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The fight over Gay-Straight Alliance clubs
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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 9:17 pm    Post subject: The fight over Gay-Straight Alliance clubs Reply with quote

The rightwingnuts and other anti-'mo types *hate* these clubs, and want to stamp them out. It particularly drives them crazy that a Reagan-era law designed to permit the fundies to have religious clubs in the schools is the very law that is being used to force schools to allow the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs. *hee hee* Mr. Green

There are so many stories about this topic -- and not only in the Yoo-Ess-Eh -- that I have started this thread to be a repository for them, and (hopefully) a record of the ongoing series of wins by the pro-GSA crowd.

Part of what I love so much about these stories is that it's usually young people -- and frequently *straight* ones at that -- who are standing up to these bigots. It's a refreshing indication that maybe we CAN just "grow up" and overcome some of our prejudices.

FLA: Student sues Okeechobee school board over its prohibition of GSA

Quote:
An Okeechobee High School senior and the club she formed to promote gay and lesbian tolerance are suing the Okeechobee County School Board claiming it and the principal unlawfully prohibited after-school meetings on campus, according to a lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court in Miami.

The student, Yasmin Gonzalez, alleges the denial of the Gay-Straight Alliance violates the federal Equal Access Act. Robert F. Rosenwald Jr., of the American Civil Liberties Union, represents Gonzalez.

"The problem is students can't be expected not to harass gay students as long as the school is sending a message that gay kids are second-class citizens," Rosenwald said today. "The school needs to institute training that policies can't discriminate against gay kids."

[...]

In 1984, the Equal Access Act gave clubs the right to assemble in public schools that receive federal funding as long as they are student-run and attendance is voluntary.

The Act was designed to protect Christian student coalitions seeking meeting space at public schools. That same protection extends to the Gay-Straight Alliance, a club that accepts members regardless of sexual orientation.

Okeechobee High School's website lists several organizations under the heading "Clubs." The clubs include: National Honor Society, Quill & Scroll, Crime Watch, Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America and Beta Club.

"What's clear is the school just doesn't want gay kids talking on campus," Rosenwald said. "They've given contradictory and irrelevant reasons for discriminating against students. The principal said there were no extracurricular clubs allowed on campus then said there were too many."

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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

See also:

Mich. store boycotted for sponsoring GSA float

GSA Competition: G2S Clubs

Banning gay-straight alliance clubs
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Last edited by Hephaestion on Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More on Okeechobee situation

Students most affected if clubs disbanded

Quote:
In recent weeks there has been talk of Okeechobee High School (OHS) disbanding all after-school clubs that meet on their grounds.

The idea was brought up after the Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patricia Cooper stated that she would be willing to stand behind her denial in the forming of a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in court.

[...]

Depending on the disposition of the suit, the final decision will force the school board to take one of two options -- disband all clubs, or allow the GSA to be held on school property.

Under the 1984 Federal Equal Access Act, a school that allows any student groups to meet on campus that are non-curricular must allow all groups as such to meet on school grounds.

Students will be those most affected by the decision.

"They can't do it (disband all clubs)," said Amanda Heil, an OHS junior and member of four different after-school clubs. "There are too many clubs that offer scholarships and open the door to higher education."


As Feral points out, yes, they certainly can... it just depends if they want to actually be that petty.

But I thought Feral's other comment was even more telling, as it points out a bias that most people don't even see -- as the headline-writer obviously didn't:

Quote:
The headline on this story rather perplexed me at first. Of course the students will be the most affected. They'll be pretty much the only people affected. Who else could possibly be involved -- parents, teachers, administrators, lawyers, the townsfolk? The decision, one way or the other, will be of passing triviality to all of them. Then I realized that I had forgotten to translate it correctly.

It's not "Students most affected if clubs disbanded," it's "Straight students most affected if clubs disbanded." After all, the OHS GSA exists right now -- it meets someplace other than school property. The situation of the gay kids wouldn't be affected all that much if the high school's clubs are disbanded.


ETA: "Amanda Heil" reminds me of Bart's phone prank with Moe Sizlak on "The Simpson's", where he asks Moe if "Amanda Hugginkiss" is there, and Moe ends up yelling to the bar, "C'mon you guys! I need Amanda Hugginkiss!"

Well, "Amanda Heil", eh? I think I know the kind of man that might fit that bill...
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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well after almost two full years, the bigots of White County, Georgia have finally discovered the truth; the "Equal Access Act" (EAA) -- originally passed by Reagan in order to force school boards to let religous students clubs to meet on their property -- has successfully been turned around and used against them by -- *gasp* -- the homos.

