Irish president calls attention to bullying of gays

Relevant to our discussions of suicidality and same-sex attracted youth, the Irish president today called for an end to bullying, in particular that aimed at same-sex attracted youth. She spoke at the annual conference of the International Association of Suicide Prevention in Ireland.

Note that she believes more research is needed to understand the actual relationship but it seems pretty clear that any ostracism or antagonism directed at kids is not going to achieve positive ends. Sadly, kids that are perceived as different do not often fare well unless adults promote pro-social actions.

Press statement from Omaha gay organizations about Gaylibrary.com

Statement by the boards of Citizens For Equal Protection of Nebraska (CFEP); Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Omaha Chapter and Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Omaha Chapter:

Contacts: Bob Dorr, PFLAG, 402-333-7064; Michael Gordon, CFEP, 402-714-3810

“While CFEP and the PFLAG Omaha and GLSEN Omaha Chapters respect the spirit of freedom of speech, we do not condone violence in any way, shape or form. Any web site statements that suggest violence as an option in responding to injustice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are absolutely inappropriate, unconscionable and beyond the pale.

“We have met with the developer-owner of GayLibrary.com and of several related web sites and expressed our concerns about some material on those sites. The developer-owner has cleansed the sites of language that, we believe, could encourage violence. We will help the developer-owner stay vigilant to make certain that no such language reappears. We are discussing what further action we might take such as contacting other groups to relay our concerns.

“The GLSEN Omaha and PFLAG Omaha Chapters and CFEP have worked hard for many years to end bullying in our K-12 schools, and particularly to end bullying and harassment based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. We believe in safe schools for ALL students, faculty, staff and patrons. Members of PFLAG Omaha, GLSEN Omaha and CFEP serve as presenters and panelists in an Omaha-area program that promotes safe school environments for all youths. Our Safe Schools program reaches 50 or more audiences each year, including many college classes of future teachers. Our groups always have advocated staying within the rule of law and wouldn’t dream of deviating from that principle.”

These gay organizations clearly take this issue seriously and have responded with an appropriate statement. I hope one of the other groups contacted will be the Rainbow Outreach where Brian Wyant remains coordinator. I also would like to see Mr. Wyant issue a statement as well.

UPDATE: 8/19/07 – Brian Wyant is no longer listed as a board member/coordinator on the Rainbow Outreach website.

Gaystraightalliance.org update: Owner silent on disturbing content

On August 8th, I reported on a website owned by Brian Wyant of Omaha, NE/Council Bluffs, IA that contained disturbing messages justifying violent retribution toward bullies. There has been much discussion here and elsewhere whether or not these sites have been hacked to include these messages. As of this writing, the original offensive statement has been changed to the following:

VIOLENCE IS A STARK REALITY FOR CHILDREN GLOBALLY. TORMENTORS REMAIN PATHETICALLY SILENT OR HARASS THE GRIEVING FAMILY WHEN BULLIED CHILDREN COMMIT SUICIDE BUT DISINGENUOUSLY BECOME VOCAL WHEN REMINDED OF THE FACT THAT THESE DAYS BULLIED STUDENTS MAY CHOOSE RETALIATION RATHER THAN KILLING THEMSELVES; EVIL TORMENTORS THINK THEIR VERSION OF RELIGION GIVES THEM SPECIAL RIGHT TO TORMENT GAY CHILDREN UNCHECKED; EVERY 2 MINUTES IN THE USA ANOTHER GLBT AMERICAN DIES FROM HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Since August 8th, the messages on this page have changed several times. The above message may be a response to the scrutiny this family of sites has been getting. Numerous efforts have been made by me and others to contact Brian Wyant. He has yet to return a call or answer an email. Several people around Mr. Wyant have told me that they have talked to him about the messages on the websites. According to representatives of PFLAG of Omaha and the Rainbow Outreach (GLBT Community Center in Omaha), Mr. Wyant is aware of the messages and the content of his sites, but he has yet to contact me or other bloggers who are trying to reach him. One person associated with PFLAG of Omaha told me that he thought it was a series of “dirty tricks” by a hacker that is responsible for the disturbing messages. This representative who prefers to remain anonymous told me that Mr. Wyant told him that he checks his site “every 30 minutes” to remove the offensive material.

Indeed the site says repeatedly that it is updated daily, and just in the days I have been checking it, it is updated frequently and yet some disturbing material remains. And some of that material is very similar to the material that has been taken down. One particular disturbing popup page advocating violence and anarchy was removed on August 10. On that day a message appeared at the top of the page saying “hacks are being fixed on this site.”

