Thursday, October 14, 2010

The past few weeks…

Gubernatorial Candidate Carl Paladino has sparked major controversy in New York this week. While speaking to an Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, Paladino berated schools for “brainwashing children into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable.” He now claims that he is owed an apology because the media included a line of the prepared speech that he didn’t actually say.

Joe DeMint, a Senator from South Carolina recently reiterated his 2004 claim that members of the LGBT community (and single women) should not be permitted to teach in public schools. His campaign now claims that he was simply targeted then because he took a moral position and not because voters could have possibly taken offense to such statements.

Andrew Shrivell, the Assistant Attorney General in Michigan created a blog to harass the first openly gay student body president at his alma mater, The University of Michigan. He actively harassed this young man and was banned from the campus by university officials. He claims that his actions are justified in the context of an ongoing political campaign.

Boyd K. Packer, one of the leaders or the Church of Latter Day Saints, recently told Mormons throughout the country that same-sex attractions can and should be changed because they are unnatural and morally wrong. The Mormon Church has officially told its members to consider how their words and actions affect others but have not requested that Packer rescind his statements.

And all of this in the midst of a huge spike in suicide amongst LGBT Youth and a string of anti-gay hate crimes in New York City. PFLAG urges all of you to take a stand and tell your politicians, local media outlets, schools, community groups, churches, and any other appropriate outlets that you will not tolerate these types of hateful remarks. We cannot allow anti-gay rhetoric to devolve this far, as its affects are making themselves known loud and clear.

While there seems to have been a major outcry from the general public in response to these tragic events we must remind everyone that these problems won’t go away without a fight. Please take the time to contact your legislators locally and nationally to let them know that you support inclusive anti-bullying policies and bills such as the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act. Read more about PFLAG’s work with communities of faith and our Straight for Equality Program to find ways to bring these issues to the parts of your life that are the most important to you.