Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee’
An unidentified 15-year-old girl has succumbed to bullying in Livingston County, KY. Her suicide brought the number of teens in Livingston County who have committed suicide to 3 in the past 5 months. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers recently struck down a bill that would’ve strengthened the anti-bullying laws there and could’ve saved her life.
Parents in Kentucky are picketing for zero-tolerance for bullying. I applaud them. I also think it’s time to get very serious with our political machine and let them know that their politics are costing lives. I can’t put it any clearer than that.
Following the suicide of a 13-year-old due to bullying in October 2011, a 14-year-old girl testified before the House in an effort to get the bill passed that would provide greater protection for all students. Sadly, however, Rep. Sam Waide (R) had this to say about why the bill was struck down:
House Republicans …blocked passage of the law on grounds it would place “gay rights in our schools,”
I’m of reasonable intelligence, with better-than-average reading comprehension skills. What they said was that it’s more important to uphold their own anti-gay beliefs than it is to pass measures that will save lives! HOW is that possible? How is it that we’re allowing our political “leaders” to place their beliefs over human lives? And, this isn’t exclusive to Kentucky.
- Stacey Campfield, Tennessee, is still trying to pass legislation in Tennessee essentially disregards the existence of LGBT teens. Worse, he wants to pass legislation that will sanction the bullying of LGBT teens.
- There’s legislation in place right now, awaiting passage, in several other states that will also sanction the bullying of LGBT teens. To clarify, the language of these bills basically says that it’s ok to bully an LGBT teen as long as it’s done for “religious, political, or philosophical reasons.”
- And, we can never forget the disaster of Anoka-Hennepin. The culture of hatred and intolerance towards the LGBT community there created by Michele Bachmann and her religious, ultra-conservative followers created what amounted to an outbreak of LGBT teen suicide in her district.
These are just a few of the extreme cases that we know about. Whereas these three instances are bad enough, (and, make no mistake: they are atrocious!), you can rest assured that there are more around the country.
Recently, one member of the facebook blog page voiced his concern that I was “bashing” the Republican Party on the page in the blog posts. I’m all about equality for all members of our society. One party tends to be for equality for all people; one party tends to want certain groups of people to, well, disappear. Do your own math. It really isn’t that hard to figure out. That’s not bashing; that’s just reality. And, trying to spin it any other way is as reckless and dangerous as their actions. Period.
When protecting one’s political and/or religious beliefs become more important than protecting the lives of the people they were elected (read: hired) to protect, especially when said people are teens, it’s time for them to find new occupations. Clearly, they don’t understand their job description of public servant.
Meanwhile we, the concerned and compassionate citizens, can afford to wait no longer. Far, far too many lives are being lost, friends and families being destroyed, to continue to sit back and let this continue. It doesn’t matter if “they” agree or disagree with one’s sexual orientation. When “they” are willing to pass legislation that is proven will cause great harm to or, in this case, block legislation that will protect all of their citizens rather than just the ones “they” approve of, it’s time for “them” to go. It’s that simple. A life is a life, gay or straight. They don’t get to play God and choose who gets to live and who doesn’t. And, while on that subject, the argument of “it’s against God’s will…”? Yeah, save that. In that same Bible that “they” use to bash people, it also says that only God can judge. If a person’s sexual orientation is truly against God’s will, let them and God deal with it on Judgement Day.
As I was preparing to leave the house to go to work, I ran across this post from a girl who regularly posts in one of my favorite facebook communities. It stopped me in my tracks.
I ask everyone to check this out. This is my home state, and I believe this bill will negativly effect the LGBT youth in TN. This will also prevent any LBGT facing discrimination to seek a supportive teacher for information. The bill has already been passed by the senate and the K-12 subcommittee. Give ‘em call?
It grabbed my attention because I love the things she posts in this particular community, so I always pay attention when I see her name. It grabbed my attention because I’ve already written about Stacey Campfield’s myopic bill that he’s trying to push through legislation in Tennessee. And, I’ve posted links to a petition put in place to get this bill killed. This particular bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill will have a devastating effect on the LGBT students in their school system, in a state that has already had 2 LGBT teen suicides since early December. So, I will post the link to the petition again and hope that every single person who reads this article will sign it. Remember Power in Numbers? We can change things.
By clicking the link in her post, “check this out“, you will see a list of phone numbers to call and voice your complaints and opinions. Wouldn’t it be great to find out that their switchboards were overloaded with incoming calls on this matter!? Whatever it takes.
