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Anti-Gay Bullying Related Teen Suicides Spike In Bachmann’s District

by David Badash on July 26, 2011

in Bigotry Watch,families,News,Politics

Post image for Anti-Gay Bullying Related Teen Suicides Spike In Bachmann’s District

The congressional district Michele Bachmann (R-MN) represents has seen a huge spike in anti-gay bullying and related teen suicides — nine teen suicides, overall, in the past two years alone — so many that the area Bachmann represents has been labeled a “suicide contagion area.” This should surprise no one, as Congresswoman Bachmann for the better part of a decade has built her political career on the backs of the very gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens she purportedly represents.

READ: Michele Bachmann’s Top Ten Anti-Gay Quotes

“Some of the victims were gay, or perceived to be by their classmates, and many were reportedly bullied,” reports Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones. “And the anti-gay activists who are some of the congresswoman’s closest allies stand accused of blocking an effective response to the crisis and fostering a climate of intolerance that allowed bullying to flourish. Bachmann, meanwhile, has been uncharacteristically silent on the tragic deaths that have roiled her district—including the high school that she attended.”

“If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement,” then-State Senator Bachmann said at the EdWatch National Education Conference in 2004, when she created the non-existent “problem” of same-sex marriage coming to Minnesota, advocating to write discrimination into the state constitution in the form of a ban on marriage equality.

 


The Anoka-Hennepin has been fighting GSAs — Gay-Straight Alliances — and anti-bullying programs under the expected guise that they advance “the homosexual agenda,” ignorantly not accepting the fact that research shows that kids who live in these conservative, anti-gay environments are far more likely to attempt suicide — whether they are gay or straight. And GSAs are believed by the same researchers to be an effective weapon against teen suicides. So much so that the federal Department of Justice and Department of Education publicly advocate for them.


 

It wasn’t a one-off statement. There was also this at the conference:

“You have a teacher talking about his gayness. (The elementary school student) goes home then and says ‘Mom! What’s gayness? We had a teacher talking about this today.’ The mother says ‘Well, that’s when a man likes other men, and they don’t like girls.’ The boy’s eight. He’s thinking, ‘Hmm. I don’t like girls. I like boys. Maybe I’m gay.’ And you think, ‘Oh, that’s, that’s way out there. The kid isn’t gonna think that.’ Are you kidding? That happens all the time. You don’t think that this is intentional, the message that’s being given to these kids? That’s child abuse.”

And so much more.

READ: Gay Teens: Sexual Orientation Stigma Can Lead To Health Risk-Taking

So Bachmann advocated to ban same-sex marriage, by speaking out, one might say religiously, against homosexuals and homosexuality. And while her marriage ban failed to pass, as she feared, child abuse — in this case, children learning to hate homosexuals — and possibly, themselves — thanks to Bachmann’s obsession with homosexuality — grew into a raging suicide epidemic.

The Mother Jones piece adds that in addition to the nine successfully-completed teen suicides, at least seven “students at Anoka Middle School have been hospitalized for attempting or threatening suicide,” this year alone.

Anoka-Hennepin has a policy on the books known colloquially as “no homo promo,” which dates in back to the mid-1990s. Back then, after several emotional school board meetings, the district essentially wiped gay people out of the school health curriculum. There could be no discussion of homosexuality, even with regard to HIV and AIDS, and the school board adopted a formal policy that stated school employees could not teach that homosexuality was a “normal, valid lifestyle.”

Later the policy was changed to require school staff to remain neutral on issues of homosexuality if they should come up in class, a change that critics said fostered confusion among teachers and contributed to their inability to address bullying and harassment, or to even ask reasonable questions about some of the issues the kids were struggling with, like sexual orientation. Both policies were put into place at the behest of conservative religious activists who have been among Bachmann’s biggest supporters in the district. They include the Minnesota Family Council (MFC), and its local affiliate, the Parents Action League, which has lobbied to put discredited “reparative therapy” materials in schools.

That’s the sort of counseling reportedly practiced by Bachmann & Associates,the mental health clinics run by Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus. The clinics reportedly counsel people on how to “pray away the gay” to become straight. Before entering politics, Bachmann served as the education advisor to the MFC-affiliated Minnesota Family Institute, a relationship she has continued. This spring, she headlined a fundraising dinner for MFC, along with Newt Gingrich.

The Anoka-Hennepin has been fighting GSAs — Gay-Straight Alliances —  and anti-bullying programs under the expected guise that they advance “the homosexual agenda,” ignorantly not accepting the fact that research shows that kids who live in these conservative, anti-gay environments are far more likely to attempt suicide — whether they are gay or straight. And GSAs are believed by the same researchers to be an effective weapon against teen suicides. So much so that the federal Department of Justice and Department of Education publicly advocate for them.

