Breaking the Silence

I have been pretty busy the past week or so planning a leadership event and student conference on LGBTQ issues in schools, but that hasn’t stopped me from tracking the news and noting some big and small battles in the anti-gay culture wars that regularly take the lives of children and destroy families.  I just haven’t had time to post.

So here’s a quick recap of some recent news of school age teens and one inevitable outcome of the anti-gay culture wars:

Foremost on my mind is a horrifying gay-bashing story that really jumped out at me over the past week.  This violent incident was enacted by five teens who not only brutally and intentionally ended a young man’s life, but have also destroyed their own lives.  In the murder of 18-year-old Anthony Collao, five teens have now been rounded up and charged with murder and with enacting a hate-crime.

It appears these five young men went from a facebook posting about a party – to crashing that party (hosted by two gay teens) – to chasing down and beating to death the guest of honor birthday boy Anthony Collao – all the while screaming out anti-gay slurs.  Four of the attackers were quickly arrested.  The fifth teen was just arrested yesterday after he took to the internet on YouTube to post a string of anti-gay slurs and boast of his murderous actions.  P.S. Anthony was straight which makes me wonder how the courts will address the hate-crime charges.

In what I see as related news, the Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (the guy who defended assistant a.g. Andrew Shirvell when he was filling up his free time stalking and cyber harassing gay college student body president Chris Armstrong)  has decided to use his position to defend an anti-gay future school counselor Juliea Ward.  It seems Ms. Ward refuses to treat LGBTQ youth while seeking a license as a future school counselor. Her refusal goes directly against her college preparation program for this profession. 

However Michigan A.G. Schuette, Christian student Juliea Ward of Eastern Michigan University and her friends at the Alliance Defense Fund are all hoping to take her case to the Supreme Court to ensure that LGBTQ youth can be refused medical and psychological services if this conflicts with a professional practitioner’s religious bias. 

Yes, of course this goes directly against the ethical and medical standards of the professional field in which Ms.Ward is seeking a license.  But hey, shouldn’t her version of the Christian holy book the Bible be the fundamental book on student services in public schools?  I mean would we ask an “abstinence only”  Christian school nurse to serve a pregnant adolescent, or one with v.d. ?! You can see the slippery slope of caring for or treating the wrong children here can’t you ?!

And finally, the article on refusal to counsel LGBTQ youth brings me to this recent report of another suicide of a budding teen, 13-year-old Nick Kelo.  In initial reports his mother connected his suicide to anti-gay bullying when he dropped out of football to join band… She is now back pedaling and doesn’t want him associated with the string of reported anti-gay “bullycides.”  In fact she wants to make it very clear that Nick WAS NOT GAY!  Okay mom.  We get it. 

But of course you don’t have to “be” gay to be the target of anti-gay hate, harassment, and violence.  You could ask Anthony about how a straight boy can be attacked with homophobic hate – – if it hadn’t killed him.  Anti-gay pollution permeates the air in schools and straight children breathe the same air the gay folk do.  Some come out beating a peer to death, some come out beaten, and some break under the pressure.  And in the end much of this has very little to do with who any of them is attracted to as a date for the senior prom.  And a lot to do with which people are perceived to be morally, physically, and socially superior based on gender norms kids (and adults) interpret as sexuality clues.

So when we have people seeking school counseling licenses pushing for legal assurances that they can maintain an active anti-gay “moral” stance and work in a field that has rejected this “moral” stance as not only clinically inaccurate but as clearly harmful to clients… And when a state’s top legal official defends that position…

I think we should expect this culture war to keep claiming  the lives of children while hand wringers sit on the fence and say, What can we do, it’s her religious position and we can’t force her to accept homosexuality.

HT Queerty – those Queerty bloggers are really on it when it comes to these news stories.


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