Feb 20 2008

School to gay activist students: oppressing homos is an “issue of taste”

I note with no surprise whatsoever that homophobes in positions of authority continue to oppress teenagers in my old hood. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports today on a protest staged by a dozen high school students on the Belleville* courthouse steps. These students were protesting the bigoted tone taken by Belleville East High’s administration against the apparently terrifying spectre of a school-sponsored chapter of the Gay-Straight Alliance. The protesting students thought they might promote a human right or two on their campus, but naturally such seditious ideology cannot be tolerated in a school where (a) a student was forced to resign a position with a Christian athletic group after appearing on a radio show about gay teens, and (b) where two male students who kissed during a skit were forced to apologize.

Apologize for what, you might ask? For poor “taste,” apparently. This offensive homosexual peck on the cheek was, according to Belleville East’s principal, “an issue of appropriateness.”

Belleville East High, you see, has very high standards of taste. The floors are made of travertine marble. Picassos hang on the walls. School lunches of organic fois gras and roasted beet salad are served on Wedgwood china by obsequious Mexicans in short white jackets while a chamber orchestra plays Haydn.

Of course, claims Principal Kniepkamp, dabbing his delicate brow with a silk Hermes pocket square, the tasteful school treats all students “fairly.”

What Principal Kniepkamp means is that he, backed by centuries of oppressive tradition, considers it well within the bounds of fairness to quash any challenge to the heteronormative laws of the hive — which laws exist, you’ll recall, to carefully monitor the location of all sex organs.

‘”If you take your family to a G-rated movie, you expect to see a G-rated movie,” quoth the Neanderthal Mr. Kniepkamp, who doesn’t seem to grasp that kissing is allowed even in Disney movies these days.

What a fucking knob.

Note: Because of my poor writing skills, some busy readers seem to have misapprehended the gist of the Belleville situation. The students were protesting against gay discrimination by the school administration.

* The hick town of Belleville is a subsidiary of St. Louis, located across the Mississippi River in Illinois


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  1. aJenniferOriginal

    Yes, because all teens know that “gay” is the ABSOLUTE worst thing you could be. And if they don’t know yet, well then damn it they SHOULD. IBTP. I blame it all the time.

  2. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Paraphrasing some American civil war general, if I owned Hell and St. Louis and environs, I’d live in Hell and rent out St. Louis.

    As far as “taste” is concerned, I’d rather see homos kissing than getting bashed.

  3. CLD

    So the stately and tasteful Principal Kneejerk associates two young men performing a same-sex kiss in a stage play with p0rn or an X-rating? Nice flow of logic there, dood.

  4. Hattie

    Twisty, you are the best.

  5. Ron Sullivan

    Quick, somebody, send in The Triplets!

    Somebody’s talking about “taste” and highschool boys??? Riiiiight.

  6. Optimist

    Twisty – I love reading you. Let’s kiss – but only if it’s OK with Principle Shitforbrains…

  7. yankee,transferred

    Principal Fuckwad would have loved my kid’s school doing The Laramie Project for their play. There were approximately 30 people in the audience, where Cinderella had sold out the year before.

  8. Ugly In Pink

    If a chaste male-male kiss is less than G-rated, then they’ll have to burn down the boys locker room. A single towel-snap could scar those fine upstanding heteros for life.

  9. claudia

    Come on, foie gras is French and therefore totally gay; they’d never serve such a thing, geese bedamned.

  10. pisaquari

    Well there goes the Football team…

  11. Brigid

    Applause to those students for showing the folks around them what is truly appropriate–standing up for the rights of others.

    IBTP for that a-hole principal. Idiot.

  12. Twisty

    Ironically, Claudia, in certain homophobic circles — such as the super-rich — the arbiters of taste are gay men.

  13. Q

    And yet last week, in my very own state of residence, a “gay” student was shot and killed during his first class of the day by another student. (The LA Times covered this particularly heartbreaking story here.)

    The victim? 15 years old. The assailant? 14 years old. The patriarchy begins so, so early.

    Those St. Louis students must be completely unaware of current national events. I find their protest and hate absolutely appalling, and the icing on the hateful cake can only be the time in which they chose to deliver it.

    Someone needs to inform our children that nothing comes of hate but more hate — hate upon hate, hate after hate after hate — and that it is unacceptable. You do not have the right to bully, berate, tease, lord it over, or hate upon others for any reason, period.

    Will they hear it? No. IBTP for that.

    Should we say it anyway? Surely, yes.

  14. Twisty

    Q, see the note I appended to the post.

  15. cycles

    Funny, how matters of taste are completely subjective. One person’s lovely travertine marble is another person’s fugly display of ostentation. All well and good for appraising inanimate objects.

    When it comes to persecuting actual people, you can’t really call it taste any more, can you?

    Of course, when you’re on the top of the patriarchy, you get to decide whether or not you’re oppressing them. Your decisions have no bearing on their lives. You’re merely asking them to stop being tacky with all that acting-as-if-they-were-human stuff.

  16. Pinko Punko

    This reminds me of the good old Salt Lake city School District decision to ban all student clubs and groups rather than allowing a gay-straight club. Remember, school support for most clubs means room 235 is unlocked from 2:20 until 4 pm, so some budding enginerds can read comics or what not, or at least be off the streets and out of a gang. Tis better to be in a straight gang than to be supporting of the gay!

  17. delagar

    In my fiction writing class, here in Arkansas, where the students have turned in exactly one story so far, every one of the male students have felt it necessary (I fucking kid you not) to mention, before their male POV character expresses any sort of feeling for another male character, that they aren’t gay. As in, “I’m not gay or anything, but I really felt for Orlando then,”; and “I’m as far from gay as you can get, but I wanted to tell Jasper it would be okay.”

  18. Q

    Thanks for the clarification, Twisty. It figures; I finally de-lurk into the conversational mix after years of silent, young onion agreement, only to misunderstand the subject at hand.

    Note to self: newspaper links. Click them more often.

    Nevermind! Say on, Twisty. Say on.

  19. wendy

    i would like to point out to an earlier commenter that Belleville is actually in Illinois, not in Missouri. St. Louis is in Missouri. Therefore, while her criticism of St. Louis may be quite accurate, it has nothing to do with a conversation about Belleville, IL.

  20. Lara

    You know when I spoke out against sexist photography on a website I used to use I was told by several photographers that the photographs are ok because it’s “a matter of taste.” Right….
    Try to gloss over systematic heteronormative and misogynist oppression by claiming it’s all a matter of personal choice and style.

  21. gogol

    Since when is a peck on the cheek less tasteful than hatred and intolerance?

  22. Sara

    That’s not that surprising… Kniepkamp is a complete prick. The students have almost succeeded in getting a Gay-Straight Alliance at the school,which a former teacher of mine will be sponsoring if students show enough interest. At least some progress was made… and hopefully someone will sack Kniepkamp soon.

  23. Hope still exists!! =D

    late,late,late update.
    it has succeded, under a different name and not strictly GSA (it helps any students facing discrimination =D )
    still many homophobics, both students and teachers, but things are getting better. kneipkamp is retiring and hopefully some1 better will replace him. except the school board would probably be against that.
    but things are looking up!! =D

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