365has a summary of the history of the case, including noting that it all began when "about 250 angry parents" protested the formation of a GSA by students. Now, 22 months later, the student group gets their club, they get to meet on school grounds, the school board has to start an anti-bullying program -- with at least 90% participation rate, AND with a specific teacher named to administer the program. And the whole thing only cost 178,000 clams -- 10 thousand to the kiddies, and $168,000 to the ACLU to cover legal costs.

Quote:
The first phase of the lawsuit was settled in July when U.S. District Judge William O'Kelley ordered that all non-curricular clubs, including PRIDE (Peers Rising In Diversity Education), be allowed to return to White County High School. The judge said the school district ran "afoul" of the Equal Access Act despite its good faith efforts to follow the law when it barred non-curricular clubs.


See, they tried to get around the EAA by banning *all* non-academic clubs, but several of these openly straight non-academic clubs thought that obviously didn't include them, and began meeting again on school property. There was no attempt to hide the fact -- their meetings were promoted during morning announcements -- so the ACLU got involved again..

Quote:
The ACLU, in the second phase of the lawsuit, charged that the district failed to protect students from alleged harassment and violation of their civil rights. PRIDE members said they formed a gay-straight alliance because gay students, and those perceived to be gay, were being verbally and physically abused by other students. They said anti-gay harassment was chronic and widespread at the high school and that school officials did not address the issue.


Naturally, the "Christophobic ACLU" will be blamed for this calamity -- the bigots will fail to appreciate that it was their own insistance that their religious clubs be allowed to use public school facilities that led Reagan into passing the EAA. And, just like everywhere else that has tried to have it both ways, they have discovered that either *everyone* get to use the facilities or *nobody* does -- even the homos and their friends.

Now, mind you, most other school boards, faced with numeerous legal precedents and all, have not been so thick-headed, and have capitulated before they'd run up such a bill. Mind you, the cost was apprently not a major concern, as the school superintendant blithely stated that their insurance costs would cover the judgement.

Apparently they don't want to have their faces rubbed in their own fucking stupidity, though:

Quote:
A "no crowing" clause is allegedly also included in the pending settlement, forbidding both the ACLU and the students it represents and school officials from bragging that they 3won2 the case.


Tough luck. They LOST... on every count. And I hope their fucking insurance rates go through the gawddamn ROOF. Mr. Green

I just wish the kids had gotten a *million*. Nevertheless... Happy Saturnalia to the PRIDE kids of White County! Very Happy
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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Florida bigots show their true colours, while teen shows her courage

Quote:
The message to gays in this rural cattle town is spoken politely, sometimes with a drawl, sometimes quoting the Bible, but the meaning is anything but a hospitable Southern welcome.

High school senior Yasmin Gonzalez has been hearing it a lot lately -- from kids hanging out bus windows shouting, "Are you the one that's gay?" to the teacher who said homosexuals should die.

Gonzalez, 17, has become something of a target since November, when the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf against the Okeechobee High School principal and school board for refusing to let her establish a Gay-Straight Alliance, an after-school club that promotes dialogue and tolerance.

"There's so much discrimination here," she says.

[...]

But public sentiment runs against Gonzalez in Okeechobee, a town of about 5,500 residents and around 60 churches 70 miles northwest of West Palm Beach.


Yes, that DOES work out to one church for every 91.666 citizens. Ironic, isn't that?

Quote:
Because the school won't recognize Gonzalez's club, she holds meetings at an athletic complex about a mile away. The club claims about 50 members, but only Gonzalez and Jessica Donaldson, who is straight, were there on a recent Wednesday. Gonzalez says most supporters are afraid to talk to the media or banned by parents who fear it will affect their community standing.


Nice parents. More concerned about their frickin' "community standing" than their own kids. And they say queers wouldn't make decent parents and good role models...

Quote:
When Gonzalez tried to register her club, she said administrators first told her the school didn't allow any (despite listing more than a dozen on its Web site, like Future Farmers of America and Key Club). Later Gonzalez said she was told there were too many clubs, and finally that the school had an abstinence-only policy.

Despite numerous telephone calls, Superintendent Patricia Cooper declined to comment to The Associated Press. The school's attorney, Barbara Weller, also did not return several telephone calls.

Cooper, who attends a Baptist church in the area, did grant an interview to the Florida Baptist Witness, where she requested prayer from fellow Christians about the lawsuit.

