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Houston Chronicle Blogger Blames Parents for Gay Kid’s Suicides

4 Nov

Texas Sparkle a.k.a. Kathleen McKinley

A Houston Chronicle blog titled “Texas Sparkle” and written by Kathleen McKinley states that parents of gay children are the cause when a child commits suicide. Apparently folks should be encouraging their children to continue hiding who they are when in school so as to not tempt potential bullies.

“Am I mad at the hateful mean kids who bully and tease these teens? You bet I am. But I am just as mad at the idiotic adults who force our adult views on kids, and pull them into our adult world long before they are mature enough to handle it. The 13 year old that killed himself told his Mom he was gay. She said she already knew and hugged him. She said she just assumed that everyone else would be as accepting as she was.”

“Why in the world would you give teenagers a REASON to tease you? Oh, yes, because the adults tell you to embrace who you are, the only problem? Kids that age are just discovering who they are. They really have no idea yet.  The adults tell you to “come out,” when what we should be telling them is that sex is for adults, and there is plenty of time for figuring out that later. Figure out yourself first. Focus on the kind of person you want to be, not the kind of person you want to sleep with.”

McKinley parrots the idea that children as young as 13 are too young to understand what being gay means. This of course throws out generations of studies which prove children much younger than that understand who they are attracted to. Additionally, like so many others in the anti-LGBT camp, she seems to enjoy defining LGBT relationships as purely sexual. She goes on to explain what her perfect world would be: (please note that includes no boy-boy or girl-girl relationships, merely pretty boy-ugly girl relationships)

“Listen, in my perfect world, kids would be kind to one another, no matter what differences there are. Handsome guys would ask out not so pretty girls, and see the great people they really are. Cheerleaders would go out with the nerds because they admire their brains. No one would tease anyone else, and everyone would be friends. BUT THAT ISN’T THE REAL WORLD!”

She attacks Gay Straight Alliances being formed in high schools, which has been proven to reduce bullying and help students build important friendships and connections they will hold on to through much of their adult lives.

“The 15 year old who committed suicide had started a “Rainbow Club” at his high school. Was there NO ADULT anywhere that could have said that maybe that isn’t such a good idea? Oh, no. Because that would be politically incorrect. Good grief. The idea of a high school club based on who you want to sleep with is absurd to begin with.”

And finally, she blames LGBT youth suicides on the “It Will Get Better” Campaign…assuming she means the “It Gets Better” Campaign, she’s clearly missed the point.

These kids were sold a bill of goods by people who thought they were being kind. The “It will get better” campaign just didn’t think it through. They didn’t think about the fact that kids are different from adults. They handle things differently. They react differently. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE KIDS. You can grumble all day long how unfair it is that straight teens can be straight in high school, and gay kids can’t, but life is unfair. Isn’t the price they are paying too high?? Is it so much to ask them to stand at the door of adulthood before they “come out” publically? Because it may save their life.

Let’s let kids be kids, for God’s sake. Remember the gay young boy’s last message said, “How do you know it will get better?” He was a KID! Kids can’t see  around the corner. They just aren’t mature enough yet. They don’t see it getting better no matter how many times Lady Ga Ga says it will. So, enough with our politically correct campaigns aimed at kids.

It’s killing them.

I cannot help but wonder how old “Texas Sparkle” was when she lost her virginity or first realized she had a crush on a boy? I wonder how she’d feel if someone told her that it was wrong to like boys and that she had to hide the fact that she was attracted to them? Would it be the person telling her to suppress her feelings that caused her grief or would she blame the person who told her she should be able to express herself the way she wanted to and love the kind of person she felt attracted to? I’m shocked she went so far as to say her perfect world included nerd-cheerleader and hunk-ugly girl relationships – it’s not what she seems to be advocating in the rest of her article.

If you read through the comments section, you’ll notice she responds to nearly everything and contradicts herself frequently – at times saying she isn’t encouraging kids to stay in the closet, but then saying it’s okay to avoid the bullying. She’s also posted an update after Gawker posted her piece. She defends her bigotry further by saying she has stood up for GOProud (a Conservative gay group that has proven itself to be hateful towards lesbians and trans people). If not for the grammatical errors that only a Tea Partier could respect, one might be concerned that this is a person who has anyone reading what she writes.

