Monday, April 7, 2008

Day of Silence

As a teenager back in the 1970’s, because of my involvement in band and lack of interest in sports (and, perhaps, my penchant for using pens with green and purple ink rather than the proverbial blue and black), some of my fellow students tagged me as a queer. As such, I was shunned, teased, pushed and shoved. Once I came to school to find “FAGGOT” spray painted on my locker door. So, while I was in denial at the time, I have an inkling of what gay students go through.

Sadly, with recent events, like that of Lawrence King, it seems the situation has only worsened. To combat this trend the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is sponsoring a Day of Silence on April 25, 2008 as part of their ongoing mission to help ensure our schools are a safe environment for all students.

I was reminded of those unpleasant memories after reading about the American Family Association (AFA) efforts to oppose the Day of Silence by bullying schools into banning the event and encouraging parents to keep their children home that day (since schools receive federal funding based on attendance).

It is duplicitous for the AFA to oppose the Day of Silence while claiming to support families. They cast it as a veiled attempt to promote the ‘homosexual agenda’; however, if organizations like GLSEN aren't going to look out for the welfare of gay students then who will? It causes me to wonder if the AFA, and similar organizations, are being run by the same kind of bullies who were taunting me and others all those years ago.

No student deserves to be harassed regardless of where you stand on the issue of gay rights. That’s why I, as a concerned parent and grandparent, have sent a donation to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to help support the Day of Silence scheduled on April 25, 2008 and I encourage others to do the same.
GLSEN
Development Department
90 Broad Street
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10004

And, just in case anybody was thinking that, maybe, we should be supporting the AFA, according to Wikipedia ...

The AFA Journal published a controversial article which praised the destruction caused by hurricane Katrina and claimed the storm was "[an] instrument of God's mercy" and "wiped out rampant sin."

Donald Wildmon, the founder of AFA, has stated that he believes obscene content on television and in movies is a result of the media being controlled by Jews, who intentionally place anti-Christian messages and activities into their programming to undermine Christianity. He further characterizes Jews as more supportive of homosexuals than "average" Americans.
Chief among the efforts of the AFA are:
  • Compulsory recognition of Christmas in seasonal print advertisements
  • Criminalization of homosexuality
  • Lobbying to oppose equal-rights and hate-crime legislation that would benefit homosexuals
  • Advocates censorship of print and electronic media
  • Contends that homosexuality is a choice and sexual orientation can be changed through religious teachings in "ex-gay ministries"

So, for the folks at the AFA, I leave you with this parting thought most eloquently expressed by Aaron Tippin.

5 comments:

Beck said...

A painted locker? I was called a "faggot" well before I knew what it meant or implied. I was bullied and teased relentlessly for being one.

How come everyone else knew something that I didn't know? How do kids always seem to know this about others?

No one should be so treated...

MohoInTx said...

I remember in high school I drove the same car as an openly gay guy.

When I came home from school one day, my Dad pointed out that someone had covered my lisence plate with a piece of paper that read "FAG," all in caps and easy to read.

Even though I was in denial at that point of my life, that was when I started to really feel bad for the homosexuals I knew on campus, and I began to feel terrible for the things I said about them.

This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, and it astounds me that there are these "pro family/god/whatever" organizations trying to stop the issue from being addressed.

Leonardo da Vinci said...

I wonder what is going through the minds of these people when they want to do things like this. In a way, it is sheer promotion of prejudice. I want one of them to point in the Bible they thump where it is taught to hate the sinner. Certainly not where Jesus healed the leper or forgave the tax collector.

What an awful agenda for an organization, the AFA, to be built on groundless accusations and prejudice derived from actual desire to not understand others. Indeed, small people fear what they do not understand. I do understand their point of view, but they refuse to understand ours. And regardless of whether they do or not, who are they to decide for others what they can and cannot do. These are not even fully-matured individuals; they are messing with a great number of people who are struggling with themselves and do not need to deal with the outside yet.

Mistreatment (as an understatement) and criminalization of things that aren't wrong are not ways of bringing unity, understanding, or good will to fellow human beings.

October Rising said...

i'm sorry you had to go through what you did...i guess i was lucky to have never experienced anything like that in school (or out of school for that matter).

Peter said...

As an overcompensating high schooler, I protested the Day of Silence every year because our school participated in it. I wrote letters to the newspaper opposing it, and even made "straight pride" t-shirts one year. The t-shirts were confiscated by the school.

I think I'd like to participate in the Day of Silence this year.