Tolerance and Hypocrisy on Gay-Straight Clubs
February 9, 2003 9:11 PM   Subscribe

These two blogs were created by the "peers" of gay, lesbian, bi, and straight kids in Kentucky who have been struggling for their right to a safe space.
They had a sponsor, Kaye King, who is an English teacher and a certified counselor. They did research and learned that there were 1,200 such clubs nationally. Tyler McClelland, a senior, says they just wanted a supportive group, where no one whispered "queer" behind their backs.
Bill O'Reilly has called the ACLU terrorists for taking on the case, which is currently in federal court.
posted by djacobs (47 comments total)
Aww.. Bill O'Reilly.. always the sensitive man
posted by RobbieFal at 9:18 PM on February 9, 2003

Do the Xanga sites belong to actual classmates of the Kentucky kids? It's a little hard to sort out exactly what's going on over there, beyond the fact that it's unpleasant.
posted by redfoxtail at 9:24 PM on February 9, 2003

I know some of the GSA kids at BCHS and yes, the two Xanga sites belong to classmates of theirs. They're pretty poorly written and the humor is extremely puerile, but the sites definitely have shook the GSA students up, in part because these two boys have posted pics of some of the kids.
posted by apollonia6 at 9:29 PM on February 9, 2003

I don't know whether this story or the one before it is more unpleasant. Sigh.
posted by calwatch at 10:05 PM on February 9, 2003

Some background on the Equal Access Act, and the actual statute. Ironically, we have Ronald Reagan and the far right to thank for it.
posted by boltman at 10:09 PM on February 9, 2003

From the GLSEN link: Mr. York is concerned that the club will be used to turn Boyd students into homosexuals. (Mrs. King, the club sponsor, says she has been prohibited from even saying hello to one student whose parents fear he could be turned gay.)

What is wrong with people that in this day and age they still think this way? Do these people actually believe that there's a gay agenda to recruit new members, or that homosexuality is like a disease you can catch? Don't most people grow out of believing in cooties by the time they hit puberty?

And how is the ACLU "using terror to further their agenda"?
posted by biscotti at 10:17 PM on February 9, 2003

So the ACLU, which defended American Nazis who wanted to march in Skokie and intervened to keep Ollie North's testimony from being used against him, is now accused of terrorism by a right-winger? Boy, you know you're successful when you're pissing off everybody.
posted by alumshubby at 10:30 PM on February 9, 2003

Being mocked by Bill O'Reilly is sorta like having Don King make fun of your hair. (dang liberal media ... )
posted by RavinDave at 10:37 PM on February 9, 2003

Whooo hooo! I can't wait to start a after school S&M club. =)
posted by ZupanGOD at 10:38 PM on February 9, 2003

You know, ZupanGOD, suggesting that allowing GSA's will cause schools to suddenly be overrun by "S&M clubs" (or "bestiality clubs" or whatever, take your pick) is one of the standard, stupid responses that opponents to these organizations invariably bring up. Obviously, of course, doing this ties in with the old chestnuts about bestiality and child molestation and so on that anti-gay extremists have thrown around about gay and lesbian people for years.

It's not clear to me from your comment whether you're suggesting that yourself or whether you're making fun of that suggestion. Just in case it's the former, I'd like to point out that while there are hundreds of GSA's in high schools all over the country, no students anywhere have ever approached their principal and said, "Hey, we want to start an S&M club!"
posted by apollonia6 at 10:55 PM on February 9, 2003

Who is that deer hunting dude?

Good luck, thread...
posted by hama7 at 10:57 PM on February 9, 2003

Bill O'Reilly also called Mexicans wetbacks. In fact, he did just that, this past Thursday.

