Conservatives Rally Against Teacher at Plymouth Junior High School

Plymouth, IN-A first year teacher at Lincoln Junior High School is under fire from conservatives for teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in her 8th grade health class. The lesson,“LGBTQ: Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities” was supposed to be one on tolerance and acceptance of others and the material is on the list of national standards for 8th graders according to Plymouth Community Schools Superintendent, Daniel Tyree.

Superintendent Tyree went on to add that, “ With the attention that the past two presidents and our governor over the last two years has given to harassment and bullying over sexual orientation and gender identity, students hear the news. By ignoring the topics in schools, we would be doing our students a disservice.” Monica Boyer, President of the Indiana Liberty Coalition disagrees, “It goes way beyond education, it’s actually indoctrination telling student not only they have to accept a lifestyle they have to celebrate it and embrace it.”

The Superintendent indicated that he has received e-mails from ‘concerned’ parents but no complaints from parents directly. “The ones I received on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning were in support of teacher and the principal.” Most of the complaints are coming from conservatives on social media. One user of the Marshall County Conservatives Facebook page had this to say, “I’m so happy that I home school and I can choose what I believe is appropriate for my child to learn.”

The lesson plan consisted of a video and some questions that students answer while watching. Some of the questions that drew outrage were,“What is an LGBTQ ally? What is gender identity? What are the two things you can do to show support for the LGBTQ community? Conservative columnist Todd Starnes accused the teacher of attempting to indoctrinate the students, “Kudos to the Indiana Liberty Coalition for exposing this nefarious scheme.” Then Mr. Starnes went on to ‘plug’ his book “The Deplorables’ guide to Making America Great Again.” Whether Mr. Starnes actually cares about children’s education or if he is only trying to sell his book remains to be scene.

Superintendent Tyree claims that the situation has been blown out of proportion and that the teacher in question did not follow board policy regarding how to address a controversial topic. It is unknown whether the teacher will be disciplined as it is a personnel issue and will not be discussed.

 

LGBT Community Centers Vandalized Across the Nation

Jewish and other marginalized communities have been experiencing an upswing in vandalism in recent months and LGBT communities all over the nation have been no exception.

On March 6, 2017, The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma was vandalized.  Surveillance video shows a white SUV approach the building around 12:30 a.m. A pellet gun was unloaded into the front to the building severely damaging the entrance, with other businesses nearby suffering minimal damage.

The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center has a 38 year history in Oklahoma and has not reported act of violence or vandalism at its current location in the last twelve years. Toby Jenkins, executive director of the center believes that this is not random act of violence.

Jenkins had this to say, “We’ve been here 38 years and we are very used to dealing with a culture that is not tolerant accepting, or supporting. You also have to ask yourself why did this happen after 12 years? What’s going on in our culture? What’s being said out of the White House? What is happening all over the country where we are targeting individuals and marginalized populations were people feel like it’s all right to drive by and shoot up the Equality Center?”

In Orlando, Florida the window of Orlando Equality was smashed were the agency logo and the ‘Equal Sign’ that symbolizes equal rights for the LGBT community was depicted. The deputy development director Michael Farmer expressed hope that the vandalism was not motivated by anti-LGBT bias. On June 12, 2016, The City of Orlando experienced the worst terrorist attack in U. S. history when Omar Mateen killed 49 people at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub.

Reports of vandalism to LGBT community centers in the last month have also came out of Los Angles and New Jersey. New Jersey senator Cory Booker (D) spoke out against the attack, “I condemn acts of hate against all communities, whether Jewish, Muslim or LGBT, in the strongest possible terms.”

How long the increase in vandalism will go on remains to be seen, but as it stands now there seems to be no end in sight.

 

 

Hate Crimes Legislation Dead Again

(Indianapolis) The hate crimes bill proposed by State Senator Sue Glick (R) of La Grange, IN. has died at the Statehouse. State Senator Mike Delph(R) of Carmel, IN proposed so many amendments to the bill it would have rendered it virtually ineffective.  The lawmakers that are against hate crime legislation claim that it protects and creates a special class of citizen.

State Senator Sue Glick (R) La Grange

Hate crimes legislation allow tougher sentences for crimes commented against people based on their sexual orientation,  gender identity, gender, race or religion. This is not the first time legislation like that has not made it past the Statehouse.

With hate crimes on the rise and a Jewish Community Center in Indianapolis that recently received a bomb threat, Indiana still remains one of five states that does not have hate crime legislation on the books.

State Sen. Mike Delph (R) Carmel

President Trump Rolls Back Protections for Transgender Students

Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions

WASHINGTON-In a move that surprises almost no one the Trump adminastration rolled back former President Obama’s executive orders allowing transgender students to use the restroom or locker room that coincides with their gender identity. A statement from the White House released today reaffirms the administrations policy on the issue, “As President Trump has clearly stated, he believes policy regarding transgender bathrooms should be decided at the state level. The joint decision made today by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education returning power to the states paves the way for an open and inclusive process to take place at the local level with input from parents, students, teachers and administrators.” Last April when on the campaign trail President Trump made his feelings clear on the issue of transgender rights by supporting an individuals right to “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” 

To resend former President Obama’s executive orders both the Justice Department and the Department of Education had to agree and work together, which pitted Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions ideologies against each other. Secretary DeVos has been a quiet supporter of LGBT rights issues for years. Ms. DeVos went ‘against the grain’ of her conservative rich and influential family in support of LGBT rights. The families of Ms. DeVos and her husband have donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups such as Focus on the Family. Attorney General Sessions has strong record of opposing not only LGBT rights but voters rights and immigration rights. When secretary DeVos would not endorse the rolling back of the executive orders President Trump was brought in as a ‘tie breaker’ of sorts ordering DeVos to comply. Ms. DeVos released a statement saying it’s a “moral obligation for every school in America to protect all students from discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

The move outraged and saddened LGBT rights advocates both on a national and local levels. Meghan Buell, from South Bend, IN and the founder of the Transgender Resource, Education & Enrichment Services, (TREES Inc.) said in a statement to The Beacon, “Schools can only be effective agents of learning when all students feel safe and included. Rescinding this order leaves schools without clear direction thus leaving open the opportunity for disparities. This could lead to an increase in alienation, bullying and harassment of the trans and gender non-binary students. I fear we may see an uptick in lives lost due to this reversal. This scares and saddens me.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council applauds the President’s decision, “President Trump is keeping the shredders busy with his predecessor’s radical policies and orders.”

President Trump is the only Republican President to give at the very least a minicam of support to the LGBT Community by waving the Gay Pride Flag on the campaign trail but has gone on record saying that he believes in traditional marriage, yet feels the issue is settled law. More and more counties, cities and towns not only in Indiana but over the nation are enacting local ordinances to protect their LGBT citizens. With the rollback of Mr. Obama’s executive orders protecting transgendered students gay rights activists are hoping that those local ordinances will be enough.

 

MILO Promises This Is Not The End

Britbart Tech Editor, and self described internet “supervillain” Milo Yiannopoulos has resigned from conservative publication Breitbart News amid a storm of conservatory surrounding his comments on the Joe Rogan podcast Drunken Peasants. In the recently unearthed video Yiannopoulos states that “In the homosexual world particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men are sort of coming-of

Former Breitbart News Editor Milo Yiannopoulos

age relationships.” Critics of Yiannopoulos claim that the statement condones pedophilia. Yiannopoulos attempted to clarify his statement by saying that he used “imprecise language” and that he finds pedophilia a “Vile and disgusting crime.”

Fall out has came quickly to the openly gay Yiannopoulos. In the last 24 hours Simon and Schuster is now refusing to publish his book, Dangerous which was due to be released in June, and the invitation to be the key note speaker at the Conservative Action Conference the convention for ultra conservatives was rescinded.

During a press conference in New York today Yianopoulos disclosed that he is a victim of sexual abuse and was abused between the ages of 13 and 16 by two men one of whom was a priest. In a prepared statement Yiannopoulos indicated he felt that he had carte blanche to talk about sexual abuse in anyway he pleased. “My experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to on this subject, no matter how outrageous. But I understand that my usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humor might have come across as flippancy, a lack of care for other victims or, worse ‘advocacy.’ I am horrified by that impression.”

Yiannopoulos went on to take full responsibility for his statement, but at the same time accusing the mainstream press and political opportunists of trying to ruin his career, “But let’s be clear what is happening here. This is a cynical media witch hunt from people who don’t care about children. They care about destroying me and my career, and by extension my allies. These videos have been out there for more than a year. The media held this story back because they don’t care about victims, they only care about bringing me down. They will fail.”

At the end of it all Milo Yiannopoulos promised that another publisher would release his book later this year with 10 per cent of the royalties going to child sex abuse charities and he would be starting his own independently funded media company which he would use to champion free speech and focus on entertaining and educating.

Does Mike Pence Only Care About HIV When the World is Looking?

