poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Prom fears deter gay teens

For gay teens, prom -- the spring dance of a lifetime, or at least of young people's lives -- goes beyond the usual teen angst of not fitting in or getting a date.

"I know kids at this school who are gay and they are not open. They have to lie and miss out," said Kyrie, a Beyer junior and president of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance, whose mother knows about her bisexuality, but not her dad.

Although same-sex couples are legally allowed to attend prom together, some Modesto gay teens are afraid to go because their peers might whisper and stare and their parents might disapprove, a dozen students said.

Nationwide, a growing number of gay students are bringing a date to prom or would like to do so, said Josh Lamont, communications director with the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a national, New York-based education organization fighting against harassment and violence of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender students.


Hundreds march for gay rights in Poland

Approximately 800 gay rights activists marched through the southern Polish city of Krakow on Friday, appealing for greater understanding in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. But the march was met by about 200 counterdemonstrators, many with shaven heads, who threw stones, eggs, and firecrackers at the demonstrators, chanting "Down with gays!" and "Let's kick the homosexuals out of Krakow."

Police officers with guns and dogs kept the two groups apart, firing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets into the air when they were pelted with stones. No injuries or arrests were reported. Opposition to the march, held in the picturesque city where Pope John Paul II once served as bishop, highlights the difficulties homosexuals face in finding acceptance in conservative Poland.

Marcher Ilona Salczynska said that although Poland joined the European Union last weekend, the country still has far to go in achieving Western standards of tolerance. "We are only partly in Europe," the 23-year-old student said. "But although so many people are protesting this march, we are here. We are a little bit scared, but we are marching, and there are a lot of us."

Uproar over the march began weeks ago when news surfaced that an activist group, Campaign Against Homophobia, planned to hold the demonstration for Sunday, the day of an annual procession through the city in honor of St. Stanislaw, Poland's patron saint. The organization rescheduled the march for Friday, but conservative political parties and church groups still appealed for its ban--a stance rejected by city officials.


Preachers stoke anti-gay sentiment
Staff Writer
DAYTON, Tenn. — Eight preachers, spurred by anti-gay rights organizer the Rev. Frank Raddish of Washington, D.C., heaped fire and brimstone on ''homosexuals and sodomites'' during a five-hour preaching marathon yesterday beneath the century oaks of the historic Rhea County Courthouse.

Before the ''Amen'' of the final prayer, a preacher in the audience took exception with his fellow pastors on the program, a local gay man quietly protested the meeting's ''hate message'' and passers-by pondered what today's Gay Day in Rhea will bring — when an estimated 3,500 people plus and unknown quantity of protesters converge in Dayton.

''This is going to be a mess,'' predicted Joe Cox as he stood on the sidewalk listening to the courthouse speeches.

''I'm telling you right now, I'll probably be in jail tomorrow, because if my nephew looks at me and he says, 'Uncle Joe, what are those men doing holding hands?' I shouldn't have to explain that to my nephew. There'll be trouble,'' the Rhea County man said.


GFH students, parents object to church fliers
Tribune Staff Writer

Dozens of Great Falls High Scholl students turned the table Thursday and Friday mornings on a conservative religious group that has been distributing fliers the students consider intolerant of gays, Muslims and other groups.

The Rev. Gary Koljonen, pastor of Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church, denied that his group was forcing fliers on students and maintained the information is "biblically based, not intolerant."

With permission from Principal Fred Anderson, the GFH students stood peacefully on the campus sidewalk across 20th Street from where 15 to 20 members of the church group was passing out pamphlets all week. Some members of the church group also picket against abortion regularly at the Planned Parenthood office on 9th Street South.

Anderson said about 250 GFH students participated in the counter-protest Thursday and 100 on Friday. They held signs with messages, such as "We believe in tolerance; Why don't you?" and "Public education teaches tolerance, not hate."


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