"My position was then and remains that we are an abstinence-only district, that our clubs are primarily dealing with curriculum or curriculum-related clubs and organizations and we would decline the request," Cooper told the paper. "We are an abstinence-only district and its abstinence from any kind of sexual behavior, whether it's heterosexual or bisexual or homosexual, whatever it is." She said she's happy "conservative family values" remain strong in the town.

[...]

Gonzalez knows she won't benefit from the suit. By the time anything is decided, she'll be off at college, hopefully studying mechanics. "You shouldn't have to grow up feeling like you're alone," she said. "It was just terrible. I saw that something was wrong and I'm trying to change it."


I wish I had an address for that girl... I'd send her a love letter. Very Happy
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No Yards
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The same strategy should be used in all such cases. Next time some religious bigot wants to change the constitution to "protect marriage", we should all support the effort ... only we should use the same logic against them by adding that we will support such a bill as long as it treats religion in the same manner ... since they are willing to exclude homosexuals from constitutional equality, then we demand that religion be shown the same level of "respect" in the constitution ... after all, if constitutions can be modified to remove a certain class of people from protection, then the class of "religious" can certainly be attacked as easily as the class of "homosexuals".

If the religious say they are willing to "eat their own" in order to repress homosexuals, then lets call their bluff and watch them scurry off like the cowardly bullies they are.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's good irony. Mr. Green
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreement ends long battle over GSA in White County

Quote:
A battle over the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance at White County High School that has raged on for nearly two years officially ended on Wednesday with the signing of an agreement that requires that the school district will implement an anti-bully program.

It also must provide faculty with annual training sessions on how to deal with and prevent anti-gay harassment. In addition it is understood that the school district will pay about $170,000 in legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union which represented LGBT students in the case.

"I'm just so happy this is all over and that our school is doing the right thing," said Charlene Hammersen, one of the founders of the club, Peers Rising In Diverse Education (PRIDE). 

"It's taken almost two years to get here, but we're as determined as we've always been to promote diversity and fight harassment against gay students at our school. This is really great for every student that goes to White County High." 

[...]

The mother of another co-founder of the club hailed the settlement.

"Throughout the course of this lawsuit I've only wanted what every parent wants ­ for my children to be able to go to school in an environment that's safe," said Savannah Pacer, whose daughter Kerry, who has since graduated from high school, was the founding president of PRIDE - her other daughter Lindsay is also a member of the club.

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Diane Demorney
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: this story
Hephaestion wrote:
Florida bigots show their true colours, while teen shows her courage

another quote that stood out (for me)
Quote:
"My position was then and remains that we are an abstinence-only district, that our clubs are primarily dealing with curriculum or curriculum-related clubs and organizations and we would decline the request," Cooper told the paper. "We are an abstinence-only district and its abstinence from any kind of sexual behavior, whether it's heterosexual or bisexual or homosexual, whatever it is."

Sooo... does this mean that no one can date? Who, exactly, said that Gonzalez was having a "sexual" relationship with her girlfriend. She might very well be abstinent. Just cause ya date, doesn't mean yer doin' it. Just sayin'...

Gawd, the hypocrisy is mind-blowing.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about this bit:

Quote:
whether it's heterosexual or bisexual or homosexual, whatever it is


"Whatever it is"? Is this a way of referring to the old "bestiality" canard without actually saying the word?

Or is this a case of picking a ridiculous, non-existant thing, à la "I wouldn't care if their skin colour was GREEN!", to "prove" just how bigoted they aren't...? Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just in case any Canucks are feeling all smug 'n superior... it's not just the States, it's Ontario too. Feral commented:

Quote:
With a headline like this and a name like "Richmond Hill," you'd think this was some bigoted hick town in Virginia or something. Nope. It's a bigoted hick town in Ontario. A pity, since US federal law and a passle of those litigious fag lawyers would make short work of this problem.


Gay club stifled by school, students want same rights as other clubs

Quote:
(Richmond Hill) - For 17-year-old Richmond Hill High School student Sean Kaw, there's a simple solution to his problem. His school should allow a Gay Straight Alliance to be a club just like the debating team.

"A lot of other groups at school celebrate their identity, why can't we?," the Grade 12 student asked while sitting with several students who are part of the school's unofficial Gay Straight Alliance.

The group hasn't been able to act as a club because the school is not allowing it, according to Mr. Kaw.

"..We are not allowed to make any announcements about meetings, nor are we allowed to put up any posters around the school. We aren't even allowed to call ourselves an official club," Mr. Kaw said. "The problem lies with the administration."