TN Pastor Who Ordered Assault on Gay Son, Now Facing Theft Charges

7 Oct

Remember that Tennessee pastor we told you about earlier this week? The one who ordered his deacons to assault his own gay son when he and his partner tried to come to church?

Seems like he’s in the news again. According to local ABC affiliate, WBBJ:

According to Trenton police, they recently arrested Pastor Jerry Pittman, of Fruitland’s Grace Fellowship Church, on charges of stealing from a local business.

“It’s hard enough nowadays to trust people and I just can’t believe that a pastor would even steal anything,” said Trenton resident Hayley Gordon.

Police arrested the 52-year-old on September 21, after his estranged wife told them she had heard from co-workers that he had been stealing from her business.

“Our investigation into the incident that was reported showed that he and another gentleman did scrap copper at a scrap yard here in Trenton,” Lt. James Wilson said.

Investigators said he scrapped the copper at least three different times since August. It was hundreds of pounds, and worth more than $1,000.

“It was quite a bit that they scrapped,” Wilson said.

And, shockingly enough, this “Christian” man has been in trouble with the law before:

This actually is not the first time Pittman has been arrested. Police said he was arrested back in 2006 for a simple assault charge.

“It was over an incident where the daughter and the boyfriend had a joint child,” Wilson said. “There were some accusations involving the father of the child, which was the boyfriend, and he confronted the father of his grandchild at a local grocery store.”

One would think that parishioners would prefer a non-criminal to be leading their church.

UPDATE: Principal Assaults Pro-Gay Student, School District Lies to Protect Him

5 Oct

Sequoya HS Senior Chris Sigler

Yesterday, we shared the story of Sequoya High School senior Chris Sigler who wore a T-shirt with the words “GSA: I’ve got your back” to school and was assaulted by his principal for it. The Tennessee high school was in the news recently when that same principal threatened to suspend students for even discussing the proposed gay-straight alliance.

After my conversation with Principal Maurice Moser, Chris’ story was no surprise to me. Moser came across combative and angry when discussing his own discriminatory actions towards the GSA.

Last night, we were able to speak with a lawyer from the ACLU, who yesterday sent out a press release regarding the assault on Chris Sigler.  The ACLU is demanding that the school administration not only confirm that students’ first amendment rights are being protected, but that students also be allowed to form the GSA. Principal Moser had said to me in our conversation that the only reason the GSA is unable to form is because they cannot find a faculty sponsor. Moser has helped other clubs find sponsors in the past, but is unwilling to help the GSA.

We were told by the ACLU that there is a “disturbing trend” in this high school where several members of the faculty have expressed great interest in becoming the sponsor for the GSA. Then they have a meeting with Principal Moser to discuss and return from that meeting “suddenly uninterested.” We have reached out to some of these teachers for comment and to find out what happened in their meetings and will update you should they respond.

We were also able to speak to Chris Sigler’s mother, Linda last night who told us her version of what happened, which obviously agrees with the ACLU’s press release. She also wanted to reiterate the need for the GSA at this high school. She told me “there are at least 30 students who would like to be part of the club and in a small town, that’s a lot.”

While her son is straight, he has a sister Jessica who identifies as bisexual. “Chris saw how these kids were being treated and knew he had to stand up for them. That’s just the kind of kid he is.” Jessica was the only other person in the room when Moser attacked Chris. To date, the Sheriff has not interviewed Jessica. Yesterday, the Tennessee Equality Project started a petition for a fair investigation. That petition has since closed as Linda Sigler will be speaking with the sheriff today to find out why he hasn’t interviewed Jessica. In the meantime, they have created another petition calling for an investigation into the ongoing harassment of LGBT teens at Sequoya High School.

She went on to mention that the school currently houses at least two Christian student groups – the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and “Prayer Around the Flagpole,” where once a week, a pastor comes on to the school grounds and students are asked to go pray around the flagpole. Until very recently, there was also a prayer said before every football game.

While Christian student organizations may not initially be seen as something to compare the plight of the GSA to, according to a poster on the GSA’s facebook page, there are area Christian churches which are getting involved in the fight to stop them:

“Heard this from a friend in Madisonville: At Howard Chapel Church in Vonore, the pastor preached on QUEERS and said the ACLU may be getting involved with the GSA at Sequoyah and for no church members to sign on or be involved, etc.”

