How many more dead kids?

Leelah Alcorn was 17 years old when she concluded that life was never going to get better for her. Before she reached the point that she ended her life, Leelah endured years of spiritual abuse from her parents and from Christian counselors. Her parents eventually pulled her out of school to homeschool, keeping her isolated from her friends and support system by taking away her phone and laptop for months on end. Here are some of her own words describing what she endured: “When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me. My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help. When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going[…]

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Michelle Duggar’s anti-trans* robocalls and #DuggarHypocrisy

I haven’t really written about the Duggar family before because I feel for their kids still at home. They had no say about being thrust into the national spotlight, and invariably criticism of Jim Bob and Michelle turns into snark about the kids, and I don’t want that. Before I go any farther, let me say that any attacks on the Duggar children in the comments will be deleted. They didn’t ask for this, and with the exception of Josh, who has chosen to become a professional activist with hate group FRC Action, they need to be off limits. That aside, the reason I’ve broken my self-imposed “No Duggars” rule is because of Michelle Duggar’s robocalls against Fayetteville, AR’s proposed LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. I’ve embedded the audio Jeremy Hooper provided on GoodAsYou after the cut. Be warned, it’s a rather disturbing anti-trans diatribe about how transwomen are men who are trying to be predatory towards women and children. In response to this virulent attack on trans* people and their identities, a group of former homeschool kids has created the hashtag #DuggarHypocrisy.  Here’s why. While Michelle Duggar pretends to be concerned about sexual predators targeting women and children, Michelle and Jim Bob have remained silent as both Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips’ sexually predatory behavior was exposed. Shaney Lee has detailed the Duggar’s ties to Bill Gothard and their promotion of Gothard’s material, it’s an important read. Micah Murray’s post on the Duggars and Gothard is also more than sufficient to demonstrate the close ties the Duggars have with Gothard. As for the Duggars and Doug Phillips, in 2010, Michelle received the “Mother of the Year“ award from Doug Phillps. As documented by the Christian Post, before Vision Forum went under they sold DVD’s such as “Tea with Michelle Duggar,” a Vision Forum-produced video[…]

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We’re Here, We’re Queer (and patriarchy had nothing to do with it)

I’m not sure if two examples counts as a trend, but over the last few weeks both HSLDA founder and Patrick Henry College chancellor Michael Farris and well-known homeschool mommy blogger Karen “that mom” Campbell have both suggested that the blame, as it were, for LGBT homeschoolers lies at the feet of patriarchy. Under this narrative, patriarchy has so harmed and broken us that we have not only rejected patriarchy itself, but have fallen off into a morass of sin and depravity. Farris’ version of the story, as given in his May 2014 keynote address at the Florida Parent-Educators Association (FPEA) Leaders Forum, is that homeschool alumni critics of homeschooling are almost all victims of patriarchy, and in rejecting that we’ve also rejected God and some of us have become “open homosexuals.” It’s all very Romans 1 of him. Transcript: “But the majority, I think, are walking with God. A significant minority, however, have rejected God entirely. A significant number are way, way out there. And the– and the critics that we’re seeing arise from– in the homeschooling movement from young people who are in their twenties and– twenty– mid-twenties, mostly, is kind of the oldest group– that are loudly criticizing homeschooling on the internet and so on and in other venues– were almost all raised in these kinds of homes. And there is no pretense of Christianity in most of their lives. There are openly homosexuals involved, there are atheists involved, there are people that utterly reject everything that we believe in and make no pretense about it, that are– but they came. And so the idea that people are going to create generational, patriarchal family legacies, and we’re counting for them very well, you’re not seeing that. You erect a false view of God for your children, don’t[…]

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Vulnerability

I like to pretend that things don’t bother me, that I’m tough and sarcastic and let things roll off my back, but that’s not really true. I’m not sure how I didn’t know this already, but I discovered tonight that the inaptly named Alliance Defending Freedom helped draft Arizona’s bill, that, unless it is vetoed, will legalize discrimination against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom. There’s nothing in their arguments for the bill that I haven’t heard before. Heck, I heard ADF attorney (and once upon a time HSLDA staff attorney and former faculty member at Bill Gothard’s fake law school) Jordan Lorence make those same arguments when the Federalist Society brought him to speak at UF. In a staggering display of bad theology, in their minds discrimination is what god would want and so when they fight to usher in Jim Crow 2.0, they’re really standing up for religious freedom. I can’t even capitalize the word “god” in that because the god they worship may be a lot of things, but it’s not the one, true God. It’s a twisted perversion of the Gospel that gives a middle finger to everything Christ said and did while He was on this earth. That’s not why I’m sitting here wanting to cry though. On their own, hateful organizations doing hateful things make me angry; I don’t get emotional over the shenanigans at Family Research Council or NOM, I get mad. Alliance Defending Freedom is different. See, they’ve got this program called the “Blackstone Legal Fellowship” designed to train the next generation of lawyers. It’s a program that more than a few of my friends have done or will be doing. I’m probably a coward, for everything I’ve said and done elsewhere, I haven’t ever brought it up. I don’t[…]