The inability to call themselves a club has forced the group to connect by word-of-mouth and this year, no meetings have really been held, Mr. Kaw said.

Richmond Hill Principal Dr. Ivy Chan said while the school will not allow a Gay Straight Alliance, they will be starting a diversity advocacy club in February.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huh. That's distressing ... and a diversity advocacy club, while it's a fine idea in general, isn't likely to sufficiently address the specific issue of homophobia.

This quote from the article Heph cites jumped out at me:

Quote:
"We have a slew of groups and we have very entrenched views. We have a large Muslim community," Ms Chan said. "I could go ahead and be politically correct and have one, but a gay straight alliance-some people would be for it but there would be a lot of parents who would oppose it."


Come on. A large Muslim community? Does she think that Muslim students and their parents are automatically going to oppose a GSA? And if so, should work not be done on this?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Richmond Hill Principal Dr. Ivy Chan said while the school will not allow a Gay Straight Alliance, they will be starting a diversity advocacy club in February.


"Gay" is still a dirty word.

Gays are still expected to be invisible.

What a message that sends to the closeted gay kids in that school.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been very impressed by the activities of the Gay Straight Alliance at the Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School (the biggest high-school in town). They have been very active and seem to be getting a lot accomplished. It is nice to see because there is a lot of bigotry in Peterborough. The communities that are most friendly to equal rights are generally the university community and the high-school students. The main bigots are (surprise, surprise) the police department and the local Conservative and Liberal party riding associations.
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Hephaestion
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Come on. A large Muslim community? Does she think that Muslim students and their parents are automatically going to oppose a GSA? And if so, should work not be done on this?


It is entirely possible, of course, that she is just using this "large Muslim community" as an excuse to cover up her *own* bigotry and hostility to 'mos.

Quote:
"I could go ahead and be politically correct and have one, but a gay straight alliance- some people would be for it but there would be a lot of parents who would oppose it."


I should think this would be ample indication that a GSA is needed. And very badly, too.

ETA: If anybody has any ideas on how to contact these kids from Richmond Hill, I'd appreciate it. I'd love to write them a letter.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The school's address is on their website; I'm sure if you sent the student mentioned in the article a letter c/o the school it would get to him.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sank kew! Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the Christianist extremists in White County have gotten themselves busted. And after all the hysteria, it comes down to eight -- eight -- hardcore bigots

Quote:
(Cleveland, Georgia) Eight protesters have been were charged with holding a demonstration without a permit following a noisy demonstration against the settlement of lawsuit over a gay-straight student group at White County High School.

The demonstrators, from a local evangelical church, marched along the side of a busy highway yelling their objections to homosexuality and the settlement. At least one of the protestors was using a bullhorn.

When the protestors reached the intersection of U.S. 129 and Georgia 75 they were stopped by Cleveland police and White County sheriff1s officers.

The group was told they had to stop the demonstration until they obtained a permit from the city.

When they refused the eight were given citations for unlawful assembly and using a public address system in violation of a city sound ordinance. They are expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

[...]

Under the agreement the school district will implement an anti-bully program.

It also must provide faculty with annual training sessions on how to deal with and prevent anti-gay harassment. In addition it is understood that the school district will pay about $170,000 in legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union which represented LGBT students in the case.


So.... let's see... $170,000 divided by eight... oh no, wait. There's the cost of the program to factor in as well...

I think that would have excellent educational value, as well as providing a great deal of deterrence, if these bigots had to pay personally for at least *some* of the costs of their ignorance and hatred. I just wish there was some way to transfer all the mental and emotional damage to them as well, to say nothing of the bashings that their hate-mongering encourages. But holding them personally responsible for court costs and damages, rather than sluffing it off onto an insurance company, would be a nice place to start.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep... Virginia is STILL for haters

Quote:
For the third year in a row the Virginia legislature is considering legislation that would require students in publicly funded schools to obtain their parent's written permission to participate in school clubs.

Although it does not specifically mention gay-straight alliances LGBT advocates say the bill's intent is to make it impossible for the gay support clubs to organize.

The measure passed a House of Delegates subcommittee on Monday on an 8-5 vote. It now goes before the full House Education Committee.

The bill is sponsored by Del. Matthew Lohr (R-Harrisonburg) as were the previous two attempts.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bid To Curb Virginia Gay Student Clubs Fails
http://365gay.com/Newscon07/01/011707schools.htm
Quote:
(Richmond, Virginia) Legislation that would require students in publicly funded schools to obtain their parent's written permission to participate in school clubs died in committee on Wednesday.

The measure passed a House of Delegates Education subcommittee on Monday on an 8-5 vote. [see previous post] But Wednesday, a tie vote in the full Committee meant it would not advance to the House floor.

The threat to GSAs in Virginia is not over yet. A second delegate has submitted a bill similar to Lohr's. It has yet to be considered.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's nice to see this kind of support for the people who support US...

Benefit concert for boycotted record store Davey's Basement

Quote:
This is an all-ages concert to benefit Davey's Basement, a Lansing-area record store that has been boycotted because of its support for the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) chapter at Mason High School near Lansing.

Ann Arbor-based band Minor Planets organized the concert, and all proceeds will go to Davey's Basement.

[...]

Four bands will play at the benefit, and there will also be a silent auction of donated items (including signed concert posters, CDs, artwork, books,and more).  Monetary donations will be accepted at the concert or by visting www.daveysbasement.com

Davey's Basement, which is located in Mason, Mich., was boycotted because it helped students in the Mason High School GSA chapter with a homecoming float for a parade. Since the parade, store sales and revenue have dropped drastically, and the store was recently vandalized when it was pelted with eggs.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That asshole Lohr is at it *again* in Virginia...

Quote:
Less than a week after a bill that would require students in publicly funded schools to obtain their parent's written permission to participate in school clubs died in committee a modified version was resurrected and pushed through the House education committee.

The new version of the legislation adds middle-school students and it would require parents to state which clubs they do not want their children involved in, rather than requiring parents to give permission for children to join.

The end result is the same according to LGBT civil rights groups - to limit access by students to gay support clubs.

When the legislation lost last week on a tie vote some committee members said they agreed with the principle of the bill but that having parental permission forms for all students would create an unnecessary burden ion school administrators.

The revised bill reduces the paper work since parents would have to fill out forms only if they objected to their children joining certain clubs. Schools will still have to send out descriptions of all clubs.

The bill is sponsored by Del. Matthew Lohr (R-Harrisonburg) as were two previous attempts.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Move against gay school clubs moves forward in Utah

Quote:
Utah lawmakers gave initial approval to bill that would require parental approval for students to join extra curricular school clubs. The legislation requires schools to provide parents with information on clubs and all materials that are talked about or presented. The parents would then send a form back to the school indicating which clubs their children can join.

The measure by Rep. Aaron Tilton (R) is similar to a bill he proposed last year that failed. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Chris Buttars (R). Both measures are similar to legislation the pair submitted last year but which failed to gain traction.

[...]

Under the new legislation proposed by Tilton and Buttars students would have to seek permission from their schools each fall to create a club. The school would have the right to reject a club based on its name, goals or activities.

In addition, clubs could be turned down if a principal believes they would violate the "moral well-being" of students, cross "boundaries of socially appropriate behavior" or "involve human sexuality," according to the legislation.

[...]

During debate on last year's bid to impose limitations on clubs Buttars on the Senate floor he said Gay-Straight Alliances are "a recruiting tool for gays and are "tearing down the moral pillars of society." There currently are approximately 14 GSAs in the state.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well how delightful. I received a PM from one of the guys in the Richmond Hill (unofficial) GSA. He found this thread while googling for news stories about their situation.

They have their own discussion/news group on facebook, and have hopes to soon have their own website as well. Very Happy Ya gotta love the younger folks -- they don't let a bunch of prejudiced old farts get in theur way. (Geez, that note from Justin just put a big ol' grin on my face.) Mr. Green

I'm going to send him an e-mail to pass around to the rest of the group (if he wants) and I will let them all know that they are more than welcome to "hang out" and post here at EM as well. More folks like them we can always use. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, cool! (Google is indeed our friend.)

If anyone from Richmond GSA is checking out EnMasse, welcome! And it's really, really wonderful that you're working on this initiative. Super to see your courage and determination in the face of homophobia and intolerance. There are a bunch of activists on the board so let us know if there's anything we can do to help in terms of advice or support ...
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I'd pop in and say a couple of words.

I'm said member of the RHHS GSA who managed to find this forum Smile I've been a bit busy (exam week) so I haven't had much time to do much, however I've passed along the forum address so hopefully we can use this resource as an advantage, as well as contribute to it.

I'm mostly a behind-the-scenes guy, so allow me to slip back into the shadows Smile

Regards,
Justin Robertson
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi JuRo! BIG welcome to you ... hope you enjoy yourself here, post as much or as little as you like, and yeah, hope you find this site a useful and supportive resource. Keep up the good work in Richmond Hill!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*waves* Hi Justin! Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello and welcome!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just got word, our principal approved of the club..long story, if you are interested:

http://hs.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=2231903722&topic=2041

It's satisfying Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clap, Clap Clap, Clap Clap, Clap Clap, Clap

Yay!

That's GREAT news.

JuRo, can you cut n paste the story here? I'm not a Facebook member ...
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome, Jason!

Can you put some paragraphs up (from your myspace page)? One needs to logon to access it...

BTW, great news!

ETA: Jebus! It's like Tehanu and I are sharing a brain tonight!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shhhh ... I thought we were going to keep the Mod Mind Meld secret.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations! That is excellent news. I'm sure the club is going to be very successful.

Flowers For You

Edited to add the note from facebook:
Quote:
I have really good news for everyone, but I’d like to say something first.

You are awesome. Everyone has been absolutely amazing in this whole movement. The people have Facebook, the people who don’t, the people who silently supported us, and the people that worked the most loudly. It renewed my faith in humanity that so many people cared so much.

Today, Doctor Chan called me into her office. She told me how hurtful all the media attention had been, not just to her, but to her family. She told me how it hurt the most that we, her own students, felt so repressed that we could not speak directly with her, that we had to get outside intervention. Intervention which, she added, was not always in anyone’s best interest. She told me a lot of things, but the underlying message was that she cares about us, she is proud of us, and that it was tragic that miscommunications on both sides escalated it to this level. She really does care about us, guys. We mock “Celebration Friday”, and we call her unflattering names, but in the end, she really does care about us.

She said that she had made her decision. It was not a reaction to media pressure, or Board directives. It came from her heart, because she decided that it was the right thing to do. It was because we were so rational and eloquent, so cool-headed and controlled, that we really impressed her, and showed her that our views had merit. We couldn’t have done anything without staying calm.

We got it, guys. Doctor Chan has given us our Gay-Straight Alliance.

Before you break out the champagne, remember this. It’s not that we won, it’s that both sides came together and did what was right. Principals and students should work together, and in the end, we did.

Also remember that this was not victimless. We put Doctor Chan through hell, with the media attention and the habitual hatred we fall into. We put her kids through hell.

It needed to be done in order to get the GSA, but just remember what it cost. Treasure it.

The first meeting is on Wednesday the 7th in room 1014, the Family Studies classroom. Mrs. McCullough is away for a few weeks, and there were so many teachers that supported us that we have a plethora of teacher-supervisors. So I don’t know who will be “in charge” of the first meeting. But I’ll be there, and I hope you will too.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

YAY!!!! Mr. Green MOST awesome! Well done, folks!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Green I bow to you. Best of luck to your group and your members. Mr. Green
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin gave us all a link to this place, so most of us have read your kind words of encouragement. I'm Sean, by the way. Nice to meet you all.

In addition to the link Justin gave you guys, here's another, from the same paper that originally ran our story:

http://www.yorkregion.com/yr/yr4/YR_News/Newscentre/The_Liberal/sto...

You really have no idea how much all the support really means. With all the pressure the media can put on a situation, it sometimes makes you question whether or not you're even doing the right thing, or if it's even worth it. The words of encouragement help to clear up those thoughts, and remind you to stand up and fight.

Like the article said, I really am glad it all came down to this. One PTA meeting later, and it's resolved. =) No courts, no lawsuits... plain old understanding, and seeing eye to eye.

Thanks again, everybody.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a mistake in the link above. It should be

School does about-face on plans for gay alliance
Members relieved about reversal

Jan 27, 2007
http://www.yorkregion.com/yr/yr4/YR_News/Newscentre/The_Liberal/sto...

And for background
Gay club stifled by school
Students want same rights as other clubs

Jan 13, 2007
http://www.yorkregion.com/yr/yr4/YR_News/Newscentre/The_Liberal/sto...
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Sean! And CONGRATULATIONS!!!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Way ta go, Sean! See what a little well-applied pressure can accomplish?

Quote:
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-- Archimedes


Mr. Green
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some interesting quotes from the Utah Education Committee that was dealing with Tilton's most recent bigoted bill...

Quote:
"I'm baffled by why you want all these rules," said Representative Carol Spackman Moss, a retired educator.

"Actually I don't think it's that difficult to bring information to the principal," responded Tilton.

