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10/13/2009

Ms. Cushman seems nice. Too bad her agenda is menacingly negligent

by Jeremy Hooper

Candi Cushman's sole job is to convince the American public that long overdue non-harassment of LGBT public school students constitutes a "radical agenda." A sort of unsafe schools czar, if you will. And here's how she earned her paycheck this week:

Ya know, if there was a demonstrated rash of evangelical kids being viciously harassed for being who they are, we'd be the first to do all we can to stop it. If children had been murdered/taken their own lives in the past year because of fear of being evangelical, we'd demand action. And if we all had grown up in a public school world where "smear the queer" were replaced with "besmirch the church," we'd make our own videos seeking and end to the madness.

But this is not the case. LGBT kids have been so demonstrably harassed in America's public schools, that the image of the taunted "sissy" kid is as much of a relatable cliché as the popular blonde cheerleader, the letterman jacket-adorned football star, and the school lunch that resembles regurgitated dog excrement more than it does food. Folks like Candi Cushman are working overtime to reframe this issue, in hopes that the public's own discomfort for LGBT people (much of it learned at the school level) will outshine their willingness to look at this scourge for what it so truly, obviously is. Like the substance that shares her name, Ms. Cushman's rhetoric will inevitably grow stale.

**In a related note: This writer was at an event last night, seated just a few down from Mr. Jennings. Oddly, he managed to make it the entire three hours without siphoning the blood of even one nearby child. After all we've heard from the far-right, I'd assumed this to be how he sustains himself.

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