Lau­rie Hig­gins of Illi­nois Fam­ily In­sti­tute

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

By D’ANNE WITKOWSKI

It’s al­most that time of year again: April 15 is the an­nual Day of Si­lence where stu­dents across the coun­try choose to spend the day with­out speak­ing in or­der to call at­ten­tion to anti-LGBT bul­ly­ing in schools. And this year, like ev­ery year, the anti-LGBT right is clutch­ing its col­lec­tive pearls at the very thought.

Lau­rie Hig­gins of the Illi­nois Fam­ily In­sti­tute is one such pearl-clutcher. She, along with the usual anti-LGBT sus­pects, is en­cour­ag­ing par­ents to pull their kids out of school on DOS lest they be in­doc­tri­nated with the mes­sage that it’s not okay to call a kid “fag” and push him down the stairs af­ter gym.

“Par­ents should no longer pas­sively coun­te­nance the po­lit­i­cal usurpa­tion of pub­lic school class­rooms through stu­dent si­lence,” Hig­gins writes on the IFI web­site.

Let me take a mo­ment to point out that Hig­gins doesn’t re­ally give a shit about pub­lic schools. The right has been un­der­min­ing pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion for years and sup­port pri­vate charter schools where kids can learn that Je­sus rode around on dinosaurs. You can go to the IFI’s web­site your­self and pe­ruse the ar­ti­cles about ed­u­ca­tion. Most of them are about how to keep trans­gen­der stu­dents out of locker rooms or about how great home­school­ing is.

The Gay, Les­bian and Straight Ed­u­ca­tion Net­work (GLSEN), which is re­spon­si­ble for the DOS, char­ac­ter­izes the event as “a stu­den­tled na­tional event that brings at­ten­tion to an­tiLGBT name-call­ing, bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment in schools.”

Sounds like a wor­thy goal, right? But not for Hig­gins. She takes is­sue with the DOS be­cause, as she claims, it’s not about pre­vent­ing bul­ly­ing but is ac­tu­ally in­tended “to un­der­mine the true be­lief that ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and cross-dress­ing…are im­moral.”

The sui­cide rate for trans youth is even higher than the rate for LGB youth, so it’s ex­tra nice that Hig­gins man­aged to bully them while mak­ing her point that bul­ly­ing isn’t the real is­sue.

Hig­gins seems to think that the very idea of be­ing “com­fort­able” at school is a laugh­able lux­ury when it re­ally is fun­da­men­tal to an in­sti­tu­tion of learn­ing.

Lau­rie Hig­gins

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