Vice President Mike Pence & Bono at the Munich Security Conference

On Saturday U2 front man, Bono met with Vice-President Mike Pence, at the Munich Security Conference, to thank him for his efforts in 2008, when Pence was an Indiana Congressman, for supporting then President George W. Bush’s attempt in supporting AIDS relief in Africa. “Twice on the House floor you defended that. That’s how we know you,” said the pop star.

What is not clear from the meeting is if Bono knows that Vice-President Mike Pence efforts to prevent HIV infection back home in Indiana have not been so praise worthy. In 2013, then Governor Pence defunded Planned Parenthood in Scott County which was the only place the 24,000 Hoosiers that live there could get an HIV test. This led to 190 new HIV cases, the worst is state history.

HIV was spreading at an alarming rate due to intravenous drug use and the only way to curtail an epidemic was a needle exchange program, something that Governor Pence was morally opposed to. The first cases of HIV started showing up in January of 2015. Governor Pence waited until April of that same year to finally approve a temporary needle exchange program. In that time Scott County was experiencing approximately 20 new cases of HIV a week.

Is Betsy DeVos the Right Choice for the Nations LGBT Students?

Newly confirmed Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

Betsy DeVos was sworn in today as Secretary of Education in a highly contentious confirmation process that split the United States Senate 50/50 down party lines with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote. DeVos, who has zero experience in education or administration and whose family has given millions of dollars to the Republican Party, was called by the editor of the Detroit Free Press, Stephen Henderson, “…a lobbyist-someone who has used her extraordinary wealth to influence the conversation about education reform, and to bend that conversation to her ideological convictions despite the dearth of evidence supporting them.”Fury 2014 movie streaming

The controversy surrounding DeVos does not stop at her lack of experience, but how her leadership of the U. S. Department of Education will affect the thousands of LGBT students across the county. As a religious conservative DeVos’ family has given thousands of dollars in donations to anti-gay organizations such as Focus on the Family, a group that still supports the wildly denounced practice of conversion therapy for gays. A practice that former Indiana governor and now Vice-President of the United States, Mike Pence still supports. DeVos’ father, Edger Price even donated thousand of dollars to help found the anti-gay Family Research Council. Wanting to focus on education and charter schools it has not been reported that DeVos or her husband Richard have made donations to any anti-LGBT religious organizations, just the DeVos family in general. At one time DeVos called on Dave Agema, a Republican from Michigan, to step down from the Republican National Committee because of disparaging comments made about the LGBT community.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign expressed his concerns in a statement saying, “The DeVos family has a long, well-documented history of funding organizations dedicated to undermining and restricting the rights of LGBTQ people.” Stephanie White, the executive director of Equality Michigan, DeVos’ home state, believes that Ms. DeVos’ view on LGBT issues has “evolved,” noting, “she’s shown a capacity to grow in her understanding of LGBT issues.”

Voting to confirm DeVos was Indiana Senator Todd Young (R), who has received approximately $48,000 in campaign contributions from the DeVos family last year. In a statement to NUVO, Indianapolis’ alternative newspaper, Senator Young stated, “I voted for Betsy DeVos because she has devoted her life to the field of education. She has an unwavering belief that parents should be in charge of making choices about their child’s education. I look forward to working with Ms. DeVos following her swearing in as Secretary of Education.”

There is no telling which way the new Secretary of Education will handle sensitive subjects such as transgender bathroom or locker room rights, and with a stroke of her pen she could rescind all of President Obama’s executive orders for transgender students. One thing is for sure, the controversy surrounding Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the other picks President Trump choose for his Cabinet is sure to continue.

 

 

South Bend, Ind. mayor says ‘coming out matters’

South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg. Photo: WNDU.

It is home to the most storied American Catholic institution—the University of Notre Dame. It is the fourth largest city in Indiana. It now also has one of the few out gay mayors in America’s middle and large-sized cities, now that he’s come out.

South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg, 33, decided to make a point that coming out matters. He did so in an essay published by the South Bend Tribune newspaper.

The revelation comes in the wake of Indiana legislating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

In the law’s original form, it would have allowed businesses to deny service to certain persons based on their particular religious values. It was seen as targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

“Experiences with friends or family members coming out have helped millions of Americans to see past stereotypes and better understand what being gay is and is not,” Buttigieg wrote. “For most of our history, most Americans had no idea how many people they knew and cared about were gay.”

Buttigieg wanted to keep his private life private. But the first term mayor expressed that this was an opportunity to set a positive example for LGBT youth, and to an older generation not used to contemporary social norms.

“Putting something this personal on the pages of a newspaper does not come easy. We Midwesterners are instinctively private to begin with, and I’m not used to viewing this as anyone else’s business. But it’s clear to me that at a moment like this, being more open about it could do some good,” the mayor wrote.

