Friday, March 09, 2012

Know Your LGBT History - Billy Preston

My post last week featuring the Unsung documentary on Sylvester was such a hit that I wanted to post another Unsung documentary on another gay artist.

Billy Preston was a legendary keyboardist who at one time was called The Fifth Beatle. He embarked on a monumentally successful solo career before being sidetracked and unfortunately destroyed by drug abuse.

And yes, as the documentary pointed out, he was openly gay:

Past Know Your LGBT History posts:

'SPLC takes aim at the creators of anti-gay junk science' and other Friday midday news briefs

In newest issue of the Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center has focused on the purveyors of anti-gay junk science - i.e. the shell groups and sham organizations created to give these inaccuracies a veneer of credibility. These articles are required reading for all of us in the lgbtq community as well as those interested in exposing the tools used by the religious right to demonize the lgbtq community:

NARTH Becomes Main Source for Anti-Gay ‘Junk Science’

The Ministries: Key ‘Ex-Gay’ Groups

American College of Pediatricians Defames Gays and Lesbians in the Name of Protecting Children

In other news:

A 9-Minute Clip of Nutty, Homophobic 'Christianist' Testimony on the Omaha LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill: VIDEO - Watch at the risk of your own sanity.

Marriage Amendment -- a Hindu perspective - Fascinating but pertinent reason why the anti-marriage equality amendment in Minnesota should be rejected.

Pope denounces U.S. political push to legalize gay marriage - With respect to the Pope, this is a secular issue and he should be advised that we are no longer in the Middle Ages where the church, particularly the Catholic Church, had a say in secular laws.

Video: Roland Martin hosts good MD marriage debate (really) - Roland Martin? Really? Well I vouch for Jeremy Hooper and if he says it was a good debate, then it was a good debate.

Bookmark and Share

Religious right supports bad policy over the needs of students

Peter Sprigg
A recent article in the American Family Association's One News Now more than illustrates how the organization bends over backwards with other so-called morality groups to obscure the truth about a critical issue.

The Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minnesota has been in the media because its negative treatment of gay students and its inability to combat the bullying of these students. Recently, the district settled a brought by six students.

From The Slate:

Until Tuesday, the Anoka-Hennepin school district, north of Minneapolis, was known for a virulent clash over the rights of bullied gay students. Now the district has agreed to change its approach to handling anti-gay harassment and to teaching students about gender and sexuality in the classroom. It’s a local shift that’s also about something bigger. The growing recognition that students should be protected from bullying is forcing schools and communities to make space for students to be themselves—whether they are gay or perceived as gay or just don’t act the way other people expect a boy or a girl to behave. The Anoka-Hennepin schools, like some other districts, are making that space in the face of heated opposition from local conservative Christians.

Here’s the history: In the last few years, LGBT and gender-bending students in the Anoka-Hennepin district have reported being mocked, urinated on, and physically harmed by their classmates, and nine students, four of whom identified as gay, took their own lives. In 2011, six students represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights sued the school district, which serves 39,000 students and is represented in Congress by Michele Bachmann. The students’ lawsuit described an “epidemic of anti-gay and gender-based harassment within District schools” that was “rooted in and encouraged by official District-wide policies singling out and denigrating LGBT people.” The Obama Justice Department investigated and found that sex-based harassment was creating a “hostile environment,” because the physical and verbal bullying was severe and pervasive.
At first, the school board stood by a curriculum policy passed in 2009, which on paper instructed teachers to “remain neutral” about sexual orientation and in practice operated as a gag order. Teachers were required to refrain from saying that being gay is not a choice, even if they were quoting the position of the American Psychological Association. When history teachers included gay rights in a unit about how the strategies of the black civil rights groups influenced subsequent movements, the district deleted the reference. For a staff diversity training session, the district rejected a book called How Homophobia Hurts Children   because it did not “include an opposing viewpoint.” The schools also scrubbed LBGT support services, like a gay and lesbian helpline, from the list of health resources given to students. And a conservative Christian parents’ group called the Parents Action League pushed for teaching gay students about “reparative therapy”—how to root out their homosexuality—by promoting groups that treat it as a sin against the will of God. In 2010 the head of the group told the Minnesota Independent that LGBT students had killed themselves not because of bullying, but because of “homosexual indoctrination” and their own “unhealthy lifestyle.” (The statewide sponsor of the Parents Action League is a group called the Minnesota Family Council; last spring, Bachmannn and Newt Gingrich were the headline speakers for an MFC fundraiser.)

So how did One News Now cover this issue? Did the publication focus on the students? Did it go into detail like Slate?