Hate Speech, Bible-Based Attacks From Anti-LGBT Parents Underscore Need For GSAs
Opponents of a Gay-Straight Alliance at a rural Tennessee high school are comparing the club to the terror group ISIS and calling on school officials to resign for allowing it.
The GSA met for the first time this week at Franklin County High School in Winchester, Tennessee, a town of 8,500 about 70 miles northwest of Chattanooga.
"The FCHS GSA will foster a safe environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) students and their allies," a description of the club states. "The FCHS GSA will offer a space where LGBT students and their allies can speak freely and honestly with their peers about issues specific to LGBT students without fear of rejection or harassment."
In response to news that the GSA had formed, Winchester parent and business owner John Wimley launched a Facebook page calling for people to attend the next Franklin County school board meeting and "protect traditional marriage" by standing against the GSA.
"OK F.C. [Franklin County] if we do not ban [SIC] together and stop this B.S. the next thing you know they will have a F.I.M.A. (Future ISIS Members of America) #PutGodInSchoolsPlease," Wimley wrote.
Wimley's Facebook profile picture consists of a graphic featuring a cross that reads, "Jesus died for you. Allah wants you to kill innocent people and die for him."
But his call for putting God in schools seems to contradict what he told WBRC-TV for a story about the GSA.
"I don't believe there should be religion or sexual preference taught in any school," Wimley told the station. "I don’t understand where they're coming from, and I want answers," he said. "Everybody wants answers."
In response to Wimley's hate-fueled ignorance, supporters of the GSA launched a Facebook page calling for a boycott of his business, the Tennessee Car Care Center. But Wimley wasn't the only person who compared the GSA to ISIS.
Martin Jonathan, who apparently attended Franklin County High School but now lives in San Antonio, according to his Facebook page, called the GSA "ungodly" and "wrong."
"The more we conform to this ever changing society the more weak we become as a Christian nation," Johnathan wrote. "What would be your opinion on a group initiating an ISIS club @ FCHS? Allow it so they don't become the next suicide bombers?"
"Unbelievable how times have changed," Johnathan added. "What a disgrace. Not the FCHS I was raised in nor the one for my children. ... [Principal Greg] Mantooth should be forced to resign. The parents and taxpayers in FC shall be heard."
Others argued that because some teachers have posted rainbow flags in their classrooms indicating that they're LGBT allies, people should also be allowed to display rebel flags, Christian flags, "Panther club" flags, white pride flags and gang symbols.
The photo above is one of the "flags" teachers who are allies have posted, indicating a safe space.
"I'm gonna start this by saying, I don't [give] a damn who likes me or what I think!" wrote parent Candice Candy Maxwell. "But, what I do [give] a damn about is when something is thrown in my backyard and is pushed in my kids' face by students of different lifestyles [and] faculty that support it! ... Keep your shit in your backyard and I'll do the same. Throw it around and push it in my kids' face just because, and by God I'll be the first to come unglued!"
Christian Bullington, a student who co-founded the GSA, wrote below a post about the club from news outlet Franklin County Buzz that he was "astonished how much hate I see on here and everywhere." Bullington also responded to allegations that GSA organizers threatened to sue school officials if they didn't allow the club.
"We did not threaten anyone," Bullington wrote. "I have wanted this group since I started at Franklin County High School. I have pushed and pushed but Mantooth and the board said no, no, no, no, no — until we found out that we are federally protected and that we are allowed to start the group. Now I'm sorry that a lot of you don't agree with the group, but find it in your heart for acceptance and peace."
The other co-founder of the GSA, Josh Dailey, elaborated on the need for the club.
"LGBT students in our school especially are bullied on a daily basis, and to be honest, I'm tired of seeing it as well as receiving it, so we have a club called GSA, which is a federally protected program, to give these students a safe place to go so we can stop bullying at the source as well as being there to support each other," Dailey wrote.
To support the GSA, like the club's Facebook page.
Watch WBRC's report above.
Image via Facebook