Here is some more recent classy banter with a pacifist son of a victim of the WTC disaster (who just so happened to also believe Bush's presidency to be illigitimate).
posted by crasspastor at 11:02 PM on February 9, 2003

Umm, did Bill O'Reilly back up that "terrorist" accusation with anything even remotely resembling reasoning? Or is he just out to make Rush Limbaugh look like Mr. Well-Thought Conclusion? Because it's kind of hard to debate an assertion that seems prima facae ridiculous. It's like if I said, "You're wearing a blue sweater! That makes you a terrorist!"
posted by arto at 11:14 PM on February 9, 2003

Apollonia6, I'm pretty sure ZupanGOD was mocking/rejoicing at O'Reilly's comment, found in the third link:

"I would have turned them down," Mr. O'Reilly said, "because I say once you open the door to a club based on sexuality, then you got to have the S&M club, the bigamy club, you know any club."
posted by hippugeek at 11:25 PM on February 9, 2003

I wouldn't call out the cyber vigilantes quite yet, Chris--boy, there's a waste of everybody's time: harassing these cortical null nodes. Just by making these pathetic 'blogs' and having people see how pinhead stupid they are is punishment enough for these guys. Posting pictures is about the worst these guys did, there are no overt threats, or direct insults, for that matter and for Christ's sake, how many people looked at the damn thing among their peers? Without laughing at them?

Big Gay Al seems to have a thing for the woman in the Three Stooges picture he made, assuming that she is the same one is as in the spread of school pictures. Scott Rake is an incredibly dumb guy imitating a dumb guy. A category of pathetic so patheitic as to be hitherto unknown is revealed. No big whoop. End of Story. Paying any more attention them to means the evildoers have won.

But the story of the club is another thing and there the villain is waffling weasel Dr. Bill Capehart. Send your vigilantes' emails and attentions to him--he deserves it, far far more than the predictable Bill Reilly.

One last piece of advice: if you're making an alternate email for some secret, nefarious internet project, so you don't get in trouble by having it trace to work, don't announce it on a blog one step off a well visited community weblog. Somehow that's kinda giving Scott Rakes a run for his money, know what I mean?
posted by y2karl at 11:31 PM on February 9, 2003

You have some good points there, y2karl, but I for one posted comments over on those two sites so that the OTHER kids - the students in the GSA - would see them. It's pretty obvious that nothing's going to get through the skulls of the two boys who put up the site.
posted by apollonia6 at 11:40 PM on February 9, 2003

I've never heard of Billy O'Reilly before in my entire life, but from what I read in this thread I really don't want to hear any more about him.
posted by spazzm at 12:33 AM on February 10, 2003

Actually, Bill O'Reilly is in a whole heap'o'trouble, because he's now on several people's hitlist. Using the racial slur 'wetbacks' was completely unacceptable for a professional television broadcaster.

I spent several hours over the past few days sending out emails to the staff of most major Hispanic and Mexican-American organizations out there.

I got an email back from the regional director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He's passing along the news to the rest of the association, which has staffmembers in many major newspapers and television networks.

Likewise, I heard back from Dan Solis, the Chairman of the Board for the National Association for Mexican-American Rights. They have escalated this issue to several other organizations, including NCLR (National Council of La Raza) and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund). They have also contacted Congressman Silvestre Reyes (the one who was interviewed) on this issue. Congressman Reyes is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

I also sent out a flurry of emails to several major news websites, and have posted to numerous communities getting people to email O'Reilly's bosses and spread the word. I hope a lot of you do the same too. I'm specifically targeting, as that is the parent company for Fox news.

Anyone have posting rights to Motley Fool or any other sites with active stock forums? I would *LOVE* to get the word out to News Corporation's shareholders about O'Reilly's comments, if anyone would be willing to take on this task. (Their trading symbol is NWS, for any who are interested.)

As long as the press don't make a decision that this is "old news", I can't see O'Reilly getting off with anything less than a public apology for this one. He could potentially get kicked off the air, if the press and the news organizations pick up the story. Frankly, I'm going to stay on O'Reilly like a pitbull and really try pushing this story. I hope others do too.

I just hope that one of you can make a digital copy when and if he does apologize, because I don't get FoxNews anymore. I could play in on a repeating loop whenever I need a pick-me-up! ;->
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:43 AM on February 10, 2003


djacobs, thanks for the post...i'll be watching for a resolution to the aclu case, which i'm sure will result in victory for the students, present and future...
posted by yonderboy at 2:20 AM on February 10, 2003

I understand insomnia_lj's motivations but disagree with his methods: There's a point at which legitimate complaint turns into p.c. oppression, i.e. "I don't like what you're saying, so I'll prevent you from saying it." O'Reilly already has plenty of rope with which to hang himself. If he's calling people ethnic slurs, telling people to shut up, etc., then he's already demonstrated what a jerk he is. Nothing to see here, folks, move along past the animal cage.

