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School Ball Bigots: Not Just for the Southern States
November 10, 2010 1:27 AM   Subscribe

''I don't think it's appropriate they feel discriminated against, and I'm very upset they feel that,'' "After inviting friends to her home for ''pre-drinks'', [Hannah Williams] stood on her doorstep and watched her classmates file into the darkness to attend one of the highlights of the school year. Instead of joining them, Hannah took off her heels and black dress and went to bed...A few weeks earlier a teacher had told the year 11 student she couldn't attend the dance with her 15-year-old girlfriend, Savannah Supski. She was asked to bring a male instead."
posted by rodgerd (70 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
All girls school won't let all girls be all girls? You girls in Australia have this upside down.
posted by chavenet at 1:30 AM on November 10, 2010


There are some weasel words in that article. Other girls brought 'younger' guys - but were they in the same grade?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:38 AM on November 10, 2010


Bla. Bla bla bla. Blah. Excuses are so tiring. Good for Hannah and Savannah.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:38 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, missed this:

''If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females; the policy is trying to create an event where boys are invited. We are a school that has an all-girls environment, and they are meant to invite guests, not partners.''

That's some grain-fed 100-day dry-aged bullshit right there.

The ABC's (very brief) coverage.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:41 AM on November 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


1. An all-girls school shouldn't have balls.
2. Hannah and Savannah have balls.
3. ???
4. It gets better.
posted by chavenet at 1:43 AM on November 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


School Ball Bigots: Not Just for the Southern States

Of course Victoria is the Southernmost state on the Australian mainland.
posted by atrazine at 1:49 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some more background from a previous student, via Crikey.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:52 AM on November 10, 2010


Love the term weasel word. In fact the entire article struck me as indistinct. If, as the school claims, the event was more a hang-out-with-friends-of-opposite-sex thing than a -bring-your-partner-thing, then there's no reason for anybody at the school to use the heavy term "appropriate" and to be "very upset". Then the whole thing would have been a simple misunderstanding.
(I am not in the slightest arguing that a bring-the-opposite-sex setup is such a great idea).
As it looks now (but isn't stated very clearly in the article), the school management has very well understood that their little party idea isn't so great. Now they're pulling rank, acting upset about the affront as such. As in "this shouldn't have happened in the first place, and it's all the other side's fault"
Having been the chairman in a parent's club at our kid's school, I have seen too many of those ones pulled out of the school management's sleeves to be amused any more. Even (slight chance) if this isn't about discrimination, it is all about "our job is hard enough as it is, what do these kids think they're celebrating becoming personalities, and don't get me started about parents!"
posted by Namlit at 1:56 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Hannah and Savannah" are great names for a couple. Just perfect. You'd think that would sway the school board a little, but apparently they have hearts of stone.
posted by creasy boy at 1:56 AM on November 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


How can you deny a couple named Hannah and Savannah?! THAT'S A CRIME AGAINST CUTENESS.

Now, why is a 15 year old dating an 11 year old?
posted by nomadicink at 1:58 AM on November 10, 2010


Single gendered schools are messed up anyway. I went to an all boys school for a brief period, worst 6 months of my life.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 2:02 AM on November 10, 2010


There seems to be a difference between "year 11" and "11 years"... Just sayin'
posted by Namlit at 2:02 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


ah, never mind, it's a year 11 student. Damn pre coffee jitters.
posted by nomadicink at 2:11 AM on November 10, 2010


Surely this...
posted by nevercalm at 2:23 AM on November 10, 2010


"And we ask that the guests be male only to create a mixed event."

You've got a bunch of regular male-female couples coming to the annual year 11 dance and you think adding a lesbian cutesy couple (matching shirts!) named Hannah and Savannah (banana fana fo fana) won't mix things up a bit?
posted by pracowity at 2:34 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


School Ball Bigots: Not Just for the Southern States

Of course Victoria is the Southernmost state on the Australian mainland.


Lucky we're talking mainland only, otherwise your powerful point would be lost.
posted by the noob at 2:40 AM on November 10, 2010


CUTEST COUPLE EVER!

How about creating a "mixed event" with straight and gay couples, you idiots?
posted by DarlingBri at 2:40 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


As unfortunate and avoidable as this is, and as badly as I feel for Hannah and Savannah, I am glad that they are going public with their grievances. All of these cases and all of the newfound media coverage are strikes against the status quo of intolerance. I'm sorry they have to experience an environment that tells them they aren't welcome, and I'm happy they have the resources to find a more welcoming one and the ethos to cry out. I hope they are also aware of the support they have.

Good on you, ladies. Now, if you need any music for your year 12 formal, I have a couple of suggestions.
posted by Errant at 2:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Watching the news report all I could think of was Summer Heights Heigh.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:45 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's getting pretty heavy play in the media here. Hopefully the school will be shamed into being less bigoted.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:49 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know about Australia, but single sex schools are very common in New Zealand (I can think of about 9 single sex high schools and 2 co-ed high schools within a 20 minute drive of where I am), and yeah, they're a nightmare for anyone remotely different. If anyone had come out at my school there would have been violence. There was one gay teacher I was aware of and even talking to him after class would have guaranteed you a good few weeks of bullying. About 500 metres away, the stoner co-ed school (in this city, at least, the co-ed schools appear to be of a lower something something standard than the single-sex schools) kids seemed to practice tolerance and acceptance. The teachers at my school were there to encourage sport, misogyny and male dominance. The official hierarchy went rugby, other contact sports, school pride (chanting, polished shoes and the like), generic religious crap, non-contact sports, maths, science, anything cultural (and therefore possibly feminine or gay).

Kids need to stop pursuing radical homosexual agendas and get back to singing hymns in assembly and polishing their shoes. These girls have it easy with their facebooks and everyone their age being nice to them.
posted by doublehappy at 2:50 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The highlight of my school career, in fact, was when my 4th form social studies teacher, while discussing the planning of a dance with our sister school, proudly proclaimed a policy of "no fat chicks!" Not really relevant, but I imagine this girls school has the usual sporty girls = lesbian meme etc. It's all the same beast.
posted by doublehappy at 2:54 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, "I don't think it's appropriate they feel discriminated against" is possibly my favourite news quote ever. You don't think it's appropriate that your students have the ability to form independent thoughts? You don't think it's appropriate that your students feel that your policy which bars them from attending an event with their peers because their partners don't have a two and a half inch bit of flesh tucked away somewhere in their pant? How dare they embarrass you for being a fucking bigot.

Ok I'm done.
posted by doublehappy at 2:59 AM on November 10, 2010 [43 favorites]


''If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females; the policy is trying to create an event where boys are invited. We are a school that has an all-girls environment, and they are meant to invite guests, not partners.''

what
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:42 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Equal Opportunity Commission said it could not comment.

Why the hell not? Earn your keep!
posted by rory at 3:50 AM on November 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


This will not end well for Ivanhoe Girls.

All the reporting suggests that the girls dont face any discrimination from the student body, and in fact have been very well supported by them and by their parents.
posted by wilful at 4:12 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Matching Shirts" are likely their school uniform blouses.

I'm so glad our plaid was only on our skirts ...
posted by tilde at 4:32 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder how often these stories still need to happen.
posted by mippy at 4:32 AM on November 10, 2010


Savannah, now 16, is also changing schools to be with her girlfriend and was happy to hear that their new school allowed same-sex couples to attend the formal.

Well, if it's a private school, they may have a right to be tone-deaf and obdurate, but I'm overjoyed to see that her parents have at least gone with the free market solution that's available to them.

It's sad that that's their only recourse, but I hope the school notices the missing revenue.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:55 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females

I want to live in this world where everyone is just one convenient excuse away from homosexuality.

There were several gay couples at my (southern, rural, UK) school dances and no-one gave a shit, the rugby team having discovered the previous year that calling people poofters loses its lustre after five years and anyway they'd just discovered cider and pot.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:05 AM on November 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


Savannah, now 16, is also changing schools to be with her girlfriend and was happy to hear that their new school allowed same-sex couples to attend the formal.

Well good for her, but having to do this is shitty. Combined with the tearing down of posters put up by her supporting classmates, I seriously thought (like others) that we were talking about America, not Australia.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:24 AM on November 10, 2010


Also, "I don't think it's appropriate they feel discriminated against" is possibly my favourite news quote ever. You don't think it's appropriate that your students have the ability to form independent thoughts? You don't think it's appropriate that your students feel that your policy which bars them from attending an event with their peers because their partners don't have a two and a half inch bit of flesh tucked away somewhere in their pant? How dare they embarrass you for being a fucking bigot.

That's a really awkwardly phrased sentence. This woman probably meant that she didn't think it was reasonable for Hannah to feel discriminated against. Except of course that it is.
posted by orange swan at 5:49 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's appropriate they feel discriminated against

Jeez yes. Feelings versus appropriate. Didn't even see that. Power play with words: if you turn the fact of discrimination into a matter of thinking thoughts about what they're feeling...you won! Win again, now on sexual orientation and choice: you don't think it is appropriate that they feel they need to make that choice. And so on. Oh yuk.

(But "I don't feel it's appropriate that they think they are being discriminated against," ain't any better really.)
posted by Namlit at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


obiwanwasabi: "Oh, missed this:

''If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females; the policy is trying to create an event where boys are invited. We are a school that has an all-girls environment, and they are meant to invite guests, not partners.''

That's some grain-fed 100-day dry-aged bullshit right there.

The ABC's (very brief) coverage.
"

They forgot the part where, first it's just one girl, then it's a bunch of boys, not just one... then it's all kinds of dirty, filthy animals, who KNOWS what's after the girl-girl date!?
posted by symbioid at 6:36 AM on November 10, 2010


That is a very well written article A Thousand Baited Hooks.
posted by caddis at 6:38 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm totally on Hannah and Savannah's side. But as I read this (yet another) story about bigotry coming out to promenade at the school dance, I wondered, for the first time in my life, "Why the hell do schools have dances?"

Certainly, I understand the obvious - it's fun, social interaction, recreational, break from studies, etc. It can be that. You can make an argument that it somehow prepares students for the 'adult' social world, giving kids a reason to go through a formal 'asking out' process and learn to conduct themselves at a formal event.

But when I give more anthropological thought, the very idea of schools having dances at all is pretty odd. I started to think about when it might have started. Prior to the Victorian era, not that many girls were in school, and formal dances were held by either wealthy families or social associations, as a way for young people to meet potential partners and show off their good qualities as a possible future mates. It looks as though dances made their way into the world of education in the very late 1800s as the middle class expanded, more kids of middling social status were in school and college, and they adopted some of the rituals of the upper class before them. Homecomings were associated with the rise of collegiate and high school sports structure, and proms seem to have come along at the same time or shortly afterward. High schools getting into this game seems to have been driven much more by a middle-class striver culture's idea of what young people should aspire to, a mimicry of the upper classes.

It's hard for me to understand why we continue to value these events so much, and why we think schools are the best-equipped institutions to manage them. For everyone that had a blast at a school formal, there's another for whom it created anxiety around sexuality, social aptitude, appearance, and money or lack thereof. The events, because of their presumption of heterosexual coupling, tend to serve as flashpoints for whatever concerns the culture has about coupling and the behavior of teens - it's been about race, it's been about age, it's been about expressions of sexuality and how explicit they should be, it's been about alcohol, it's now very often about sexual orientation.

I say, just get rid of formal dances as school functions. It won't make stupid people go away, but it will take away one of their grandstands.
posted by Miko at 6:47 AM on November 10, 2010 [20 favorites]


This is in no way shocking to me. 8 years ago, at my all-girl high school (Catholic), one of my classmates was also told she could not bring her girlfriend as a date to prom. She went out and "pre-partied" with her friends, but that's it, same as in this story. We all voiced our disagreement with the policy, but not to the extent of posters and Equal Opportunity Commissions. So, girls are getting gutsier, that's a good thing, I guess.
posted by little_c at 6:49 AM on November 10, 2010


A sapphic Oz schoolgirl named Hannah
Took to prom a dear friend, one Savannah.
They were barred by the haters
So they said: "see you laterz!
It's not just to behave in that mannah."
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:51 AM on November 10, 2010 [21 favorites]


+1 for limericking the news! (But I really wanna pronounce it 'behoive'.)
posted by Miko at 7:02 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Administrator: If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females

ArmyofKittens:
I want to live in this world where everyone is just one convenient excuse away from homosexuality.

Right up there with those weird anti-gay activists in the US who seem to sincerely believe that if homosexuality is accepted, all the husbands in the world are going to get their gay on and abandon their families. People are really fuckin' strange, you know?
posted by steambadger at 7:44 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I say, just get rid of formal dances as school functions. It won't make stupid people go away, but it will take away one of their grandstands.

I understand your position, and almost agree with it, except the high school I went to in Michigan was letting same-sex couples go to formal dances all the way back in the '90s. The formals at my school were really a lot of fun, and a lot less fraught than the ones at the traditional high schools, though I hear that the trad schools have been getting looser as time goes on (and my school has been getting regrettably more uptight, banning a kid from wearing a vulva costume to the Halloween "formal," when we had a kid wear one with no problems). Kids like playing dress-up every now and then, and it'd be a shame to let the bigots win instead of co-opting formal dances into something that can be fun for nearly everyone.
posted by klangklangston at 7:57 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm so disappointed that my discrimination makes you feel discriminated against! I'm very upset that you could possibly feel that way.
/hamburger

Ridiculous BS from that school. Glad the girls' parents are awesome though.
posted by schyler523 at 7:57 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


sincerely believe that if homosexuality is accepted, all the husbands in the world are going to get their gay on and abandon their families

Yeah, if social pressure is the only thing guiding who you sleep with, you may not be the orientation you imagine...
posted by yeloson at 8:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I would have been seriously tempted to go to the dance with a male friend in drag.
posted by QIbHom at 8:14 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh. I was just gonna say something about how School Dances Don't Have To Suck I Mean At My High School In Michig— oh, hey there klang.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:14 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The principal of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar, Heather Schnagl, said the event did not discriminate against same-sex couples and was designed to promote a co-educational experience.

''I don't think it's appropriate they feel discriminated against, and I'm very upset they feel that,'' she said.

''If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females; the policy is trying to create an event where boys are invited. We are a school that has an all-girls environment, and they are meant to invite guests, not partners.''


Oh, baloney. If you want a coed dance, just co-ordinate something with an all-boys school; invite the boys en masse. Then you aren't discriminating against same-sex couples, and people who couldn't get a date won't be made to feel left out.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Glad the girls' parents are awesome though.

That was the heartening piece of the story for me.
posted by rodgerd at 9:13 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's the thing...if her classmates really wanted to make a statement, they should have boycotted the dance en masse and had a party at Hannah's house.
posted by spicynuts at 9:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I can't get over how adorable they are -- LOVE Savannah's hair/glasses combo. (OK, it's shallow, but that's all I've got here...the most obvious stuff's already been said).

Although, if that's what school uniforms look like in Australia, I have to wonder why they dress kids up like rural American waffle house waitresses...that's a puzzler.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:31 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


designed to promote a co-educational experience

Yeah and that. Full points for euphemism bombardment. Consider some other actions with "co" that school managements around the world are dreading, in the connection with dance balls and otherwise: here all covered up with pedagogically correct icing. I think I especially fall for "designed". Designed what? Oh, we decided if we call the boys guests, not partners, it'll all become a co-educational experience.

Sometimes it is very hard not to become utterly cynical about school pedagogues when confronted with that sort of twisted rhetoric.

[guess I got an issue somehow]
posted by Namlit at 9:37 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm kind of confused by this whole thing. At that age, I would never had had a date or a boy to bring to a dance, yes at 16. I didn't even have my first date until a year or so later. It would be very natural for pretty much the whole of my class to come in little groups of friends. It's totally ridiculous for the school to be making an issue out of this but at the same time I can't help but feeling like the kids could of just gone with each other and not said a thing to any administrator and gone without issue.

These events of discrimination are deplorable but is it me or is every kid just looking for attention. Then again, maybe it's sort of called for as the kind of storm before the eventual calm of well deserved acceptance.
posted by eatdonuts at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2010


If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females


I think they mean it would be easier just to bring their bff as a date and it would end up just like a school date but with punch and Justin Beiber.

I feel that way too sometimes, it would be so much better just to hang out and talk about Firefly then to have to make awkward smalltalk with a member of the opposite sex.

Forever alone....
posted by Ad hominem at 10:03 AM on November 10, 2010


These events of discrimination are deplorable but is it me or is every kid just looking for attention. Then again, maybe it's sort of called for as the kind of storm before the eventual calm of well deserved acceptance.

Yep. It's important for these kind of issues to be brought into the light and I applaud these girls for doing their part in that. No reason to ascribe simple "attention-seeking" to them.
posted by Drexen at 10:34 AM on November 10, 2010


Right up there with those weird anti-gay activists in the US who seem to sincerely believe that if homosexuality is accepted, all the husbands in the world are going to get their gay on and abandon their families. People are really fuckin' strange, you know?

Sorry to derail, but does anybody know where that meme came from?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:49 AM on November 10, 2010


Although, if that's what school uniforms look like in Australia, I have to wonder why they dress kids up like rural American waffle house waitresses...that's a puzzler.

The real puzzler is how they could possibly run that photo without the caption, Gay student to school admin: "Kiss my grits"
posted by Sys Rq at 11:07 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sorry to derail, but does anybody know where that meme came from?

Definitively? I have no idea. But I do have a theory....

If the Kinsey scale is indeed correct, and the continuum of human sexuality does indeed lie along a bell-curve distribution, with the majority of people being somewhere in the middle where bisexual attraction is the most common, then it's kind of easy to theorize that a lot of these anti-gay activists may be people who lie in the middle and lead lives of quiet frustration when it comes to all the times they go "schwing" toward a person of the same sex. Since they believe that same-sex attraction is just WRONG (whether out of religious moralization or something else), they have no problems believing that people who are gay are simply making the wrong choice. A choice which anyone could possibly make at any moment.

Our social norms have, for so long, been against homosexual attraction, that it's really only been those who are at the extreme of the continuum toward being gay who have been willing to undertake the upheaval to daily life that is "coming out".

I'd be willing to bet that, as we move toward a more inclusive society, we see a lot more of those in the middle of the spectrum willing to move toward same-sex coupling, either sexual or relationship-based. The majority of the population will probably always be involved in heterosexual pair-bonding, but surely increased freedom will lead to more honest exploration and expression for those who lie in the 2.5-4.5 ratings in the middle of the bell curve.
posted by hippybear at 11:13 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


These events of discrimination are deplorable but is it me or is every kid just looking for attention

Well, are straight kids looking for attention when they take a date to the prom? Or are they just doing what's developmentally appropriate for a teenager - learning to form intimate relationships with people they're attracted to?
posted by Miko at 11:48 AM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


These events of discrimination are deplorable but is it me or is every kid just looking for attention.

It's just you.
posted by caddis at 12:36 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


These events of discrimination are deplorable but is it me or is every kid just looking for attention.
If that's what they told you when you were a kid, it's not only you, it's them too.
posted by Namlit at 12:49 PM on November 10, 2010


Glad the girls' parents are awesome though.

Are they, though? I agreed with this the first time I read it, but then I started to feel uncomfortable about it because it means that we still live in a time where it's reasonable* to support and love your child less because of their behaviour and preferences. It isn't. These girls' parents are merely meeting a good standard of parenting. That is awesome in its own right, because there are plenty of bad parents, but I don't think it's awesome in the way people in this thread have used the word.

As much as my default position is that kids are trouble makers and they're going to eventually fuck things up for everyone, I'm glad that they are more empowered than they ever have been because now their confusion at the moral standards imposed by adults (which, let's be honest, generally consist of "Don't do what feels natural and good" and "It doesn't matter why, just do it") actually has a voice albeit through a medium that many in older generations are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with (the internet, text messaging, etc.). We need young people to join the franchise.

*If not reasonable, then normal or common.
posted by doublehappy at 12:56 PM on November 10, 2010


''If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females; the policy is trying to create an event where boys are invited."

Why? What's the reasoning for that, exactly?
posted by Decani at 1:07 PM on November 10, 2010


Are they, though? I agreed with this the first time I read it, but then I started to feel uncomfortable about it because it means that we still live in a time where it's reasonable* to support and love your child less because of their behaviour and preferences. It isn't. These girls' parents are merely meeting a good standard of parenting. That is awesome in its own right, because there are plenty of bad parents, but I don't think it's awesome in the way people in this thread have used the word.

Yes, they are indeed awesome. The fact that everything ought to be awesome--that in a perfect world, awesome would be the norm--does not detract from the awesomeness of the already-awesome. If anything, it makes the already-awesome all the more awesome for having been awesome in a time when awesomeness was still considered to be awesome.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:31 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


''If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females; the policy is trying to create an event where boys are invited."

Why? What's the reasoning for that, exactly?


"Oh god, they've noticed that we hate gay people...rationalise, rationalise...um, because all our students are secretly gay, and we have to train them out of it before they get lesbianism all over everything!

There, that hangs together, right?"
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:28 PM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


they get lesbianism all over everything!

When I started making a lot of lesbian friends, at first constantly be shed upon with lesbianism bothered me, then I just realized I needed to wear more cargo and khakis and it'd blend right in.

Which is ok, I like wearing cargos and khakis.
posted by yeloson at 2:44 PM on November 10, 2010


Which is ok, I like wearing cargos and khakis.