Call it a “Call To Action”; call it “getting involved”. Whatever. I called it zero tolerance for intolerance and hatred. This is “bullying” at a high level. We can stop it if we all work together.
I just read an article about racism within the gay community that opened the box of a lot of ugly memories.
I remember my twink days well. At one point, I was having a fling with another, fellow twink who was white. It was, well…we were young. Then, he met this other guy who was slightly older than myself. And, also white. They immediately hit it off and started to “fling”, themselves. Then came the cruising of the clubs. Then came the phone conversation: “Well, David and I were talking, and we both decided that we’re too good to waste ourselves on a black guy.” Needless to say, I’ll never forget that phone call. Or, the deep hurt I felt from being told I wasn’t good enough because of my skin tone.I remember, also from my twink days, and after being blown off by my former partner because I was black and, in his own words, unworthy, going to a gay club downtown. It was a very popular club at the time and was packed to the gills. Shortly after arriving, I saw him: my Mr. Right! Six-feet, lean, blond and blue. With a smile that wouldn’t quit. My first thought was “I’m taking him home tonight”. I made strong eye contact with him while he was, um, working, and we exchanged pleasantries. “Win!!!”, I thought. I thought wrong. At the end of the day, he went home with a man roughly twice my age, at least a half-foot shorter but easily 75-100 lbs heavier. (close your eyes and envision THAT!) Oh, did I say that he was also white? So, once again, the reinforcement was there: I’m inferior because of my skin-tone.
Fast forward to San Francisco, 1986. I’m no longer a twink, but I’m still young, and still a lean, very handsome (so I was told), athletic man. Black man. I had a lot of acquaintances in the Polk Gulch area with whom I socialized with regularly. One night, five of us had been out just enjoying the evening: couple of beers, lots of laughs, fun stuff. One suggested that we go back to his place and have an orgy. I couldn’t believe my ears!!!! Everyone was in agreement. So, off we merrily go. His apartment was only a few blocks away, on Sutter. Upon entering his apartment, he turned to me and said “Sorry, you’re not invited. This is for white guys, only.” He may as well have pulled out a .45 and shot me in between the eyes. I cannot even explain how hurt I was, or how low I felt upon hearing that, once again, my skin-tone had rendered me unworthy.(I will say, though, that one of the guys strongly objected to the host’s exhibition of racist ignorance, told the host so, and we had our own fun for the evening. Still, the damage had been done.)
In this article, they speak of racism within the gay community as if it’s a new trend. As you have just read, it’s nowhere near a new thing. It’s a large reason why I disengaged myself from “the gay community” long ago. Those three instances alone proved to me, beyond a doubt, that I didn’t have a place within the community. Well, I guess I did as long as I kept myself segregated. To my disadvantage, in this case, I just happened to be born “color-blind”. Even in today’s world, it still exists. Maybe, because of the far-reaching instantaneousness of the Internet, even to a greater extent. I’ve checked out several of the online dating sites and, lo and behold, the ones I’ve found attractive have profiles that clearly states that I’m not in their realm of attraction. Even with those who list their wider diversity, “black” is not one of their suitable preferences.
I found it quite telling, this segment taken from the article:
“After having a few drinks with my friend, I walk home through the garment district in midtown Manhattan. I see a gay male couple walking hand in hand down the street… Their relaxed and happy faces turn frightened when they see me, and they immediately cease holding hands and separate. On this late night in an unfamiliar area of the city, I am not seen as a member of the LGBT community. I am black. I am male. I am a threat.”
That’s a snapshot of the real world.
So, what does this have to do with the anti-bullying, stop-teen-suicide campaign that I’ve immersed myself in? Do you think that all gay teens are white? Well, the obvious answer is “of course not”. Like the symbol of our pride, they are every color of the rainbow, so to speak. So, what happens when young, black Tony falls in love with white Michael only to have Michael tell him “I’m too good to waste myself on a black guy”? Will that be the straw to break the proverbial camel’s back? Wouldn’t those words be a form of bullying? If your answer is yes to either, the battle is even tougher than first realized. But, to further complicate matters, how exactly does one address this issue? Do we teach the black and minority LGBT teens that they’ve got yet another battle they’ll have to fight, and this foe will come from within the ranks of the LGBT community? Well, that will go over well. Do we tell they the black and minority LGBT teen that (s)he may as well forget about finding a partner outside of their race because, in the LGBT community, white is king? What exactly is the answer? We’re begging, no demanding!!!, that the world start treating us, the LGBT community, as equals. As well it should! Yet, we don’t even treat our own as equals.
