Showing posts with label Homophobia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homophobia. Show all posts

January 15, 2020

This College Student Lead a Protest Against Drag Queens, Then Committed Suicide


With his thumbs in his pockets, Wilson Gavin stood at the front of the crowd, leading a videotaped chant that would quickly go viral: “Drag queens are not for kids." 
As the president of a conservative group at his Australian university, the 21-year-old had steered protesters into a public library in Brisbane, where they barged into a room full of families attending “Drag Queen Story Time.” Inside, the group faced off with a sequined, costumed performer who had been reading from a children’s book.

Kids in the audience asked what was happening. Parents called the police, and a handful filmed the confrontation. As their videos spread across social media, politicians chimed in — most of them condemning the protest as a hateful act.
The next day, Gavin, who was openly gay, took his own life.
That rapid succession of events has turned a young man’s death into an emotional and political controversy in Australia’s third-largest city and across the country: Some have pointed to an overwhelming “social media mob” that came after Gavin. Others have talked about disproportionately high rates of suicide among LGBTQ youth, or a culture they say lacks acceptance. 
Others still have insisted that it is inappropriate to make any kind of political statements at all.
“To me, this incident transcends politics. It is about humanity, and about recognizing that everybody has it,” Johnny Valkyrie, one of the drag queens at the library event, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I only wish I could tell him I love and support him.” 
In recent years, Gavin had emerged as a young voice for conservatism in Australian politics. Despite his sexual orientation, he opposed same-sex marriage and actively campaigned against the issue in 2017, when it went up for a national referendum.
In 2018, he defended the role of the British monarchy on “Outsiders,” a political talk show whose hosts have described themselves as “Trump’s Aussie mates." 
“I’m a lover of all things traditional. I’m a lover of all things beautiful,” he said on the show. “And there’s nothing more traditional in this country than the monarchy.”  
Satyajeet Marrar, a fellow member of the Australian Monarchist League, said Gavin was an “outspoken young man with a good heart.” 
“Despite holding opinions that some people disagree with strongly, he would defend them with conviction,” Marrar wrote on Facebook. “Brave and admirable traits while most of us in this generation spend years obsessing over what others think of us.” 
At the University of Queensland, Gavin became president of the school’s Liberal National Club, which branded itself as the local chapter of Australia’s right-wing political party. Although the national organization disaffiliated itself from the university club in December, members maintained ties with at least one member of Parliament and sought out opportunities for political action.
On Sunday, their venue was the local public library, and their target was a drag queen reading a children’s book. Much like in the United States, the queens’ family-friendly recitations — meant to foster free expression and tolerance toward LGBTQ people — have emerged as a cultural point of tension. 
In Brisbane, however, the city council had voted to sponsor a drag queen story time. So Gavin and the UQ Liberal National Club organized a protest to “defend LNP values against a corrosive gender ideology,” the club wrote on its Facebook page, according to ABC Australia.
“This event is designed to indoctrinate and sexualise young children. Our kids deserve better than this! Why is this moral filth being paid for by the taxpayer?” the post stated. (As of early Tuesday, the group’s page appeared to have been deleted, and the club did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.)
One mother at the event, Jenny Griffin, said one of her children, who are 6 and 8, started to cry out of fear and confusion in response to the “harassing and kind of threatening” protesters, she told ABC. 
Many elected officials and commentators seemed to agree with her. As videos of the confrontation spread across social media, politicians on the left and right criticized the fiery protest, calling the students “bigots,” “homophobes” and “bullies.” Trevor Evans, an openly gay lawmaker from Brisbane, condemned them as “ratbags.” 
Online, Gavin defended himself and the action, saying it was part of the LNP’s fight against “politically correct rubbish.” But even LNP politicians distanced themselves from the demonstration.
On Monday, less than a day later, police told Australian media that Gavin had taken his own life.
Various corners of Australian society, which had already fiercely debated the protest, interpreted his death as radically different kinds of tragedies.
George Christensen, a conservative member of Parliament, used it as an opportunity to attack “broken” social media networks and announce he would be deleting his Twitter account. He said “Twitter keyboard warriors [had piled] on an individual for a political protest."  
Mark Robinson, another right-wing politician and the sponsor of the UQ club, said Gavin was “treated terribly for “taking a principled stand to protect children from inappropriate sexualisation.” 

As current State patron of the UQ LN Club, I’m deeply saddened to hear of the death of Wilson Gavin. Wilson & his friends took a principled stand to protect children from inappropriate sexualisation & gender fluid ideology. For that he was treated terribly. Wilson, RIP!

1,216 people are talking about this
For other Australians, however, Gavin’s death was instead a sign of the mental health issues affecting LGBTQ youth — and the homophobia some of them said was instilled and spread by those on the Australian right.
Drew Pavlou, a friend of Gavin’s at UQ, remembered him as a “very decent and kind person” who may have also been coping with such issues.
“He had his struggles and made mistakes, and it is a tragedy for us all that he ultimately succumbed to his suffering and pain,” Pavlou wrote on Twitter. “Today is a reminder of all we must do to affirm to young marginalized Australians the intrinsic worth and value of their lives.”  