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Covenant College censored my alumni update

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8, KJV When I was asked at the start of last spring semester whether I would be interested in assisting on research for an amicus brief in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases set to be argued before the Supreme Court later that spring, I jumped at the chance. Not only is it something that I’m personally and professionally proud of, as having the opportunity to play even a miniscule role in a major case is something that most people don’t get, it was something that I believe as a Christian was the right thing to do. Do justice. Love mercy. The brief I worked on dealt with the way that the laws negatively affect children raised by LGBT parents, and how those laws negatively affect LGBT youth, their sense of self and their ability to imagine a future for themselves. More specifically, I worked on a team with several other law students to coauthor a survey to capture the voices of LGBT youth and young adults, and our paper is cited in the amicus brief. The responses that poured in were heartbreaking. Kids sharing their stories of growing up and realizing they were different, and the fear and worry about whether their future relationships would be treated as legitimate by the government, feeling that they were lesser because of the law. Yet, in all that, hope that someday things might change. Kids daring to dream that there might be a future where they could build a life for themselves as equal citizens. I worked to provide justice for those kids. As you can see, my work on[…]

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National Coming Out Day

To quote Harvey Milk: “I ask my gay sisters and brothers to make the commitment to fight. For themselves, for their freedom, for their country … We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets … We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out. Come out to your parents, your relatives.” National Coming Out Day is a day specifically set aside to focus attention and awareness on the fact that LGBTQ people exist. We are your friends, your neighbors, your family, the kid you taught in Sunday School, or AWANA, or church choir, the person who you sat next to in class. Whether or not you’re aware of it, there are queer people in your life.

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Concurrence

Wednesday I was busy trying to put together a (belated) National Coming Out Day panel for next week (nobody who can avoid it sets foot on campus on a Friday), emailing with the director of admissions about a diversity recruitment email that’s going out to prospective students in my name as the president of OUTLaw, while also working on setting up a meeting with the VP for Student Development where I went for undergrad. It was entirely coincidental that I happened to be working on all of those things at the same time, but it was kind of an interesting concurrence. Whether it’s the panel, the diversity recruitment effort, or the ongoing conversation with my alma mater, it’s all really about creating a campus climate that feels safe for LGBTQ students so that nobody feels the need to hide.  Campus climate isn’t a Christian college issue, or a state school issue, or private school or public school issue. Some schools do things better than others, but I doubt there’s any school out there that has a perfect climate where every LGBTQ student feels totally safe and supported all of the time. And so, on this National Coming Out Day, let’s work toward creating campuses where the climate is such that even the most timid of kids can feel safe to come out and be out.

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“Not all Christians are like that”, or, why I support the NALT Project

When I first saw about the launch of the NALT Christians Project, my reaction was, “Good, finally somebody telling people to put up or shut up when they use the "not all Christians are like that” line.“ I suppose I should have expected controversy, people don’t like being told that their favorite platitude isn’t particularly useful or helpful. I didn’t, however, expect so many straight Christian progressives absolutely losing it, and in the process deciding that they’re the ones who get to speak for all LGBT people. The same straight Christian progressives who get mad when men deign to speak for women have demonstrated no problem speaking for all LGBT people.  And so, since I’ve already written a piece to non-affirming Christians, this piece is dedicated to the straight Christian progressives who are too busy chiming in to actually listen. Dear straight progressive Christians, this isn’t about you. Not really. Sure, Dan Savage and John Shore are asking you to speak up in support of LGBT rights, but it’s not really about you. Instead of getting your feelings hurt that they aren’t doing it the way you want, you need to stop and listen to the voices of LGBT people. Now, I recognize that not every LGBT person agrees, we’re not a monolithic hive mind or anything, but if you’re busy dragging out your LGBT friends who agree with you and refusing to listen to anybody else, you aren’t really listening. You’re not seeing your friend as a person, you’re seeing them as a cudgel you can use to attack those who disagree with you. That’s a problem.  Picking and choosing who to listen to based on whether they agree with you and then using them as tools isn’t a good way to be a supporter. It’s divisive and it refuses[…]

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