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Towson students object to ‘White Pride’ group

Among phrases chalked around campus was “White Pride.”

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Kevin DeAnna, gay news, gay politics dc

Youth for Western Civilization founder Kevin DeAnna. (Via YouTube)

Students at Towson University have reacted angrily to a right-wing campus group called Youth for Western Civilization for their perceived racist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and homophobic messaging and phrases that were chalked at various locations on the campus.  Among the phrases was “White Pride.”

A forum was held last week attended by about 400 students to address concerns about these messages as well as school safety. Matthew Heimbach, a 20-year-old junior is the president of the Towson University chapter of YWC. He explained that YWC is not a white supremacist group and that “white pride” should be as acceptable as “black pride” and “gay pride.” A spokesperson for the school said the group is not breaking any rules and will not be punished.

Freshman Andrew Werner told The Towerlight, an independent newspaper at Towson University, that the intolerance on campus targets LGBT students as well as black students. “I am proud to say that I am gay but that I am also Catholic,” Werner said at the forum. “I personally have been accepted, but those that I’m around have not been. I have witnessed a lot of insensitivity, and as a generally caring person, I just feel that that is not OK.”

Heimbach denies that the group is homophobic or racist. But he wrote in an end-of-semester report on the YWC website explaining why a “Straight Pride” event had been organized: “A small list of the events and programs that Towson hosts to promote the homosexual lifestyle includes gay pride month, drag shows, a gay mentor program, transgender awareness days, frequent pro homosexual speakers, LGBTQA rooms with special accommodations, internships only for gay students, and the Safe Space program for gay students. YWC thought it was a shame that in our diverse campus environment, the viewpoint of Straight Pride and heterosexual marriage was not represented.”

Youth for Western Civilization has at least 15 chapters. It was incorporated in 2006 and began organizing at American University in 2008. The founder was Kevin DeAnna, a graduate student at AU. Former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, known for his staunch anti-immigration stance, is honorary chairman.

According YWC’s Facebook page its mission statement includes: “The group opposes what it views as ‘radical multiculturalism, socialism, and mass immigration’ and a ‘poisonous and bigoted leftist campus climate.’”

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. steve Kay

    March 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Just another Rotten Republican hate group Which is trying to claim it is the victim, while it is the victimizer.

    The Students for western civilization is a spinoff from the repub young americans for freedom. The SPLC calls it a hate group. The Lawyer who really heads it appears to be a psychopath who shows himself wearing a bandolier of shotgun shells and holding a shotgun. He wrote a book about a mythical “Mr. Greenburg” who headed the SPLC. He fantasizes about Greenburg being shot and his head “Exploading”.

    It all reminds me of the book by Chris Hedges – American Fascists ** – the christian right and the war on America. they are dedicated to a white only, str8 only society which Hedges says b ears a resemblence to Germany in the 1920s. Basically we are talking about the people who in fact or in mentality are the Kluxers.

    We also need to remember that after the civil war, there were about 30+ balck members of congress and the senate, but by about 1900 there were zero. Thanks to the right wing xtians (not catholics) who gave us the KKK and segregation . Of course their worst nightmare of their descendants has come true – a black President.

    Typically these people are like Eg Gov Perry of TX, whose hunting grounds entrance had a sign – “”(“n-word) ranch””
    ** you can buy his book on ebay or Amazon ffor about $15

  2. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    March 18, 2012 at 12:31 am

    MR. HEIMBACH’S STATEMENT, “…white pride should be as acceptable as “black pride” and “gay pride,” IS CORRECT. LET’S SAY YOU ARE A NEGRO WHO IS A FAN OF COUNTRY MUSIC – LIKE I AM. I AM ABLE TO SEPARATE MY LOVE FOR COUNTRY MUSIC AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO SOUTHERN CULTURE FROM THE “EVILS” OF THE SOUTH (LIKE SLAVERY AND JIM CROW) BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND ANY BIAS A CAUCASIAN-COUNTRY MUSICIAN MAY HAVE DOES NOT HINDER MY LOVING THE MUSIC. SO, LET YWC EXIST IN PEACE. IF NO PROBLEM HAS ARISEN ON CAMPUS, DO NOT FORCE ONE TO HAPPEN VIA MISJUDGMENT.
    THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    • John

      March 22, 2012 at 6:17 am

      I think that it’s fairly clear what the agenda of this group really is. Also, “gay pride” commemorates an event that occurred in the fight for gay rights. It was the uprising at the Stonewall Inn when the relentless police once again raided the bar beating and arresting patrons for being gay. Only this time the patrons fought back with fists and furniture. Within a day or two a protest march was organized, signs were carried, demanding fair treatment and espousing “gay pride”, and the Pride Parade was born. So, the idea of “white pride” is really STUPID. What have white guys, of which I am one, had to overcome??? What event or action or historical event would it be commemorating??? Nothing, that’s what!!!

      I really don’t mean to chide you. You are still very young, I assume, if you’re a student. Of course you could be 47 years old, as I am. What I’m saying is that there’s an old saying that history repeats itself. Well, it only repeats itself if we let it and the way we avoid it and continue to evolve is to learn from it, to NEVER forget it!!!

      When I was in high school and we were learning about WWII, I thought, who cares, boring… But then when we began to learn about the death camps and the atrocities committed by the Nazis and the understanding that we had to learn about these things and that we had to understand how the Nazis came to power and how in the very beginning Hilter seemed to unite the country. I realized that little by little, this man, who at first seemed the answer to many of Germany’s problems was really a Fascist of the worst kind, because not only did he want to subordinate the fringe and the down trodden, he wanted to exterminate them because they threatened the purity of his Arian race. We cannot ever just stick our heads in the sand and say, they’re not hurting anyone, leave them alone. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. We have to be constantly vigilant regarding these groups.

      When we have prospective leaders who reiterate the same Fascist ideas as Adolph Hitler it worries me. When they speak about writing hate into our US Constitution and removing rights from any citizen for any reason, that’s a problem for me, a big problem for me. It should be a problem for everyone who wants to live in a free society. Fascism is a very dangerous ideal because it seeps in and before you realize it you’re over whelmed.

  3. Jenna Fischetti

    March 19, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Mr Heimbach should read Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. He might then be able to see racism(and all other margin-isms) not in terms of individual acts of malevolence, yet in invisible systems granting unearned dominance on whites(and all others majors).

  4. Watcher

    March 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    YWC president Heimbech: “I totally don’t get it. I mean, its okay to have, like, a nationalism party, and there already is, like, a socialist party. What is wrong then with, like, having a national socialist party. I mean, dude, come on.”

    Christopher Allen Horton: “LEAVE BRITTNEY SPEARS…I mean…LEAVE YWC ALONE!”

    • CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

      March 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      “Watcher,”
      AS A NEGRO MALE, I KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO BE MISJUDGED AND TREATED LIKE AN OUTCAST AND/OR CRIMINAL. OUT OF FAIRNESS, MR. HEIMBACH’S GROUP HAS A RIGHT TO EXIST. MY ANCESTORS HAD TO DEAL WITH SLAVE OWNERS AND THE KU KLUX KLAN. FOR ME – IN 2012 – TO BE ABLE TO EXTEND AN “OLIVE BRANCH,” WOULD BE CONSIDERED A GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT. DON’T YOU AGREE?
      THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
      CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

      • Watcher

        March 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm

        Yes, the group has the right to exist. People can think whatever they want. However, this is not the same as liking country music. They are about promoting white, straight culture at the expense of others. Big difference. I think your motives are good but liking Travis Tritt is not the same as liking a political group that is deliberately trying to exclude people. There are other people who are more worthy of extending the olive branch to.

        (Also, if you type in all-caps, you are “shouting”.)

        • Watcher

          March 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm

          Sorry, I forgot to mention that I hope YWC recognizes that school should teach about all cultures, and that “Western Culture” includes both you and me.

          • CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

            March 30, 2012 at 2:17 am

            “Watcher,”
            YOUR STATEMENT, “They are about promoting white, straight culture at the expense of others.” [WOW!]. FOR MORE THAN FOUR-HUNDRED YEARS, NEGROES IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE L-I-V-E-D UNDER THAT STATEMENT.
            THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
            CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  5. anglo-saxon

    July 23, 2012 at 5:50 am

    its ok to be white and proud shame people cant say it out loud :[

  6. Brandon Griffith

    October 7, 2012 at 8:51 am

    more power to them.

  7. Todd Morris

    January 3, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Black people are making white people feel like we are pure evil. I say enough with that!!! I’m not taking this shit anymore!!! I had to call into a Black Talk Show and give them a piece of my mind, once and for all!!!

    Here is what I said to them.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_v8S_2dO0w

  8. a

    January 24, 2013 at 9:48 am

    White people were enslaved… so, I can have white pride.

