Alex Blaze

Trying to stop HIV/AIDS deaths = Child molestation

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 24, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: ACT UP, Fox News, HIV/AIDS, ideology, Kevin Jennings, LGBT, sean hannity, WorldNetDaily

The babydyke.jpglatest attack on Kevin Jennings is that he was once an ACT UP activist and that he gave money to a exhibition related to the history of ACT UP.

The poster on the right (that WND ran under the title "Obama's safe-schools boss sponsors radical porn") will be a part of the exhibition, which gets right to the heart of their complaint against Jennings: gays and children are sharing a sentence. These are the same people who were quite content with the fact that queer people were dying of AIDS back during the late 80's and early 90's, so the fact that they're attacking an organization trying to stop the deaths of millions of people for (literally) interrupting the opera is quite telling.

I don't know how to read that other than "He's gay, therefore he's evil." ACT-UP had in-your-face tactics, yes, but letting people die by the tens of thousands in hopes that they would be converted to conservative Christianity and stop having gay sex isn't that subtle either. ACT-UP was a response to an epidemic, one that, unsurprisingly, the right ignored because they didn't like the victims all that much. And now, to attack someone for being involved in an effort to save those same lives that the right at the time was happy to let die takes an incredible amount of chutzpah.

But here's how the Washington Times, in an unattributed editorial, put it:

ACT UP, like NAMBLA, was not even considered a mainstream group among homosexuals. With his record of putting his radical agenda before everything else, Mr. Jennings doesn't belong at the Department of Education in any role.

ACT UP is the new NAMBLA. That's clever. Is it because saving gay people's lives ensures that more children will be molested (because all gay people are child molesters, of course) or because interrupting the opera while thousands are dying is as bad as having sex with a 7-year-old?

And ACT UP isn't really outside of the mainstream ideologically: looking through the contributors' list here at TBP I see a quite a few people who I know were involved in ACT UP. Generally, if someone was out and active in the community at the time, they were probably working in some way with ACT UP. They're condemning an entire population from that era.

Sean Hannity says that Jennings's involvement in ACT UP means he should be fired. Fox Nation ran this graphic (via Media Matters):


Also, the WND article linked above cites the fact that the publisher of Jennings's book on being a gay teacher also published a book of short stories on lesbian vampires. Because everyone who's ever written a book is responsible for all the content their publisher has ever published.

Grasping. For. Straws.

So, for people keeping track, here are Kevin Jennings's sins so far:

  • Not reporting consensual, gay sex between two people of legal age to the police in 1988 in a state with a ban on sodomy.
  • Praising one of the founders of the gay rights movement, Harry Hay, the man who started Mattachine. Harry Hay also wanted NAMBLA to march in Pride decades later, so obviously Jennings is pro-pedophilia.
  • Writing the introduction to a book called Queering Elementary Education, which was about fighting homophobia and gender policing in elementary school. But the title is scary!
  • Saying that he doesn't care what the Religious Right thinks.
  • Taking part in ACT-UP, the most effective group in the history of the gay movement that was trying to end a terminal illness.
  • Donating money to a historical exhibit at Harvard.
  • Using a publisher that also published a book on lesbian vampires.
  • Saying he wanted a curriculum that would promote "respect [for] every human being regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of gender identity, regardless of race or religion or any of the arbitrary distinctions we make among people."
  • In a discussion of racism in schools, Jennings said: "It should be impossible to graduate from NYU or any other school of education without coursework -- required coursework -- that address issues of bias in the classroom and how it might influence your teaching."

The point isn't that any of these accusations is damning in and of itself. They're hoping that they work together to create the impression that there's a controversy here, that there's something wrong with Kevin Jennings that isn't just the fact that he's gay and works with children. And, little by little, it seeps into the mainstream media, since they have no way to understand this situation other than to photocopy the right's attacks and say that Jennings is a "controversial" appointee. The hope is that, eventually, the left and Obama will just get tired of defending him and get rid of him.

GLAAD put out a statement on this last week:


OCTOBER 16, 2009, New York, NY - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today condemned anti-gay attacks on Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools.

"Anti-gay activists have been relentlessly attacking Kevin Jennings for years," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "Over time, credible media have come to deal with these stories in a fair and responsible manner. They independently research the far right's assertions, discover that there is nothing to them, and have refused to lend credibility to false, malicious claims by presenting them as news.

"The media have the exact same responsibility today, and it's been discouraging to see a small handful of outlets move toward taking the far right's bait," Barrios added. "Over the past two decades, Kevin Jennings has worked to make schools safer for all students. He is a committed public servant. And no one - from Kevin Jennings in the Department of Education to the brave gay and lesbian Americans who serve honorably in our nation's military -- should continue to be subjected to these kinds of anti-gay witch-hunts. Nobody should be fired from their job because they're gay, yet this is exactly what far-right activists are trying to do to Kevin Jennings.