The message about hacks being removed is now down. Even so, some disturbing messages remain. This one advocates vague punishments toward opponents and is found on the main section of gayhumanrights.org.

Equal protection/equal justice under law is the defining foundation of a democracy. The Rule of Law is irrelevent in regions that violate this irreplacable principle of democracy and human rights. If you live or enter one of these areas, be prepared to do whatever it takes to punish human rights violators. Also visit the top human rights violators and their bloodlines to ensure they never know a moment of security for their crimes against our people, our children, our family members, our friends, and our allies.

and this one in reference to states without recognition for same-sex unions:

This region has forfeit credibility, having succumb to majoritarianism rather than maintaining the basic requirements of a sustainable democracy. Equal Protection under Law, the foundation of democracy and human rights, does not exist in these jurisdiction. There is no reason to uphold any law within this jurisdiction or to preserve the bloodlines of oppressors. Top human rights violators and their bloodlines should be visited and held personally accountable for killing gay family members. It is worth noting that speciously named concept “separate-but-equal” has never been Equal Protection.

Note the use of the term “majoritarianism.” While in itself this is a reference to political views that do not of necessity promote retribution or violence, it is idiosyncratic enough to make me wonder if the author of these statements on the main website may also have authored the extremist material on the now removed popup page. I also found this term one other place that is troubling. On the website for the Rainbow Outreach the same term is applied to Nebraska.

The State of Nebraska has an anti-democracy, anti-family, anti-human rights constitutional amendment violating Equal Protection Under Law, the foundation of democracy and human rights (hypocritically, the State motto is Equality Before the Law). The amendment, installed by majoritarianism, says the State will not recognize any relationship at all between same-sex couples (marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, etc).

rainbow-omaha.JPG

At this point, I am reluctant to conclusively connect the dots but there is enough material here of concern that it would be good to hear from Mr. Wyant.

Why is this important? I am quite concerned about the tone and specifics of these writings. What if Mr. Wyant promotes these websites to the youth/others he is involved with in Omaha? Even what remains is inflammatory stuff and he apparently is in a position of leadership (on the board of the Omaha Metro GLBT Community Center) and influence in the gay community of Omaha. Retaliating against the oppressors may sound noble on a website, but it would be awful on the front page of newspapers. Analogy – Even though I am pro-life, I would not want for my kids a youth leader who believes laws should be ignored because abortion is legal or that abortionists “and their bloodlines” should be “visited” with vague retaliation. And I certainly do not want an influence who holds up retaliation or suicide as an either-or scenario for bullied kids (“THESE DAYS BULLIED STUDENTS MAY CHOOSE RETALIATION RATHER THAN KILLING THEMSELVES”). If this is a “dirty trick,” I believe it is long past time for Mr. Wyant to take control of these websites and make this clear.

Note that Exgaywatch is reporting similar information and concerns this morning with more emphasis on technical aspects of website.

Gay-straight alliance website implies bullying justifies murder

UPDATE – 8-9-07 – I regret that the wording of my post implied that GLSEN or the GSANetwork may have been behind the gaystraightalliance.org website and the hateful messages there. I did not mention GLSEN in my post because I knew this was not their site. However, calling it “the Gay-Straight Alliance website” was confusing and I do apologize for this. I am investigating the situation and suggest readers review the comments on this post for some good information on the owners of this site. I continue to advocate an email to the site owner to register your views.

UPDATE – 8/9/07 – Lending some credibility to the hackery-theory of the gaystraightalliance.org theory, the message at the bottom of the page has changed slightly and now ends with this statement: “EVERY 2 MINUTES IN THE USA ANOTHER GLBT AMERICAN DIES AS A RESULT OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.”

I have contacted the company who owns this site and several other leads to get a comment with no success.

Well, I wasn’t sure how else to title this. I do not like hyperbolic sounding posts or claims but what else can you make of this tag line from the Gay-Straight Alliance website?

WITHOUT GSA ACCESS, STUDENTS ARE FORCED TO SIMPLY KILL CLASSMATES WHO TAUNT & BULLY – SHOOTING, STABBING AND POISONING ARE THE COMMON FORMS OF RETRIBUTION. FAR TOO MANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS LIKE BULLYING CHILDREN TO THE POINT WHERE RETRIBUTION AGAINST CLASSMATES AND FACULTY IS ONLY OPTION TO REDRESS RELENTLESS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN MANY REGIONS. SPECIOUSLY-NAMED “PRO-FAMILY” LEADERS ARE CHILD MOLESTERS WHO MAKE MONEY STIGMATIZING HOMOSEXUALITY TO SILENCE GAY VICTIMS.

