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Gender & Sexuality

Gender & Sexuality

Adam Zyglis | Medal of Dishonor - Gay / CagleCartoons.com

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Making Schools Safer for Gay Students

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  • New report with recommendations and model legislation
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  • LGBT Students Harassed At Colleges Nationwide, New Report Says
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  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides
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Cathy Renna

A new report documents the persistence of hostile and unsafe school environments that can result in lower educational outcomes and higher rates of depression and suicide for LGBT students.

The report, Safe at School: Addressing the School Environment and LGBT Safety through Policy and Legislation, contains a series of key policy recommendations to ensure schools are welcoming and safe for LGBT students. These recommendations cover areas such as school climate, curriculum, and the particular role of school sports in defining a school’s culture.

The report also contains model legislation for state legislatures to adopt, including general prohibitions against bullying, harassment, intimidation in schools, and sections addressing teacher education and professional development.  "The addition of a Model State Code to the analysis and recommendations in the report will encourage state legislatures to adopt a comprehensive and tested set of statutes to help remedy the problems of discrimination in our schools," said report co-author Sheila Kuehl, a former State Senator from California.

The overarching purpose of all recommendations from the report is to make schools safe and improve the quality of life for everyone within our education system. “In this area, educators are not required to change their personal values or religious beliefs,” said Stuart Biegel, author of a new book on the subject. “However, all students must be treated with equal dignity and equal respect by school officials, both under the law and as a matter of morality and common decency.”

Jointly released by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education, the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, and the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, the report is being formally release today at the National Education Association (NEA) headquarters.

The full report is available here.

Related:

LGBT Students Harassed At Colleges Nationwide, New Report Says, Huffington Post

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  • Unequivocally, the 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People demonstrates that LGBTQ students, faculty and staff experience a 'chilly' campus climate of harassment and far less than welcoming campus communities.
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  • Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides
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Anti-gay group organizes in Anoka-Hennepin (MN) schools as community deals with gay suicides, Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent
“Well, news flash: There are homosexual people all over the world. Having your kid meet a homosexual in school and possibly even having a nice conversation with one isn’t going to turn your kid into one.” --Tammy Aaberg

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Secrets and lies: National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Exposed!

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  • Along with our friends at the Courage Campaign, we've launched a website that pulls back the curtain on NOM for everyone to see.
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  • We'll post up-to-the-minute news on NOM over the coming months and years, so bookmark the site and come back often.
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Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign

Are you tired of the National Organization for Marriage, a.k.a. NOM, putting on a mask of tolerance for the media?

Are you sick of their claim that they speak for a majority of Americans – while they support extreme anti-gay zealots and keep their donors secret?

Well, we are. And today, along with our friends at the Courage Campaign, we're launching a website that pulls back the curtain on NOM for everyone to see.

NOM Exposed uncovers shocking secrets so people can get the real facts as NOM throws its weight around in race after race this election cycle. We'll post up-to-the-minute dirt on NOM over the coming months and years, so bookmark the site and come back often.

Check out our new site – then add your name to the "NOM Doesn't Speak for Me" petition and help spread the truth!

NOM recently released a slick new ad on behalf of Tom Emmer, the candidate for governor of Minnesota with ties to a group that condoned the execution of gays. The ad disguises NOM's anti-LGBT agenda behind a fake claim of protecting civil rights.

NOM even had the gall to compare itself to Martin Luther King, Jr., flashing images of his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. It's a flagrant distortion of reality – the latest in a history of deception since NOM opened for business during the Prop. 8 campaign.

NOMexposed.org is about spreading truth. We've spent months digging into NOM's funding, shady ties, ethics violations, and more. We created this site so that every time someone searches for NOM – voters, elected leaders, reporters – they'll get the real story. They'll find out that:

▪    Brian Brown, NOM's President, has said that "allowing gay marriage is akin to allowing polygamous marriage."
▪    Not to be outdone, NOM founder Maggie Gallagher has said same-sex marriage is worse than polygamy.
▪    NOM has close ties to the powerful and secretive right-wing religious group Opus Dei.
▪    Robert George, the "reigning brain of the Christian right" and Chairman of NOM's board co-authored the Federal Marriage Amendment that would have written anti-gay discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. He also believes that repealing antiquated laws banning sodomy will lead to incest.
▪    To hide its political activities, NOM has blatantly flouted campaign finance laws.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. We've tracked NOM's financial ties, showing how huge, secret donations have swelled its budget from $500,000 to $10 million in just three years. We've connected the dots to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church.

Now we need your help to get the word out – share shocking facts on Facebook and Twitter or spread the truth by simply passing this email along.

If you believe that strong families aren't about "straight" or "gay" but about love and commitment; if you're a person of faith; if you're straight or LGBT, married, partnered or single – add your name and say "NOM Doesn't Speak for Me." We'll share this petition with officials and the media in states where NOM is at work.

Visit NOMexposed.org – add your name, and share the truth with friends and family.

We've called NOM out before, whether revealing the audition tape for "Gathering Storm" or alerting the press to their lies. But NOM Exposed goes deep into the organization's roots and represents a commitment to keep tabs on their activity and connect the dots for voters.

NOM wants to claim the middle ground. But people don't know who they really are. We are not going to sit by and let them dictate the terms of the debate. We're going to expose the lies – not just today, but every day.

Won’t you join us?

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Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) In Legal Shambles

Last week (Sep 19-25), in a 56-43 vote, Senate Democrats failed to invoke cloture on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, falling several votes shy of the 60 need to break a Republican filibuster.

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The Progress Report, Think Progress

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Last week (Sep 19-25), in a 56-43 vote, Senate Democrats failed to invoke cloture on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, falling several votes shy of the 60 need to break a Republican filibuster. Along with concerns about voting to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy before the Pentagon completed its year-long review and the suggestion that the DREAM Act was unrelated to national defense, Republican Senators who say they support DADT repeal used procedural reasons to explain their vote against debating the measure. Republican  like Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) took to the floor and equated repealing the ban against open service in the military to restricting the right of Republicans to offer alternative amendments.

"I was the sole Republican on the Committee that voted for the Lieberman-Levin language on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I think it's the right thing to do, I think it's only fair. I think we should welcome the service of these individuals who are willing and capable of serving their country," Collins insisted. "But I cannot vote to proceed to this bill under a situation that is going to shut down debate and preclude Republican amendments. That too is not fair." Sen. Blance Lincoln (D-AR) similarly voted against cloture but said that she supported repeal of DADT. As Democrats now prepare to take up the defense authorization bill after the midterm elections, a series of court decisions have severely weakened DADT in the interim and galvanized opponents of the policy to pressure the administration into looking for alternative ways to begin the gradual process of ending the ban before the end of the year.

More...

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I'm Through Debating Gays In the Church

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  • I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality “deviant.”
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  • The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance.
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  • Do something about the Church's distribution of same-sex marriage DVDs
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John Shelby Spong, Unity Magazine/Brad Garbus' Blog

I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is “an abomination to God,” about how homosexuality is a “chosen lifestyle,” or about how through prayer and “spiritual counseling” homosexual persons can be “cured.” Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy.

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I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate “reparative therapy,” as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality “deviant.” I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.” That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement.

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I will no longer temper my understanding of truth in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is “high-sounding, pious rhetoric.”

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The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me. I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer.

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The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn’t. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to “Roll on over or we’ll roll on over you!” Time waits for no one.

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[...] I make these statements because it is time to move on. The battle is over. The victory has been won. There is no reasonable doubt as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be. Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings, who have a legitimate claim on every right that both church and society have to offer any of us. Homosexual marriages will become legal, recognized by the state and pronounced holy by the church. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” will be dismantled as the policy of our armed forces. We will and we must learn that equality of citizenship is not something that should ever be submitted to a referendum.

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Equality under and before the law is a solemn promise conveyed to all our citizens in the Constitution itself. Can any of us imagine having a public referendum on whether slavery should continue, whether segregation should be dismantled, whether voting privileges should be offered to women? The time has come for politicians to stop hiding behind unjust laws that they themselves helped to enact, and to abandon that convenient shield of demanding a vote on the rights of full citizenship because they do not understand the difference between a constitutional democracy, which this nation has, and a “mobocracy,” which this nation rejected when it adopted its constitution. We do not put the civil rights of a minority to the vote of a plebiscite.

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I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church. No one should ever again be forced to submit the privilege of citizenship in this nation or membership in the Christian Church to the will of a majority vote.

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Related:

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Do something about the Church's distribution of same-sex marriage DVDs, Bob and Lori Radecki, ReturntheDVD.org
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, it is dead.  --James 2:15-17

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