Tag Archives: public education

Bigot of the Week Award, October 17: The Vincennes New Years Eve Ball

17 Oct

LincolnThank you to my friend and staunch LGBT ally Jennifer Carey for pointing me to this Bigot of the Week, a sad snapshot of just how far we have to go on the road to equality and why celebrations like National Coming Out Day are still very necessary.

Every year for decades Juniors and Seniors at Vincennes Lincoln High School in Vincennes, IN have been invited to participate in an annual New Years Eve Ball, with the restriction that the event is for “couples only.” Sadly, since 2004 the invitations have clarified that only “traditional couples” are welcome. Wow! That’s some harmfully loaded and coded language.

Just in case anyone was uncertain about that language, the charmfree Lincoln High School Super Straight Alliance has tweeted “We don’t cheer for queers!” and used the tag #StraightPower. So much for equal access at this public institution.

The group that organizes the party every year hides behind the fact that the Ball is funded by parent contributions and held off campus. Those facts do nothing to change the fact that the Ball is inherently bigoted and damaging to LGBT students. Invitations are distributed at school; the yearbook publishes pictures of couples at the Ball every year; the university that hosts the Ball is ALSO a public institution. Whatever defensive posturing and sickening sidesteps the hosts use, this event discriminates.

That’s the most important detail, making all the quibbling over who funds the event and where the students dance immaterial. LGBT couples are told they aren’t welcome, forced to accept that they are second class citizens. That damage is a lesson that will last for years after high school is just a distant memory. Bigotry is bigotry, even in fancy dress.

Hero of the Week Award: April 1

1 Apr

Hero of the Week

This week The Solipsistic Me is pleased to honor a local hero, Oregon state Senator Frank Morse. It is certainly rare that we honor Republican legislators on this blog, but Morse is a rare Republican. Representing a district that includes historically conservative Albany (my husband’s hometown) and progressive University town Corvallis, Morse makes every effort to represent the needs of all of his constituents. This frequently puts him at odds with the Republican caucus, but Morse stands strong.

Compelling his selection as HWA, Morse:

  • Was a primary sponsor of the Civil Unions bill in Oregon, both in 2005 (when it was blocked in the House) and in 2007, when it was finally passed. “When it comes to discrimination, it’s not acceptable for any reason…[Civil Unions are] the right thing to do, even if they may be unpopular in some quarters.” Demonstrating a rare glimpse of true Christianity in politics, Morse has indicated that one driving force in his support of equality is his faith.
  • Supports a woman’s right to choose, stating that, “while abortion should be a matter of necessity and not of convenience, I respect and support each woman’s right to make those decisions.”
  • Champions strong, accurate sex education programs in public schools.
  • Was named a Stand for Children Education Champion in 2010 for his efforts to legislate for well-funded, high-achieving public schools and a solid economic future for our children.

This week, Morse was a vocal proponent, sponsor, and one of only two Senate Repubicans to vote for in-state university tuition for children of illegal immigrants, arguing that they should not be punished for the actions of their parents and should be given every fair opportunity to improve their own lives and contribute to the success of Oregon. This principled stand, the latest in a long series, earns him this week’s Hero Award. Bravo, Sen. Morse!

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