What I can't understand is why somebody like Jeremy Glick, who had to know what he was getting into, would appear on his show. Why bother with the bear-baiting confrontation?
posted by alumshubby at 4:06 AM on February 10, 2003

I think Glick came off pretty well. O'Reilly looked like a petulant kid ("I'm not listening! Can't hear you!! la-la-LA-la-la ... ") He should take a cue from Rush and only meet opposition on the phone, where he can quietly hang up and pretend they're still on the line.

But I am also a bit unsettled about forcing him off the air. He'll just be replaced with yet another Limbaugh-wannabe windbag. He'll do more harm to his causes right where he is.
posted by RavinDave at 4:21 AM on February 10, 2003

Why does O'Reilly hate America so much?

Damn liberal media!

The GOP Big Tent: lots of room for racists. Seems there's a new example everyday.
posted by nofundy at 5:15 AM on February 10, 2003

sophie is hot.
posted by quonsar at 5:21 AM on February 10, 2003

Well, I have to thank O'Reilly for this one. I've been cynically expecting the media to expand the definition of terrorism to include obviously non-terrorist items for a long time now. I was beginning to think that I was wrong. Thanks for proving me very, very right, Bill!
posted by mosch at 6:21 AM on February 10, 2003

Is it me, or it is evident by this community's reaction that a GSA club is exactly what this community needs. Education about what homosexuality is, and the need for tolerance. It is not a communicable disease, and it is not a choice. Even the minister in the example admits it's not a choice, he just says people should ignore being gay and live a straight life. But if you are not attracted to women, then living that life could lead to serious psychological problems. People need to accept who they are, and not who someone thinks they should be.
posted by benjh at 6:28 AM on February 10, 2003

In the article, Rev. York is quoted as saying, "Homosexuality is a choice people make . . . I say you don't open yourself to all urgings; you control them. Just like an alcoholic." So why doesn't he go protest bars and liqour stores? Jesus condemns divorce in the Bible. Why isn't this guy out fighting to end divorce? I wonder how this guy's popularity with his flock would change if he started attacking people who drink or get divorces . . .
posted by vraxoin at 6:36 AM on February 10, 2003

The talking heads (left and right) all to be getting more and more extreme as time goes by ... and their ratings flounder. O'Reilly's probably trying to create controversy on the "any publicity is good publicity" assumption. With any luck it'll backfire.
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:45 AM on February 10, 2003

I hear Bill O'Reilly makes a mean screwdriver.
posted by angry modem at 7:18 AM on February 10, 2003

Bill O'Reilly's a jerk? I'm shocked! Really, truly shocked to hear this!!

Back to the topic at hand (oh, just humor me and let me convince myself that I'm going to be able to accomplish that)...

Is it me, or it is evident by this community's reaction that a GSA club is exactly what this community needs.

I don't think it's just you, benjh.
posted by apollonia6 at 8:12 AM on February 10, 2003

Actually, Bill O'Reilly is in a whole heap'o'trouble, because he's now on several people's hitlist. Using the racial slur 'wetbacks' was completely unacceptable for a professional television broadcaster.

Ah, youth... And who are these "people" maintaining "hitlits" that O'Reilly is purported to be on? Unless one of them answers to the name "Roger Ailes," you're wasting your time. As if Bill O'Reilly could ever actually stoop low enough to disappoint scum-meister Ailes.

