Wednesday, June 05, 2013

11-year-old defeats homophobia!

Via the Huffington Post, a very happy ending to today's lead news brief post:

A openly gay 11-year-old boy's campaign against a homophobic Tennessee representative has succeeded.

Marcel Neergaard is a Tennessee boy who was home-schooled for sixth grade and even contemplated suicide due to severe anti-gay bullying, bullying that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates say could have been fostered in public schools throughout the state if the "Don't Say Gay" bill had actually passed.

The bill, rejected in 2012, aimed at banning talk of sexual activity other than "related to natural human reproduction." It was resurrected by Representative John Ragan (R-Tenn.) this year as the "Classroom Protection Act." It included an amendment requiring school officials to inform parents if they have reason to believe the child might be gay. The bill also required schools to provide counseling for such students so as to prevent “behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well-being of the student or another person.”

The proposed bill failed in March, but prior to that, in 2012, Ragan was honored with the educational "Reformer of the Year" award by StudentsFirst, a group dedicated to defending the interests of children in public schools and pushing for transformative reform.

Neergaard didn't think Ragan deserved such a title. So he started a petition on to get the accolade revoked. And it worked. After getting more than 50,000 signatures, the bullied youngster's campaign caught the attention of StudentsFirst and today the group reneged Ragan's award.

See more of this article here.


Anonymous said...

Did this organisation not do any research before giving him the award? He will now play the victim by complaining how activists worked to take his award away.

Good on the kid for his very successful petition! Great work.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, StudentsFirst presented Ragan with his "award" in March of 2012... It was later that he introduced the current version of the "Don't Say Gay" bill. However, through Marcel's efforts and petition, StudentsFirst recinded the award just today.