« Go back a post || Return to G-A-Y homepage || Haul tail to next post »


You've found us out, Pete: We want gay kids to be treated like humans

by Jeremy Hooper

We want to thank professional anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera for bringing to our attention a speech that GLSEN founder (and Department of Education appointee) Kevin Jennings made back during the Clinton years. For while Pete surely intends for the Jennings' speech to serve as a glaring example of the HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA™ at play, what we think you will glean in Kevin's words is the heartfelt wish of a reasoned and reasonable man who is driven to nip in the bud the very idea that reality and its acknowledgment could ever even be an "agenda."


(Ed. note: This is Pete's transcript, so there could be some subtly hostile changes. We can't find any record of the speech elsewhere online.)

GLSEN’s Jennings: ‘That is our mission from this day forward’

The following is a transcript of GLSEN founder and executive director Kevin Jennings’ comments before “Looking to the Future” panel at GLSEN’s Mid-Atlantic conference, held October 25, 1997 at the Grace Church School in New York City. A few incidental words and phrases have been removed for clarity:

Two years ago, one of our board members, one named Ann Simon, was called to testify before Congress when they had hearings on the promotion of homosexuality in schools. And we were busy putting out press releases, and saying, ‘We’re not promoting homosexuality, that’s not what our program’s about. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And my best friend, who’s a straight women who lives in London, e-mailed me…and she said, ‘So what if you are?’ And I thought of how I can get so wrapped up in my own defensiveness, and…the day-to-day struggle, and stuff, that being finished might some day mean that most straight people, when they would hear that someone was promoting homosexuality, would say ‘Yeah, who cares?’ because they wouldn’t necessarily equate homosexuality with something bad that you would not want to promote. And when we were talking there, and Mike said, ‘You know, and I’d like five years from now—right now let’s face it, for large swells of people they think of GLSEN and kids, and they think, ‘GLSEN is bad for kids.’ They do because of their stereotypes and misinformation—I’d like five years from now for most Americans when they hear the word GLSEN to think, ‘Ooh, that’s good for kids.’’

I’d like you to step back for a second if you can, and I know that many of you here are going to return to meetings on Monday where the euphoria of today will dissipate quite quickly…But if you could just close your eyes for a second. I know this is very Californian. Close your eyes for a second and think, ‘What would the world look like if we were through with our work? If we were done. If we could close the doors on 27th street [GLSEN’s New York City headquarters], and shut down the chapters, and disband the board. What would be happening?’… [Audience responses]

…As the son of a Baptist preacher from North Carolina…I can remember a time when having a conference like this, for me, certainly as a teenager, seemed completely impossible. And I would see in certain people’s faces when people would say certain things, or this visioning part, and we’d get little snickers, like, ‘Yeah, [bulls–t].’ This is the only thing that can stop us, is if we believe that our dreams cannot come true.

One of the people that’s always inspired me is Harry Hay, who started the first ongoing gay rights groups in America. In 1948, he tried to get people to join the Mattachine Society [the first American homosexual “rights” group]. It took him two years to find one other person who would join. Well, [in] 1993, Harry Hay marched with a million people in Washington, who thought he had a good idea 40 years before. Everybody thought Harry Hay was crazy in 1948, and they knew something about him which he apparently did not—they were right, he was crazy. You are all crazy. We are all crazy. All of us who are thinking this way are crazy, because you know what? Sane people keep the world the same [sh*tty] old way it is now. It’s the people who think, ‘No, I can envision a day when straight people say, ‘So what if you’re promoting homosexuality?’ Or straight kids say, ‘Hey, why don’t you and your boyfriend come over before you go to the prom and try on your tuxes on at my house?’ That if we believe that can happen, we can make it happen. The only thing that will stop us is our lack of faith that we can make it happen. That is our mission from this day forward. To not lose our faith, to not lose our belief that the world can, indeed, be a different place. And think how much can change in one lifetime if in Harry Hay’s one very short life, he saw change from not even one person willing to join him to a million people willing to travel to Washington to join him. You can see the same changed happen in your lifetime if you believe you can.’’
Kevin Jennings 1997 Transcript: ‘Promoting Homosexuality’ in Schools; GLSEN ‘Good for Kids’ [AFT]

Be sure to keep an eye out from Pete's future reports, wherein he'll blow the lid off the fact that gay people detest the word "f*g."

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper

Your thoughts

By the way, Jeremy, did you invite Peter to your wedding? But I doubt that he would attend anyway, since your wedding probably will not have a leather theme.

Posted by: Richard Rush | Jun 11, 2009 1:33:53 PM

What I always have to remind myself of when reading this type of story is that our opposition actually believes we recruit. They truly believe that simple attendance at a GLSEN group function can change someone from straight to gay. They do not believe that kid is already gay and the GLSEN function simply helps them accept themselves...no, the function serves only to recruit and change kids from straight to gay. Although I don't agree with his conclusion, through his lens I can understand he he got to his conclusion. Until we figure out a way to get past the core misconceptions, the propaganda against us will continue. All propaganda throughout history simply accentuates the public's misconceptions.

Posted by: Ken | Jun 11, 2009 1:34:15 PM

Apparently, Kev's lightin' up the bigot brigade wires today, this from the (Mormon) Digital Network Army's "Beetle Blogger":


Posted by: Chino Blanco | Jun 11, 2009 4:00:47 PM

A few incidental words and phrases have been removed for clarity

Does this mean that Pete removed a few incidental words and phrases? If so, I have a feeling that clarity for Pete means to make the speech match Pete's agenda.

Posted by: Owen | Jun 11, 2009 4:40:38 PM

That is our mission from this day forward: To not lose our faith, to not lose our belief that the world can, indeed, be a different place.

An admirable mission for anyone who wants to make a better, fairer, more decent, safer world.

Posted by: Timothy Kincaid | Jun 11, 2009 4:44:39 PM

They are going on full scale attack on Jennings. It's really funny on one level because they keep switching reasons as to why he needs to be removed.

Posted by: a. mcewen | Jun 11, 2009 6:32:11 PM

comments powered by Disqus

G-A-Y Comments Policy

Related Posts with Thumbnails