The anti-gay evangelical community fascinates me. They have built a multi-million dollar industry based on opposing two things: LGBT equality and abortion rights. By now, most of their work has become quite predictable and uninspired (i.e. “marriage is between a man and a woman,” “hate crimes are thought crimes,” “same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy and bestiality,” etc.).
However, there are some issues the anti-gays choose to focus on that not only boil my blood, but also boggle my mind. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), is frequently attacked by the anti-gay industry and I absolutely cannot understand why.
GLSEN is one of the most important organizations on the planet -- they exist only to create a safe environment for young people. Today marks the start of “No Name Calling Week,” which is one of GLSEN’s signature annual projects. Its intent is to bring attention to the national epidemic of name calling and bullying in schools. Yes, many LGBT young people are the victims of bullying, but the project doesn’t focus exclusively on young gay people; the project calls for an end of all name calling and bullying in our schools.
You would think it would be difficult to voice opposition to an anti-bullying campaign, but Linda Harvey of Mission: America vehemently condemns the effort because she doesn’t see anti-gay bullying as the problem. She sees homosexuality in schools as the problem.
“The truth is, homosexuality itself is hateful. It hates the natural human body and spirit, and opposes truth at every level. […] It “uglifies” a person, preventing the full blossom of natural beauty as a young male or female. […] All who enter it will be plagued by troubled spirits, anxious thoughts, unsatisfied desires, and insecurity, including separation from God and hostility and suspicion toward those who try to warn them. […] It is poison in any human life and it is poison in schools.”
Unfortunately, Linda is not a fringe outlier -– GLSEN has been a prominent victim of the anti-gay industry in recent months, because GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings has been appointed by President Obama to the post of Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Alvin McEwen details the entire anti-gay campaign against Jennings, but to give you a quick taste, they have accused Jennings of promoting “fisting” and they have tried to link him to the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Their attacks have been unwarranted and mean-spirited and I will defend the appointment of Kevin Jennings any day, any time. He has the background and know-how to make our schools safer for all children.
I am proud of GLSEN for continuing to do amazing work in the face of hatred. Please visit www.nonamecallingweek.org to find out what your local schools can do to combat our bullying epidemic.
Photo credit: GLSEN