I remember it like it was yesterday. My best friend and I were sitting in our high school auditorium watching a presentation by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. I looked at her, she looked at me and we said, “Hell, why not?” She was cute, we were single and had a lot of unsupervised time after school. So we decided to be lesbians.
Oh, wait. That’s not how it happened at all. GLSEN never came to my school. I never got the message that it was “okay to be gay” and spent a large part of my high school years in the closet scared and sad – though I did have a really hot girlfriend.
And that’s the way it should be (sans the hot girlfriend), according to Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania. Kids don’t need groups like GLSEN coming to their high schools taking them by the elbow and pulling them down the path to homo-city.
“That’s what they want,” Gramley told Agape Press on Jan. 9, 2007. “They want the kids to believe that ‘gay is okay,’ and that if you feel that you are homosexual — if you feel you’re tugged in that direction — [you should] go ahead and try it.”
In fact, that’s GLSEN’s mission statement verbatim. They even hand out T-shirts to all the kids that say, “Go ahead, make me gay.”
Actually, the mission statement is much more sinister: “The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.”
Oh, the horror!
While it may seem like an odd stance to fight against, folks like Gramley love to paint GLSEN as some kind of gay terrorist organization simply because it’s a group that works with kids. Kids who, according these anti-gay groups, shouldn’t exist.
Never mind that they do. “Approximately five percent of America’s high school students identify as lesbian or gay,” according to GLSEN. “This percentage would translate to, on average, every classroom in America having at least one student who identifies as lesbian or gay.”
Also according to GLSEN, “Violence, bullying and harassment are the rule and not the exception in America’s schools [for LGBT kids].”
This is, of course, what GLSEN exists to prevent. Gramley sees that as a direct affront to “the First Amendment rights of Christians.”
According to Agape Press, Gramley believes “the homosexual agenda is a direct threat to the free speech and religious liberty of those who believe homosexual activity is sinful.”
“Gays are bad” is the only message Gramley and Co. feel kids should get in school. Never mind that as more gays come out, fewer people actually believe that. Besides, if LGBT kids are embraced and treated with respect they might not grow up to be self-hating closet cases like, say, Tim Haggard and Mark Foley.