Focus on The Family Says School Anti-Bullying Curriculum Forces Kids to Learn That Homosexuality is Normal

As Steve noted in his round-up, Focus on the Family has taken aim at a program from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network called "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth" which is being provided to public schools around the country in an effort to stop bullying and promote tolerance of LGBT youth, so that incidents like the Lawrence King murder don't happen.

Justhefacts Focus on the Family is again raising objections to the booklet, although it is supported by a coalition, formed in 1998, of medical, education, and mental health groups, and has been published for several years.

The Denver Post reports:

"Focus on the Family education expert Candi Cushman told The Denver Post in Saturday's editions that the Christian group supports bullying prevention but that the issue "is being hijacked by activists." "We feel more and more that activists are being deceptive in using anti-bullying rhetoric to introduce their viewpoints, while the viewpoint of Christian students and parents are increasingly belittled," Cushman said. The Colorado Springs-based group said conservative Christians are portrayed as bigots for their opposing viewpoints, while public schools increasingly teach students that homosexuality should be accepted...Focus on the Family took aim at a 24-page GLSEN booklet titled, 'Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth.' It will be delivered to public school superintendents around the country, Focus on the Family said. 'The theme: Schools are only allowed to provide one message about homosexuality—that it's normal and should be embraced,' Focus on the Family said. Byard said the idea for the booklet came from GLSEN but that it was authored by a coalition of medical, mental-health and education organizations."

The Coalition producing the booklet consists of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Counselor Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of Social Workers, National Education Association, and School Social Work Association of America.

You can read the booklet, AFTER THE JUMP...

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53 House GOP Sign on to Anti-Gay Witch Hunt Against Kevin Jennings


Gay-hating Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has corralled in 52 House Republicans to sign on to a letter to Obama requesting that the President fire Safe Schools czar Kevin Jennings.

Jennings Writes King in the letter:

As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America's schools-an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children. As evidence of this, Mr. Jennings wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling. Throughout his career, Mr. Jennings has made it his mission to establish special protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students to the exclusion of all other students. The totality of Mr. Jennings' career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality. There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.

Equally troubling is Mr. Jennings' self-described history of ignoring the sexual abuse of a child. In his book, One Teacher in Ten, Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man. Mr. Jennings' only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom. As a mandatory reporter, Mr. Jennings was required by law to report child abuse, including sex crimes. Mr. Jennings cannot serve as the "safe schools" czar when his record demonstrates a willingness to overlook the sexual abuse of a child.

You can read the full letter here.

King continues to repeat the thoroughly debunked claims about Jennings' counseling interaction with the student, and the student has even written a letter defending him.

Hopefully, the administration, which has so far defended Jennings against this anti-gay witch hunt, will continue to stand by him.

The Hill reports: "Openly gay senior Democratic Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) called the effort a way for 'anti-gay' lawmakers to keep that issue at the forefront. 'This is just an effort to exploit anti-gay feeling — they have this anti-gay view that they understand is becoming less and less popular with the public,' Frank told The Hill on Thursday."

The wingnuts don't want to see any gay man in this position, much less one who has spent the better part of 20 years dedicating himself to teaching tolerance in the nation's schools. It's ironic that this is just a grown-up form of the anti-LGBT bullying Jennings has devoted his life to ending. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly apparent that certain members of the GOP will never stop acting like children.

The list of Republicans who have signed on to the letter, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Student Defends Kevin Jennings as Right-Wing Attacks Continue

Anti-gay right-wing conservatives continue their assault on U.S. Department of Education's director of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools Kevin Jennings. Media Matters summarized the attacks at the end of last week: "The attacks on Jennings, the latest Obama administration official in the right's crosshairs, have been disgusting, misleading, baseless, and at times pointedly anti-gay."

Jennings In their latest ridiculous tactic, WingNutDaily has targeted Jennings for some complimentary remarks he once made about early gay rights activist Harry Hay, who started the Mattachine Society, one of the nation's earliest gay rights organizations. Hay also apparently advocated for NAMBLA, and you can see where that's going — straight to Sean Hannity's ears and out his mouth, most likely.