The Howard Chapel Church is less than a mile from the home of a lesbian couple that was burned to the ground allegedly by their neighbor. The word “QUEER” was spray painted in large black letters on their adjoining garage. To add insult to injury, the couple’s insurance company is refusing to pay them on their claim. GetEQUAL has started a petition to the insurance company here and to date, more than 50,000 have signed.

Local NBC affiliate, WBIR has more on the alleged assault including a statement from Tim Blankenship, Ass’t Director of Schools for Monroe County:

“The Monroe County School System is aware of the alleged accusations. We have received written statements from all eyewitnesses. Our documentation clearly indicates that there are always two sides to every story. We’ll gladly provide more information when it becomes available.”

The problem with this claim is that according to Linda Sigler, no statement was taken by the school from her daughter Jessica – the only eyewitness to the assault. I called Tim Blankenship directly and when I attempted to ask him about the discrepancy in his statement and the truth, he hung up on me.

It’s become very clear that the school district is trying to protect Principal Moser to the point that they are silencing students and reporting untruths to the media about what is actually happening in Sequoya High School’s halls. When the bullying of LGBT students is literally coming from the top-down, something needs to change.

We’ll have more on this as it comes in.

GOP Triples Funding for Anti-Gay DOMA Defense

4 Oct

House Speaker John Boehner

While we don’t generally discuss how the government spends our money here at Talk About Equality, this seems a bit pertinent.

While the country continues along the road to further debt crisis, and while thousands are occupying Wall Street to demand changes to how big corporations do business, the Republicans have tripled the amount the government is spending to keep gay and lesbian couples apart.

DOMA has lost in federal court cases no fewer than 14 times, while the Department of Justice has spent millions in legal fees trying to fight to keep it. Earlier this year, after yet another blow to the constitutionality of the statute, Obama’s Department of Justice has decided to stop defending it. Within moments, John Boehner and House Republicans decided to take up the mantle of defending traditional marriage from the horrors of gays and lesbians being afforded the same rights as heterosexuals.

As there are dozens of court challenges to DOMA in the works, the cost of defending it isn’t cheap. California Republican Rep. Dan Lungren signed off on a change order to the contract with outside counsel Paul Clement, who is handling the defense of the anti-gay 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It allows Clement’s fees to triple to $1.5 million.

John Boehner and other House Republicans decided that after Obama refused to continueHouse Republicans, if you recall, decided that since the Justice Department and President Obama refused earlier this year to defend DOMA (calling the statute unconstitutional), Republicans would hire outside counsel to do so. The proliferation of court cases ensured this outsourced defense would get expensive. DOMA is expected to arrive at the Supreme Court within a couple of years. With same-sex marriage now legal in six states and the District of Columbia, DOMA conflicts are blossoming in areas of tax law, immigration law, Social Security and the like.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, has urged the Department of Homeland Security to take same-sex families into consideration in deportation cases. Her constituents,Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk are in Washington today, beginning a round of visits with congressional offices to highlight their case. They are married, gay and bi-national: Makk is a citizen of Australia who has been denied spousal immigration rights.

Pelosi today issued this statement on the GOP contract:

“It is absolutely unconscionable that Speaker Boehner is tripling the cost for his legal boondoggle to defend the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act. At a time when Americans are hurting and job creation should be the top priority, it just shows how out of touch House Republicans have become that they would spend up to $1.5 million dollars to defend discrimination in our country.”

 

Star Wars Game Might Turn Kids Gay…Says Breitbart’s Blog

16 Sep

Cynthia Yockey wrote an Op-Ed for this month’s issue of the Advocate, titled: “Equality Will Come From the Right: Why Andrew Breitbart is a better friend to gays than is the Obama administration.”

Andrew Breitbart

The piece outlines why the writer believes the Republican Party will be responsible for bringing about LGBT equality in the United States. The writer profiles an organization known as GOProud, a group whose mission is to let the world know that not all gays are progressive. GOProud was invited last year to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and was met with many other right wing groups boycotting the conference due to their participation. They’ve since been uninvited for next year’s event. Andrew Breitbart has decided he will boycott CPAC should GOProud not be allowed to participate.

Breitbart has since been named to the board of GOProud. Media Matters has outlined the dozens of moments in anti-gay rhetoric which Breitbart has been responsible for. And today, from Breitbart’s website, “Big Hollywood,” comes another extraordinarily anti-gay article. This one is akin to Keith Ablow’s advice to parents that they shouldn’t let their kids watch Chaz Bono on Dancing With the Stars because it might make kids turn transgender.

