Weekly Standard article on "Fistgate" conference
Warning America about the homosexual agenda in the schools
In July of 2000 -- just weeks after it hit the "Fistgate" scandal hit the national news (mostly Fox reporting, particularly Hannity & Colmes, but also other national media) the Weekly Standard published an article about it. Although the Weekly Standard generally seems to shy away from the homosexual issues, then-staff member Rod Dreher thought it was important enough to write about, and apparently the editors agreed with him.
Below is the article that appeared in the magazine:
Banned in Boston
Appeared in "The
Weekly Standard" July 3-10, 2000
YOU ARE BY NOW AWARE Of the war gay activists are waging on radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, whose opposition to homosexuality has made her Public Enemy No. 1 of the lavender lobby. Few outside of Massachusetts, however, have heard Brian Camenker and Scott Whiteman, two suburban fathers who are enduring public vilification, potential financial ruin, and possible jail time for protesting the gay agenda in the state's public schools.
Dr. Laura's struggle to get her syndicated television show on the air is of great symbolic importance. But the situation in which Camenker and Whiteman find themselves embroiled is far more significant to average people. Countless parents, after all, could face the onslaught now directed against the Massachusetts dads if they, too, were to raise their voices against public school officials' collusion with gay activists to mainstream homosexuality in the classroom.
Camenker and Whiteman, who live in the Boston suburbs, head a Bay State grass-roots organization called the Parents' Rights Coalition. For years, the PRC has been complaining to Massachusetts officials that radical homosexuals are introducing grossly objectionable material to children and seeking to undermine parental authority over the moral instruction of their kids. Time and time again, members of the Parents' Rights Coalition took evidence backing their concerns to school and state officials, to no avail, they say.
Indeed, Paul Cellucci, the state's Republican governor, has continued to budget $1.5 million for the Governor's Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth. The commission oversees the creation and support of "Gay/Straight Alliances"--student clubs organized around gay issues.
Furthermore, Whiteman was called a "slanderer" by a member of the Board of Education, he says. "I knew I wasn't lying. I knew I wasn't making it up. I knew I wasn't an alarmist."
Frustrated by official indifference, Whiteman secretly took his tape recorder along to the 10th annual conference of the Boston chapter of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, at Tufts University on March 25. GLSEN (pronounced "glisten") is a national organization whose purpose is to train teachers and students and develop programs to, in the words of its Boston chapter leader, "challenge the anti-gay, hetero-centric culture that still prevails in our schools."
The state-sanctioned conference, which was open to the public but attended chiefly by students, administrators, and teachers, undercut the official GLSEN line--that their work is aimed only at making schools safer by teaching tolerance and respect.
The event, backed by the state's largest teachers' union, included such workshops as "Ask the Transsexuals," "Early Childhood Educators: How to Decide Whether to Come Out at Work or Not," "The Struggles and Triumphs of Including Homosexuality in a Middle School Curriculum" (with suggestions for including gay issues when teaching the Holocaust), "From Lesbos to Stonewall: Incorporating Sexuality into a World History Curriculum," and "Creating a Safe and Inclusive Community in Elementary Schools," in which the "Rationale for integrating glbt [gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender] issues in the early elementary years will be presented."
Whiteman sat in on a "youth only, ages 14-21" workshop called "What They Didn't Tell You About Queer Sex & Sexuality in Health Class." If "they" didn't tell you about this stuff, it's probably because "they" worried they'd be sent to jail.
The raucous session was led by Massachusetts Department of Education employees Margot Abels and Julie Netherland, and Michael Gaucher,an AIDS educator from the Massachusetts public health agency. Gaucher opened the session by asking the teens how they know whether or not they've had sex. Someone asked whether oral sex was really sex.
"If that's not sex, then the number of times I've had sex has dramatically decreased, from a mountain to a valley, baby!" squealed Gaucher. He then coaxed a reluctant young participant to talk about which orifices need to be filled for sex to have occurred: "Don't be shy, honey, you can do it."
Later, the three adults took written questions from the kids. One inquired about "fisting," a sex practice in which one inserts his hand and forearm into the rectum of his partner. The helpful and enthusiastic Gaucher demonstrated the proper hand position for this act. Abels described fisting as "an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with," and praised it for putting one "into an exploratory mode."
Gaucher urged the teens to consult their "really hip" Gay/Straight Alliance adviser for hints on how to come on to a potential sex partner. The trio went on to explain that lesbians could indeed experience sexual bliss through rubbing their clitorises together, and Gaucher told the kids that male ejaculate is rumored to taste "sweeter if people eat celery." On and on like this the session went.
Camenker and Whiteman transcribed the tape and wrote a lengthy report for Massachusetts News, a conservative monthly. Then they announced that copies of the recorded sessions would be made available to state legislators and the local media. GLSEN threatened to sue them for violating Massachusetts' wiretap laws and invading the privacy of the minors present at one workshop.
The tapes went out anyway and became a talk radio sensation. On May 19, state education chief David Driscoll canned Abels and Netherland and terminated Gaucher's contract. But Driscoll also insisted that the controversial workshop was an aberration that shouldn't be allowed to derail the entire program. Abels fumed to the press that the education department had known perfectly well what she had been doing for years and hadn't cared until the tapes had surfaced. Camenker, ironically, agreed.
