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12/04/2009

They put us in bed w/ Satan and call it moral. Play puts guy in bed w/ Santa and they call it, well...

by Jeremy Hooper

Hey, Focus on the Family: It's one thing for you to get all huffy about folks who want to take the first syllable out of Christmas. But you do not hold ownership to reindeer, eggnog, or the jolly fat guy myth:

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is sponsoring a benefit performance of the off-Broadway comedy "Santa Claus is Coming Out" next week. The play has the beloved icon falling in love with Italian toymaker Geppetto.

GLSEN says its mission is to protect kids, but family advocates are asking if that goal is undermined by sexualizing Santa.

"What this really reveals is GLSEN's dark side," said Focus on the Family Action Education Analyst Candi Cushman. "GLSEN wants to have it both ways. They want to position themselves as this mainstream group in public schools that parents should trust, but then on the other hand they're doing things like this."
KEEP READING: Gay Activists Denigrate Santa [FOF]

How rude to Geppetto. Santa is a "beloved icon," yet G'dog is a mere "toymaker"? Clearly FOF is denigrating Pinocchio's God!!

But as for the play itself: Well it's no wonder that Focusers are throwing stones at West 42nd St from the cozy confines of their Colorado Springs homes. The whole thing is designed not to "denigrate" Santa -- it's meant to take the ever-loving piss out of the ridiculous "culture wars" on which James Dobson and company have built their own gay-denigrating manger:

According to the producers, "Developed at Penguin Rep Theatre, Santa Claus Is Coming Out, a theatrical Santaclauscomingout200-1mock-u-mentary, is about the worldwide scandal surrounding the outing of Santa Claus. Writer-performer Jeffrey Solomon traces the intensely personal struggle of the great holiday icon, as he tries to reconcile his love relationship with Italian toy maker Giovanni Geppetto with his passion for giving to the world's children."

Santa Claus Is Coming Out features such characters as Sidney Green, the "little Jew who saved Christmas"; nine year-old Gary, who asks Santa for a Sparkle Dream Princess doll; Mary Ellen, who evokes a 21st century Anita Bryant; Rudolph, elves, and many others.

Solomon said in a statement, "The show plays out against the backdrop of the latest salvo in America's Culture Wars: the debate on providing gay role models to children. It was inspired by my research into the parents’ rights movement to keep gay issues out of the classroom."

Santa Claus Is Coming Out Opens in NYC Dec. 3 [GLSEN]

FOF can call this "GLSEN's dark side" all they want. Here in NYC, we call it art. We call it satire. We call it a response to the constant hijacking of religion that plagues this nation. And most likely: We'll call it pretty damn funny! Get your GLSEN benefit tickets now: GLSEN Fundraiser in NYC: Santa Claus Is Coming Out! (Dec. 8, 6PM) [GLSEN Blog]

***UPDATE: Playwright Jeffery Solomon responds: Responding to FOCUS on the FAMILY Anti-Gay Santa RANT!!!!!! [Feast of Fun]

**UPDATE2: Guess FOF is gonna have to gun for Sean Chapin too:

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Your thoughts

I guess that this is of particular importance to FOF given that they (and their cadre of other lying liars) look to Pinocchio as something of a "patron saint" for their rabidly truth challenged marionettes and puppeteers.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Dec 4, 2009 9:52:03 AM

Just another day in the "Christians are victims" script mill.

Posted by: DN | Dec 4, 2009 10:01:50 AM

I always thought Geppetto was a dirty old man... always wishing his wooded boy was real... I wonder if Pinoccio was atomically correct? If Pinoccio's nose grew when he told a lie... what happened when he told the truth?

Posted by: jerry Pritikin | Dec 4, 2009 11:18:22 AM

Responding to FOCUS ON THE FAMILY anti-gay Santa RANT!

This is playwright Jeffrey Solomon, writer and performer of "Santa Claus is Coming Out" the play that was attacked by Focus on the Family Action Education Analyst Candi Cushman on her blog
December 3rd:

http://citizenlinkblog.com/drivethru/2009/12/glsen-fundraiser-sexualizes-santa-claus/

I must strongly take issue with some misinformation, distortions, half truths and outright lies being disseminated in Ms. Cushman's blog about my play.