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Texas

Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott signs anti-Trans youth sports bill

“Despite the powerful testimony of trans kids & adults- the emails to the Governor to veto this harmful piece of legislation it is now law”

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Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott (Blade file screenshot)

AUSTIN – Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Monday H.B. 25, an anti-Transgender youth sports bill banning Trans K-12 student-athletes from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity. 

H.B. 25 is the 9th statewide bill signed into law this year banning transgender youth from participating in school sports and the 10th in the country. This bill also comes during a year when Texas lawmakers have proposed nearly 70 anti-LGBTQ bills, including more than 40 bills that specifically target transgender and nonbinary youth — far more than any other state.

“We are devastated at the passage of this bill. Despite the powerful testimony of trans kids and adults, families and advocates, and the many emails and calls our community placed to the Governor’s office to veto this harmful piece of legislation it is now law,” Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, said.

“Most immediately, our focus is our community and integrating concepts of healing justice to provide advocates who have already been harmed by this bill with spaces to refill their cup and unpack the acute trauma caused by these legislative sessions. Our organizations will also begin to shift focus to electing pro-equality lawmakers who understand our issues and prioritize representing the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and LGB+ people is wrong,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Texas state government was criticized for removing web pages with resources for LGBTQ youth, including information about The Trevor Project’s crisis services. The Trevor Project the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ young people.

“Transgender and nonbinary youth are already at higher risk for poor mental health and suicide because of bullying, discrimination, and rejection. This misguided legislation will only make matters worse,” Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

To every trans Texan who may be feeling hurt and attacked by this legislation and months of ugly political debate — please know that you are valid, and you are deserving of equal opportunity, dignity and respect. The Trevor Project is here for you 24/7 if you ever need support, and we will continue fighting alongside a broad coalition of advocates to challenge this law,” Paley said.

********************

Additional resources:

Research consistently demonstrates that transgender and nonbinary youth face unique mental health challenges and an elevated risk for bullying and suicide risk compared to their peers.  

  • The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 1 in 5 attempted suicide. 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health. 
  • A newly published research brief on “Bullying and Suicide Risk among LGBTQ Youth,” found that 61% of transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) students reported being bullied either in-person or electronically in the past year, compared to 45% of cisgender LGBQ students. TGNB students who were bullied in the past year reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who were not. And TGNB students who said their school was LGBTQ-affirming reported significantly lower rates of being bullied (55%) compared to those in schools that weren’t LGBTQ-affirming (65%).
  • A 2020 peer-reviewed study found that transgender and nonbinary youth who report experiencing discrimination based on their gender identity had more than double the odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not experience discrimination based on their gender identity.
  • Trevor’s research has also found that a majority of LGBTQ young people (68%) had never participated in sports for a school or community league or club — with many citing fear of bullying and discrimination as a key factor for not participating.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

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National

Ohio high school cancels play with Gay character after Pastor complains

The School’s fall production of “She Kills Monsters” was scheduled to open in less than one month until the play was canceled

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Hillsboro High School (Screenshot via Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO-TV)

HILLSBORO, Oh. — A Southwest Ohio high school’s play was abruptly canceled after Jeff Lyle, a local pastor from Good News Gathering, complained of a gay character. 

Hillsboro High School’s fall production of “She Kills Monsters” was scheduled to open in less than one month, until students learned the play would be canceled last week, reports Cincinnati’s ABC affiliate WCPO

The story follows a high school senior as she learns about her late sister’s life. It is implied throughout the play that her sister is gay, according to the news station.

The play’s cancellation comes a week after Lyle, a long-time voice of the anti-LGBTQ+ religious-right in Ohio, and a group of parents confronted the production’s directors at a meeting, according to Cincinnati CBS affiliate Local 12. Lyle denies pressuring school officials, but tells WCPO he supports the decision.

“From a Biblical worldview this play is inappropriate for a number of reasons, e.g. sexual innuendo, implied sexual activity between unmarried persons, repeated use of foul language including taking the Lord’s name in vain,” Lyle said. 

Some families say they believe Lyle did influence the school’s decision. 

“I think that’s wrong,” Jon Polstra, a father of one of the actors, told WCPO. “All they would have had to do if they objected to something in the play was not go to the play.”

In a statement to Local 12, Hillsboro City Schools Superintendent Tim Davis said the play was canceled because it “was not appropriate for our K-12 audience.”

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that the school planned to perform a version intended for audiences as young as 11 years old. 

