Tagged: Anoka-Hennepin

BREAKING: Newest Member of Anoka-Hennepin Anti-Bullying Task Force Claims LGBT Parents Molest Their Children

Anoka-Hennepin-Schools-LogoOh look, Bryan Lindquist — spokesman for an SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group and the newest member of the Anoka-Hennepin Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Task Force — has something to say about marriage equality!

The editorial board of ABC Newspapers, a group that owns several newspapers in central Minnesota, published an editorial encouraging readers to vote against a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Needless to say, that didn’t sit well with Lindquist, a notorious opponent of LGBT rights who publicly refers to homosexuality as a “sexual disorder.” So he wrote a letter to the editor in response, in which he claims, among other things, that gay and lesbian parents molest their children. It’s a doozy:

To the Editor:

This is in response to the editorial from the ECM Editorial Board titled “Marriage amendment would suppress freedom” (Oct. 5).

While they agree with the fact that “Children do best when they are raised by a mother and a father…” they also suggest that “… children will thrive in environments in which they are loved by two parents, regardless of the gender make-up of those parents.” This simply is not true.

University of Texas Professor Mark Regnerus did a study on homosexual parenting. His excellent research was published in the well-respected academic journal, “Social Science Research.”

The Regnerus study is the largest of its kind to date (just under 3,000 interviews of 18- to 39-year-olds), and is the most thorough and comprehensive study ever done on this topic.

Here are some of his findings that reveal greater child endangerment in same-sex households than households headed by a mom and a dad:

  • Parental pedophilia:  23 percent of children with a lesbian mother reported having been touched sexually by a parent or adult, compared with 2 percent of those raised by biological parents.
  • Higher number of rape cases: 31 percent of children raised by a lesbian mother and 25 percent raised by a homosexual male report that they were forced to have sex against their will, compared to 8 percent from intact families.
  • Suicidal tendencies are shocking: 24 percent of children raised by homosexual men and 12 percent of children raised by lesbian mothers admitted to having recently contemplated suicide, compared to 5 percent of those raised by biological parents or even a single parent.

This study proves that children are better off when raised by their biological mom and dad.

The ECM Editorial Board is wrong. Children raised in homes where homosexuality or other same-sex behaviors are present face increased risks.

The social experiment of legalizing same-sex unions will prove disastrous for kids and bring untold dysfunction and damage to children and society.

Vote “yes” on the Marriage Protection Amendment on Nov. 6 and help protect the children in Minnesota.

Bryan Lindquist

Of course, the “study” Lindquist cites, that of University of Texas Professor Mark Regnerus, has been widely discredited for its flawed methodology, wildly inaccurate conclusions, and allegations of partiality, to name just three examples. (If you’d like further information, Scott Rose of the New Civil Rights Movement has written extensively about the bankruptcy of this so-called “study.”) In short, it’s junk science. But because it’s junk science that happens to legitimize anti-LGBT bigotry, homophobes like Lindquist are more than happy to cite its bogus statistics in service of their anti-equality agenda.

gay_bullyingThink it’s unconscionable that a proponent of such awful anti-gay lies should be entrusted to serve on a task force charged with protecting kids — including LGBT kids — from bullying and harassment? I do too. But Anoka-Hennepin School Board Chair Tom Heidemann, who appointed Lindquist to the task force, apparently doesn’t see it that way. He defended his decision earlier this week when he spoke with a local television station, and again in an interview that aired today on Minnesota Public Radio. Heidemann said,

[Lindquist] brings a conservative-Christian point of view to the committee and also a commitment to making sure that there’s no bullying and harassment of students in school for any reason.

Just so we’re clear, the conservative Christian, homophobic “point of view” that Heidemann’s referring to is the same one — religion-based anti-LGBT bigotry — that leaves a trail of dead teens. But in the Anoka-Hennepin School District — one with bullying and suicide problems so severe that the State of Minnesota declared it a “suicide contagion area” — it’s still apparently a point of view worthy of respect and consideration.

Will the nightmare ever end for the LGBT kids of Central Minnesota?


WATCH: Anoka-Hennepin Board Chair Defends Naming Hate Group Leader to Anti-Bullying Task Force

anoka-hennepin_newsreported last week on the appointment of Bryan Lindquist, an anti-gay activist and spokesman for an anti-gay hate group, to the Anoka-Hennepin School District’s Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Task Force. School Board Chair Tom Heidemann passed over several community members with LGBT-inclusive views, including Tammy Aaberg (whose son committed suicide due to the relentless anti-gay bullying he received at Anoka High School) and Jefferson Fietek (an anti-bullying trainer who also serves as faculty advisor to the local Gay-Straight Alliance), in order to name Lindquist — an outspoken proponent of “ex-gay” junk science — to the task force in the name of “diversity.”

KSTP-TV, the local ABC News affiliate, attempted to contact Lindquist, but he refused to respond. They spoke with Heidemann, who defended Lindquist’s appointment and revealed that he “had the ultimate say on who would be on the task force:”

When Heidemann was asked if he thought Lindquist was looking out for all kids, Heidemann said yes and ‘based on the testimony he’s (Lindquist) had at the board, he’s concerned about the bullying harassment of students,’ Heidemann said.

Aaberg and Thompson disagree. They’ve read and heard Lindquist’s opinion.

For example, when Lindquist was at a January school board meeting where he spoke about overcoming sexual disorders.

‘He talks about this (homosexuality) as being a disorder, it’s not,’ Thompson said.

Thompson’s daughter is an Atheist and Aaberg’s son, Justin, who was gay committed suicide.

Both women say an adult with an agenda should not be on the task force.

Predictably, by the end of the interview Heidemann had retreated into the standard religious-right talking points about how the real victims are not bullied LGBT kids, but rather, anti-gay Christians: ”I think again that in order for us to be effective as an organization, we cannot exclude any person based on their religious beliefs.”

We’ll continue to bring you updates on this story as it develops. Watch the KSTP-TV report below.

Notorious MN School District Sent This Rejection Letter to Mom of Gay Suicide Victim

Last night, I revealed in an exclusive report that the school board of Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District, notorious for an epidemic of anti-LGBT bullying and a rash of teen suicides, appointed Bryan Lindquist — a spokesman for an SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group — to the district’s new Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Task Force.

I also noted that several prominent LGBT advocates and straight allies from the community had applied to serve on the task force, but were rejected. They included Tammy Aaberg, a local mom who became an advocate for LGBT rights and safe, LGBT-inclusive schools after her son Justin committed suicide in 2010 due to relentless anti-gay bullying.

Tammy has given me permission to publish the letter sent to her and the other rejected applicants by school board chair Tom Heidemann. Her address and the names of the task force’s student members have been redacted; hate group spokesman Bryan Lindquist’s name is listed on the second page, as one of the Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Task Force’s community members.


BREAKING: TWO Condemns Anoka-Hennepin School District for Appointing Hate Group Member to Anti-Bullying Task Force

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Contact: John Becker, Director of Communications
Phone: 920.265.6023
Email: john@truthwinsout.org

Truth Wins Out Condemns Anoka-Hennepin School District for Appointing Hate Group Member to Anti-Bullying Task Force

School Board’s Actions Cast Doubt on District’s Commitment to Ending Bullying, Says TWO

 – Truth Wins Out condemned the Anoka-Hennepin School Board today for appointing Bryan Lindquist, a prominent member of the Parents Action League, as a community member of the district’s Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Task Force. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Parents Action League (PAL) as one of 27 active anti-gay hate groups across the country, specifically for demonizing and lying about LGBT people.

As an anti-gay activist and PAL spokesman, Lindquist has labeled homosexuality a “lifestyle choice” and a “sexual disorder,” spread the false claim that homosexuality is a health risk, and demanded that the district include scientifically discredited “ex-gay” propaganda on its website and place so-called “ex-homosexual” and “ex-transgender” materials in high school guidance offices and media centers.

“Students who identify or are perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender are significantly more likely to be bullied at school than their peers,” said John Becker, Director of Communications for Truth Wins Out. “It is absolutely shocking that the Anoka-Hennepin School Board has appointed Bryan Lindquist – a spokesman for an anti-gay hate group and a bully himself – to serve on a task force charged with combating bullying.”

Anoka-Hennepin-Schools-LogoThe Anoka-Hennepin School District, based in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, became notorious for a teen suicide epidemic so extreme that the state declared it a “suicide contagion area.” Several suicide victims were either LGBT or perceived to be. A pervasive climate of anti-gay bullying flourished as a result of the district’s “Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy,” which the school board enacted at the urging of local evangelical activists. It required employees to “remain neutral” on matters involving sexual orientation, but its definition of “neutrality” was so ambiguous that teachers and staff were afraid to intervene when LGBT students were harassed by their peers for fear of being reprimanded.

An investigation by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education found that the district’s “neutrality policy” contributed to a hostile environment for LGBT teens. The policy was invalidated earlier this year as part of a settlement agreement between Anoka-Hennepin and six bullied students who sued in federal court. As a condition of the settlement, the district agreed to implement a host of anti-harassment policies; the task force was part of a statewide response to the bullying problem.

Community member Tammy Aaberg – whose 15-year-old son gay son Justin committed suicide in 2010 after relentless anti-LGBT bullying – applied to serve on the Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Task Force but was not appointed. The application of Jefferson Fietek, faculty advisor to the local Gay-Straight Alliance and an anti-bullying trainer, was also rejected.

“In addition to being shockingly tone-deaf, the exclusion of equality-minded community leaders like Fietek and Aaberg in favor of Bryan Lindquist represents a slap in the face to LGBT students, as well as parents and families that have lost an LGBT child to bullying-related suicides,” said Wayne Besen, TWO Executive Director. “Further, it calls into question the district’s commitment to ending bullying and harassment.”

letter written by School Board Chair Tom Heidemann to the editor of the Anoka County Watchdog, a local conservative blog, raises further questions. In it, Heidemann defends the board’s decision to settle the bullying lawsuit and reassures blogger Harold Hamilton that despite the school board having repealed the neutrality policy, they had “maintained [its] intent” and “did not make any changes to curriculum.” He also wrote that by doing this, the board had “preserved several core principles.”

“That a so-called ‘neutrality policy’ which essentially denied the existence of LGBT teens and enabled their harassment could be deemed a ‘core principle’ of the Anoka-Hennepin School District is simply outrageous,” said TWO’s Besen.

In an emailed response to Melissa Thompson, a parent who expressed concerns about Lindquist’s appointment and whose application to the task force was also rejected, Heidemann claimed that Lindquist was named to ensure that task force members reflected “very diverse points of view.” He also said that the board was “firmly committed” to addressing bullying and harassment.

“Legitimizing a hateful anti-gay worldview under the pretext of ‘diversity’ is utterly repugnant,” said Becker, “especially since that view has created a climate that drives LGBT kids to take their own lives. The Anoka-Hennepin School District has a choice to make: it can either embrace the radical ideology of Bryan Lindquist and the Parents Action League or it can honestly address its infamous anti-gay bullying problem and protect its LGBT students. It can’t do both.”

Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a nonprofit organization whose goal it is to create a world where LGBT people can live openly, honestly, and true to themselves. TWO monitors anti-LGBT organizations, documents their lies, and exposes their leaders. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating, and fighting for LGBT equality.


Obtained and broken exclusively by myself, written for and initially published at Truth Wins Out

Awful: LGBTQ Youth Group Named for Deceased Bullying Victim Shut Out of Anoka, MN Halloween Parade

justin_aabergUnbelievable: City Pages is reporting that Justin’s Gift, an LGBTQ youth group founded to honor the memory of deceased teen bullying victim Justin Aaberg (left), is being shut out of the annual Anoka Halloween parade:

Justin’s Gift, an LGBTQ youth group founded in the memory of Justin Aaberg, a 15-year-old gay Anoka High School who killed himself after he was bullied in school, has been informed youth from the group won’t be allowed to walk in Anoka’s annual Halloween parade, ostensibly because “there were too many people already walking in the parade.”

The Anoka, Minnesota area has gained notoriety in recent years for being the epicenter of a rash of LGBT youth suicides. As reporter Aaron Rupar writes, this colossally tone-deaf gesture is a horrible public relations mistake at best; at worst, it suggests that “the more things change in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, the more they stay the same.”

Local parent Rebecca Krone, who works with special needs children in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, started a petition on Change.org asking Anoka Halloween to reconsider their awful decision. Please consider signing and sharing Krone’s petition. Let’s make sure Anoka Halloween knows that the whole country is watching and counting on them to do the right thing.


Life for LGBT Teens in Bachmann’s Minnesota

gay_bullyingYou need to head over to Rolling Stone and read this article about what LGBT kids go through in Michele Bachmann’s district every day, largely because local evangelicals have waged an all-out war on the area’s LGBT population. This blatant bigotry only serves to intensify the bullying that’s par for the course for LGBT teenagers at schools across the country. In Anoka, homosexuality is forbidden from even being discussed. Teachers and administrators do not intervene when LGBT students are harassed by their peers because they fear being fired for violating a district policy requiring them to stay “neutral” on, and banning positive references to, LGBT people and issues. And the culture of shame and fear that “Christian” fundamentalists (many of them from the same conservative church that Bachmann attended until just last year) have created around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities  is so pervasive that LGBT teens feel scared and unsafe within the walls of their schools.

And they’re killing themselves because of it. So many, in fact, that the state of Minnesota declared the Anoka-Hennepin school district a “suicide contagion area.” After one of the suicides — that of Sam Johnson in 2009 — students in the district’s GSAs participated in the Day of Silence. In this GLSEN-sponsored event, participants spent the day in silence to illustrate the silencing effect of the anti-LGBT bullying that led to the loss of several of their peers.  The response? Local evangelical churches organized a so-called “Day of Truth” event; their kids showed up at school wearing shirts telling their peers they could pray away the gay and engaged in anti-gay proselytizing in the hallways. (At that time the “Day of Truth” events were sponsored by Exodus International; it’s now been shifted to Focus on the Family and re-branded as a so-called “Day of Dialogue” in a transparent attempt to soft-pedal anti-gay bigotry.)

The way local evangelical “Christians” have doubled down on– not merely shown coldhearted indifference to, but doubled down on — the persecution of LGBT people, even in the wake of so many suicides, is pure evil.

Read, too, about Tammy Aaberg. Her son Justin was an Anoka High School student who committed suicide in 2010 due to anti-LGBT bullying, and his death turned her into an activist. Readers who know me know I have a soft spot in my heart for equality moms (including, I’m proud to say, my own). Hell hath no fury like a mom fighting for her LGBT child. But I have nothing short of awe for moms like Tammy Aaberg and Judy Shepard who fight for a child whom they’ve lost. I don’t know how they do it, but I admire their strength.

This is why the fight for our equality is so important. Slowly but surely, we’re building a world where no more Judy Shepards have to bury a child murdered for being gay, where no more Tammy Aabergs have to discover their baby boy dead in his bedroom because he couldn’t take another day of being bullied for his LGBT identity.

Please, read and share this article and resolve to keep fighting.