"These attacks are wrong, they are defamatory, and our nation's media must not be complicit in these attempts to force a qualified public servant from his job simply because he's gay," Barrios said.

Hopefully other LGBT orgs will jump in on this one before it gets out of hand. The folks on teevee will need reasons to say this is homophobic, or else coverage will end up looking like what we saw in the New York Times.

More on Kevin Jennings smear campaign:

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Totally disgusting. To even imply that Act-up was anything like NAMBLA is mindboggling! Nambla
(North American men-boy love association) is an organization fighting to lower the age of consent for sex with regards to minors. Sick in my opinion. I'm glad that Nambla is almost defunct. To equate the two is not only preposturous but nonsensical. Still just another futile attempt at
besmirching the many Gays and LGBT community that have had their rights taken away for far too long!

Its not grasping at straws, actually. These folks know what works--they know how to whip up frenzy and histeria, and they care not about what happens in the wake as long as they get what they want. They do it constantly, which is why there IS so much bias crime out there. Every time a kid gets bullied in school or a gay person gets murdered you can thank Sean Hannity and the HUNDREDS of evil people out there in the media that profit from this cycle of hate and histeria.

Have you ever heard of someone on the left going into a Republican campaign office and shooting it up? Now how often has that happened in Democratic campaign offices in the last 8 years?

How about all of the terrifying assasination or government overthrow talk? Sure there are PLENTY of lefties over here with a few screws loose, but we don't get them whipped up into a violent frenzy because we don't profit from that.

The more freaked out Conservatives are, the more they watch Fox News. So Fox News, the National Review and the Washington Times, as well as Free Republic and WND have to keep getting them more and more terrified so they keep coming and checking in more and more.

Its the Terror Industrial Complex.

They don't care that in the anti-Jennings wake HUNDREDS of kids are being tormented at school by other children who hear this stuff repeated at home, see the frenzy and see it as their duty to 'smear the queer.' They don't care that the more that they publish this stuff, the more Hate Crimes against gays increases--in DIRECT CORRELATION.

They have to sell ads and so they have to whip up the mindless, ferocious fear.

Grasping at straws? Are you kidding? Jennings is a GIFT for them! He IS squeaky clean, meaning he'll be around a long time--at least until he's shot by a lunatic fundie who has been led to believe by Sean Hannity that Jennings is the source of all his discomfort and unhappiness. If they really had anything on Jennings it would suck for them--he'd have been replaced by a hetero and they wouldn't rake in as many views and clicks over that.

When the furor actually does reach a violent crecendo, they'll feign outrage and wash their hands of it, but they HAVE to know they are influencing hatred, and they still looke pretty well rested.

The fact that they must know they're leading us to violence and they are still able to sleep at night tells me they HAVE to be evil down to their cores. Sociopaths wouldn't even begin to describe.

It's time to hold the anti-Jennings crowd accountable for the thing that is infuriating them the most: His success.

Jennings has changed the lives of students and teachers. He has been a force for dissolving the cloak of invisibility from lbgtq kids. He has shined the spotlight on bullying and school-sanctioned harassment. He has empowered students nationwide to form and fight for local GSAs. His organization has nurtured the growth of the Day of Silence movement.

Of course, he's not solely responsible for every forward step made by and for queer kids, but think about it: Before Jennings, conservative parents were comfortable with a see-no-evil approach to gay kids. Bullying, shaming, and silencing youth was a small price to pay in order to keep themselves comfortably ensconced in the Leave-it-to-Beaver 50s-era assumptions. The few kids who rose above it all to speak their minds could be labeled as the afflicted activists. The kids who came to their parents scared, suicidal, or just confused cold be isolated and pressed into submission.

Since Jennings, conservative parents have lost the option to isolate and marginalize queer kids. Hundreds of Gay-Straight Alliances are active, the Day of Silence movement grows every year, and gay kids are supporting each other online. Those who come out to their conservative parents do so with credible information in hand. School administrators have lost in court when they banned GSAs. Push-back against DoS -- pulling kids out of school -- has been small-minded and counterproductive.

Jennings is emblematic of success in recognizing the needs of kids in school and taking steps to meet those needs. The kids just happen to include gender nonconforming and sexual minority youth. That's the combination that is infuriating the Hannitys of the world.

They will stop at nothing. Van Jones was an easy target and they think they've found another. The more Kevin ties them in knots, the harder they bay for his blood.

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While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

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And for what it's worth, we reported the videos you left links to as hate speech against LGBT people.

The gay movement has minted its moral coin by shunning boylovers and their organizations. It's no big surprise they should find the biggest offense with anyone who reminds them of the link. And if there is doubt in your minds, recall Tom Reeves was one of the founders of Act Up, and was also one of the founders of NAMBLA. But these bits of history mean nothing to the author of this piece. The political vision of 99% of gay media is slander, lies, and forgetting the past.

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising.