Guest Blogger

Hutch Misses the Snap

Filed By Guest Blogger | April 26, 2008 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Day of Silence, guest post, PFLAG

Editor's Note: ShannonB is an activist both for trans rights in society but also for trans and all LGBTQI in religious communities on the west coast. She is an electrical engineer in her day job, and a leader in her church denomination in Seattle, where she writes a blog and is a regular contributor to their newsletter advocating for LGBTQI inclusion at all levels in religion.

or What Really Happened at Mt. Si High School on 4-25-2008

It was partly cloudy with grey clouds wrapping the summit of Mt. Si and sending tendrils of fog down the snow capped sides. A chill mountain wind near freezing greeted the early gatherers numbering between 80 and 100 as they unpacked supportive, positive messages on posterboard and unrolled rainbow flags in front of Mt. Si High School. Lucinda Hauser and Jane Storrs, both parents of children at Mt. Si High School passed out premade signs with messages of support and multicolored armbands. I carried a rainbow flag on a pole and wore my rainbow hat (my flag is in the first photo after the jump, but I'm not since I am taking the picture). We had TV cameras out filming us and more TV helicopters than an accident on I-5 during morning rush hour.

MorningSupprt.JPGThe morning rally organized by Lucinda and Jane was explicitly to show support to the students-GSA and otherwise-participating in the Day of Silence at Mt. Si High School, and in recognition of their silence, we conducted the rally in silence from 7am to 8am. About 6 out of every 10 cars that went by were honking and waving. We cheerily waved back, despite the cold chewing at our bare fingers. Only an exceptional few cars (I saw only 3 all morning) did a thumbs down gesture to our waves.

The rally was split into two parts, one on sidewalk adjoining the road on both sides of the school. Students cheered and waved, sometimes bouncing across their parent's lap as they tried to drive to wave to us. The students knew we were there, they knew what was coming later, they knew they had the support of the community, their parents, and assorted LGBT and allies that took the time to drive to the mountain community an hour east of Seattle. It was truly a blessing to see the relief and joy in their faces at such an expression of support on the cold grey morning.

We handed out slips of paper that said the following about our rally to support the students:

Thanks for your support on the Day of Silence

Please remember these points today

1. This a silent show of support for the studens of MSHS. Do not speak to students, faculty, or protesters.

2. Only have positive message on your signs

3. Show your suppor from 7-8. We need to leave once classes are underway and wll before 10.

4. consider showing support at the Snoqualmie Library at 11.

5. A final show of support is encourage OFF SITE at the close of the school day (2;15). Show up with another supporter. Suggested locations include:

and then several locations around town were suggested. 10am was the time Hutch and his supporters were supposed to arrive.

There were no confrontations with the support rally. Police in about 5 different cars cruised by almost every couple of minutes, alert to a trouble that never came-hearing our silence resonate off the mountainside. Christian mothers, preachers, and clergy stood shoulder-to-shoulder with past students, GLSEN members, Safe Schools Coalition members, PFLAG members, and other allies all decked in colorful clothing and rainbow flags.

Hutch's protest was much different. There were insulting and offensive signs, and political messages that probably many of the students either didn't care about or didn't even understand. There were students offended by those messages yelling at protesters, protesters yelling at students-yes, you heard that right-grown adults yelling intimidations at children. And how many of the Hutch faithful Prayer Warriors came? The thousand he predicted? More? No, less than 80 according to media estimates. Yep, less than the parents and allies that had gathered earlier that morning.

And where were we? At the behest of GLSEN and Lucinda and Jane we were at the Snoqualmie Library having a press conference with all 5 local TV stations, the Seattle Times newspaper, and the local Snoqualmie newspaper (and a few others that didn't identify themselves).

Early, just before 7am I gave an interview to local TV about our positive message, and our support for students trying to improve their school by raising awareness of bullying and intolerance. Later, there were so many messages of hope and support for the children at the press conference. TV stations taped it all. But did they use it? No, to the media the story was confrontation, and some have even skewed the fact to say that the confrontation that did happen was by those of us that showed support in the morning. It wasn't true. It was what the media wanted, but they chose to ignore the real story in favor of manufactured sensationalism.

PressConf.JPGThe bottom photo is the panel put together by GLSEN of two local clergy, a local businessman, and 3 parents of children at Mt Si High School, who collectively explained to the press that you can be Christian and not hate gays and lesbian, that they felt the Day of Silence exactly mirrored their Christian principles of tolerance and acceptance, non-violence and an end to bullying. A former student talked of the bullying he received at Mt Si and other high schools before giving up trying to get an education. They answered questions from the media about how they felt Hutch's interference in their local community by threatening to bus in a thousand people not from the community taught exactly the lesson about the need for teaching tolerance. They talked about how the intimidation threat brought them together to stand up be counted even though otherwise they would much rather not have been on TV that morning. It was one of the most moving scenes of caring, compassionate parents that one could ever be privileged to witness. Hutch totally missed the snap, and the ball rolled into the opposing end zone and was covered by a courageous group of parents and children in the Snoqualmie Valley Mt. Si High School.


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Ken Hutcherson is another one of the sellout minstrels (oops ministers) cooning it up for the TVC Man

Methinks he played too much NFL football without his helmet.

Monica, that made me smile...

And thank you to the students and allies that took a stand on the Day of Silence.

And a big thanks to Shannon for covering this for us.

Waymon.
It's what allies are SUPPOSED to do for each other. Bullying is an issue we can all agree on needs to be stopped.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 27, 2008 8:48 AM

What a wonderful moving post. You did better than I did in my last interaction with the media. It was not even a Gay issue. It was a tragic death of two small children left in an oversize pantry by their grandma while she went to the store two minutes away.

They found and played with matches and the smoke fumes killed them.

I was just returning to my home at midday and saw smoke coming from the house. Phoned 911 and somehow was called by Newsradio in Chicago for a coment on the fire. It was quickly evident to me that the media was out to deamonise the family. I was later on Chicago TV when a camera crew arrived at my home.

The very blonde female roving newsanchor who dreaded going west of Western Avenue in Chicago immediately remarked with a surprise in her tone:
"Oh, you have a NICE home." To this I responded:
"Thank you, but really, not nicer than many of my neighbors."

When I had the oak floor resanded and finished in this house I had an argument with the finisher about using the best materials as in this neighborhood I would never get my money back.

I gave an interview at my dining room table where I told the reporter: 1. This was an extreemly close and loving family that doted on their children. 2. The parents who were away working at the time of the incident were active in the community and were good providers. 3. I had often seen the grandmother doting on her little angels in the front yard.(They were 3,4,5,years old at most and a handfull for an old lady. My neighborhood was largely Hispanic and it is not unusual for several generations to live together.)4.After a question of the reporter I stated that this appeared to be an extreemly small fire from the street before I reported it to the fire department, mostly smoke.

Before the reporter left I chided her because we had a new park building across the street that was a focus of the rebirth of our community and there was no televison coverage even though Mayor Daley had come to the opening.

"But you will show up when there is a disaster."

Do you know what made the news? About seven seconds where I said it was a small fire that they spun into: "the needlessness of this tragic event."

Shortly after, this fractured damaged family moved from the home that had contained this sudden sorrow, convinced that their neighbors must have hated them for their neglect of their children. Charges were considered for neglect against granny. Thank you media! When I was a kid it was a tragic misfortune. Now politicians have to find someone to punish for tragic misfortune and call it neglect because of the cold bright light of media.

The two edged sword of the media is so cruel and so much a lie. "They will tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in their eye."