“…forced to simply kill?” “…the only option?” “…child molesters?”

If you would like to write the Gay Straight Alliance and suggest a less volatile message, here is the address info@gaystraightalliance.org.

Companion website gaylibrary.com has this love note:

WITHOUT EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER LAW, THE HEART OF DEMOCRACY, USA DEMOCRACY ENDED (DEAD IN 47 STATES & FEDERAL, RULE OF LAW ENDED WITH IT AND NO FORCE ON EARTH CAN RESTORE IT SO VISIT HOMES OF TOP HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS & THEIR BLOODLINES AND PUNISH THEM IN RETRIBUTION); GOVERNMENTS LIKE SINGAPORE SHOULD END PERSECUTION TO AVOID GENOCIDAL RETRIBUTION; NO REASON TO PRESERVE OIL INDUSTRY, BOTANICAL INDUSTRIES, OR ENVIRONMENT IN WORST REGIONS; GAY SKI WEEK SEPTEMBER 1-9, 2007 QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND.

I like how messages of violent retribution are coupled with an announcement for “gay ski week.”

James Holsinger nomination hearings today: Open Forum

The hearings regarding the nomination of James Holsinger open today and promise to be contentious. I will not be able to follow them but as news comes out about his remarks and the questioning, readers, please feel free to post links, quotes and comments.

At the opening, Dr. Holsinger disputed the attacks on his view of homosexuality. No word as yet on the 1991 paper.

UPDATE: Dr. Holsinger says the 1991 paper regarding homosexuality and pathology does not represent his current views.

Only the gay die young? Part 8 – Loose ends

I have read the Camerons replies to me in this ongoing discussion and have only a few more things to say.

Regarding Paul Cameron’s letter, I have very little to say. It does not appear to me that he really addressed any of my critiques. Instead, he convinced me that he has his mind made up about those who lead as he put it “parasitic lives.” He had a lot to say about his two quests in life, one being the public health consequences of second hand smoke and the other being the menace of what you could call second-hand-gay (we are all doomed because a small percentage of people are attracted to the same sex). If that doesn’t make sense, you’ll have to read his letter to me – but then again, that might not help either.

Kirk Cameron’s note was more substantial but I still need to see their data before I will comment more on the Denmark component of their study. Kirk Cameron says the paper is in peer review and so he cannot make the data available. When (if) the study is published, then I will review it further. He had various replies to Dr. Frisch’s critiques as well, none of which were especially convincing to me. As I read through the letter, it seemed like some fast dancing was going on. Here are examples:

As I will explain, you have apparently misread or misunderstood aspects of our methodology. Further, the ‘whole story’ about our research is not fully contained in the EPA paper, but rather in a series of separate, but related articles, each addressing a slightly different topic. Be that as it may, I do find it a bit of a double standard that you would implicitly criticize our use of the media and internet as a forum for dissemination of new information, when your blogsite is not, as far as I can tell, subject to any scholarly oversight (beside your own).

Ok, so I am supposed to read your mind? You have bits and pieces of justifications in other papers but since I don’t have them I can’t know what you intend. And Kirk compares a blog to a news release?

Yes, our estimates of homosexual longevity are preliminary and may change with additional data. But are they necessarily false or unreliable? No.

So when the news releases say dogmatically straights outlive gays by 20 years, this is “dissemination of new information?” So which is it? New information or preliminary data?

Kirk C. spends much time attempting to make an analogy (benchmark) between estimates of longevity for the general population and estimates for gays. However, one can take a representative sample of a known population, but using the same methods with an unknown population may not lead to the same results. I am not convinced that he has properly sampled homosexuals (or their deaths) in order to satisfy the assumptions needed to make the analogy reasonable.

And then there is this deflection:

Plus, there is the issue of nonrespondents. For the Canadian study this was relatively low — around 20% — but clearly still large enough to dramatically change the prevalence estimates were non-response correlated with a concealed homosexual orientation. This did not prevent Statistics Canada from asserting publicly that only 1.7% of the Canadian population was bisexual or homosexual. Were they professionally negligent in doing so? And what about the research teams from Great Britain, France, and the U.S. that have also reported low estimates of homosexual prevalence despite even larger refusal rates? Are you also criticizing them in the same vein, or is it only us in whom you have no confidence?