The last piece of the article was, I think, my favorite. It speaks volumes.
“We all have ‘preferences’ and that’s certainly our right,” he says. “But we don’t have a right to make people feel inferior because they look different from us— any more than straight people have a right to make us feel inferior because of who we choose to love. Not in this day and age. Not after all we’ve gone through. Not anymore.”
We have a lot of work to do.
woke up this morning to the surprise of my journalistic life: a direct response from the Stacey Campfield camp. Actually, the unmoderated comment that was left is supposedly directly from Stacey, himself. However, upon further inspection, and after checking the links provided, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he, himself, did NOT send me the response. On the other hand, regardless as to who, in fact, sent it, it’s frightening to know that these are the “facts” these people espouse. Worse, it’s detrimental that they seek to impose their terribly misguided “factual” beliefs on the public-at-large and, in particular, the LGBT community. Allow me to dissect.
The responder started of for acknowledging my passion: “While I apriciate (sic) your passion, here are some cold hard facts…” Then, the fun begins.
On the issue of gay men having a decidedly shorter lifespan, this link was offered as their “proof”. Their “documentation” turned out to be a far right-wing propaganda piece chock-full of the same old diatribe we’ve been hearing for decades. In the first paragraph, it’s noted that “…evidence shows homosexuality to be a compulsion and lethal addiction, not ‘mainstream America'”. It’s also noted that even without AIDS, “…homosexual persons will probably not live past their 40s…” I can’t make this stuff up! Read it for yourself.
As I suspected, and as I stated in the original article, At The Root of the Tennessee Madness, they are taking outdated information, in some cases from as far back as the late 70s!, and presenting it as today’s facts and reality. How dangerous is that? First of all, things that held true in 1978 obviously don’t hold the same validity in 2012. But, more importantly, how dangerous is it to attempt to govern in today’s world using 1978 survey information?
Study after study reveals that homosexuality, whether male or female, can take anywhere from 10, 20 to 30 years off of someone’s lifespan. With all the attention on smoking, which the National Cancer Institute says takes from 7 to 10 years off someone’s life, why not the same human outcry on homosexuality? Here’s a behavior that’s killing people 2 to 3 times the rate of smoking, yet nobody seems to care. In fact, we are encouraging and affirming individuals into the “gay” lifestyle. If you truly love someone, you would steer them away from self-destructive behaviors, rather than towards them, shouldn’t you? Homosexuals need our tough love, not blind love, the kind of love that is going to love them no matter what they say and do. We must extend that helping hand and say ” I think your worth saving, let’s work on it together.”
All of that, and I’m still only on the first link “he” provided.
So, where does his information supporting getting AIDS through “normal” heterosexual vaginal sex come from? What’s his “scientific” proof? Cecil Adams, touted as the world’s smartest human. The world’s genius was asked, in December 1988, his opinion of how risky heterosexual sex was. In 1988, the whole world was still trying to get a grip on what was really going on with the virus. I know. I was there. I was in San Francisco during those days, watching my own friends die on a daily basis from a disease that we still hadn’t fully come to understand. But, again, that was 1988.
So, to make sure this is very clear: A U.S. Senator is taking someone’s opinion and presenting it to his constituents as “scientific fact”. Worse, he’s using someone else’s opinions, masked as knowledge, in order to propagate his own bigotry and hatred towards the LGBT community, young and old. Can I say again: this is an ELECTED official! I’m convinced that today’s elected officials have completely lost sight of the fact that, by virtue of our votes, we hired them to work for us. They’ve got it reversed. And, that needs to be re-examined.
And, finally, an attempt was made to justify his bill “Don’t Say Gay”, which forbids school administrators to say the word “gay” or even acknowledge their LGBT students as such. The bill that, if not already implemented, could’ve potentially saved Phillip Parker’s life.
As for the reason for the interview (My bill on parental responsibility of teaching sexuality to very young children) Here are some points of view for you to consider.
-It is a parents responsibility to decide when a child is ready to grasp such a complex issue as sexuality and what they want to tell the child about that complex subject. Not a teachers.
- All children develop mentally at different rates. I do not feel a teacher with an agenda (Be it pro or con) is the appropriate person to decide “Now is the time” for an entire class of children just because they may think one way or another on an issue and want to espouse it.
-A teacher is not a trained child psychologist or psychiatrist and could do as much harm as good to a sexually confused child.