I was friends with Wilson. Away from the social media storms and headlines, he was at his core a very decent and kind person that cared for others. I had the great privilege of seeing that side of him in life. He was hilarious, a complete riot to be around

44 people are talking about this
Valkyrie, the 23-year-old drag queen, told The Post that while Gavin’s death should transcend politics, the influence of certain political views — namely, those like Christensen’s — had left a noticeable mark on the situation. The drag queen and activist said he himself had attempted suicide 13 times during his adolescence while coming out and coming to terms with his identity: He is both transgender and gay, he said.
“Wilson may have contributed to the incident, which harmed myself and others, but I forgive him,” Valkyrie said, tearing up on the phone, “and I understand that he was troubled. … I only wish I could tell him I love and support him.” 
On social media, he offered him up a message anyway.
“What you did on Sunday was unacceptable,” Valkyrie wrote. “Who you were was not." 

CW: Suicide, Wilson Gavin

Wilson, I love you.

Wilson, I forgive you.

Wilson, I see you.

Wilson, I pray for you.

What you did on Sunday was unacceptable.

Who you were was not.

Wilson, I love you. πŸ•―


View image on Twitter


January 3, 2020

Homophobia on Straight Men: A fear Men Will Get Treated in a Sexual But Cheap Way

Because it is the new year we get to turn another page on our existence as in humankind.  Something attracted me and visually it tells a powerful message that needs not to be verbally interpreted or editorialized. Here it is:

Image may contain: one or more people and text

December 9, 2019

Elizabeth Smart's Dad Explains He Was A Homophobe, Because He Was Gay

LEHI — Ed Smart didn’t want to be gay.
The father of kidnapping and rape survivor Elizabeth Smart spent most of his life conflicted over who he felt he was inside and who he thought his family, friends, and the church wanted him to be.
“I didn’t want to identify myself that way. I didn’t want to be that person. I stayed in the closet. I suppressed that. Out of shame, out of hate for myself, I just didn’t want that to be me,” he said at an LGBTQ conference Saturday.  
Smart, 64, said that not only didn’t he want to be gay, but he was “homophobic” about it. He said he has since come to believe he was born gay. “It wasn’t something to learn because I did not want to learn it,” he said.
It wasn’t until he renounced his belief in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he no longer sees a place for himself, that he said he could acknowledge his sexual orientation.
“That change is what enabled me to be able to come forward and accept myself for who I was,” he said. 
Smart, 64, was a featured speaker at the Encircle Summit, a conference offering workshops on LGBTQ issues and celebrity entertainment for adults, youth, parents, families, and educators. More than 1,500 people attended the event held at Adobe and Podium in Lehi.
Stephanie Larsen, a Brigham Young University graduate, and Provo resident started Encircle in February 2017 in an effort to combat Utah’s high suicide rate among teens and young adults. It now has resource centers in Provo, Salt Lake City, and St. George to provide support, therapy and a sense of community for LGBTQ people, parents, families, and others. 
Smart came into the public eye after his then-14-year-old daughter was abducted from their Federal Heights home in Salt Lake City in 2002. He remained in the spotlight as family spokesman throughout her nine months in captivity, during the trial of her kidnappers and as an advocate for missing children. 

Ed Smart laughs during an interview at the Encircle Summit, a conference offering workshops on LGBTQ issues, at the Podium Building in Lehi on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Smart was the keynote speaker.
 Dennis Romboy, Deseret News
In his first public speech since revealing his sexual orientation in August, Smart talked candidly about his journey in a presentation titled “Coming Out. Coming Clean.”
“I thought Elizabeth’s ordeal was very difficult, but this one is more difficult,” he said.
Smart said he first realized there was something different about himself when his family moved from California to Utah when he was 12. He a hard time adjusting and people weren’t as accepting, he said. He didn’t necessarily like girls, but he wanted to be like other guys and tried to fit in.
The perceptions others might have about him, he said, were a big reason he kept his feelings in check.
“Why in the world would I want to have something in my life that would create conflict, that would be problematic, that would not make me acceptable to others?” he asked.
Smart said he always wanted to be the “good boy.”
“I wanted to do what is right, and what was right was something that was ingrained in me. I wanted to be faithful and do all those things that would enable me to be in a place that was the best place that I could be, whether it was being the best person I could be here on Earth or whether it was being in the best place in the hereafter,” he said.
Smart said it was a year ago this month during a discussion about the church with his wife, Lois, that she asked him if he was gay. He said he had no intention of coming out that day and doesn’t know when he would have. That he “finally” told her, “Yes, this is me,” was a big relief, he said. The couple is now divorced.
“As broken as I had felt for years and years trying to deal with this struggle inside of me I found that no, I’m not broken. The situation is I’m gay and I’m trying to be straight. I’m trying to be the straightest I possibly can be,” he said.
That conflict, he said, pushed him to the point where he wondered if life was worth living.

