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.

' 11-yr-old teaches us all how activism is done' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

If this young man is the future of the lgbt community, then our future is in a very bright place. I'm floored by his courage. The following is the backstory of his petition:

Bullied Gay 11 Year Old Explains How ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bills Lead Him To Consider Suicide 

 Go here for the Facebook page about the petition.

In other news: 

Tony Perkins: Gays less like 'Glee,' more like 'American Horror Story' - Oh good grief, Tony!

And as it turns out, Perkins makes up some statistics in his whinePerkins: 30 Percent of Characters on TV are Gay; Used to Shield 'Dangerous Lifestyle'

AIDS at 32: For Whom the Bell Tolls (32 Notables Share Their Stories) - an excellent piece.

Churches Move To Cut Ties To Scouts After Gay Policy Change - Come on guys. Don't be such meanies.

Heckling the First Lady was counterproductive no matter how much attention it gets.

Editor's note - I wanted to talk more about yesterday's pathetic anti-gay protest at HRC headquarters, but last night's heckling of Michelle Obama by a GetEqual activist is on my mind and it's moving me into a territory which I despise - publicly criticizing my own. But it has to be said, particularly because I was called an "Uncle Tom" by a member of my own lgbt community for daring to espouse such an opinion. I apologize for those who feel that this is free form rambling. But it is my opinion. And I should tell you that what you read below is not simply the product of my disappointment over last night's heckling, but how I have felt this year with some of my fellow lgbt activists: 

Last night's heckling of First Lady Michelle Obama by a member of the lgbt group GetEqual wasn't just dumb.

It was highly counterproductive. Furthermore, I have a serious problem with the idea that any attention is good, no matter how much of an ass you act to receive it. While I totally understand the why, I also believe in picking one's spots. Was the heckling indicative of the lgbt community needing to speak out or our forced silence? No. It is indicative of a mindset of self-described elite members of the lgbt community attempting to boggart the conversation and not caring who they hurt to get their attention.

While some may feel that what was done last night was awesome, many others feel that it is indicative of the mindset of a group of folks who cling so desperately to the Act-UP/Queer Nation mentality of 20 years ago because they are either too lazy, too rushed, or too limited to grasp the idea that perhaps new ideas are needed to fully embrace the lgbt community's present day status of being more inside the bubble than outside. These folks need to take into account that our struggle for equality is not centered around cliques, a circles of friends, or a bunch of like-minded pseudo intellectual folks who will either complicate the issue or refuse to do more to make the case for equality IN the community.

And then there is that nagging idea that this "shout your head off/show your butt" mentality is indicative of some in the lgbt community who don't want to embrace new and different folks who may be  - shall we say -  a bit less eastern and a bit more Southern, a bit less rooted in the stereotypical lgbt social strata, a bit less rooted in the clique mentality, a bit more methodical in our planning, or a bit more "ethnically challenged." In short, this heckling was dumb. It was ill-timed, slack, and counterproductive. It demonstrates the mentality of a group who - while having the potential to be the next generation of equality leaders following in the footsteps of past leaders - do not yet have the maturity.