This is what happens when good people collide with bad people. Let’s start with the good, shall we?
Several weeks ago, Tennessee student Marcel Neergaard made a lot of news when he, at the ripe old age of eleven, led a campaign to have an education award rescinded from vehemently anti-gay Tennessee lawmaker John Ragan. You see, Marcel experienced terrible anti-gay bullying in fifth grade, so bad that his parents pulled him out and homeschooled him for his sixth grade year. When he started the campaign, he did so because he doesn’t want what happened to him to happen to anyone else. He started a petition to ask StudentsFirst to rescind their “education reformer” award from John Ragan, and moreover asked them to support anti-bullying legislation in Tennessee. That will still be an uphill road, as we have thoroughly embarrassing lawmakers in Tennessee like the aforementioned Ragan, and the notorious homophobe Stacey Campfield, who would rather move things in the opposite direction and prohibit schools from even discussing the existence of gay students. However, StudentsFirst did everything the Neergaards asked, affirming that they “Stand With Marcel.” Marcel’s petition currently has over 56,000 signatures.
Let Melissa Harris-Perry give you a little more background:
Clearly, Marcel is a pretty awesome kid. He also has awesome parents who have supported him the whole way:
Now, we must move on to the bad. Sharon Kass is one of the strangest anti-gay activists out there. As far as I can tell, she’s never actually held any official position with an anti-gay organization, so she’s not making money off of being unhinged. But unhinged she is. That may be putting it lightly.
You see, Sharon’s entire activist M.O. is to write long, meandering, unhinged letters to gay activists. They follow similar patterns: she links to organizations like PFOX and NARTH (the “ex-gay” propaganda is heavy with this one); states that being gay is “preventable and treatable,” stemming from a “failure to bond” with one’s same-sex parent; they mindlessly repeat catchphrases like “gayism” and “gay-egalitarianism,” words that mean nothing to anyone except the voices dictating her letters; they suggest that “civil disobedience” will be required to stop the gays from gaying up the country; sometimes she even suggests civil war!
In short, it’s like Porno Pete or Eugene Delgaudio, but constrained by the limits of a dial-up modem.
She may have outdone herself this time, though. Sharon sent a letter to the Neergaards by snail-mail (someone at her house apparently was using the phone that day), and it’s pretty sick, even to a grizzled veteran of the anti-gay culture wars like me. The letter was addressed to Mike Neergaard, a man Sharon does not know, and within, she suggests that Mike is to blame for his son’s sexuality, and that he should stop being so loving to his child, all for the sake of Sharon’s agenda. To be clear, what she is suggesting is that Mike and his wife reject their child, adding familial and spiritual bullying to the bullying he already endured from classmates in school. Remember, as you read, that Sharon Kass and her cohort believe they are on the moral and “pro-family” side of this fight. Shall we?
I could add a lot of commentary to this, but I feel that Sharon’s own words condemn her in the sight of all normal, moral people, so I’ll let them stand on their own for the most part. I do find it insane that people like Sharon cling to the notion that being a gay man has something to do with not wanting to be a man. The fact that she then goes as far as to assume that not only did the Neergaards not want a boy, but that this then caused distance between members of this absolutely lovely family — who does she think she is?! “No doubt this is hard for you to hear,” she says. Well yes, it’s hard to hear, for it engenders concerns for the well-being and safety of anyone who comes in contact with Sharon Kass of Silver Spring, Maryland, and we weren’t planning on thinking about her today. However, we’re fairly certain that Mr. and Mrs. Neergaard are doing just fine and can handle the parenting of their own child, thank you very much! Indeed, they’ve raised one of the most intelligent, well-spoken youngsters I’ve ever seen, a kid who has the strength and sense of self at age eleven (!!!) to rise above his challenges and use his experiences to make the world a better place.
We have no idea what happened to Sharon Kass to make her the way she is, but she’d do well to study the actions of the Neergaard family over the last several weeks to see what true, mature compassionate human beings look like. I’d add a list of links and resources for Ms. Kass, but she has Google and is free to use it when the dial-up starts working again. (Although, we will include a couple of videos with real scientists so Kass can learn how backward and obsolete her theories are):