Feel free to protest, though you might want to consider the merit of continuing to draw attention to him and his "opinions."
posted by JollyWanker at 8:45 AM on February 10, 2003

1) Um, call me stupid (which I'm sure I will), but isn't trying to censure Bill just as bad as his comments? He doesn't want people to do what they want, yet the same people don't want him to speak his mind. Sorry, but if people are going to create all of their clubs, then by the same token, he should be allowed to say whatever crap comes to his mind. If you don't like him, change the friggin' channel. Come on. Don't ya'll know discrimination isn't contagious?
2) Before y'all get your boxers in a bundle, this is EXACTLY the kind of hype that has kept him on the air over the years. I'm right wing and consider him nothing more than a demagogue. But, by drawing attention to what he says, people will wonder just what it is that he says and tune in. It's called shock value, and though it will wear thin in time, public protesting only causing the shock value he is creating to last longer.
posted by jmd82 at 9:23 AM on February 10, 2003

jmd82, you're absolutely right. As I said here, I'm sorry I brought his name up - it has diverted attention for what I wanted the post to focus on.
posted by djacobs at 9:31 AM on February 10, 2003

Hey quonsar you do web design? I have a great idea for a new website. I believe the market for eye-patch fetishes is largely untapped right now. With Sophie as our model, I don't see how we can lose.
posted by monkeyman at 9:36 AM on February 10, 2003

cool. i know where we can get lots of animated .gifs!
and like, ahoy matey! horizontal rule images that look like ships rigging. with parrots sitting on them. and a little animated guy walking the plank at one end. it'll be teh shite. we can host it on geocities! and we can NOT put our emails on there, ya know, so that people want to reply to something can't find us dude! so they'll have to clutter up our pirategirl forums with... stuff like this!
posted by quonsar at 9:56 AM on February 10, 2003

It's not speaking his mind that is so offensive... it's spewing racism. The Supreme Court actually upheld a lawsuit once where 'wetbacks' was identified as hate speech, so it's not a minor issue.

A line needs to be drawn between what is acceptable and not to be tolerated, frankly, otherwise the O'Reillys of the world will keep using slurs to get ratings, thereby inciting racism.

If I can't say the word in my place of work, what gives him the right to say the word in his, especailly when it's broadcast worldwide?
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:02 AM on February 10, 2003

Since federal law prohibits schools from banning extracurricular activities based on their political content, the way school boards prevent Gay-Straight Alliances from meeting is to shut down extracurricular activities entirely. No chess club, no science club, no 4-H, no Gay-Straight Alliance. This is what the Kentucky school system did, and it's... disheartening, not least because it apparently presumes that a high school student has no opinion or will of her own. If after-school clubs had the power to warp students' minds that Gay-Straight Alliance opponents think they do, wouldn't Bible study groups have made America's youth into wholesome, upstanding citizens by now?
posted by snarkout at 11:08 AM on February 10, 2003

"Do these people actually believe that there's a gay agenda to recruit new members, or that homosexuality is like a disease you can catch?"

Yes, and they vote republican.
posted by 2sheets at 11:13 AM on February 10, 2003

...which reminds me of one of my very favorite Onion articles ever.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:41 AM on February 10, 2003

Do these people actually believe that there's a gay agenda to recruit new members, or that homosexuality is like a disease you can catch?
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:55 PM on February 10, 2003

A quick apology for the attempted thread hijacking. I promise to never again surf Fark first and then come to Metafilter as I tend to arrive in the wrong frame of mind. I fixed my e-mail, too.

back on topic:
I think living in the south for so long has inured me to this kind of thinking. It's just not surprising that people in Kentucky would rather ban all extracurricular activities than allow an organization with a positive or even neutral view of homosexuality. Even in the relatively progressive city of Atlanta, you still have neighbors like the folks who run Cobb county (the place where they had the anti-gay ordinance passed just in time for the olympics and home of noted thinker, Newt Gingrich). Most of the deep down homophobes will never change their minds. The best that we can hope for is that they will get old and die and their views will die with them. Am I being too pessimistic or cynical?
posted by monkeyman at 1:04 PM on February 10, 2003

"Do these people actually believe that there's a gay agenda to recruit new members, or that homosexuality is like a disease you can catch?"

Yes, and they vote republican.

Some do - but before Republican bashing goes any further ... there are (IMO) two main streams of current Republican voters. The first is the "social" Republicans, composed of the Christian right and others of their ilk. To these people, social issues are almost everything. They will vote (for instance) entirely based on a candidate's view of abortion, or gay rights. The other stream is the free-market, "economic" Republicans that focus more on economic policy, and generally (in direct opposition to social Republicans) want limited government interference in any social issues. Many of these folks are more libertarian than Republican, but vote Republican for the same reason Green Party members will often vote Democratic (i.e., to vote for someone vaguely representing your views that also has a legitimate chance of winning).