So lesbians are like German tourists, but more contagious?
posted by doublehappy at 3:31 PM on November 10, 2010


hippybear, peace out, man, but just because the Kinsey scale is a bell curve does not mean the peak is in the middle. (The chart most often associated with the scale is actually this one, which just graphically describes the weighting.)

Sorry to derail, but does anybody know where that meme came from?

In evangelical Christianity, which rather neatly defines many of those who are opposed to civil rights for homosexuals, there is a great concentration on the arc of temptation, sin, and redemption. Most mainstream Protestants seem not to get this. For example, in 2004 Dick Cheney asked for "privacy" around his daughter's homosexuality, despite having himself made a point of parading his acceptance of her. This read to evangelical voters (whatever Cheney thought privately) as my daughter has sinned, and this is a private tragedy our family must deal with. Most other Americans didn't get it -- wasn't she already out? Similarly, when Ted Haggard was found getting special massages, this diminished him, but he quickly found a narrative of redemption around his "sin". The ultimate redemption is being Born Again, by which process you wipe away your history of sin and begin a new balance sheet with God.

In any event, the meme is about how homosexuality is not an inner quality of the self, but a type of kinky sex and therefore a temptation to the God-fearing. If you are interested in gay sex, you have progressed from merely liking sex to craving ever more outrageous boundary-busting kicks, and are well on your way to Hell (yes, actual Hell, not the watered-down secular Hell most of us know from New Yorker cartoons). This does not happen by accident. The God-fearing are not normally exposed to these things. If they are, it is because the Devil (yes, the actual Devil, not your uncle's Halloween party costume) has sought you out as a Christian and tempted you.

By allowing gay culture to seep into the mainstream where the God-fearing are aware of it on a daily basis -- say, by gays getting married -- is only the work of the Devil. The infamous Ex-Gay Movement is not about excising the self but about exorcising the sin and returning to God and stopping thinking about kinky gay sex all the time.

I recall a time a number of us berated a (mostly naive) coworker who expressed annoyance that a gay couple would kiss in public. Apparently seeing them kissing meant he could only think about two men having hot sweaty sex. Seeing a man and a woman kissing did not, apparently, cause him to think about sex. Maybe this was his own Kinsey scale problem, to be sure, but it was basically the temptation issue.

I'm sure that the actual wording may be less specific, but for many people this is actually how it works. This may or may not explain opposition to gay rights elsewhere in the world, but I think it's a big part of the American conversation.
posted by dhartung at 9:24 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think she is doing it for the attention.

There are a lot of people who don't want "the attention". In order to avoid it they don't go to prom with that asshole who is going to dump them two months from now, they don't ask their sisters for advice about their new girlfriend, they don't announce their engagement at work, they don't tell their friends about the wonderful new person who might be The One. They don't like "the attention" because, for them, it comes with an enormous burden.

She's shouldering that burden because for whatever reason, her personality, her family support, her bravery--she has decided that she wants "the attention".

I am extremely grateful to her. I lost a good friend at 15 because he couldn't handle being young, gay, and involuntarily out in my small, bigoted high school. He ran away from home. The school took down all of the posters we put up about his disappearance because he was just doing it for "the attention". Then a week went by. And a month. And he's still gone. I would have loved to have had this kind of national support and yes, I would have loved "the attention" if it meant getting him back.

Hope he's still out there--we miss him so much.


(This was originally here)
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:15 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]



If we opened it up and said girls could bring another female they would all bring females


Even in the unlikely event that one lesbian couple would make all the other girls bring their friends as dates, maybe this would be a wake-up call to the males in this social group to stop being so annoying to the young women that they'd rather not date them.

But God forbid.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:33 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


She's shouldering that burden because for whatever reason, her personality, her family support, her bravery--she has decided that she wants "the attention".

I don't know the girl any more than you do, but my guess is that she's doing this to get treated fairly, and possibly to break ground for others so that they'll get treated fairly too.
posted by orange swan at 11:59 AM on November 11, 2010


Orange swan, I think if you reread the comment you will see that the commenter agrees with you. It seems to me that the young rope-rider is repurposing language offered in an earlier comment to make a pointed remark about what attention to injustice can do - "break ground for others," as you say - so that in that sense, by being vocal rather than meekly sitting at home and accepting the school's judgment, she definitely does want to make this a matter for the public's attention.
posted by Miko at 1:02 PM on November 11, 2010


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