Sunday, January 29, 2012

Meet Brett: He Wants to Make a Difference

I saw this video posted on my wall (actually, it was the Jamie Hubley wall, but that IS "my" home wall), and it didn't really grab my attention.  Since the Jonah Mowry phenomena, there's been a plethora of people, young and not-so-young alike, posting their videos, flash cards at the ready, in response to Jonah's original video posted in the first week of December.  I'd grown weary of them, to be honest.  So, I overlooked this one. 

However, Brett won out.  I gave in and watched.  And, I was moved.  Done in "Jonah Mowry" style, with flash cards, it really isn't in response to Jonah, after all.  Rather, Brett decided to reach out to other LGBT teens who may be struggling with...whatever.  What a novel idea!!  I watched the video from beginning to end...twice!  The message is positive and very powerful. 

Brett is gay, himself, but not yet openly so.  He's been through what most gay teens have to endure:  the insecurities of the "what ifs"; the rejection; and, possibly even some bullying.  Luckily, though, he was accepted and loved just for who he is by his family and close friends.  That makes such a huge difference in a young LGBT life.  So, as a way of paying it forward, he's reaching out to other LGBT teens to show them the same love and support he's receiving.  You can't beat that!

What I would love to see happen would be for his positive-message video to go viral in the same what that Jonah's initial cry-for-help video did in early December.  That video has been viewed over 9 million times since I saw it for the first time.  Brett's message is no less powerful.  And, just as the world responded to Jonah, so should they respond to Brett's invitation to other struggling teens.  His message and open-armed invitation could help save some lives.

The Stacey Campfield Camp Responds!!!

I woke up this morning to the surprise of my journalistic life:  a direct response from the Stacey Campfield camp.  Actually, the unmoderated comment that was left is supposedly directly from Stacey, himself.  However, upon further inspection, and after checking the links provided, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he, himself, did NOT send me the response.  On the other hand, regardless as to who, in fact, sent it, it's frightening to know that these are the "facts" these people espouse.  Worse, it's detrimental that they seek to impose their terribly misguided "factual" beliefs on the public-at-large and, in particular, the LGBT community.  Allow me to dissect.

The responder started of for acknowledging my passion:  "While I apriciate (sic) your passion, here are some cold hard facts..."  Then, the fun begins.

On the issue of gay men having a decidedly shorter lifespan, this link was offered as their "proof".  Their "documentation" turned out to be a far right-wing propaganda piece chock-full of the same old diatribe we've been hearing for decades.  In the first paragraph, it's noted that "...evidence shows homosexuality to be a compulsion and lethal addiction, not 'mainstream America'".  It's also noted that even without AIDS, "...homosexual persons will probably not live past their 40s..."  I can't make this stuff up!  Read it for yourself.

As I suspected, and as I stated in the original article, At The Root of the Tennessee Madness, they are taking outdated information, in some cases from as far back as the late 70s!, and presenting it as today's facts and reality.  How dangerous is that?  First of all, things that held true in 1978 obviously don't hold the same validity in 2012.  But, more importantly, how dangerous is it to attempt to govern in today's world using 1978 survey information?


Study after study reveals that homosexuality, whether male or female, can take anywhere from 10, 20 to 30 years off of someone's lifespan. With all the attention on smoking, which the National Cancer Institute says takes from 7 to 10 years off someone's life, why not the same human outcry on homosexuality? Here's a behavior that's killing people 2 to 3 times the rate of smoking, yet nobody seems to care. In fact, we are encouraging and affirming individuals into the "gay" lifestyle. If you truly love someone, you would steer them away from self-destructive behaviors, rather than towards them, shouldn't you? Homosexuals need our tough love, not blind love, the kind of love that is going to love them no matter what they say and do. We must extend that helping hand and say " I think your worth saving, let's work on it together."
 All of that, and I'm still only on the first link "he" provided.

So, where does his information supporting getting AIDS through "normal" heterosexual vaginal sex come from?  What's his "scientific" proof?  Cecil Adams, touted as the world's smartest human.  The world's genius was asked, in December 1988, his opinion of how risky heterosexual sex was.  In 1988, the whole world was still trying to get a grip on what was really going on with the virus.  I know.  I was there.  I was in San Francisco during those days, watching my own friends die on a daily basis from a disease that we still hadn't fully come to understand.  But, again, that was 1988.

So, to make sure this is very clear:  A State Senator is taking someone's opinion and presenting it to his constituents as "scientific fact".  Worse, he's using someone else's opinions, masked as knowledge, in order to propagate his own bigotry and hatred towards the LGBT community, young and old.  Can I say again:  this is an ELECTED official!  I'm convinced that today's elected officials have completely lost sight of the fact that, by virtue of our votes, we hired them to work for us.  They've got it reversed.  And, that needs to be re-examined.

And, finally, an attempt was made to justify his bill "Don't Say Gay", which forbids school administrators to say the word "gay" or even acknowledge their LGBT students as such.  The bill that, if not already implemented, could've potentially saved Phillip Parker's life.
As for the reason for the interview (My bill on parental responsibility of teaching sexuality to very young children) Here are some points of view for you to consider.

-It is a parents responsibility to decide when a child is ready to grasp such a complex issue as sexuality and what they want to tell the child about that complex subject. Not a teachers.

- All children develop mentally at different rates. I do not feel a teacher with an agenda (Be it pro or con) is the appropriate person to decide “Now is the time” for an entire class of children just because they may think one way or another on an issue and want to espouse it.

-A teacher is not a trained child psychologist or psychiatrist and could do as much harm as good to a sexually confused child.

-I doubt many on the other side would want a teacher who said “Homosexuality is evil, dirty and wrong” just because they felt that it was what is appropriate, that it is what they thought the children needed to and were ready to hear. This bill ensures neutrality from teachers.

-Physically threatening behavior is what is and needs to remain covered for all groups. Not the sexuality of the victim. We already have anti bullying legislation passed in Tennessee (In fact I co sponsored it 2 or 3 years ago when it passed) so all children are protected from bullying in our schools. [this is in reference to the bill that would allow for bullying of LGBT students if done for "religious, political, or philosophical reasons".  And, they still don't get it!  No one is looking for SPECIAL protection.  And, we certainly don't present ourselves as a "special class" of people.  Equality means we're equal to every other person, not special.  In fact, THEY are making us that "special class" of people by singling us out to be victimized by discrimination in the job and housing markets and, frightfully, in the schools!]

-We do not need an un equal justice system that creates special separate classes of protected people that gets special protection under the law.

-Nor do we need to silence the first amendment rights of religious free speech of those in our schools whose family may hold different beliefs (as long as those beliefs are not physically threatening). [note to you, Rep. Campfield:  not only is it physically threatening to the LGBT students, it's costing lives.]

-While there is a scientific and educational need to mention the basics of heterosexuality when teaching the basics of reproduction (XY chromosomes, etc.) there is no scientific need to mention homosexuality as homosexuals do not naturally reproduce.

-We are falling behind the rest of the world in math, science, and English amongst other things. Tennessee ranks about 46th in most areas. Social engineering is just one less issue teachers should have to worry about teaching as part of their curricula.
That someone from the Stacey Campfield camp thought enough of what I said to take time to respond is encouraging.  That they have this view of reality is mind-boggling.  That they are passing their myopic, unfounded, and outmoded views on the people of an entire state is very dangerous.  So, again, I strongly urge signing the petitions.  Too much is at stake to wait for "someone else" to do it.