justify approval of the sexual exploitation of children.

BlackTsunami said...

No matter how you try to dress it up as concern about exploitation of children, your desire to take passages out of context ruins your credibility. For example, the part about "Tom," you omit the next part which reads:

"The encounters with Tom were "a mix of coercion and hormones," Dan acknowledges. But he knew no other way, he adds defensively. He had no gay peers in school and no contact with the gay community in the city. In his isolation, he was left to his own devices, Dan says. Tom became a convenient way into the city and an available, albeit exploitative, link for Dan as he established his homosexual identity."

No one in their right mind can claim that this book is advising a child to carry on a relationship with an adult. I personally think it's sad that any child, whether straight or lgbt, would feel the way this young man did. And what are we doing as a society to prevent these feelings? Are we doing what we can to give our lgbt children some type of support so that things like the incident above don't happen?

Or are some of us so consumed with demonizing the words that we aren't paying attention to the children saying the words?

By your implication, the first page of the Color Purple, in which the lead character Celie tells of being raped by her stepfather, is pushing pedophilia rather than a young girl simply telling her sad story.

None of the books, be they the books on the list you are harping about or the Color Purple, are meant to further pedophilia, only to tell much needed-to-be-heard personal stories.

It's kinda insulting that you attempt to be personal and make questions regarding my background rather than stick to the issue at hand. I think there is a reason for that. You don't have an argument.

It is an issue of homophobia. Maybe not to you, but that only demonstrates how successful these lies have been to folks who are willfully guillible.

Will said...

Would you defend an arsonist who was homosexual? Would you defend a bank robber who was homosexual? Of course not -- or at least I hope not. It makes no more sense to defend a pedophile just because they happen to be homosexual.

None of these books are being pushed on innocent children for the good of the children. These books are being pushed on the children as tools of indoctrination.

Take this example:

“I seduced him,” Eliot said, and laughed. “Oh, he wanted to for as long as I did. But I think he was afraid Derek would send him up for statutory rape or something. I was irresistible at fifteen. I kept asking him to give me massages, playing the little nubile waif. And finally–well, he couldn’t hold back anymore.” He sighed. “It was a wild night. We did everything.”

These words are quite obviously the sexual fantasy of a pedophile, not the words of a child.

You do a great disservice to the entire homosexual community by tainting it's image with support for these pedophiles. It's the children who deserve our support, not the sexual predators who prey upon them.

BlackTsunami said...


Based on how you took the other two passages out of context, why should anyone give you credibility for this passage.

And again (for the last time), these books have nothing to do with indoctrination or pedophilia but rather tellng the experiences of lgbt youth. I think it's sleazy that you have constantly taken portions of these books out of context. It's also very telling that you refuse to address your behavior when it's pointed out to you.

And none of these books are "pushed" on youth. But I have to ask why do you continue to ignore these children and what they are going through? You claim to care for them but yet instead of assessing their words, you use the words in an attempt to hurt the one organization (GLSEN) that can help them.

Don't you realize that your claims of "indoctrination" do more to keep these children silent, outcasted and forced into situations like the ones you read about more than anything that GLSEN or Kevin Jennings can do.

Or do you even care? Are you interested in what these youths are saying or are you more interested in towing some phony religious right line?

I think that you are the one doing the disservice my friend.