John Nolte of Breitbart’s Big Hollywood asks “Will ‘Star Wars’ Online Video Game Ask Your Child to Engage In Same-Sex Relationships.” The opening line of the post says:

“Apparently, after selling somewhere around 500,000 copies to unsuspecting families everywhere, the creators of the video game “Star Wars: The Old Republic” have decided to add same-sex romances to the online feature.

Say goodbye to your child’s innocence.”

The rest of Nolte’s rant describes the announcement that the game producing companies involved (BioWare, Electronic Arts, and George Lucas’s LucasArts) would be including SGRA’s (Same-Gender Relationship Arcs) in the online version of the game. He even goes so far as to call the company’s move to make the game inclusive “pure bait and switch.”

Nolte includes a letter from a Big Hollywood reader which states that “Some parents are concerned that this homosexual content will attract pedophiles.” This, despite the fact that pedophiles are disproportionately heterosexual. While hundreds of religious leaders have inaccurately and successfully spread the malicious lie that there is a link between homosexuality and pedophilia, the scientists (you know, the one who base their beliefs on fact and not fantasy) argue the opposite based on actual statistics.

Despite Andrew Breitbart’s apparent support of the conservative gay group GOProud, it seems to me that he has no problem trafficking in stereotypes, distortions and horrific lies about gay people. While I am all for doing our best to educate all people on our plight for equality, stating that Andrew Breitbart is going to be responsible for bringing equality to LGBT Americans seems a bit far-fetched.

Bigoted Judge Signs Order Demanding Gay Dad Keeps Kids From Husband

14 Sep

Bigoted Judge Charley E. Prine Jr.

As reported here a few weeks ago, a Houston judge has ordered Texas father William Flowers to keep his children away from his husband.

The order was signed this week by Judge Charley E. Prine, Jr. and forbids William from leaving his twin daughters and 14-year old son with any man not related by blood or adoption. The judge added that his ex-wife may give permission for this rule to be lifted, but it seems very unlikely that she would allow William’s husband to ever be alone with William’s children.

In the custody proceedings, there have been no allegations of abuse either physically or emotionally from the children’s father or his husband, yet the judge has imposed this bigoted rule based solely on his ignorant beliefs that the children would somehow be in harms way.

Additionally, William’s husband has children of his own with no record of abuse or any problems there, so it seems he would be an ideal care provider.

According to Houston Press’ Hair Balls Blog:

“It’s not totally exclusive,” said Jennifer Broussard, Lacey’s attorney. “Lacey can agree to do otherwise. It’s just these unknown people about whom William will not divulge any information to Lacey — that just can’t happen.”

Was she referring to William Flowers’s husband, Jim Evans? Hair Balls asked.

“Well, he doesn’t have a husband in Texas, dear,” Broussard said.

This reference is of course to the fact that Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. This and other state’s laws discrediting out-of-state marriages is in violation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause in the US Constitution.

Either way, it is clear that Judge Charley Prine Jr. is exercising judicial activism and anti-gay bigotry when deciding this case. Charley Prine’s office number is 713-755-6234. Please call and let him know how you feel about pure, unadulterated bigotry being handed down from the bench.

This decision bears no precedence and needs to be challenged. Happily, William is appealing the bigoted judge’s decision. We can only hope that a judge who actually practices fairness in the law is assigned to his appeal. Our thoughts are with William and his children in this difficult time.

EXCLUSIVE: Tennessee High School Principal Responds

9 Sep

Sequoya High School Principal Maurice Moser

Normally, when I get a reply from someone having to do with an article I’d recently posted – I’d just add an update to the end of the post. But the conversation I just had with Principal Maurice Moser of Sequoya High School warrants it’s very own post.

I wrote earlier about senior Nathan Carroll, a student at Sequoya who was trying to start a Gay Straight Alliance, but was met with a threat of suspension from the principal. I put in a call earlier and left a message for the principal and I just heard back.

According to Moser, he found that students were having verbal arguments about the potential Gay Straight Alliance in classrooms and it was “disturbing the educational environment.” He went on to say that he was exercising his rights as principal to then stop the petitions and all discussions of the GSA forming. I then asked him if he considered students getting bullied and beaten as a disturbance to the educational environment? He replied that if a student reports it and has sufficient proof that they were bullied, then the bullies are “dealt with accordingly.”

