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04/19/2007


Notre Dame Students Demand Adoption of Gay-Straight Alliance, LGBT Non-Discrimination Policy: VIDEO

4to5

Students at the University of Notre Dame, calling themeselves the 4 to 5 Movement, are demanding that the school recognize a Gay-Straight Alliance on campus and adopt an LGBT non-discrimination policy in a new video, called "It Needs to Get Better".

The Observer reports:

"[The video is] addressing the University at large, telling them what the current campus atmosphere is, what the current campus policy is, and how that policy needs to change in particular ways in order for certain groups to actually feel like they're a part of Notre Dame," [Senior Jackie Emmanuel, co-president of the Progressive Student Alliance] said.

The video advocates for a gay-straight alliance on campus and an amendment to the non-discrimination clause to protect LGBTQ students and faculty, Emmanuel said.

Student Senate recently passed resolutions in favor of both additions, and Emmanuel said she hopes the video will alert the administration of student support for these measures.

"We're hoping that [the video] will support Student Senate's resolutions … and then hopefully it will inspire the rest of campus to follow suit," she said.

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Josh Hutcherson Offers a Fist Bump for Gay-Straight Alliances: VIDEO

Hutcherson

Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson and the founder of the Straight But Not Narrow campaign, Avan Jogia, meet with Gay-Straight Alliance Network members to discuss the importance of straight allies.

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan Marks First National Gay-Straight Alliance Day with Anti-Bullying Message: VIDEO

Duncan

Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has posted a video on the White House blog marking the first annual Gay-Straight Alliance Day, which is today.

Says Duncan, in part: "When students are harassed or bullied, it directly affects their work in the classroom, their aspirations for the future, and their desire to stay in school. Gay-Straight Alliances and similar student groups play an important role in creating welcoming, affirming, and respectful schools and colleges – safe places where learning can happen and students flourish. This work is absolutely essential. GSAs are a proven tool for creating welcoming school climates and helping students stay in school."

The national GSA Day is a project of the Iowa Pride Network. Said Ryan Roemerman, IPN Executive Director: “Over the years other states were contacting us asking how they could replicate the event, so we decided to coordinate on a national level. The response from partnering state and national organizations has been extraordinary.”

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Pepperdine University Blocks LGBT Club Because Homosexuality is Not 'God's Will'

Pepperdine University in Malibu has blocked the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance called 'Reach Out' because Dean of Students Mark Davis says homosexuality is against "God's Will", the L.A. Weekly reports.

PepperdineFrom the Pepperdine Graphic newspaper:

From the administration’s perspective, the issue remains how Reach OUT will align with the Pepperdine mission and tradition. While Davis acknowledged that the relationship with the Churches of Christ is important, more central is honoring the biblical conviction that sexual activity should be reserved for a husband-wife relationship.

“Pepperdine seeks to be faithful to this teaching because we believe it is God’s will,” Davis said, “and therefore we cannot endorse another view or take a neutral position on sexual morality.  Although Reach OUT stated in its application that it has no position on sexual activity, we do not believe it is possible for a LGBT student organization to maintain a neutral position.”

A Change.org petition, now signed by more than 4,000 people, has more background:

Until now, the university’s policies have created an atmosphere of silence and anxiety that alienates not only the LGBT student population but also anyone concerned for their well-being. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) likewise expressed unease in its 2011 accreditation report that Pepperdine’s “climate of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’” prevents it from appearing “safe for open discourse.”

Administrators have established a Building Bridges committee in response to some of these concerns, but the committee is primarily generating recommendations that, even if adopted, would not provide LGBT students with a sense of community.

That is why on November 9 Reach OUT applied to become a student organization. On December 13, however, administrators rejected the application. This is the fourth time that a gay-straight alliance has been denied or discouraged from applying.


AFA Condemns Indiana LGBT Youth License Plate, Compares it To Issuing One for a Cigar Club

As you may know, Indiana recently became the first state to issue an LGBT license plate, for the Indiana Youth Group, which operates a youth center and works with Gay Straight alliances in schools.

Lgbt_indianaThe American Family Association isn't happy about it.

Said Executive Director Micah Clark: "You have to question what the DMV was thinking when they approved a license plate for a group which recruits teens into the homosexual lifestyle. Since health risks do not seem to matter, what is to prevent a cigar club from now getting a license plate from the DMV? State agencies should be neutral in the politically charged culture war especially the promotion of homosexuality among minors. It is very disappointing that Indiana is the first state in the nation to have a license plate celebrating youth involved in homosexual behaviors."


Troy, Michigan Mayor Janice Daniels Suggested 'Expert' Testify That Homosexuality is Mental Illness at Anti-Bullying Forum

Following outrage late last year over a Facebook update that read "I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there", Troy, Michigan mayor Janice Daniels met with students at the Troy High School Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).

DanielsThe students hoped to invite Daniels to participate in an anti-bullying forum in order to cultivate understanding between the mayor and the LGBT community. That is, until Daniel suggested that she bring along "psychologists who would testify that homosexuality is a mental disease," according to Skye Curtis, 17, a senior and co-president of the Gay-Straight Alliance at the school:

While discussing plans for a forum on bullying and suicide, Daniels told students she wanted to invite "a panel of psychologists who would testify that homosexuality is a mental disease," said Skye Curtis, 17, a senior and co-president of the Gay-Straight Alliance at the school.

Daniels denied making the comment. "What I said was, there's a higher incidence of (overall) disease in the homosexual community," Daniels said. She said she taped the meeting and had reviewed her statements after the meeting. She declined to play the tape for the Free Press.

"I believe in full disclosure," Daniels said, adding that: "I would like to reach out to this girl and her parents about how this can be resolved."

Daniels alleged remarks prompted a request for the tape of the meeting from Amy Weber (you may remember she appeared with her wife Tina before Daniels at a City Council meeting to show the mayor her gay family):

Amy Weber was so disturbed by Daniels' comments that she attended the Troy City Council meeting Monday evening and asked for an audio copy of the meeting between the Troy High GSA and the mayor, which the mayor recorded, during public comment.

Patch.com adds, of the meeting:

"She turned it into an anti-suicide thing, which is great, but she wanted to completely ignore the issue that started this."

“That bullying leads to suicide," Curtis continued. "Then we started talking about who could possibly speak, and she alluded to the fact that she wanted to bring in a panel of psychologists who would testify that homosexuality was a mental disease."

“This was implied by her," [GSA member Zach] Kilgore clarified. "She didn’t explicitly say it. Somebody said something to the effect of, 'we can't tell these kids that what they're doing is wrong.'"

"And she said, 'well, I can get a panel to testify,'" Curtis said. "Which is really horrifying, because if we're trying to prevent suicide, telling a room full of gay kids that they have a mental disease probably isn't a way to prevent suicide."

Students plan to hold the anti-bullying forum without Daniels


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