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Delaware School Board Member Opposes Curriculum's Discussion Of Homosexuality, Gender Identity

DelawareDelaware has not had the best school board-related news of late. In August, the Cape Henlopen school board voted to remove a coming-of-age book about a lesbian girl from its summer reading list (after which the summer reading program was removed altogether). Now, the Indian River school district board of education is facing a particularly irate and talkative member who opposes any mention of homosexuality and gender identity in the curriculum.

Pink News reports:

Last week, Shaun Fink, Indian River School District Board of Education member, spoke out at a school board meeting against lesson plans that would address issues of gender identity and sexual orientation in Indian River high schools...

He said: “I am objecting publicly to anything that discusses gender identity, homosexuality. Schools have no role in teaching someone ‘if you’re gay you’re normal.’ That is not the school’s role. When did the school become the arbiter of what’s normal and what’s not normal?”

One response? Schools have always been arbiters of normalcy, and leaving definitions of varied identities out of the curriculum only furthers some students' lack of understanding. Nina Lou Bunting, another member of the school board, had an appropriate response at the ready as well.

She said: “Whether you go into transgender, cross-dressing, all the different aspects, is that really so important? It’s just if someone is different, we are to respect them as human beings as we wish to be respected.”

It turns out that Mr. Fink also opposes lessons about STI, HIV, and pregnancy prevention, citing Title 14, which enforces an abstinence-focused education.

He said: “You can’t teach both sides of it. Condoms don’t belong in a classroom. End of story.”

Miseducation, or an utter lack of education, has never been a means to fight misunderstanding. Hopefully Fink's comments will not derail further discussion of these issues in the Indian River school district.


North Carolina Pastor's Pro-Gay Blog, 'If I Have Gay Children', Goes Viral

JohnPavlovitzJohn Pavlovitz, a North Carolina pastor, recently wrote a blog post titled, "If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Parent/Pastor." Since hitting the web, the blog has blown up, taking over Facebook newsfeeds and receiving over 2,500 comments. The reason for its popularity? Probably because Pastor Pavlovitz approaches LGBTQ identity with a warm, open-minded message of love and support.

WBTV reports:

In the blog, Pavlovitz writes that "sometimes I wonder if I'll have gay children" and says he thinks about it often.

"Maybe it's because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It's in my genes and in my tribe," he wrote. "Maybe it's because, as a pastor of students, I've seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside of the closet, trying to be part of the Church."

Pavlovitz says there are four simple steps he will take if his own child(ren) are gay, steps that distance him and his family from the often negative message put across by the Christian right.

1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.

My children won’t be our family’s best kept secret...

2) If I have gay children, I’ll pray for them.

I won’t pray for them to be made “normal”. I’ve lived long enough to know that if my children are gay, that is their normal...

I won’t pray that God will heal or change or fix them. I will pray for God to protect them...

3) If I have gay children, I’ll love them.

I don’t mean some token, distant, tolerant love that stays at a safe arm’s length. It will be an extravagant, open-hearted, unapologetic, lavish, embarrassing-them-in-the-school cafeteria, kind of love...

4) If I have gay children, most likely; I have gay children.

If my kids are going to be gay, well they pretty much already are.

God has already created them and wired them, and placed the seed of who they are within them.

Not only is the message almost overwhelmingly touching, Pavlovitz is also a beautiful writer whose passion and concern for the topic at hand is evident throughout the entire blog post.

Since the blog was posted, Pavlovitz says he's spent several hours a day pastoring to people who have reached out to him saying they were touched by his blog...

"I was prepared for some people to applaud it, and for others to condemn it. That's what happens whenever you put an opinion out there," he said. "I was fully prepared for the waves of both support and hostility that accompany any vantage point, especially on a controversial topic like this."

"What I was not prepared for in any way, were the literally hundreds and hundreds of people who have reached out to me personally to thank me for bringing some healing and hope to their families; for giving them a message they rarely get from Christian leaders," he continued.

"People who haven't ever before, or in many years, are telling me the piece has moved them to engage with God and with the Church, which is the most any pastor can hope for."

Congratulations, Pastor John, for crafting an elegant and moving piece! Read the entire post here.


Jesse Tyler Ferguson Came Out At 14 After Being Caught Stealing

Jesse

Funny man Jesse Tyler Ferguson is an established, out gay presence in Hollywood. He plays one half of recently married duo Cam and Mitch on Modern Family and married his own hubby, Justin Mikita, last July. Ferguson was not always so out and proud, though, and he recently shared his coming out experience with fellow comedian Aisha Tyler on her podcast "Girl on Guy." 

