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Homosexual activists at National Mall on Oct. 11, 1987 during "Gay March on Washington. (Photo: Bay Area Reporter)

Kevin Jennings: Radicalized at 1987 "Gay March on Washington"

Inspired Jennings to push homosexual agenda in school

Violent demonstration in front of US Supreme Court two days later

POSTED: Jan 7 2010

by Amy Contrada, MassResistance © 2010

"Safe Schools Czar" Kevin Jennings participated in the 1987 "Gay March on Washington" and demonstrated in front of the White House and US Supreme Court, according to a book he wrote.  The march is also considered to be the beginning of "National Coming Out Day," now pushed in schools across the country.  At that time Jennings was a teacher at Concord Academy, a private high school in Concord, Massachusetts.

Jennings was inspired by this D.C. experience to become a radical activist in the schools, he wrote. He realized the power he had over his students, and decided he had to “come out” to them. That, after all, was what the gay rights march had told everyone to do at that first national “coming out” event on October 11, 1987.

Jennings tells that story in his book Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son (pp. 157-159):

In October [1987], Bob [his “partner”] and I set off for Washington to join several hundred thousand of our closest friends in the second national march for equal rights for gay people. It’s trite to say that the experience transformed me, but it did. A half million people turned Washington into an all-gay city that weekend, kidding on the subway, holding hands on the street, defiantly and jubilantly enjoying a freedom they were rarely afforded back home in Alabama and Montana and Utah and Concord, Massachusetts. When the massive throng gathered on Sunday for the march, stretching as far as they eye could see, some contingents waited for hours before even stepping off. The high was indescribable: here we were, marching hundreds of thousands strong past the symbols of our nation. We chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at the White House, a building from which we had gotten only silence and inaction as over forty thousand Americans, mainly from our community, were killed by AIDS by the end of 1987. We chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at the Supreme Court, which had ruled just the year before in Bowers v. Hardwick that laws criminalizing same-sex sexual behavior were constitutional. In this case, Justice Byron White memorably wrote in the majority opinion that claims of gay activists were “facetious,” and Chief Justice Warren Burger stated in a concurring opinion that to invalidate sodomy laws would be to “cast aside a millennia of moral teaching” that was “firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards.” (Huh? I thought we had separation of church and state … gotta revise my lesson plans when I get back to Concord.) … It gave me a new sense of confidence, and I returned to Concord ever more determined to live a life of honesty. …

I grew increasingly frustrated at the lack of opportunities to be honest with my students. … the atmosphere [at Concord Academy] was one that encouraged and valued innovation. But for me, the best part of the job, as always, was being able to be an important figure in so many kids’ lives. Fifty percent of the students were boarders, often living thousands of miles from home, so Concord expected its faculty to take a strong interest in their students outside of the classroom as well as within it.

A radical event -- first large-scale homosexual activism in US

As the pro-gay site Wikipedia describes, the 1987 Gay Rights march was the first large-scale public exhibition of raw, angry homosexual activism. 

Among the features of that weekend was a bold, radical list of demands -- all of which have been granted in the 13 years since that event.

The demands presented at that march are:

1. The legal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships.
2. The repeal of all laws that make sodomy between consenting adults a crime.
3. A Presidential order banning anti-gay discrimination by the Federal Government.
4. Passage of the Congressional lesbian and gay civil rights bill.
5. An end to discrimination against people with AIDS, ARC, HIV positive status, or those perceived to have AIDS. Massive increases in funding for AIDS education, research, and patient care. Money for AIDS, not for war.
6. Reproductive freedom, the right to control our own bodies, and an end to sexist oppression.
7. An end to racism in this country and apartheid in South Africa.

National Coming Out Day materials

Beginning of "National Coming Out Day"

The national homosexual group "Human Rights Campaign" documents that the 1987 march was the beginning of "National Coming Out Day," which homosexual activist teachers have personally acted out before their students, and now encourage among youth at high schools and even middle schools across America.

See their posting: “National Coming Out Day: Take Your Next Step.”

Two days later: 600 arrested at protest by ACT UP and others outside US Supreme Court

Two days after the march, on Tuesday, October 13, 1987 the Supreme Court was targeted by an angry mob of several thousand gay and lesbian radicals, yelling and trying to break into the building.

BELOW: "Civil Disobedience" outside of US Supreme Court by homosexual activists. (Photo: JEB, Queerly Visible)

The New York Times reported that 600 were arrested as they pushed through police barricades to demand their right to sodomy. They were upset at a 1986 Court ruling upholding Georgia’s enforcement of its anti-sodomy statute:

Many of the protesters walked quietly, escorted by policemen, to waiting city buses. Others were dragged across the plaza. Although the demonstration was free of any major violent incidents, the police did wrestled [sic] to the ground five protesters who had attempted to cross a barricade at the rear of the building.

At one point, a group of demonstrators including some AIDS victims sat down on the steps of the building and began to chant, ''We have AIDS, and we have rights.'' At another, as a group crossed the barricades to be arrested, some police officers at the top of the steps placed white gloves on their hands, ostensibly as a protection against AIDS, prompting the crowd to shout, ''Shame, shame!'' and ''Your gloves don't match your shoes!'' The arrests continued until 2 P.M. [Emphasis added.]

A major participant in that disruption at the US Supreme Court was the emerging group ACT UP.

"Out & Outraged" handbook
for "non-violent" demonstration at US Supreme Court on October 13, 1987. Text inside the 'Out & Outraged" handbook.

ACT UP "civil disobedience training" that describes ACT UP's involvement in that October 13, 1987 disruption, from ACT UP website.

We’ve documented Jennings’ membership in ACT UP (founded in March 1987).  Was Jennings part of that rowdy protest? If he wasn’t, perhaps the weekend's activities were where he first ran into the fierce radicals he later joined up with (and celebrated just this past year at Harvard University).

Jennings begins his homosexual activism targeting schoolchildren

A few months after the march Jennings “came out” at his high school. The following year he founded and ran the Concord Academy’s pioneering GSA (gay/straight alliance), and also started his teachers’ network, GLSEN.  Then, in 1992-1993, he worked with sexual radicals to establish the Massachusetts “Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.”

Through that group and GLSEN, he followed through on the demands of the 1987 marchers (mentioned above) to push AIDS education and prevention program that is explicit, culturally sensitive, lesbian and gay affirming and sex positive ... The government must provide safe sex education to all youth."

Jennings' reader for high school and college students, Becoming Visible, includes the platform of demands from the 1987 march (pp 223-224).