READ: Sleepover Suicide Pact: Two Bullied Minnesota 14-Year Old Girls Hang Themselves

Bachmann ally Bradlee Dean, the head of the heavy-metal ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, last year took to the radio to decry efforts to create a more tolerant climate in the public schools. “We were just talking about the homosexual indoctrination,” Dean said. “The state-run media is going after the schools for resisting the homosexual indoctrination. The homosexuals are now blaming—they are playing the victims—the homosexuals are now blaming [the schools'] stance as the reason that young homosexuals are committing suicide because of the schools’ intolerance to the lifestyle of homosexuality.” Another one of Bachmann’s longtime allies, Janet Boynes, an “ex-gay” who works with the ministry Exodus International, has also joined the fight. In May, she spoke at an Anoka-Hennepin school board meeting supporting the neutrality policy.

With all this anti-gay hate coming from Michele Bachmann, her husband Marcus and their Bachmann and Associates Christian counseling practice, which has been proven to practice what every major medical association has labeled as harmful — ex-gay, reparative therapy — is it any wonder that the environment in Bachmann’s district is so toxic?

 


“One of the plaintiffs eventually dropped out of school and later attempted suicide. Another student, who’d been reporting anti-LGBT harassment for two years, was advised by the school district to find another school because they couldn’t protect him. A third student claims that after he was violently assaulted and called a “faggot” in the hallway, a teacher stood by and watched without intervening. After he reported the incident, the school official blamed him for provoking the attack.”

-- Mother Jones


 

Mother Jones continues:

The anti-gay climate in the schools in Bachmann’s district has been so extreme that it has attracted the attention of the Justice Department and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which are both investigating allegations of anti-gay bullying. The Southern Poverty Law Center has also been on the ground investigating discrimination against gay students. On Thursday, it sued the school district over its “neutrality” policy, which the group views as a potential violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. In a letter to the district superintendent in May, SPLC wrote:

The gag policy bears no rational relationship to any legitimate governmental purpose. On the contrary, the history surrounding the policy’s enactment clearly shows that the policy was adopted solely in deference to some community members’ disapproval of, and animus toward, a particular class of citizens—LGBT people. The law is clear that mere animus toward an unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental purpose.

The letter describes the plight of LGBT students, several of whom had been harassed physically and verbally for long periods of time. According to the SPLC, the students reported the harassment to school officials, who ignored the complaints. One of the plaintiffs eventually dropped out of school and later attempted suicide. Another student, who’d been reporting anti-LGBT harassment for two years, was advised by the school district to find another school because they couldn’t protect him. A third student claims that after he was violently assaulted and called a “faggot” in the hallway, a teacher stood by and watched without intervening. After he reported the incident, the school official blamed him for provoking the attack.

Of course. Because, as Bachmann and her ilk falsely believe, if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, it’s a “lifestyle choice,” and therefore you have control over it, because it’s not “natural,” it’s, as Bachmann has said, “part of Satan, I think to say that this is ‘gay.’ It’s anything but gay.”

 

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{ 2 comments }

BeerandOnion July 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm

What the hell has happened to decency in this country? Bachmann and her ilk seem proud of the trail of tears they created. Don’t give up the march towards equality. Cover Bachmann and her closeted-husband in Rainbow Flags.

VegasDude777 July 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Bachmann is totally out of control and must be stopped – whatever it takes! I have seen very first hand how teens are suffering at the hands of their self righteous parents, lunatics that run our schools, strangers on the street, crazy politicians and the laundry list of idiots goes on. Having owned a gay bar in Austin, I lost count the number of beautiful young men who walked in with a backpack, having been thrown out of their parents house after coming out with no place to go. I quickly organized a group of valued customers, mostly the self-employed with high morals who would take these guys in and Shepard them through difficult times.

It never ceases to amaze me by the level of insanity that exists in this country and around with world by these pompous idiots, like Bachmann and her gay husband's deplorable activities. Anyone with any common sense knows that Bachmann's husband is homophobic and gay, the every worst kind of bigot and charlatan, operating clinics to "pray away the gay." This goes beyond insanity and represents the worst kind of child abuse and is clearly a violation of human rights. Both Bachmann and her idiot husband should be criminally charged for their activities.

While I believe that Bachmann will fall on her own sword, we have to make very sure that she does not succeed in getting the Republican nomination, and that she is ousted from Congress in the next election.

There is no room in civil society for the likes of the Bachmann's depravity and outright insanity!

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