|Back to April Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 171||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||APRIL 2000|
Promoting the Gay Agenda |
School Alliances cause concern in Massachusetts
BOSTON, MA - A state-funded organization aligned with Gay/Straight Alliances in the schools, called the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Youth (BAGLY), sponsored a program last year called "The Young Men's Health Project." The program offered incentives including cash, subway tokens and meals to teenage boys willing to visit its headquarters to discuss homosexual sex, and included an invitation for a "free, three-day, lakeside weekend retreat in New Hampshire with other boys up to 25 years who are 'attracted to or have sex with other men.' ''
The Massachusetts News (Nov. 1999) published the project's advertising brochure, which promised attendees "a chance to really get to know yourself and other queer youth on a much deeper level." The editors charged that the brochure was distributed at meetings attended by high school students through the Gay/Straight Alliances (GSAs), which are described on the Massachusetts Department of Education's web site as "school-based support groups for gay, lesbian and heterosexual students."
A "Student Guide" for the GSAs refers to "community-based groups" (such as BAGLY) as "providing a safe and informal place where students can: (1) talk about feelings and experiences; (2) learn about homophobia; (3) educate each other and the school community about sexual orientation issues; and (4) plan events such as dances, group games, attendance at political rallies and marches, and hosting speakers and guest artists.
Last spring, the Massachusetts News published a report about the American Psychological Association study that provoked nationwide outrage with its suggestion that pedophilia is harmless or even beneficial if "consensual." The report raised the question of why the schools aren't investigating the relationships between GSAs and community groups such as BAGLY to make sure children aren't being exploited. In response, GSA faculty advisors accused the paper of sending "hate mail" and held a public rally in the city of Newton that was attended by representatives of the Massachusetts Department of Education.
Instead of the public support organizers envisioned, many citizens turned out to claim they saw no "hate" in the report. One parent told officials: "I've seen what is happening with these gay/straight alliances . . . essentially, they take kids who are very confused . . . they're having trouble dealing with life, and these activists give them an identity. They say they're homosexual, and before long they're going to gay parties and proms."
BAGLY insists that its leaders are carefully screened and that youth safety is its primary concern, yet the organization has no lower age limit while its upper age limit is 22. Another complaint made by Massachusetts parents is that explicit "safe sex" materials are distributed to all BAGLY members regardless of age. Some of these materials feature "graphic pictures of condom use on live models along with graphic descriptions of sexual activities" that would be in violation of pornography laws were they not under the umbrella of "safe sex education."
Massachusetts has GSAs in approximately 170 high schools, more than any other state. The Massachusetts News stated that while parents' tax dollars support BAGLY both directly and through the GSAs - schools sponsoring alliances receive "safe-schools" grants from the state Department of Education - some administrators apparently believe that: