Monday, December 14, 2009

More on the attacks on Kevin Jennings

As I have blogged earlier, over the past few weeks right wing groups and media have been engaged in an attack on Kevin Jennings, the former head of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian ans Straight Education Network) who has been named to an executive post in the Obama administration's Education Department.  One of the principal lines of attack has been a seminar that took place at one of GLSEN's yearly conferences that dealt explicitly with sexuality and that was secret taped by someone wanting to bring down the organization.  I remember when this happened; I was a teacher very much involved in GLSEN and LGBT issues in schools.

I was not at that particular seminar, but I d remember hearing about it.  I was not alone in thinking that the discussion might not have been age appropriate.  Neither did Kevin Jennings. Those responsible for the seminar were either fired or resigned.  Jennings was not at the seminar nor did he know the details of it beforehand.

That has not stopped anti-gay groups from using this event to try to bring down Kevin Jennings.  Media Matters has done a superb job tracing the source of the misinformation about Jennings.  The group has uncovered MassResistance  as the main source.  For the record, the Southern Poverty Law Center lists MassResistance as a hate group.  Media Matters writes:

Right-wing media outlets have relied on false or misleading claims by MassResistance, a Massachusetts-based anti-gay group, in advancing several recent attacks on Department of Education official Kevin Jennings. The founder of MassResistance -- a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a "hate group" -- reportedly denied that gays and lesbians were a target of the Holocaust and has compared the gay rights movement to the Nazis. The organization has also called on parents to keep their children home from school during an event promoting awareness of, and opposition to, anti-gay bullying and has stated that suicide prevention programs for gay and lesbian youth have no "legitimate medical or psychological basis."
 Some of the accusations against Jennings have been so malicious and inaccurate that right wing bloggers and websites have had to retract their statement for fear of a lawsuit.  One such group, ironically named Accuracy in the Media, labeled Jennings "a pedophile" and warned that they had a video of him speaking inappropriately about sex practices to 14 year olds.  Of course, neither was true, and they were forced to acknowledge their error.

As difficult as this might be for Kevin personally, I think we need to remember that this actually isn't about Kevin.  It's about a hate group that is looking to attack any pro-gay member of the Obama administration.  That Kevin is also a gay man was just frosting on the cake for this MassResistance.  When it comes to attacking gay people, the group has no resistance at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment