Thursday, May 26, 2011

Told ya! Religious right lies about gender identity lessons to demonize lgbt community

In my post this morning, I predicted that religious right spokespeople would exploit a California gender diversity lesson to rail against the lgbt community and marriage equality.

And it didn't even take a day before it happened.

Tony Perkins, head of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council, was invited on Fox News to "talk" about the situation. Of course it being Fox News, no one who actually had anything to do with the lesson was present.

And Perkins was his usual lying, sleazy self, throwing out catchphrases such as "indoctrination" and connecting the lesson to gay marriage:

Our children should be able to go into a safe environment. They should be safe from bullying and they should also be safe from indoctrination into homosexuality.… I mean, how far are we willing to go with this? When you consider that only seven percent of the animal kingdom is monogamous in their sexual relationships, is that what we’re saying our kids should aspire to? [...]

Schools should be teaching reading, writing and asthmatic, not comparing their sexuality to fishes…This is part of a bigger agenda and this is the problem that Americans are waking up to as this idea about same-sex marriage and all this is working its way through. This is a part of a process of indoctrinating children at very young ages at the expense of actually teaching them what they need to be successful at.

And of course it being Faux News, I mean Fox News, several things were omitted  or not emphasized enough about the lesson.

1. It had nothing to do with gay marriage. From an article about the lesson:

Principal Sara Stone has said the lessons are part of a larger effort to provide a more welcoming and safer classroom environment.

2. Parents knew about the diversity lessons beforehand and were able to opt their children out if they desired to do so.

This monstrosity of a news report underscores a pertinent issue involving debates and truth. Sometimes it doesn't matter what the truth is if you can control who is doing the talking.

And if you can control who is doing the talking, then you can control the narrative.

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Announcing a summer tour FOR marriage equality and other Thursday midday news briefs

Because anti-equality road trips are soooo last summer - A summer bus tour FOR marriage equality? I'm for it. Let's get the word out!

NOM’s Faux Outrage Over ABC’s “What Would You Do?” Segment - For an organization with so much money, NOM is getting desperate in findings ways to demonize the lgbt community.

Pro-Marriage GOPer in NY Assembly has message for fellow Republicans - Sweet! We ain't there yet but we are gonna to get there!

In response to Maggie Gallagher’s ‘Cuomo and Bloomberg’ question - People who live in glass houses, Maggie . . .

Guest column by Irene Monroe: In "Hot-lanta" you stay "in the closet" as CNN's Don Lemon did - An excellent piece on why some black gay men stay in the closet.

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Stopping anti-gay propaganda before it takes root

It's no secret that organizations such as the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council scour through newspapers and online media sites looking for current events which they will use to demonize either the lgbt community or the concept of marriage equality.

Look for the following news item to possibly be the newest moral panic:

A gender diversity lesson at a California elementary school that featured single-sex geckos and transgender clownfish has angered conservative critics, who question its appropriateness for in-class instruction.

Students in all grades at Oakland's Redwood Heights Elementary School got an introductory lesson on the topic on Monday. Fox News was allowed to sit in on the lessons, which included teachings to kindergartners and fourth-graders.

The lessons were presented by an outside anti-bullying educational group called Gender Spectrum, paid for with a $1,500 grant from the California Teachers Union.

Joel Baum, director of education and training for Gender Spectrum, taught the classes. In the kindergarten class he asked the 5- and 6-year-olds to identify if a toy was a "girl toy" or a "boy toy" or both. He also asked which students liked the color pink, prompting many to raise their hands, to which he responded that that boys can like pink, too.

I can just imagine the headlines of various religious right blogs and emails talking about "the homosexual agenda" or how "this will be mandatory thanks to gay marriage."


There are two things about this lesson plan which will probably be conveniently omitted from religious right propaganda (should they choose to exploit this incident):

1. The children who took part in this lesson were not required to.  According to the article, all parents were informed of the lesson plan beforehand and were able to opt their children out of it if they chose to do so. So this was case of parents still having control over what is being taught to their children.

2. These lessons have nothing to do with marriage equality but the issues of gender identity and bullying. Whether the religious right wants to adhere to the fact or not, the issues of gender identity are becoming more widely known and some parents are finding that they have to deal with this issue. What's so wrong with talking with talking about this issue with children in a reasonable manner? Children  aren't porcelain or glass. And they won't remain children forever. Teaching a child respect and understanding at an early age is hardly a bad idea.

But exploiting efforts by school to ensure a safe and knowledgeable environment in order to create fictional boogeymen is an abysmal idea.

Are you listening, National Organization for Marriage and Family Research Council?

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