I sure voted Republican - but also hired a CFO that is gay - and sure as hell give employees partner benefits, because the fact that he's gay means nothing next to the fact that he's as brilliant with numbers as anyone I've ever met, and I'll do anything to keep talented people. He could screw goats for all I care (though I probably couldn't talk BC/BS into covering the goats). Many of my Republican friends feel the same. Mexico? Hell, a good number of US companies - run by Republicans - do considerable business with Mexico, and genuinely respect Mexican people (as George Bush does, by the way).

The O'Reilly's of the world piss free-market Republicans off in the same way the people who riot and torch Starbucks' piss off mainstream Democrats protesting the WTO ... by causing reasonable, ethical, Republicans to get tarred with the extremist brush.
posted by MidasMulligan at 1:58 PM on February 10, 2003

Good points, MM.
posted by chaz at 2:00 PM on February 10, 2003

They are good points, but you are whitewashing how Republicans kowtow to these extremists. I'm sorry, but saying that the "free market" Republicans are offended as well just doesn't cut it. The Republican platform reflects the views of the fundamentalists much more deeply than the Democratic platform reflects the views of the anti-globalization crowd.
posted by monkeyman at 2:20 PM on February 10, 2003

From the article: Public schools used to do this before the Equal Access Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Reagan in 1984.

I'm not sure if it was this act, or one having to do with public broadcasting, but there was a de facto ban on any "controversial" or "subversive" material on the high school tv and radio stations, due to perceived or make-believe fear of the Equal Access Act. The reasoning was that if we say anything contrary to establishment views, we'll be forced to say something in line with extremist establishment views.

That, and the fact that you have to sue to do anything not approved of by the administration. All in all, the public schools are a model for fascism. It has made it extremely difficult for me to put a smiley face on the larger national government, and I'm almost ten years into recovery. Knowing that this Act was designed to promote Christianity doesn't help things any.

crasspastor and others:

Bill O'Reilly also called Mexicans wetbacks.

Actually, he called illegal immigrants from Mexico wetbacks. Or coyotes. I don't think he said anything about Mexicans in general. It was a show of poor taste, but the outcry is out of line.

And frankly, this story about the "wetback" free speech case scares the hell out of me. Regardless of whether you think the government has the right to repress free speech, think about this. Would you rather people just say, "Fucking Mexicans?" A list of banned words will not stop harassment. It will only result in prosecution of innocent people, like Bill O'Reilly, who say something mildly offensive with no intention to spew forth hate speech.
posted by son_of_minya at 2:22 PM on February 10, 2003

It will only result in prosecution of innocent people, like Bill O'Reilly, who say something mildly offensive with no intention to spew forth hate speech.

Where to start?

Bill O'Really innocent?

mildly offensive?
To whom? Maybe to you but certainly not to the object of his venom.

no intention to spew forth hate speech? How were you able to read O'Really's mind? That's a neat trick.

The man makes a living pissing people off and saying offensive things so you may want to rethink your position.
posted by nofundy at 5:22 AM on February 11, 2003


How were you able to read O'Reilly's mind? That's a neat trick.

If the remark was offensive to the object of his venom, so what? The 2.7 million illegal Mexican immigrants (criminals) may be offended. If they're offended, they can go back to Mexico. Note that I am not saying all Mexicans should go back to Mexico, nor am I saying black people should go back to Africa. The PC crowd has a way of spinning tall tales out of common sense outrage and turning it into hate speech.

I am not saying it wasn't an offensive comment either. Just that it's inappropriate to take it out of context and say that he was talking about all Mexicans. Bill O'Reilly may be a horribly wrong person to defend, but the issue is that he said something about illegal immigrants and people spun it to be about Mexicans in general.

IMO, the motivation behind it was to play up his "common sense, working class image," acting like an ugly caricature of himself. The man's an ego maniac, and I imagine he was a horrible teacher, if he really was a teacher. (His working class background has already been debunked.)
posted by son_of_minya at 6:04 AM on February 11, 2003

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