Smart, a father of six children, said he talked to church leaders and a therapist who told him he wasn’t gay. But though he immersed himself in church work as a form of self-therapy, he knew otherwise.
“There are two people who know that I am gay. One of them is me and the other one is God,” he said, later adding that while he no longer believes in the Latter-day Saint faith, he believes in God and Jesus Christ. “I believe God has accepted me for who I am and I got to accept myself for who I am.” 
Smart said he made early morning phone calls to each of his children the day after he came out to his wife, telling them he was gay and getting a divorce. Their reactions, he said, ranged from, “What did you say?” to “If that’s the way you are, that’s the way you are.”
While he agonized over telling his mother that he is gay, his wife beat him to it, “which blew me away,” Smart said. (His father died in 2006.) After a “very, very hard discussion for me,” he said his mother told him that she loves him and wants him to be happy.
As Elizabeth came home after her monthslong abduction, Smart said he couldn’t deny that he had been blessed. 
“How often do you get to have a miracle happen in your life that is truly a miracle? To get to the point that I have at this point, accepting myself for who I am, really has been another miracle because my whole life was built on what I previously believed,” he said.
Smart said he found reason and fulfillment in his life with his wife and children. But that didn’t change the internal struggle that made him “sick inside” and that he could no longer deal with.
“We have to live our lives so that we can live with ourselves,” Smart said.
People, he said, though he was a good guy before he came out, and that he’s still a good guy.
“Does my being gay mean that I’m going to be less of a person, that I’m not going to be that good person that I’ve tried to be all my life? No,” Smart said. “Yes, some things have changed in me, but I’m at this point where I feel like I can be completely honest with myself, and I can be honest with others about myself.”

June 21, 2019

A Homophobe in NJ Remind us Again Why We Need Pride

Even in a city as diverse as Hackensack, you’ll find bigots. They blend in among midlevel bureaucrats, positions of substantial power but relative obscurity.
Like Frances Cogelja, a school board trustee, who is horrified at the direction this country is headed in. Not because of the porn star president, or babies being ripped from their mothers’ arms at the border; no. 
What Cogelja finds “repugnant” is the sea change transforming us from a nation in which gay people must stay in the closet or risk losing their jobs and friends, to one in which schools openly celebrate their achievements.
She is "disgusted and appalled” by a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy – one that requires all public schools in this state to teach about LGBTQ history! 
She wrote as much to the superintendent, it was just revealed through a public records request, and now her constituents are calling on her to resign. Happy Pride month, 2019. Thank you, Frances Cogelja, for reiterating why we need it.
New Jersey is only the second state in the nation, after California, to pass a law requiring the inclusion of LGBTQ education for middle and high schoolers.
One reason why we did it: Nationwide, as many as 70 percent of LGBTQ students report being harassed at school over their sexual orientation. 
Advocates at Garden State Equality say they’ve since been inundated with requests by administrators psyched about the chance to pilot the new program, which will be implemented statewide in the 2020-21 school year.
It will include key historical figures like astronomer Frank Kameny, who could become for this topic what Harriet Tubman is for lessons on slavery in America.
Kameny sued after he was fired from his government job for being gay, and in 1961, became an early leader of the gay rights movement. But have you ever heard of him? Has your kid?
As we come up upon the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the prejudices of the past are still present-day news, which is why it’s so important to teach that kind of history.
Just this month, New York’s top cop finally gave an official apology on behalf of the department, for the way police behaved during the Stonewall uprising: “The actions taken by the N.Y.P.D. were wrong — plain and simple,” Commissioner James O’Neill said.
That’s what a real apology sounds like. Cogelja’s was more of an excuse. She said her disparaging comments about the law were simply intended to avoid lessons that “may be uncomfortable for my child.” 
She insisted she “will never resign,” citing the “opportunity to exercise my First Amendment rights.”
She is welcome to homeschool her kids or enroll them in private school. But it is not her right, as a sitting member of the board of education, to refuse to comply with the law because of her personal prejudices.
You are not allowed to “opt out,” as Cogelja claimed. Can a racist parent get his kid excused from learning about Harriet Tubman? Not in a public school.
Cogelja must resign, because how can she be trusted now to fairly represent LGBTQ students and teachers? “Everywhere I turn, this alternative lifestyle narrative is being shoved done [sic] our children’s throats,” she wrote.
We’ve made great strides over the last half-century, but all it takes is one half-witted official to prove how far we still have to go. It brings to mind the words of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, on the fight for marriage equality:
While some countries measure themselves by “territorial expansion,” he said, in America we measure ourselves by “moral expansion.”
“Narrative's a very powerful thing,” he’s argued. “And we need to make sure that everybody in America understands where they fit in this country's story.

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