August 21, 2008

It’s okay if you’re a homophobe… ?

Posted in Children and adolescents, Civil rights, GLBT issues at 10:23 am by The Lizard Queen

(Title is a variation on the classic IOKIYAR: it’s okay if you’re a Republican.)

Via Pam’s House Blend I came across this MSNBC article that discusses some of the fallout from the homophobic actions of David Davis, erstwhile Principal of Ponce de Leon High School, and the ensuing ACLU lawsuit. In the article I found an interesting contrast. First, the incident that got the ball rolling:

When a high school senior told her principal that students were taunting her for being a lesbian, he told her homosexuality is wrong, outed her to her parents and ordered her to stay away from children.

Because all gay people have designs on children. Um, not. (Where does this idea that gay=pedophile even come from? Isn’t it safe to assume that the average straight person doesn’t lust after children of the opposite sex? Why, then, do so many people assume that the average gay person lusts after children of the same sex? Or, I guess, children in general. I know, I know, it’s bigotry, it’s illogical by its very nature — but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t piss me the fuck off.)

After that initial incident, other students spoke and acted out in support of the original student, and Davis took it upon himself to crack down on them, because, you know, “a student with a rainbow flag on his or her notebook may be an indication that the particular student is in a ‘secret/illegal organization.'” Or something. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak stated that Davis “went so far as to lift the shirts of female students to insure the letters ‘GP’ or the words ‘Gay Pride’ were not written on their bodies.”

Hold up, now. These are high school students, so the majority of them are minors, right? Children, technically? And those who are 18 or over, did they consent to having their shirts lifted? As a general rule, a teacher or administrator lifting a student’s shirt is a pretty big no-no, isn’t it?

But he was on a quest, so that makes it okay, apparently. Under other circumstances, Davis would have had the book thrown at him, but in this case, “Davis was demoted, and school employees must now go through sensitivity training.”

So, in short, if you’re gay, you should stay away from children, but if you’re straight, you can go around lifting up girls’ shirts and get away with just a demotion. FanTAStic.


1 Comment »

  1. DavidD said,

    I notice from the MSNBC article that the ACLU did indeed win the lawsuit. Otherwise there wouldn’t even have been the demotion and sensitivity training. It’s not like the court can order troops into Florida to keep anyone’s civil rights from being violated again. The Constitution is only one element in protecting civil rights. People still have to sue, speak out, whatever it takes, and even that only works best for rights the Supreme Court says are in the Constitution.

    The most interesting part of that article to me is how townspeople are clueless as to what the principal did wrong, since they see homosexuality and paternalism in the schools the same way he does. They consider the ruling against them as the perverted work of outside influences, no doubt both the court and the ACLU. Why can’t they just leave us alone? We take care of our people! What ingrates if any of them say we don’t!

    Ah yes, “outside agitators”. That’s who the FBI and so many others said were behind civil rights and anti-war movements in the sixties. It’s a belief that comes to people so naturally – it’s their fault, the farther away the better the excuse works. It can get so much uglier than that, as it did when my racist father used to ridicule civil rights protestors as if they were constantly saying in a falsetto voice, “We got rights!” Conflating gays, lesbians, and pedophiles is something like that. It’s about not caring if you’re stuck in seeing something as a stereotype.

    It takes a lot to make people care. A whole generation may have to die, maybe more than one, so a younger generation can see things differently.

    The thing is that the whole point of the successful lawsuit was to say that yes, students have civil rights. If you violate them like this, you are violating the Constitution of the United States. You can’t get away with that forever.

    That’s a very hard thing for people to hear. Maybe if they had to pay for more than attorney’s fees, people would listen better, or at least the people whose rights are stepped on would be better compensated, more motivation to sue again until people get the message.

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