-I doubt many on the other side would want a teacher who said “Homosexuality is evil, dirty and wrong” just because they felt that it was what is appropriate, that it is what they thought the children needed to and were ready to hear. This bill ensures neutrality from teachers.
-Physically threatening behavior is what is and needs to remain covered for all groups. Not the sexuality of the victim. We already have anti bullying legislation passed in Tennessee (In fact I co sponsored it 2 or 3 years ago when it passed) so all children are protected from bullying in our schools. [this is in reference to the bill that would allow for bullying of LGBT students if done for "religious, political, or philosophical reasons". And, they still don't get it! No one is looking for SPECIAL protection. And, we certainly don't present ourselves as a "special class" of people. Equality means we're equal to every other person, not special. In fact, THEY are making us that "special class" of people by singling us out to be victimized by discrimination in the job and housing markets and, frightfully, in the schools!]
-We do not need an un equal justice system that creates special separate classes of protected people that gets special protection under the law.
-Nor do we need to silence the first amendment rights of religious free speech of those in our schools whose family may hold different beliefs (as long as those beliefs are not physically threatening). [note to you, Rep. Campfield: not only is it physically threatening to the LGBT students, it's costing lives.]
-While there is a scientific and educational need to mention the basics of heterosexuality when teaching the basics of reproduction (XY chromosomes, etc.) there is no scientific need to mention homosexuality as homosexuals do not naturally reproduce.
-We are falling behind the rest of the world in math, science, and English amongst other things. Tennessee ranks about 46th in most areas. Social engineering is just one less issue teachers should have to worry about teaching as part of their curricula.
That someone from the Stacey Campfield camp thought enough of what I said to take time to respond is encouraging. That they have this view of reality is mind-boggling. That they are passing their myopic, unfounded, and outmoded views on the people of an entire state is very dangerous. So, again, I strongly urge signing the petitions. Too much is at stake to wait for “someone else” to do it.
A couple things really bother me here. First of all, how is it possible that one person as completely ignorant and out of step with the real world could be elected into a political position!? Every single thing Stacey Campfield breathes about the LGBT community would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s damaging so many lives.
Rep. Campfield is the author of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the bill that doesn’t even allow for the recognition of the word gay. His logic and reasoning behind that predates Anita Bryant. It might even predate the neanderthals. Certainly, it’s not in step with 2012 and the real world. He’s clinging feverishly to an old, outmoded myth about homosexuality. Now, it’s fine if he has those views and strongly believe in them. That’s his choice and, under our Constitution, he has that right. The line, though, needs to be drawn decisively at the front door of his home. As a politician, as a human being, and as an adult, he should not be allowed to let his bias, his archaic views of reality influence and harm other people. In this case, particularly, the lives of young LGBT people are in the balance. Tennessee has had two gay-teen suicides within the last 2 months. How many more lives must be lost before Stacey Campfield is put in check? Don’t lose track of the fact that it was also Stacey Campfield who authored the bill that allows for the bullying of LGBT youth as long as it’s done for “…religious, political, or philosophical reasons.” Your son gets bashed in the face at school. The attacker yells “Praise the Lord”, goes to the office and collects his get-out-of-jail-free card.
Mr. Campfield is a bonafide threat to the well-being of every LGBT person in the state of Tennessee. From his “Don’t Say Gay” policy to his policy of allowing realtors and businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community, Stacey Campfield is truly a danger to the community.
His latest diatribe, though, was at least humorous. He enlightened the world with his revelation that AIDS is an exclusively gay disease. According to Stacey Campfield, it is “virtually impossible” to contract AIDS through “normal”, heterosexual sex. Again, the question: “how on EARTH was this man elected!?” I’m not even going to comment on just how insane that series of statements are. You can read it for yourself. It’s great humor. Well, not really. It’s actually rather scary. Never forget that this man is in a position of power. He’s a shot-caller. And, he’s amazing ignorant. Bad combination.
Returning to my “power in numbers” mantra, if you haven’t signed any of the three petitions calling for changes in the Tennessee laws, here there are again:
- Stop the “Don’t Say Gay” bill
- Stop the bill that will allow for bullying of LGBT teens based on “religious, political, or philosophical reasons”
- Force the hands of Cheatham County, and ALL of Tennessee to strengthen their anti bullying laws so that they also protect LGBT teens.
Our army is growing by leaps and bounds daily. Now, we need to put those numbers to work. Talking about change is one thing; being proactive in helping to bring about that change is a whole different animal.