“For a local student struggling with her sexuality, it might be helpful for an openly gay mayor to send the message that her community will always have a place for her. And for a conservative resident form a different generation, whose unease with social change is partly rooted in the impression that he doesn’t know anyone gay, perhaps a familiar face can be a reminder that we’re all in this together as a community.”

The young mayor is not new to national attention.

The Washington Post newspaper described Buttigieg as “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of.”

Local government innovation organization GovFresh.com named Buttigieg its 2013 Mayor of the Year.

As a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Buttigieg was called to active duty last year from Feb. 28 to Sept. 30. He was sent to Afghanistan—refusing his city salary during his service.

Buttigieg explained that being gay is “a fact of life, like having brown hair.” He said it is “part of who I am.”

To that end, Buttigieg was driven to pass an equal rights amendment for South Bend within 100 days in office.

Heling to get the amendment passes was Richard Sutton, then-president of Indiana Equality.

“He was a leader. It won 6-3,” Sutton said. “He had to fight Notre Dame, where his father taught, and the Catholic bishop. But his calm resolve carried the day.”

Buttgieg is optimistic for LGBT Hoosiers as more cities are expected to follow suit with local non-discrimination ordinances.

“We’re moving closer to a world in which acceptance is the norm. This kind of social change considered old news in some parts of the country, is still often divisive around here,” he said. “But it doesn’t have to be. We’re all finding our way forward, and things will go better if we can manage to do it together.”

Freedom Indiana, currently campaigning for such ordinances, spoke to Chicago Star-Bulletin.

“Mayor Buttigieg has been a strong voice for equality, and it says a lot that we live in a state where Hoosiers feel comfortable and supported being who they are,” the group said.

Holocaust Remembrance Day, Try and Remember Not Let it Happen Again.

For those of you who do not know, today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.
What is there to say? Millions of Jews, men, women, and children died in   the holocaust, but it goes beyond that.

Gay prisoners in concentration camps are made to wear the ‘pink triangle’ so that they are identified as gay. A symbol that the gay community owns now and that’s still in use today as a symbol of freedom and remembrance.

Sharing their fate were homosexuals, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anyone who was different. Millions of innocent people who had done nothing wrong except be themselves were murdered. There are just no words and my words will fall short of conveying the scope and the pain of what happened to these people, these families, these friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers….children.

                                                                                                                                     A lot of people are scared that under the current administration we are heading down the same path. It is not an over exaggeration, people are scared and they have good reason to be. Since the election hate crimes are on the rise. We have an administration that would rather give the people of this country ‘alternative facts’ and cut off a government agency’s communication to the people that they are suppose to be serving. We have an administration that is rallying against the free press and is playing ‘slight of hand’ with the truth. Then there is Russia. Russia with a leader so homophobic that you can’t even so much as have a rainbow bumper sticker, because if you do you might be arrested for spreading ‘homosexual propaganda.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin is not a friend to the LGBT Community and he has literally made people ‘disappear’ for criticizing his polices. With unsubstantiated rumors that the Russian Government interfered somehow with the election and the fact that there may indeed be a some information that can be used to blackmail the President of the United States of America, one would think that at this time our nation should keep a respectful distance from Russia until we can sort things out. No, not this administration, both Trump and Putin are supposed to speak over the phone any day now.

Children of the Holocaust

I digress, this was not supposed to be about the political climate of the 21st Century. This was supposed to be about the millions of people who were murdered, NOT died, murdered in the Holocaust. These ‘different’ human beings were murdered, tortured, and some were put through horrific experiments. They were taken from their homes, some in the middle of the night but, most disturbingly in broad daylight. With their ‘friends’ and neighbors, neighbors that Jewish families lived next door to for generations, neighbors that did not lift a finger to help them as German Soldiers shot them and they fell into mass graves one body on top of another, again in broad daylight. No one spoke up. Let that sink in.

Believe it or not Berlin had a thriving gay community in the 1930’s. When Hitler came to power that came to an end. Hitler had to blame someone for the sorry economic state Germany was in and it behooved him to blame the Jews, the gays, or anyone else that was not in the theological Christian norm. It behooved Hitler to view their differences not at diverse or as different people bringing the best of themselves to the table, but to use those very differences as a spring board to hate. He spread hate, misunderstanding and ‘alternative facts’ to achieve a climb to power that the world wold not see again until November 8, 2016. Hitler’s appeal to the disenfranchised common man was a strong and powerful tool, a tool he used to his full advantage. I mean if you think about it, Hitler was so popular that he could shot someone in the middle of Time Square and get away with it. All of this sounds so familiar, I was not alive in the 1930’s when Hitler came to power, yet I’m having the weirdest sense of de’ja’ vu.
 
