Rhode Island State Rep. Dan Gordon, who represents Tiverton and Portsmouth, is so disgusted by one of his own district’s high schools having a gay-straight alliance, he wants the place defunded. Because, after all, he doesn’t think “we should be promoting anything whatsoever that has to do with sexuality. Especially in a school that receives public funding.” Not that this makes Gordon anti-gay, of course!
Gordon’s made his first comments in the comments section of the local Patch website, which were followed up with remarks on a local AM radio show yesterday. It gave Gordon the opportunity to lambast the original mission of Tiverton High School’s GSA: prevent bullying. “I don’t think there would be much of a problem with bullying if students weren’t flaunting their sexuality in school,” he argued. Yeah, gay kids: stop acting all queeny in the hallways and you won’t get the SHIT KICKED OUT OF YOU. (Thankfully, Tiverton’s Principal Steven Fezette thinks otherwise and vocally supports the GSA.)
And if Tiverton High doesn’t do away with its GSA? “[I]f I have anything to say about it, Tiverton will lose school funding to local charter schools. It doesn’t matter if gay or straight, if sexual meet-up groups are being promoted in our schools rather than improving test scores, that school is failing. Is it really more important for our children to get ‘sexed-up’, than learning advanced math?”
Oh I forgot that’s what GSAs were created for: to get kids “sexed up.” Also, D.A.R.E. teaches kids to use drugs, and standardized tests teach kids to drop out of school.
But remember: In the minds of bigots, their anti-gayness is not actually anti-gayness. It’s just, um, what? A difference of opinion?
On Thursday morning Gordon took to AM radio station 630 WPRO for two hours, where he tried to clear up any misconceptions you may have about what he said. It did not go well.
“Anything of a sexual nature should not be taking place at a taxpayer-funded facility,” Gordon said on the radio show. “The purpose of a school is to get an education. … When I was in school, if there was a group for heterosexual students that was going to be meeting after school, I would all day be thinking about who are all the new faces that would be there tonight. That’s just human nature.” Because as we all know GSAs are totally not stigmatized student clubs that only ostracized kids join.
Meanwhile, if what you heard coming out of Gordon’s keyboard sounded homophobic, rest assured it isn’t — says Gordon, who used the phrase “sexual preference” throughout the interview. “I’m not anti-gay. I have a gay cousin who I enjoy spending time with. … I have gay friends. I have gay family. I’m a United States Marines service veteran …. There were gay individuals that we served with.”
And now that he’s been partially schooled on what GSAs are actually for, Gordon wants to join in. Sort of: “I have reached out to the group in Tiverton and asked to attend one of their meetings. I would be happy to attend if invited … Maybe I can sit in and learn a little more about the group.” Fine, buddy, but I don’t want you spending all day thinking about who are all the new faces that would be there tonight.
For the record, Gordon says he never had sex in high school: “I grew up in a strict household … and I did not have sex in high school.” Which explains all his angst.
(If you’ve got extra time on your hands, read these comments left by Rep. Gordon — “I quite frankly don’t understand why there is so much hate coming from these folks; the very thing they propose to eliminate with their peer support group. Seems to be a double standard here. To repeat, my assertion is that sex groups, gay or straight, do not belong in schools. The lack of reading comprehension in itself is indicative that there is a problem with our educational system” — and the responses from his constituents.)