Since I posted the link, “Help LGBT Students Get Their Voices Heard“, the petition has picked up over 125 new signatures. Awesome! If you’re reading this and haven’t signed, or don’t even know what it’s about, I encourage you to sign it. And, if you don’t know what it’s about, read my previous entry of the same name.
At this point in time, it’s urgent that we, the people who care and are passionate to see change in the way of equality for all, continue to pull together and be heard. “The Other Side” is lashing out like never before!!! Just today, I read of two MORE states attempting to implement their own version of a bill that will make it okay to bully LGBT teens if it’s done for religious, political, or philosophical reasons. That’s absurd. And, very dangerous.
Also today, pastor Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church spoke out against his state’s push to legalize gay marriages. His remarks were, indeed, remarkable:
“Do they believe that if they change the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman, what is going to stop two men one woman, two women one man, one man against a horse, one man with a boy, one man with anything,”
I can’t even comment on that.
One of the two states that want to give a free pass to bullying if it’s for religious, political, or philosophical reason is Michele Bachmann’s Minnesota. More specifically, it’s the very district that she represents. Bachmannites.
See, these people are determined to impose their narrow-minded beliefs and destructive bigotry on the entire country. It’s totally ok if they are against homosexuality, gay marriages, or sanity. That’s their constitutional right. For them to attempt to force their opinions, their intolerance, their hatred down the throats of an entire nation is morally wrong. Beyond that, it adds to the feeling of despair felt by millions of vulnerable LGBT youth from sea to shining sea. And, that is one of the factors driving the increase in gay teen suicides. The good news is that it’s a factor that can be minimized. There is power in numbers.
People are joining together in record numbers, all in support of the same cause: to end inequality and hatred towards the LGBT community. Straights and gays alike are letting their voices be heard: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. “Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook” is approaching 300,000 members; “STOP Teenage Suicide” has more than 25,000 people involved; “ABC: Anti-Bullying Coalition” and “The Equality Mantra” are both over 12,000; you get the point. We need the numbers to continue to increase. But, it can’t stop there! We need people to stay plugged in and involved. The ONLY way we’re going to create the change we’re seeking is to continuously, and loudly!, let our voice be heard, our presence felt. Our voices must be loud enough to drown out the boisterous rants of a Michele Bachmann, a Rev. Ken Hutcherson, and the Tennessee lawmakers. It is the people of this ilk who would rather see the LGBT population dead than become equal. By extension, they couldn’t care less about the LGBT teen who commits suicide! Our presence must be made known. There truly is power in numbers. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, or asexual; black, white, or Venusian. We all have the same goal: equality. That’s the big umbrella that will help protect our LGBT teens from the storm of hatred we’re witnessing today from our so-called leaders.
I read yet another heartbreaking article about Phillip Parker and the abuse he endured. I cried. It went as far as the church, a pastor, telling him to pray the demons out of him so that he could be straight. Yes. In Tennessee, being gay is demonic. How many more lives will be lost to this sickness that’s being passed off as Tennessee law? How many more LGBT teens will be cornered into suicide as the bigoted, myopic lawmakers continue to endorse and pass legislation that sanctions their abuse, prevents teachers to intervene in the abuse, and completely demonize their existence?
There are petitions already in place to force their hands. There is power in numbers. Here are three petitions that NEEDS to be signed and then massively circulated. There needs to be an overwhelming number of names on these petitions so that we can show them that we will no longer tolerate their intolerance. Reversing, or stopping, these bills will work towards providing protection for the LGBT youth of Tennessee as well as stripping away the power to freely discriminate against the LGBT community, in general.
This petition is to force the Tennessee lawmakers to eliminate the language in the anti-bullying bill that would allow for the bullying of LGBT citizens, teens in particular, as long as it’s done for religious, philosophical, or politic believes. This is a very crucial petition. Sign and share. And, share.
This petition strips away the insanely myopic and bigoted “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Without that bill in place, Phillip Parker may still be alive today. The teachers who wanted to help would’ve been able to do so without breaking the law. Understand: it is illegal for teachers to intervene if an LGBT teen is being abused; it’s illegal for counselors to counsel them! Sign and share. And, share. And, encourage others to share.
This petition is to help protect other LGBT teens in Cheatham County, where Jacob Rogers committed suicide in December. The rules MUST be changed; the laws MUST be reversed. There has to be stronger policies in place to protect the LGBT teens going to school in Tennessee. And, it’s up to all of us, concerned citizens, to push for change. The lawmakers there have already shown that they’d rather see them kill themselves off. Zero tolerance!