Meanwhile student at the center of the Jennings controversy, a proven 16-year-old at the time, released a statement to Media Matters:

Since I was of legal consent at the time, the fifteen-minute conversation I had with Mr. Jennings twenty-one years ago is of nobody's concern but his and mine. However, since the Republican noise machine is so concerned about my "well-being" and that of America's students, they'll be relieved to know that I was not "inducted" into homosexuality, assaulted, raped, or sold into sexual slavery.

In 1988, I had taken a bus home for the weekend, and on the return trip met someone who was also gay. The next day, I had a conversation with Mr. Jennings about it. I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time, though I was entirely legally free to do so. I was a sixteen year-old going through something most of us have experienced: adolescence. I find it regrettable that the people who have the compassion and integrity to protect our nation's students are themselves in need of protection from homophobic smear attacks. Were it not for Mr. Jennings' courage and concern for my well-being at that time in my life, I doubt I'd be the proud gay man that I am today.

- Brewster

Media Matters also published a shot of the student's drivers license.

King And homophobic Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who has been working hard to overturn Iowa's marriage equality laws, is the first member of Congress to call on Obama to oust Jennings

"Although Rep. King says he is opposed to the bullying of anyone in schools, he also opposes conferring 'special protected status' on any particular group. (Jennings and the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network strongly support a federal anti-bullying bill, H.R. 2262, currently under consideration in the House, that specifically includes sexual orientation and 'gender identity.') As for Jennings' other work, King calls it 'a political movement. It's not about protecting kids, it's about promoting homosexuality and demanding public affirmation.' King says he plans to write a letter to President Obama about the Jennings matter, and he also expects other members of Congress to join him in calling for Jennings' removal."

As I said previously, the homophobic right-wing loons who are pushing this controversy don't want to see any gay man in this position, much less one who has spent the better part of 20 years dedicating himself to wiping out anti-LGBT bullying and promoting tolerance in the nation's schools.

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RoadThank you for being a friend: NYC homeless shelter for LGBT youth to be named for Bea Arthur.

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RoadSignature check of Washington state anti-gay Referendum 71 is half-finished: "David Ammons, secretary of state spokesman, said the latest tally shows 58,306 signatures accepted...'They need 120,577 valid Washington voter signatures to qualify,' Ammons said. 'Overall, the error rate is currently 11.03 percent, considerably lower than the 20-year average of about 18.5 percent, and still below the maximum error rate the sponsors can absorb, about 12.4 percent.'"

News: Billy Mays, Orgullo, Kevin Jennings, Avenue Q, Prop 8


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Despite ban, Russian gay activists plan to protest Obama next week on his trip to Moscow: "In a statement, Nikolai Alexeyev said the Moscow authorities had banned a proposed demonstration outside the U.S. embassy next Tuesday, the second day of Obama's July 6-8 trip...'We don't intend to abandon our plans and in the near future we will determine the format of action on July 7 during the visit of Barack Obama in Russia.' A Moscow municipal spokeswoman confirmed city authorities had turned down a request from gay activists to protest in front of the U.S. embassy on July 7. She said the area had already been booked for another event and that Muscovites were against the gay protest."



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Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden Speaks at GLSEN's 2009 Respect Awards


Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the Vice President, spoke at the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) 2009 Respect Awards in New York. After giving a shout-out to LGBT Pride Month, Biden, a lifelong educator, talked about bullying and the importance of making schools a safe place for LGBT youth. She also praised student leaders.

Said Biden: "Change is not easy, especially when it comes to ending bigotry and fear, but I am confident that together we will succeed. That is why I am proud to tell you that the Obama/Biden administration shares your commitment that every student has a safe school. Each child, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, deserves an education."

Biden also told the group (it was announced on May 19) that GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings would be joining the Obama administration, working alongside Education Secretary Arne Duncan as Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education. Jennings will head the safe and drug-free schools program.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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