Not quite a couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Alex Cooper.
That, in and of itself, was not unusual. I have received emails from people who have visited and read my blog before. However, it was the first time I was ever asked if I would endorse a product/website on my blog. And, to be honest, at first I thought Alex was pulling my leg. But, after emailing back and forth and assurances that it was a legitimate offer, I agreed to do so with the understanding that I would first “test drive” the product. If I liked it, I would endorse it and add a link to my blog roll. If I didn’t like it, nothing would go up on my blog. No harm, no foul and no damage done to anyone’s reputation.
So, the fact that I am writing about this at all means, obviously, I did like the product.
Of course, the fact that Alex knew from my blog that I am a Barry Manilow fan and just happened to have a t-shirt in stock that might appeal to that part of me certainly didn’t hurt in any way! LOL
I’ve been thinking a lot… taking in comments from both sides, both praise and criticism… and the thing that I find most disheartening in all of this is that the very people who taught me acceptance for all human beings regardless of who/what they are… the ones who taught me to live by “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”… the ones who taught me Christian values… are the very people who say how wrong I and everyone else in the LGBTQ community are over something we did not choose, but how we were born.
Usually, I like what Dan Savage has to say. I’m an avid reader of “Savage Love”, I like the mix of his off-beat humor and no-nonsense, frank discussion about sex and it’s many, uh… complexities.
And I absolutely applaud his efforts with the It Gets Better Project.
However, this past week, he made an error that, to many, has negated his efforts to end bullying… the core of why he started the It Gets Better Project in the first place.
Dan made an appearance as the keynote speaker at the NSPA/ JEA’s annual High School Journalism convention, Journalism on the Edge. The main topic was about bullying, but, as he has been known to do, Dan veered off on other sub-topics and one of them was the Bible.
Honestly, here is where I have to question whether or not the organizers of this event actually knew anything at all about Dan Savage and what he does/has done. If they had done a proper amount of research into not only the It Gets Better Project, but Dan, himself, and his core beliefs they might have been wiser not to have had him as a speaker for High School students. Or, at the very least, could have given fair warning to those in attendance that some of what he said may be deemed offensive by this group or that group and given said groups the opportunity of opting out of attending in exchange for some other activity to get their grades. Some have said attendance was voluntary… but I don’t remember attendance to anything in High School being voluntary. It was “you attend, or take an incomplete and fail”.
At any rate, Dan began to speak about the Bible and, as he did, a group of Christian students in attendance began to leave. Here’s a short video from that part of his presentation, and what has been garnering all the criticism.