Friday, February 10, 2006

Gay Students, Friends Harassed, Including by AFA

A new study by the Iowa Pride Network shows anti-gay harassment is the rule in schools, not the exception. The American Family Association has contributed to that harassment.

The survey reports the direct relationship between in-school victimization, grade-point averages (GPAs) and the college aspirations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

The survey of 175 students in 48 Iowa school districts included a focus on straight students who have gay friends. The students said being friends with someone who is gay increased their chance of being harassed.

''Just being the friend of a gay student increases the likelihood that you'll be threatened,'' said Ryan Roemerman, of the Iowa Pride Network, an advocacy group for gay students.

The survey showed that 43 percent of students with gay friends reported they had property stolen or damaged, compared to 18 percent of the general student population. It also found that 94 percent of gay students reported hearing derogatory remarks frequently, and that in more than 70 percent of those incidents teachers did not intervene.

Evidently to encourage this harassment, the Amercian Family Association outs a high school student for political gain. From AMERICABLOG:
From the American Family Association's propaganda organ (note, I've x'd out the names of the kid's parents):
Two Christian parents say their son was a victim of homosexual indoctrination at the prestigious "Governor's School of North Carolina."

The Governor's School of North Carolina describes itself as "program for intellectually gifted high school students, integrating academic disciplines, the arts, and unique courses." But one North Carolina couple is suffering some after effects of their son's involvement in the program. xxxx and xxxx xxxxx say after their son attended a Governor's School seminar called "The New Gay Teenager," he began telling them he was unsure of his "sexual orientation."....

xxxx xxxxx says he noticed a big difference in his otherwise normal son upon his return from the school.

"He [said he] was thinking now that he perhaps was gay -- and of course I was floored by this [pronouncement] and was, like, 'where did this come from?' This kind of came out of left field," the dad says.

Congratulations. You've now made this kid and his sexuality a national story. I'm sure his classmates are very happy to know that he might be gay, and now much of the country knows. Gym class is gonna be a joy now. And walking home after school? Well, let's just say I'll be very surprised if this kid gets to walk home undisturbed. Are you people that frickin' stupid and naive and careless that you couldn't at the very least leave the parents' name out of the article?

How this helps a teenager's mental well-being, when teenagers already have more than enough to handle, is beyond me. Has no one in the religious right thought about what they're doing to this kid by telling the world about his sexual orientation? Seriously, are you people that uncaring and sick that you would use a child in this way? Are you not the least bit worried about what a young kid might do, facing this kind of national attention, let alone attention from everyone in his hometown?

Jesus, people, maybe it's time you starting put the Christ back in Christian. If you think a school seminar "made" this kid gay, you are out of your minds. Whatever feelings this kid is having, he's had for them for a while, he didn't just develop them at a seminar. The seminar simply gave him the courage to tell his parents what he was feeling. And by blowing this up to a national religious rights public relations offensive, you've taught that kid one very important lesson about coming clean to his parents: Don't. Think you're gay, hide it. Think you're pregnant, hide it. Questioning your religion, hide it. Do you have anything to tell your parents that might concern them, confuse them, or anger them? Hide it. That's what the religious right wants today's kids in America to do - don't trust your parents, courtesy of the religious right.

If that's the lesson you wanted to be teaching kids, to lie and hide things from their parents, well congrats. You just ruined a kid's life. I'd like to think that the radical right would prefer that teenage kids not kill themselves. But honestly, I can't say with any certainty that I believe that to be true.

What would Jesus do? I doubt the religious right hate groups could care less.

Amen to that.