Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Legal Take

here is a legal take on the ADF's bullying and DPI's responding. comes from a blog called the eclectic hedonist.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


i enjoyed talking to the GSA at GSE yesterday. They had a lot of good questions about how to start their own GSA's at their high schools, what their legal rights were as high school students, what troubles they should anticipate, what the real story is about what happened last summer (GSE hadn't talked to them about the other members that were fired for example), what they could do to support GS, whether it was better to take on the ADF or DPI, and some questions about sexuality theory.

they were interested, kind kids and it left me sad and once again surprised that DPI can't just be honest with the faculty and students at GSE. these were kids who quickly got what was going on and why not allowing the ADF to affect the GS curriculum was important. why in the world is DPI and GSE not telling them the whole story? (i understand why the faculty can't, but certainly michael could lay out the situation for them)

i'll say again that the faculty, students, and alumni are GS's greatest strength and as long as the administration of GS keeps lying to them and withholding information from them, they will never be ready to take on the ADF. GS desperately needs leadership right now and it's not fair to ask the faculty and students to provide that leadership- that's the job of Tom Winton, Mary Watson, and Michael McElreath. Someone needs to love GS more than they love their position at GS.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I'm going to speak on Monday to the GSE GSA. I'm looking forward to hearing the students' questions and just hearing about where they are at with everything. I'm also very proud that GSE has put the GSA on the public calendar. I'll be interested to see what comes from that step, but I would also say that step fills me with pride and hope as well.

I'll also be interested to hear about the process of having me as a speaker. I know there was some concern but I don't know what level that was at- faculty, admin or above. I plan to be respectful, responsible, and honest. I feel some security knowing they can't fire me twice. However I did find out that my dean at the college got a note from above him about my presence in the Indy article. May be time to start passing on faculty openings you know about, although I hope not. I enjoy the students at VGCC a lot and would hate to lose them, just as I hated to lose the GSE ones.

I'll try to give an overview of the talk- it will be at 4pm in the chapel on the Meredith campus.

Oh and my response when I sent Marcy a note, asking why the sudden interest in GS now by the N and O? I'll quote in full- "thanks, tanya." Not sure if that means "i didn't read your email" or "yes you are exactly right" or "please leave me alone you crackpot."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

N and O Request

I'm really not a conspiracy theorist, but the timing of the News and Observer's request for GS memories seems suspicious as best. According to its own records, the N and O has written exactly zero (0) articles about GS since 2004. But the week after the Indy prints its article about questioning why the ADF should be censoring the curriculum of GS, a NC public school program funded with state money, the N and O puts out a call for your best GS memories? Hmmm.

In its patheticness, it strikes me exactly as something DPI and Exceptional Children would do to attempt to "combat" the "negative" publicity. Answer the charges? Allow faculty and students to talk to reporters? No. But launch a "counter" sunshine and roses campaign. Yeah. That sounds about right.

Hey, I have long argued that NC should be proud of GS- it's an amazing program that is as pedagogically progressive and sound as I've seen and been a part of (until its administrators started censoring curriculum according to the wishes of right-wing, homophobic, christian groups). But now? Smells rotten to me.

I sent an email to Marcy Smith asking her if the N and O were doing this at the bequest of DPI to counter the bad publicity which it got, as well as if the N and O were looking into the question of the ADF setting curriculum for NC public schools. I would urge you to ask the same.

i love GS. i will always love what GS stands for in its documentation and in many of its years of practice. but now does not seem the time to be burying GS in praise. it seems time to be asking hard hard questions of an administration that is not only remaining quiet, but demanding that its faculty remain quiet.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Jesse Helms died on Friday. No one wants to celebrate the death of any human being. And yet as a North Carolinian, I hate to see the deification of Helms that's occuring. He was a man who was driven by hate. He was given many opportunities to divorce himself from that hate, to find another defining force in his life, and he turned his back on each and every one of those chances. That's hard to find admirable in any sense.

Here is a link to the obituary from the Guardian. I like the way it gives Helms "credit" for all the hate he fostered, nurtured, and carried around his whole life.

Helms was certainly one of the people that made groups like the ADF possible, in multiple ways.

I think every human being is capable of change and should be given room for redemption. I hope that fighting for GS can help members of the ADF redeem themselves, find it possible to live a life that isn't defined by fear and anger. But some folks are too frightened to step away from what they know, what they were told to believe, what they choose to believe. It's why places like GS are so important- the world needs more models of how to talk about difficult issues respectfully and responsibly instead of bullying and tricking people into embracing the exact world view you want them to have.

I hope some members of the ADF and the North Carolina Family Council will take advantage of this opportunity and do what Helms never could; let go of the hate.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Double-Secret Probation

Trevor Hoppe (a GS alum who wrote about the ADF and DPI) has a new entry in his blog, including an email he got back from Tom Winton after Trevor wrote Tom about the situation.

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Apparently, Tom has super-secret reasons i was fired and no one knows them but him. In fact, I may have been on double-secret probation. But it angers me that Tom insinuates that I'm lying about something, that I secretly know why I was fired and that it has nothing to do with the ADF or homophobia.

When Tom and I met, I told him one thing I found insulting was his implication that I can't recognize homophobia or that I cling to it as some sort of victim. I've been queer, I've been out, I've been in sexuality studies long enough to recognize homophobia when I encounter it either directly or indirectly. Not allowing the word "sexuality" on the GSE website because it might upset the ADF is homophobia. Shutting down the Human Sexuality film series because it angers the ADF is homophobia. Removing films that parents have approved for their children because the ADF doesn't like the films because of the way they deal with human sexuality is homophobia.

They can't deny doing any of these things. So why won't they explain why they are acceding to the demands of the ADF? There must be some reason. Tom Watson and Mary Winton need to say what that reason is.

They also need to stop insinuating that I am lying about why I got fired. I got fired because I'm openly queer, a fact easily found with a simple Google search. I got fired because I teach and write in the area of sexuality studies. I got fired because I identifed homophobic actions as homophobic. If they have anything beyond that, I would love to hear it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Independent's Article

Here's a link to the Independent and the article they wrote about the Alliance Defense Fund and Governor's School's response to their bullying threats. I thought Saldana identified the proper problem and did a very good job overall. I'll try to write my own response soon, but please take a look at the article; the Indy also has a good comments section for their articles.