I then went on to tell him that many students are afraid of reporting this kind of bullying because they don’t want to or are not yet ready to come out of the closet. I mentioned that a GSA would actually give LGBT kids some of the courage they need to speak up about this kind of torture they go through on a daily basis. He said many parents would argue that a GSA would do just the opposite – when I asked him to explain what “just the opposite” meant, he replied “you’re a smart guy, you can figure it out.”

I asked Mr. Moser what the process for a new club like the GSA would be and he informed me that the students would need to find a faculty sponsor and that the students were having trouble finding one. He went on to tell me about a faculty sponsor for several clubs that had transferred schools this summer. Moser then assisted in finding faculty sponsors for several clubs at the school. He said he spent a good deal of time recruiting faculty members to fill in the holes left by the former faculty member.

Naturally, I asked him why the students would be responsible for finding this faculty sponsor, when clearly he had just helped out several other clubs in finding theirs. He was noticeably flustered and said that he wasn’t “forcing” any faculty member to be a sponsor to a club and that while he helped many existing clubs find sponsors, he could never help find one for a new club.

His disdain for these students trying to start a GSA came through several times during our conversation and he implied more than once that his rights as a Principal of a high school trumped the rights of students trying to fight bullying and anti-gay harassment.

I hope that there is a faculty member at Sequoya High School who will sign on to sponsor these students – they clearly need some protections from a less-than-supportive principal.

Tennessee HS Student Threatened With Suspension for Attempting to Start GSA

9 Sep

Nathan Carroll

Tennessee High School Senior Nathan Carroll has been bullied most of his life for being gay. The openly-gay teen attends Sequoyah High School in Madisonville, TN and decided a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) is needed at his school.

Nathan started a petition at his school to get support to start a GSA while kids opposing it started a similar petition. Despite Nathan’s efforts and the nearly 150 teens who’ve signed the petition, when he brought it to Principal Maurice Moser, he was threatened with suspension should he proceed in trying to form the GSA. Additionally, the Principal said that any students found with one of Nathan’s petitions would have the petition torn up and thrown away and that they be sent immediately to his office for further punishment.

Of course students are legally allowed to start the club should they find an adviser, which according to WATE Channel 6 News in Tennessee, is close to happening.

We put in a call today to Principal Moser and are awaiting a response as to why he would threaten to suspend students wanting to start this club.

UPDATE: Please see our follow up Exclusive: Tennessee High School Principal Responds

The school already hosts a student club called Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). According to the FCA Website:

“Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ.”

No clubs recognizing any other faith or denomination can be found on the school’s website.

Husband and Child of Hate Crime Victim Shut Out By Mississippi Laws

7 Sep

James Craig Anderson

On June 26th, a group of white teens beat and then ran James Craig Anderson over with their truck. A witness said one of the teens shouted out “White Power!” as they drove the truck over Anderson. Obviously the teens are being charged with a hate crime.

19-year old Daryl Dedmon is one of the teens being charged with the crime after bragging to friends later that night. In his description of the events to his pals, Dedmon used racial slurs. The Southern Poverty Law Center is reportedly working with the family and their lawyer to investigate whether some of the teenagers involved may have ties to a gang with white-supremacist leanings.

Anderson’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit agains the teenagers police say are responsible for the hate crime.

Ironically, under Mississippi law, Anderson’s partner of 17 years – who he was raising a 4-year old daughter with – cannot participate in the lawsuit. As their laws do not recognize same-sex partnerships, James Bradfield and his daughter will see no justice in the brutal murder of a beloved husband and father.

Alabama Teen Censored for Supporting Gays

31 Aug

More bravery from a teenager standing up for equality! 15-year old Sara Couvillon, a student at Hoover High School in Alabama, has been told she can’t wear a t-shirt she happens to like.

The t-shirt, which states in big letters – “gay? fine by me” – is a shirt that Sara wore to school last year without any issue. This year however, her school administrators told her that the shirt causes them “concern for her safety” according to the Birmingham News.

The civil rights group, The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has sent a letter to the school demanding that they stop censoring students by September 12th or a suit will be filed against them.

Well done, Sara and thank you to SPLC for supporting a child who knows better than the adults surrounding her.

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