Students were “devastated” and “blindsided” by the news, according to WCPO. 

“It felt like we had just been told, ‘Screw off and your lives don’t matter,'” Christopher Cronan, a Hillsboro High student, said. “I am openly bisexual in that school and I have faced a lot of homophobia there, but I never expected them to cancel a play for a fictional character.”

Cronan’s father, Ryan, also voiced his frustration. 

“They want to say the town is just not ready, but how are you not ready? It’s 2021,” Ryan Cronan said.

Students have started a GoFundMe in hopes of putting on the production at a community theater in 2022.

“If we do raise enough money, I am going to be genuinely happy for a very long time, because that means people do care,” Cronan told WCPO.

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Utah

VIDEO: Utah deal promoted as national model for LGBTQ rights, religious liberty

Data finds state has 2nd highest support for LGBTQ rights

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(Screen capture via YouTube)

A new video from the premier LGBTQ group in Utah, challenging the idea LGBTQ rights must be at odds with religious liberty, promotes an agreement reached in the state as a potential model to achieve a long sought-after update to civil rights law at the federal level.

The video, published Friday by Equality Utah, focuses on a 2015 agreement in Utah between the supporters of LGBTQ rights and the Mormon Church to enact a compromise acceptable to both sides. The agreement by those two sides led to an LGBTQ civil rights law in the state, which has Republican control of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, says in the video dialogue is key to achieving meaningful success, whether its among the people of Utah, a state legislature or lawmakers in Congress.

“When you are working with LGBT rights in a state like Utah, and you want to advance legal equality, you can’t do it without working with Republicans, with conservative, with people of faith,” Williams says.

Williams, speaking with the Washington Blade over a Zoom call, said the main audience for the video is people on “the center right and the center left” willing to listen to other side when it comes to LGBTQ rights and religious liberty.

“People that have the courage to reach out to each other, and sit down across from each other and say, ‘Hey look, let’s hammer this out,” Williams said. “That’s who my audience is.”

Not only did Utah enact non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, but the state under a Republican governor administratively banned widely discredited conversion therapy for youth. When lawmakers proposed legislation that would ban transgender youth from competing in school sports, the proposal was scuttled when Gov. Spencer Cox (whom Williams called a “super Mormon”) said he’d veto it after it came to his desk.

Marina Gomberg, a former board for Equality Utah, is another voice in the video seeking dispel the narrative religious liberty and LGBTQ rights are in conflict.

“in order to protect LGBTQ people, we don have to deny religious liberty, and in order to provide protections for religious liberties, we don’t have to deny LGBTQ people,” Gomberg says. “The idea that we do is a fallacy that Utah has dismantled.”

In July, new polling demonstrated the surprisingly the Utah, despite being a conservative state, has the second highest percentage of state population in support for non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The data Public Religion Research Institute from 77 percent of Utah residents support LGBTQ people, which is just behind New Hampshire at 81 percent.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the pro-LGBTQ American Unity Fund, said the Utah agreement demonstrates the possibility of reaching an agreement at the federal level once “second order” issues are put into perspective.

“The first order question has to be how are we winning the culture,” Deaton said. “Do people even want to pass the bill? And if they do, you then figure out the details.”

The American Unity Fund has helped promote as a path forward for LGBTQ non-discrimination at the federal level the Fairness for For All Act, legislation seeking to reach a middle ground on LGBTQ rights and religious freedom. Polling earlier this year found 57 percent of the American public back a bipartisan solution in Congress to advance LGBTQ civil rights.

Supporters of the Equality Act, the more established vehicle for LGBTQ rights before Congress, say the Fairness for For All Act would give too many carve-out for LGBTQ rights in the name of religious freedom. The Equality Act, however, is all but dead in Congress and has shown no movement in the U.S. Senate.

Skeptics of the Utah law would point out the law doesn’t address public accommodations, one of the more challenging aspects in the fight for LGBTQ rights and one or remaining gaps in civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County. As a result, it’s perfectly legal in Utah for a business owner to discriminate against LGBTQ coming as patrons.

Williams, however, shrugged off the idea the lack of public accommodations protections in Utah make the agreement in the state makes it any less of a model, making the case the spirit behind the deal is what matters.

“I think copying and pasting Utah’s law doesn’t work for lots of reasons,” Wililams said. “What’s most important is a model of collaboration because when you are sitting around the table with each other — Democrats and Republicans, LGBTQ people and people of faith — that’s when the transformation happens. That is when the mutual respect is really forged.”

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