Meet Iowa State Rep. Greg Heartsill, a politician who’s so worried about gays and lesbians recruiting questioning youth into “the lifestyle” that he will stop at nothing to shut down a youth conference about LGBTQ issues. Two problems: Heartsill has no idea what went on at the conference and doesn’t even know what LGBTQ stands for. And he isn’t even embarrassed about it.
Heartsill, who was a strong proponent of a new amendment that would require parents to agree to their children being involved in any sort of “human growth” education at school that might be considered objectionable or obscene—essentially making sex ed opt-in instead of opt-out—is now also looking into whether “The Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth” should have been supported by public funds. Heartsill, who has never attended the conference and has no idea what it was about has decided to investigate exactly who attended and how much schools paid to get kids to the bacchanal of gay and lesbian propaganda hosted by an organization called Iowa Safe Schools.
From Think Progress:
Describing the Governor’s Conference, he [Heartsill] explained there was “obscene material” presented and that parents were “shocked by it.” When Rep. Chris Hall (D) asked him if he knew what the acronym LGBTQ stood for, Heartsill admitted that he did not.
Despite not understanding the basic premise of the conference, Heartsill has now embarked on a quest to understand just who participated in it in apparent hopes of blocking public funds from being used in future years. He has sent a letter to all of Iowa’s school superintendents requesting information about how many faculty, staff, and students attended the 2015 conference last month and whether the schools covered any of the costs of attending, including transportation. His letter expresses concern that “students were subjected to sexually graphic and obscene presentations” and that “the closing speaker made frequent use of profanity during his presentation and even suggested that students vandalize the property of those who might disagree with their views,” referring to a performance by drag queen Coco Peru.
First of all, that is MISS Coco Peru, and as far as drag queens performers go, she’s the least offensive and most delightful queen you could find. She wears a caftan for god’s sakes! But that’s beside the point. What’s important here is that a man who has no idea what LGBTQ stands for, nor has any idea about anything that went on at a conference dedicated to improving the lives of gay youth has decided that something is objectionable without having any proof or even looking at the conference materials. Perhaps Heartsill could embark on a campaign to rid our schools (and country) of witches and communists next?
ThinkProgress has obtained a copy of the topics presented at the conference and, unfortunately, they are incredibly pornographic:
“Developing a Thriving GSA,” a workshop about setting up and growing a gay-straight alliance.
“Student Athletes,” a workshop highlighting successful coming out stories in student athletics.
“Civil Rights In Iowa: The First Step Starts With You!,” which taught attendees about the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
“Gay Rights Are Human Rights: Protecting Youth From Conversion Therapy,” about how to support a ban on ex-gay therapy for minors.
“Sexualized Bullying: What We Need To Know And Do,” which addressed sexual harassment in schools.
“Addressing Homelessness Among Transgender Youth,” a primer on the high rates of LGBT youth homelessness and how to fight the epidemic.
“Racial Justice Within Your GSA,” about making gay-straight alliances more racially inclusive.
Sounds pretty bad. Resources on racial diversity, bullying and civil rights? What next? Are we just going to force kids to copulate with each other during lunch? Because that’s where it sounds like this conference is leading. I graduated high school in the early 2000s and wish that there had been a conference like this or a “thriving” GSA I could have been a part of to know that things would some day be okay.
Heartsill’s motivation to come after the conference comes from a report filed by the FAMiLy Leader, an anti-gay organization that infiltrated the conference (“infiltrated”) and was shocked by all the things that were seen and heard. Unlike those horrible gays, the organization’s leader—who has referred to homosexuality as a public health hazard “akin to second-hand smoke” in the past—clearly had no agenda.
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Image via Iowa House Republicans