With discussion of parental consent before students can join clubs, Tilton said his intention "was not to make consent onerous. It's a simple consent form."

Rep. Greg Hughes, the committee chair, offered time to the public to voice support or opposition to the bill.

Stephen F. Graham, President of the Standard of Liberty Foundation, specifically opposed gay clubs, as he believed they promote sexual behavior, which he believes could influence students negatively and lead to experimentation.

Denise Wayman, a former Key-Club member at Hunter High School supports the bill. "I would love to have administration more involved," she said. It's important for parents and the administration to know what's going on in school. If the administration doesn't know what's going on in a school, how do parents know what's going on in their own kid's school?" She said she is opposed to gay clubs, and feels discriminated against by having to allow gay clubs in her school.

[...]

Before taking a vote on advancing HB 236, Moss added her final thoughts. "I agree involvement is something we'd like to see," she said. "I don't think we should legislate parental involvement. We then become a 'Super school board.' She added that the paperwork the bill would require would be a lot of work for clubs. Her main opposition came from the audience, which she felt were completely centered on the gay/straight issues. "I will oppose this bill," Moss said. "I am passionate about preserving rights, which I see as far more important than parental involvement."

[...]

The bill passed by vote of the standing committee.


I'm not even going to comment on the stupidity of Stephen F. Graham's supposed "point", but the idiocy of Denise Wayman's contribution deserves comment:

Quote:
"If the administration doesn't know what's going on in a school, how do parents know what's going on in their own kid's school?"


Right. Because parents get all their information about the school from the administrators -- they never talk to their children about school; without the school administration keeping tabs on their kids, they'd be hopelessly in the dark. Right. Rolling Eyes I can almost see her wide-eyed, vacant Malibu Stacy-like expression as she recites the vacuous bafflegab programmed into her by the "normal people". As Malibu Stacy says, "Thinking gives you wrinkles! *titter* "

But this is is my favorite bit:

Quote:
She said she is opposed to gay clubs, and feels discriminated against by having to allow gay clubs in her school.


She feels discriminated against?!?! Oh, this is TOO rich. I hugely regret that the Park Record reporter did not explain exactly *how* she feels "discriminated against" -- that would'a made for some darn entertaining reading. Someone should send this example of "truthiness" to Stephen Colbert...

And by the way, just what the hell IS this vitally important "Key Club" whose existance is so blighted by the mere existance of a GSA? What is this, "Locksmithing for Loogans"? "Gatekeepers for Gawd"? WTH is a Key Club, and can one recover from it?
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This seems appropriate for a thread on GSAs: Straight female teens supporting gay male teen novels

Quote:
If you think that only gay kids read gay young adult books, think again. Straight female teens are a huge part of the audience too. "I get a lot of emails from my gay and lesbian readers, adults and teenagers, but it turns out that straight teenage girls are actually my biggest audience -- they love reading about gay boys," Alex Sanchez, author of 'Rainbow Boys', told the Sydney Star Observer.

However, schools seem to be taking a while to catch up to their open-minded students. Some authors of gay young adult novels, like Sanchez, find themselves regularly having to deal with censors. 'Rainbow Boys' was recently removed from a high school summer reading list in Webster, NY. At the time, Sanchez told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, "It pains me every time I hear about a handful of individuals attempting to block others from reading a book that has inspired so many. That's un-American. And it's wrong."

But now, says Sanchez, more people are at least realizing that straight teens have a community with their gay peers and want to support them. "I'll speak in an assembly and I'll ask, 'How many of you know someone who is openly gay or lesbian?' Generally 95 percent of the hands will go up," he told the Sydney Star Observer. "I watch the teachers' faces as they look around, 'Oh my gosh, we never realised the young people we've been concerned about actually know so many gay and lesbian people.'"

[...]

For more information about his work and his latest novel, check out his web site: http://www.alexsanchez.com/

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Utah school bill revised to target GSAs

Quote:
A state senator who has been fighting gay-straight alliances in Utah schools for most of his political career has toughened the language in a school clubs bill and skillfully maneuvered it into a committee that he chairs.

Republican Sen. Chris Buttars used the Senate Health and Services Committee to insert an amendment to a House bill passed earlier in the week that would allow schools to ban clubs they believe would threaten the "moral well-being" of students or faculty.

Buttars then had the bill sent to the Rules Committee he chairs, ensuring the measure will reach the Senate floor where it is expected to pass.