Statistics Canada nor have other researchers made something out of their numbers beyond the estimates of prevalence. The Camerons have read into what is essentially a black box and promoted their guesses in the press as facts. I personally don’t care what the facts turn out to be. However, I get the feeling that the Camerons do.

Unless something else comes up, this is probably part last.

Only the gay die young? Part 7 – Paul and Kirk Cameron reply

As expected, Drs Cameron have replied to my critique of their study of gay life expectancy. They have made it neat and tidy by separately replying so click each name below to read their letters.

Paul Cameron

Kirk Cameron

Paul Cameron’s letter came with my critique included so I have left this in the document (it is getting long) — Cameron’s thoughts begin on page 7.

Transcripts of Catholic University presentations

On December 11, 2006, I presented a speech at the Catholic University School of Law as a part of a symposium titled: What’s the Story? A multidisciplinary discussion of Same-Sex Marriage & Religious Liberty. It was a crowded day with many presentations, primarily relating to legal issues and same-sex marriage. Also on my part of the program was J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University.

I recently received the transcripts of the programs. They are lengthy so I am going to link to Dr. Bailey’s and then my program. My powerpoint is also on this site.

Presentations by:

J. Michael Bailey

Warren Throckmorton

One upshot of the day is an ongoing correspondence with Dr. Bailey. We hope to conduct brain imaging research with individuals who describe change in sexual attractions.

Days of conflict: Sexual orientation and public schools

Today (April 25 in MA) is the GLSEN sponsored event, Day of Silence and then tomorrow is the Day of Truth, sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund. This year a coalition of social conservative groups have urged parents to keep their kids home on the Day of Silence. Racheting up the rhetoric is the Massachusetts version of opposition to the Day of Silence called Day of Defiance.

My view is that none of these “days” belong in the schools. However, I do believe that issues surrounding sexual identity, safety and education must be discussed and resolved in a manner that respects all points of view. In a perfect world (and perhaps in some districts), both sides will respectfully express their views and perhaps some communication will take place. In the real social world of most high schools, I fear that the result will more often be a more polarized and tense scene. For this reason, just over a year ago, Chad Thompson and I wrote an article that was initially published on Townhall.com (and later removed) called Sexual Orientation: When Conflict Rules the School.

In that article, Chad and I wrote in support of the First Amendment Center’s effort to address the conflict in schools called Public Schools and Sexual Orientation: A First Amendment framework for finding common ground. One aspect of this framework I like is the creation of “common ground task forces” in school districts. These task forces are to be comprised of parents who hold conflicting views and are designed to come to agreement about school policy and practice. The guidelines acknowledge the current state of affairs which has only escalated in the year since they were released. The guidelines observe:

These differences are deep – and difficult to negotiate. Current efforts to legalize or ban same-sex unions in the courts, in legislatures and on ballot initiatives have only exacerbated the debate in schools and raised the stakes for public school officials. Every act by one side is seen as a hostile move by the other. A “Day of Silence” to promote awareness of discrimination against gays and lesbians is now followed by a “Day of Truth” to promote conservative religious views of homosexuality. A T-shirt proclaiming “Straight Pride” is worn to counter one professing “Gay Pride.”

However, I do not believe the framework has had much impact. What Chad and I wrote a year ago seems even more accurate today:

Thus far, the guidelines have built very few bridges. Groups on the political right and left have found fault with them. One recent headline from a conservative source said: “Christian education group caves to homosexuals.” Conversely, liberal Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) said the Framework was designed to foster discussion of gay issues in schools and that the views of ex-gays should not be considered. We believe critics are missing the central aim of the guidelines: “Educators can and should require that all viewpoints be expressed in a respectful manner, but they may not exclude some views merely because they don’t agree with them.”

I can see no real resolution of issues until something like what the First Amendment Center has proposed is actually implemented. Otherwise, where will this go? If conservative parents keep their kids home on the Day of Silence, isn’t it likely that liberal parents will keep their kids home on the Day of Truth? Who will hear what message? Will schools be any safer for any kids? Will another half week of instruction be further compromised by adult inspired activism?

To read the First Amendment framework, download this pdf file.

Open Thread: Anderson Cooper’s look at Sex and Salvation

The second half of the CNN two-part series, “What is a Christian?” aired tonight and examined abstinance, homosexuality, pornography and marital sexual relationships. Given the broad scope, I will open a thread for reactions related to any topic covered by the segment.

Comment away…