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In Response to
"Mixed Messages"

In Response to
"Mixed Messages"


We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, wish to respond to the article "Mixed Messages" in the April 8, 2008, issue of The Advocate.

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To The Advocate: We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, wish to respond to the article "Mixed Messages" by Neal Broverman in the April 8, 2008, issue of The Advocate. The front cover of the magazine asks: "Who's to blame? We told Lawrence King he had the right to express his sexuality. Did we send him to his death?" We feel the article discusses an important topic in an unnecessarily provocative way. The undercurrent of blame in the line of questioning posed to activists and administrators is unproductive and seems to be a cynical ploy to increase Advocate readership and revenue. It's unfair in the wake of this murder to ask those people working to make schools safer to second-guess their work. While incidents like this remind us of the climate that leads to violence against LGBT youth, that climate is where the blame lies. Thoreau wrote, "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." Rather than pointing fingers and using inflammatory language, we wish to bring focus back to the root of this problem. As groups united in the struggle to make schools safe for all youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, we say there is no "mixed message" here:

- The blame does not lie with Lawrence King.

- The blame does not lie with those working to make schools safer.

- Allowing intimidation and violence to force youth to suppress their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression will only prolong the struggle to end that violence. Other youth will be taunted, harassed, intimidated, beaten, and even killed before this struggle ends. None of them will be to blame, either.

Those who tell them it's OK to be gay, and those who advocate for LGBT youth are not to blame. Rather than finding fault with them, we hope this incident will motivate everyone to work with us to change the climate in schools. Our unified message: This climate of fear must stop, so all youth learn to respect diversity rather than fear and hate it. Those who wish to join us in this struggle can learn how to help by contacting any of the organizations below.

TransYouth Family Allies

Transgender Law Center

PFLAG Transgender Network

Triangle Foundation

INTRAA (Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance)

Fight OUT Loud

Seacoast Outright, Portsmouth, NH

Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)

The Liberal Catholic Church International, Diocese of Arizona

FTM International San Francisco, CA

FTMI San Buenaventura Reed Erickson Chapter San Buenaventura, CA

COLAGE, San Francisco, CA

Gay-Straight Alliance Network, San Francisco, CA

The Naming Project, Minneapolis, MN

Legal Services for Children, San Francisco, CA

Gunner Scott, Director, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

GenderQueer Revolution

The Gender Identity Center of Colorado

The Woodhull Freedom Foundation

National Transgender Advocacy Coalition

TransFM Internet Broadcasting Network

QSquaredYouth, Inc.

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition

Arizona Transsexual Alliance Outreach, Inc.

Madison Area Transgender Association, Madison, WI

Gemini Gender Group, Milwaukee, WI

Idaho Equality

Tri-States Transgender Social Welfare Action Alliance, Ann Arbor Chapter

Chicago Area Endangered Residents

Transgender Advocates of Central Texas

The Network/La Red, Boston, MA

PFLAG, Phoenix, Arizona Chapter

PFLAG, Montgomery, AL Chapter

The Queer Community Project, Brattleboro, VT

Transgender Detroit Warren, Michigan

Dr. Kelley Winters, Keystone, CO

Ann Lorraine Jones, Tucson, AZ

Rabbi Levi Alter

Rev. Dr. Julie Nemecek, MI

Reid Vanderburgh, LMFT Portland, Oregon

Mercedes Allen

Terry Rhines, Lakewood, WA

Deborah Jordan, Tacoma, WA

Donna Ellis, Chandler, AZ

Al Ellis, Chandler, AZ

Rev. Alexander Yoo, MA

Kate Bowman, Littleton, CO

Ricci Joy Levy, Washington, D.C.

Ethan St. Pierre

Laura Shinn, MSW, LCSW

Paula Keiser, Topeka, KS

Abigail Jensen, Prescott, AZ

Shawna Scott, Athens, GA

Michelle M. Eldridge

Helen Boyd, Brooklyn, NY

Mo Lewis, Tacoma, WA

Emilie Jackson-Edney

Jean Chapin Smith, MA

Professor Lynn Conway, Ann Arbor, MI

Airen Lydick, Seattle, WA

Stephen Tropiano, Ph.D.

Debra Soshoux, CA

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In Response to
"Mixed Messages"

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