That same weekend, a day after the Boston Globe editorial page editorialized against Camenker and Whiteman, thousands of New England homosexual youths marched on the Massachusetts State House in a scheduled "pride" rally. David LaFontaine, chairman of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, denounced Camenker and Whiteman: "The hatred we've heard on the radio and smeared across the TV in the last week ... is the prejudice that simmers beneath the surface [which] has now bubbled up into the open in all of its ugliness."
Then, state Superior Court judge Allan van Gestel issued a gag order prohibiting the Parents' Rights Coalition, the news media, and the entire state legislature from disseminating or even discussing the tapes--though the conference had been in part sponsored by the state, and had been conducted by and attended by state employees. One might think lawmakers and the local media would have been outraged.
Not in Massachusetts. Nary a peep of protest issued from the legislature, and aside from a Boston Herald editorial denouncing the move, the news media were as silent as the grave. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a gay-rights supporter who is not most people's idea of a conservative, took to the airwaves to blast the ruling and the establishment's indifference to it.
"Sometimes civil libertarians become ambivalent when the First Amendment clashes with their liberal agenda. I've been fighting that for years," Dershowitz told me. "It's a situation where the political correctness of the Boston news media has caused it to take a back seat," says Boston civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate. "Of course, what will happen is, in some other case in which the news media will have more of an interest, where one of their darlings will get restrained, then suddenly they will find they've allowed a precedent to be set. It's a perfect example of the news media not rushing in and protecting [free speech] no matter whose ox is being gored."
Days later, van Gestel held a hearing to reconsider his gag order. Says Camenker, "The only news organization that showed up to demand their First Amendment right to play the tape was the Fox News Channel." Van Gestel relented somewhat, lifting the gag on everyone but Camenker and Whiteman.
Meanwhile, a legal aid group called Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed suit against the two men on behalf of the workshop students. They are still threatening to press criminal charges.
Silverglate, a gay-rights supporter who calls "a huge mistake" homosexual activists' habit of labeling "hate speech" any opinion they don't like, warns that the Bay State's liberal legal culture will make a fair trial for Camenker and Whiteman a near-impossibility.
"This is the state, remember, that brought you the St. Patrick's Day Parade case, in which all three layers of the Massachusetts court system found that the court had the power to force the Irish war veterans to allow a gay Irish group to march under their own banner."
The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled 9-0 in favor of the war veterans, who were represented by conservative Boston lawyer Chester Darling, now serving as Whiteman's attorney.
"Nine to nothing--that tells you it was an easy case, but you would never know it from reading the Boston Globe and observing the conduct ofthe legal profession," Silverglate says. "This state has some serious problems."
Though Camenker and Whiteman expect to triumph, if not in Massachusetts courts then at the federal level, neither man has deep pockets. Both estimate their defense costs will meet or exceed $80,000, and money is trickling in to a legal defense fund. Whiteman, 26, is a law student whose wife just gave birth to their frst child. Camenker, 47, owns his own software business, which he says is suffering.
"I could lose everything," he says. "My business could go down the tubes. And if this criminal stuff actually goes down, I could go to jail."
As their story becomes more widely known, the men find themselves doing more interviews on talk radio around the country.
"The whole idea that [gay activists] have been trying to suppress this has been helpful. Nobody listened to us beforehand," says Whiteman. "Everybody thought we were making it up. The fact that they're trying to cover it up proves that they have something to cover up. We've caught them red-handed."
But will their expose ultimately make a difference? GLSEN/Boston boasts the most advanced programs of its kind in the nation. As goes Massachusetts, in time, so may go the rest of America. Camenker and Whiteman are on the front lines of a battle likely to spread to school districts from coast to coast, as the powerful GLSEN organization, with sponsorship money from American Airlines, Dockers Khakis, and Kodak, presses its radical agenda under the innocent-sounding guise of "safety," "human rights," and "suicide prevention."
"That money goes down a rathole to fund gay clubs in schools, and gay rallies and conferences," fumes Camenker. "None of the people who get the money are legitimate suicide prevention groups. They're all these gay groups."
GLSEN will be holding its annual leadership training conference next month in San Francisco, to be preceded by a two-day workshop teaching students and educators how to push the gay agenda in local schools--even at the kindergarten level--as a human rights issue. Books available from the GLSEN website include Queering Elementary Education and Preventing Prejudice, a collection of elementary-school lesson plans built around themes such as "What Is a Boy/Girl!" and "Freedom to Marry."
Schools' surreptitiously introducing this material to students, says Whiteman, "puts kids at risk and puts parents completely out of the loop with the sexual identities of their children. The schools take this elitist attitude that they know best."
The point of this activist drive, warns Camenker, is to desensitize children to gay sex at a very young age and counteract moral instruction to the contrary given by their parents and religious leaders. If you protest, he warns, be prepared to be stone-walled and sneered at by school officials, smeared in the press, and denounced as a hatemonger and a bigot by gay activists.
Yet what choice is left to parents but to fight? "We're facing an incredible evil here. It chills you to the bone," says Camenker, an Orthodox Jew brought closer to his faith by this struggle. "The only way we're not going to get run over is if people wake up to what's happening to our children."
"These people are bullies," he continues. "People are afraid of them, afraid of being called homophobes. I don't enjoy this, but this is America, and I'm not going to run away."