I will address the charges and accusations in the order in which they appeared.

"Pictures on a Web site promoting the production depict Santa in not-so-subtle sexually suggestive situations."

This is just not true. We have not marketed this play with sex. The play is not about sex. The play simply asks
a hypothetical question. "How would the world react, if Mrs. Claus were revealed to be a beard, and that Santa Claus was actually a gay man?"

The image i believe Ms. Cushman is referring to (see santaclausiscomingout.com) is of me, a grown man, sitting on Santa's lap in a way that would suggest I am a boyfriend or spouse. We are reading a newspaper heralding the news of Santa Claus being outed to the world.

It is NOT a sexual image, anymore than Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus holding hands is a sexual image, or the Little Mermaid kissing her beloved Prince Eric is sexual.

I reject that classification categorically.

The very mention or the image of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people is not automatically sexual, unless you are viewing them with sex-tinted glasses.

"The play also mocks those who support traditional values."

WRONG. There are many heterosexual characters in the play who live by traditional values, including: 1. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, a solid family man/deer, all grown up and married to Clarise with
a happy nuclear family of fawns. 2. Pete, the Elf Foreman, Santa's right hand man and solid family man/elf.
3. Anne and Frank Gray, the loving parents of a seven year old boy from Wisconsin, whose gender atypical gift request to Santa Claus has them worried their son may be a little "non-traditional."

All of these characters are treated with dignity and love in the play.

"....perverts the innocence of Christmas and sexualizes the longtime, child-revered icon of Santa Claus."

Santa Claus does not just belong to Christians, or even to Christmas. He is a global icon. I am a reformed Jew but my parents permitted me the Santa Claus myth as a child because i was so thrilled by his magic. My Dad even hired a SantaClaus to come visit me one holiday season bearing Hanukkah gifts and i was dazzled with wonder, until i looked out my bedroom window and saw him drive away in his V.W. bug. Let me assure you
that the innocence and magic of Santa Claus remains very much intact in this play, and is not perverted in any way. I love Santa Claus!

Finally, let me address Ms. Cushman's central charge:
"Clearly homosexual activists like Solomon have no qualms about using shock tactics to expose children to homosexuality."

The Play IS NOT INTENDED FOR CHILDREN. However, I must take issue with the use of the word
"expose" as if encountering gay people is the same thing as coming into contact with the N1H1 virus.

The tactics Ms. Cushman refers to here have to do with some marketing ploys i used to sell tickets to adults to the play in Provincetown, Massachusetts one summer. She quotes from an interview I did here with theatrescene.net:
"I was dressed as Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and I had a sign saying ‘Rudolph Supports Sexual Diversity.’ And the owner of the pharmacy on Commercial Street came out [shouting]. ‘I’ve got kids inside. Get out of here. They’re asking questions!"
I should explain, that in the play, Rudolph is the first person...er, creature Santa comes out to, by dint of his sensitivity to difference, and what i was trying to point out in that interview, maybe not so articulately, was the level of fear and anger from this woman and others that summer that was touched off by having to explain a gay santa claus to children, and how ironic it was that their reactions were similar to the world's hysteria following Santa's coming out in my play.
Incidentally, supporting sexual diversity in the animal kingdom is not such a big deal. Reindeer, and other creatures, don't have a big hang up about it. Check the science. Sometimes male penguins love other male penguins and try to raise children together (though usually they are rocks). And sometimes lady seagulls mate for life. And sometimes Rams hump each other.
But on a much more serious note, My intention as a playwright was never to destroy Christmas for children like the gay Grinch, or to "expose children to homosexuality," rather it was to ask adults, "Why is it still taboo to be open and honest with young children, about the existence of gay people?"
If you don't believe that is true, notice the dearth of gay characters on children's television.The child who may grow up to be gay, has no reflection of himself. There is no happily ever after in sight during his or her formative years. I was one of those children, and i can tell you that the fact that subject was unmentionable and invisible when i was a child caused me a lot of unnecessary pain and shame.
I have created in the play, the Santa Claus I needed. The one I wish I had known. There is nothing sexual about that.

Posted by: SantaClausIsComingOut | Dec 5, 2009 12:47:56 AM

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