HuffPost reports:

"Well, I was caught stealing gay porn when I was 14," Ferguson, who was raised in New Mexico, admitted. "So, I always considered that my coming-out. ... It was so humiliating. I had been stealing porn for a while. I had quite a little collection. And I would bring it into the house, and then I'd get nervous, so I'd hide it under the mattress, or I'd hide it behind a shed in the backyard. And then it would get rained on, and I'd have to go get the barbecue tongs to [get it out]."

Ferguson said that one of his stolen goods set off an alarm. The woman behind the check out counter then took him to a back room...and called his father. 

"When I stole the porn it was like, 'OK, are you gay?' And I was, like, 14. I didn't really know. I didn't know what I was going through. But then in my later teen years I did come out to him, and it was like he needed to be told three times. ... [When I was 21] he asked me if I had a girlfriend at the time, and I was like, 'Dad! You know I'm gay, right?'"

Ferguson's father apparently had difficulty accepting his son's sexual orientation, but that did not stop him from giving an emotional speech the night before Ferguson and Mikita's wedding. 

"It was a process for him as well. It was sort of a coming-out process, and he had to figure out how to deal with having a son that wasn't the ideal son that he had," [Ferguson] told Oprah Winfrey last year.


South Carolina Mayor Becomes 500th To Join Freedom To Marry Coalition In Support Of Marriage Equality

Steve benjamin

Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina has become the 500th to join Freedom to Marry's coalition in support of same-sex marriage, and his is a vital step. Columbia is the largest city, and the capital, of South Carolina, a state still highly opposed to same-sex marriage. Only one other S.C. mayor, Sarah Sherwood of Abbeville, has signed on to the coalition which began in 2012.

Buzzfeed reports:

“It’s a great honor to be able to stand up and represent 500 mayors from all across this great nation standing together in the name of equality,” Benjamin said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “As Dr. King might say, I don’t know if that’s the historic, politic or popular thing to do. But I do know that it’s the right thing to do because we’re all Americans and if you are not free then neither am I.”

A bold and exciting statement to say the least, and one that could really affect change alongside 499 other mayors as the Supreme Court considers hearing same-sex marriage cases from around the country. 

“From Alabama to West Virginia and from big cities and small, 500 mayors have now pledged to make the case in their communities for ending marriage discrimination,” said Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, in a statement. “Mayor Benjamin, like the hundreds of other mayors, knows that marriage strengthens families and communities..."

“The Supreme Court should listen to the bipartisan chorus of mayors who stand on the right side of history and bring an end to marriage discrimination in America once and for all,” [Solomon] said.


Middle East Broadcasting Center Retracts Inaccurate And Offensive Gay 'List Of Shame'

DanRadHornsThe Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) recently posted a "list of shame," intended perhaps to raise the general public's awareness about LGBT actors, musicians, etc... It is, of course, a wholly offensive idea to begin with, particularly given the wide berth of the MBC's audience: 150 million people.

But the list was also inaccurate, calling Daniel Radcliffe gay, naming Cameron Diaz as a bisexual, and informing audiences that Elton John wore a dress at his wedding. All these things would be just fine were they not forced into a categorization of "shame." The MBC has now retracted the list and issued an apology.

Pink News reports:

In the apology and retraction, MBC noted that the list was “clearly not related to neither [sic] the presenter of the show.. nor the show itself,” and admitted that the junior editor who published it in the first place had failed to fact-check the story...

It is still unclear why the junior editor felt compelled to publish a “list of shame” naming gay celebrities, whether or not some were incorrectly named.

Other people named in the list included Ricky Martin, Neil Patrick Harris, Jodie Foster, and Lindsay Lohan. They may fall somewhere on the LGBT spectrum (unlike Radcliffe and Diaz), but they certainly should not feel ashamed. 


Tenth Circuit Puts Colorado Marriage Equality Case On Hold Until SCOTUS Decision

ColoradoFlagThe Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals said yesterday that they would put the Colorado marriage equality case on hold until the Supreme Court decides on the issue. The seventh circuit did much the same with Wisconsin's case yesterday, placing a stay on their decision. SCOTUS will meet on September 29th to consider hearing various cases.

Joe My God reports on the language of the decision:

This appeal is abated pending further order of this court. The deadline for the appellant’s opening brief will be established when the abatement of this appeal is lifted. The parties shall notify this court within 10 days of a decision on the petitions for writ of certiorari pending before the Supreme Court of the United States in Kitchen v. Herbert, Supreme Court No. 14-124, and Bishop v. Smith, Supreme Court No. 14-136. It is further ordered that the parties shall file status reports 30 days from the date of this order if no decision on the pending writs has been issued by that time.

14-1283 #207452 - Order Holding Case via Equality Case Files


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