Tuesday, August 31, 2010

GLSEN responds to Focus on the Family distortions

Yesterday, I posted a piece on how Focus on the Family is using data from the discredited George Rekers to stop anti-bullying efforts in America's schools.

Today, Talking Points Memo gave a wider view to the entire situation. It's a good read but my favorite part is the ending where GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) head Eliza Byard gave a strong response to Focus on the Family. Her words should be a directive in how we answer the lies of the religious right. No flowery language, no automatically pushing the "bigot" card but shooting straight from the shoulder:

Focus on the Family has tried to discredit GLSEN's efforts to make schools safe for all students since our founding in 1990. These most recent attempts show that, once again, Focus on the Family either doesn't know what it is talking about or simply don't care about addressing bullying, or both. The policies we support - which, by the way, include protections for bullying based on religion - have been shown by years of research to make a difference in young people's lives. That is why nearly 70 national education, youth service and civil and human rights organizations endorse the Safe Schools Improvement Act. In terms of LGBT youth, we certainly hope that Focus on the Family agrees that the current environment in which nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment each year in school is simply unacceptable. But we won't hold our breath.

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Yet another study confirms same-sex households and other Tuesday midday news briefs

NYT Writer Demonizes LGBT Bloggers and Serves As Apologist For Ken Mehlman - Poor Ken Mehlman. Whatever happened to the good old days when and in the closet can exploit his own people for politicial gain AND get away with it?

Travesty of Justice - Whether folks agree or not, Rev. Eric Lee makes some good points on the disconnect in the lgbt community when it comes to their own people of color.

Children raised by gay couples show good progress through school - To the surprise to no one with common sense of course.

NOM blatantly appeals to homophobia - You mean they haven't been before?

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SC Pride hang rainbow banners in Columbia to increase lgbt visibility

The upcoming SC Pride festival is what everyone is talking about in Columbia and a key move by the organization coordinating the festival is a good reason why:

Displaying a multitude of colors, the rainbow flag is now hanging from lamp posts on Main and Gervais Streets. The brightly colored banner is a sign of diversity and acceptance for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens.

“It definitely will promote the event, but I also hope it makes people realize that there is a strong LGBT community that exists in Columbia,” said Vice President of Center Operations Santi Thompson with the SC Pride Movement.

Thompson adds that for the first time in the organization's 21 year history, the rainbow flags will fly in downtown Columbia in celebration of this weekend's SC Pride Parade and Festival.

The flags not only had to be approved by the City of Columbia, but the organization also had to get clearance from businesses along the two streets.

“I think the flags being flown on Main Street and Gervais Street make people excited and will help them realize it’s not as backwards as we think,” said Thompson.

For many lgbt South Carolinians who have to live with the stereotype of our state being backwards, these flags and the increased visibility they bring are a like bursts of fresh air. It also reveals the steady pace the SC lgbt leadership has been working to make things better for our community.

The banners also caught local anti-gay leaders by surprise. Oran Smith of the Palmetto Family Council was asked about the banners and all he could muster is the following:

“I think the mistake the city has made is being knee deep in agenda for a specific organization promoting a specific kind of lifestyle,” 

If you ask me, he is probably upset. Up until yesterday, he probably thought he had the easiest job in the state.

For more information on the SC Pride week, especially Saturday's festival featuring 80s diva Taylor Dayne, go here. Full disclosure time - I will be one of Saturday's speakers and will also be receiving the Order of the Pink Palmetto.

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