Log Cabin Chronicles

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The cast of characters in this rant includes writer Jim Austin of southern Vermont and gay-bashing GOP Representative Nancy Sheltra of Derby. ENIMEM is the popular white rapper known for his violent and anti-gay lyrics.]

To Nancy with love, EMINEM

Jim Austin

Putney, Vermont

Sometimes when the hatred builds and becomes a tidal wave it's hard to know where to start building the dam.

Representative Nancy Sheltra, R-Derby, is the lead sponsor on a bill that would "make it illegal to encourage, promote or sanction homosexual or bisexual conduct" in schools. Where does that leave the ten percent of students in Vermont who are homosexual?

What are we to do with these gay kids who fear for their safety and suffer anti-gay slurs almost every day. Are they to become non-people when Sheltra's hate-bill passes?

If Der Fuehreress gets her way on this bill, what is next?

Surely, any references to gay people in school textbooks should be eliminated. Countless Pulitzer-prize winning novelists, journalists, and poets should be expunged as well as the records of gay Olympic athletes.

Perhaps gays and suspected gays should be separated from the student body so they won't infect the straight kids. Maybe a camp could be set up with involuntary sterilization for the bisexual and transgender students.

What is Sheltra's motivation in all of this?

Straight kids have their own set of problems in school but being put down or recruited by homosexual peers is not one of them. It is the gay kids who are being picked on, beaten up, and have the highest suicide rates.

Though discussions about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and themes are largely absent in America's classrooms, anti-gay epithets are not: Gay Lesbian Straight Educator's Network's 1999 national school climate survey found that ninety percent of the gay students who were surveyed reported "regularly" hearing anti-gay comments at school. Thirty-six percent reported hearing these comments from teachers or other school personnel.

Think we should have no discussion of gay issues in schools? Rap "artist" EMINEM is up for a Grammy. Check out some of his lyrics: "My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge, that'll stab you in the head whether you're a fag or a lez or the homosex, hermaph or trans-a-vest. Pants or dress -- hate fags? The answer's Yes."

This vermin in the guise of rap artist is preying on our worst instincts and promoting violence against homosexuals. Why is he up for a Grammy? Because your teenage kids are buying this bilge by the trainload. A generation of teens is being indoctrinated into hatred of gays by one of their heroes.

Then along comes Sheltra "the adult", Sheltra "the voice of the people" and reinforces EMINEM's message in spades.

What are you Derby voters thinking? Have you already had your own little "Kristalnacht" in Derby yet or are you waiting for the anniversary of Mathew Shepard's murder?

Brattleboro doesn't have a Nancy Sheltra to stir up the baser instincts of our local population. We have the BUHS school board for that.

For the second time in the last couple of years they have officially turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the concerns of gay and straight students kids who are sick of being subjected to slurs and threats from peers in school hallways and lunch rooms, while cowardly or apathetic teachers stand by and do nothing.

They dropped the ball on the Confederate flag issue, and they are dithering again. Robert Miller said it better than I could with his letter of resignation from a faint-hearted, intimidated and short- sighted school board.

It was naked ambition combined with a psychotic hatred of communists that facilitated Joseph McCarthy's rise to power. Is this hate campaign against gay school kids Sheltra's stepping stone to national prominence?

When red-baiting McCarthy was attacking an associate of Joseph N. Welch, chief attorney for the U.S. Army, Welch stood up, faced the senator, and said:

"Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you no sense of decency?

I ask when will a member of the Vermont House stand and face Nancy Sheltra with the question:

"Madam have you no sense of decency?"

Jim Austin is irritated in Putney, Vermont.

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