Do I think that the Holocaust could happen again? Absolutely I do. Yet we have something the people did not have back then, we have better windows into the past. We can look at films, interviews with survivors, and by acknowledging the past we can make sure it does not happen again. Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it, that’s a cliche’ I know, but it’s a true cliche’. We also have the internet, a way of communicating with each other and to the world. From our smart phones we can go ‘live’ and share things like the women’s march on Washington. People who actually work for the government can create new tweeter accounts and Facebook pages to let the public know what’s happening when the President orders a ‘media blackout’ of those agencies. We can hold a corrupt government accountable in real time. We can do all of these things, well until Donald J. Trump turns off the internet.
 
To the families, the men, women, and children who died scared and alone in the Holocaust,  you are not forgotten, may your memories be a blessing.
 
And that my friends is my view from the other side of the Lake today, January 27th, 2017.

Has HOPE Left the Building?

Donald Trump’s election has literately torn families apart in a way that hasn’t been seen since the Civil War. Maybe that’s a little extreme, but I certainly have never seen anything like this in my lifetime.
 
My family is no different. My younger brothers support Trump. My mom, my daughter, my husband and I disagree with them on a very fundamental level. There is no easy fix for this, it’s not something I can ‘just get over’ or even forgive, at least not now and maybe not ever. It goes beyond simple politics, it hits at the root of racism, misogyny, gullibility, and common sense. I love my family I especially love my bothers and I have always supported them, they have never done anything to ever make me ashamed or be disappointed in them, until now. Their support of a reality TV star, who is proud of the fact that he feels he can do whatever he wants to women because he is successful not only leaves me disillusioned with my brothers, but with half of this country. I accused one of my brothers of loving his addiction to ‘White Privilege.’ His response was “if working hard to raise a child and paying my bills is white privilege than yes I have white privilege.” After that statement, I simply asked him, “When was the last time you were pulled over for driving while Caucasian?”
 

As a typical Trump supporter he did not ‘get it’ nor will he ever because he and a lot of other Trump supporters, or should I say insecure white guys. Insecure white guys who want to go back in time and live in a world that never really existed. The idyllic world of post World War II 1950s where woman were women and men were men and there was not a person of color in sight and no one had ever heard of a same sex couple. They want a world where Bruce Jenner is still Bruce Jenner, where he’s on the cover of the Wheaties box and pees in the men’s room. They want a world that if a President of the United States visits Japan he would shake hands with Japanese Prime-minister. As is Japanese custom the Prime-minister would bow to a visiting dignitary. President Obama in showing respect to that countries people and culture while visiting Japan bowed to the Prime-minister. Angry white guys didn’t like that, “American’s bow to no one, especially the President!” 

PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 11: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump spoke about illegal immigration and other topics in front of an estimated crowd of 4,200. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)

There is such a thing as ‘healthy fear’ and ‘healthy shame’. Healthy fear protects us and others from engaging in behavior that doesn’t get us or others hurt or killed. Healthy shame keeps us out of jail. You can find both of these qualities in leaders. Mind you I said leaders, NOT bosses. All leaders are bosses but not all bosses are leaders and right now Donald J. Trump is going to be sworn in NOT as America’s 45th President, but as America’s boss and anyone who does not follow the employee hand book is going to be written up, written off, and fired.

Donald Trump has never had to fear anything or feel ashamed of his behavior. I do not think that at his core he is able to feel or understand those concepts. That does not make him a strong leader, that makes him a dangerous leader. When leaders have no fear, shame, humility, and no conscience, people die. Real leaders set examples and earn respect. Bosses give orders and expect unquestioning blind obedience.

I want to believe President Obama with all of my heart when he said at his final press conference, that he believes we will all be okay. ‘It will be okay.’ That sounds suspiciously like something your Dad would say if you had to go to the hospital for surgery as a kid. You KNEW deep down it would be okay, but you also knew that recovery was going to hurt like hell.
 
Eight years ago at this time I felt hope. Eight years later hope has left the building, it left the building  when intolerance and uncertainty showed up.
One of the last things my brother told me was that I was ‘everything that was wrong with this country.’ I’ll own that, and I’ll wear it on my sleeve like I do my heart and my attitude. In the mean time an ‘Amber Alert’ has been issued for ‘HOPE.’ I don’t think it will be missing for long, just long enough for us to miss it. 
And that my friends is my view from the other side of the lake.