His new version of the bill is nearly identical to one originally proposed by Rep. Aaron Tilton (R) that was gutted in the House earlier in the week.

[...]

If as expected the Senate passes Buttars version the legislation would have to return to the House where its fate is less certain.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tehanu wrote:
Huh. That's distressing ... and a diversity advocacy club, while it's a fine idea in general, isn't likely to sufficiently address the specific issue of homophobia.

This quote from the article Heph cites jumped out at me:

Quote:
"We have a slew of groups and we have very entrenched views. We have a large Muslim community," Ms Chan said. "I could go ahead and be politically correct and have one, but a gay straight alliance-some people would be for it but there would be a lot of parents who would oppose it."


Come on. A large Muslim community? Does she think that Muslim students and their parents are automatically going to oppose a GSA? And if so, should work not be done on this?


What the hell makes it parents' business whether students start a club, anyway? It might be their business whether their kids join the club. Maybe. Sorta. Whether it exists or not bloody well ain't.

Congratulations to the Richmond Hill GSA people! As to your administrator's oh-so-deep disappointment with your need to do activism instead of just talking to her quietly, because her decision was purely from the heart, blah blah blah . . . I have my doubts. Sure, giving her the benefit of the doubt so you can work with her more easily in future is probably a good idea, but I think she's at best fooling herself. If she doesn't make herself think that's how it worked it diminishes her in her own eyes, so she makes herself think that . . . it makes you the bad guys in her script, instead of her. Adults who make it to positions of authority tend to be very good at assigning blame and guilt away from themselves. But I would be willing to bet that if you rewound to the point where you decided whether to go activist or "just talk to her directly" and switched decisions, she would have complimented you in a faintly patronizing fashion for your passion and your responsibility in coming to her, and said she'd think about it. Then she would have regretfully informed you that the idea wasn't realistic and that as an administrator she had to live in the real world, blah, blah, blah. She may not be prejudiced herself, but she's clearly willing to bow to merely assumed pressure and deny people their rights, or she wouldn't have been talking about the Muslim parents, yadda yadda in that earlier quote. It was the counterpressure that changed her mind. Then she rationalized it. This is not unusual--the guardians of the status quo are *always* after activists to go through normal/official channels instead of making a noise. They *always* say it will work better/would have worked just as well. And every activist group, no matter whose rights they're pushing for, has generally had to find out the hard way that it just isn't true, even when the people claiming it more or less sincerely believe it.

So, folks, be nice to her all you want, but don't take the guilt she's pushing. You did so need to do the activism.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Utah Passes Bill To Curb Gay-Straight Student Clubs
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the article Heph linked to:

Quote:
The bill would allow schools to ban clubs they believe would threaten the "moral well-being" of students or faculty.

It would require parents to sign a consent form before their children can join clubs and it would force clubs to provide school principals with information that would be presented to the club a week in advance so parents can review it.

The legislation also requires the state to cover the costs of lawsuits involving the restrictions of school clubs. That provision is seen as a move to use the power of the state to prevent lawsuits if Gay-Straight Alliances were banned at schools.


ASSHOLES.

ETA: If they're worried about the moral well-being of students and faculty, maybe they should ban any hate-mongering clubs, and I'd include under that umbrella any religious affiliations that promote hatred of the LGBT community and others. Wanna bet that a fundie club is currently just fine?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The bill would allow schools to ban clubs they believe would threaten the "moral well-being" of students or faculty.


Well, there goes the Young Republicans. Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

Yeah, I'm with Tehanu.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, this is interesting. In a sudden about-face, Utah lawmakers reverse vote on school clubs bill

Quote:
When members of the Utah House arrived at the capitol on Thursday supporters of a measure placing tough restrictions on school clubs were still reveling in Wednesday's passage of the bill.

LGBT activists believe the restrictions were aimed at curbing gay-straight alliances, although no specific clubs were named in the legislation.

Within minutes of entering the chamber, however, lawmakers learned that because of a procedural error they would have to vote again.

Still confident they had enough votes to again carry the bill, they went forward. But when the ayes and nays were counted the measure had been defeated.

It was latest in a a roller coaster ride for the legislation.

[...]

Wednesday the House concurred with the Senate and passed the bill.

What made enough members of the House change their minds overnight is not initially clear. The House sponsor, Rep. Aaron Tilton (R) was noticeably angry.


LOL!!! Mr. Green Mr. Green Mr. Green Mr. Green Mr. Green Mr. Green
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love politics. Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yay! One little happy news from this very anti-gay state of Utah.
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