Dear Safe Schools Coalition members and friends,
One more call to action re:Nickelodeon
One more call to action re:Nickelodeon
GLAAD Alert Today
June 19, 2002
THANK NICKELODEON FOR AIRING SMART KIDS'-EYE VIEW OF LGBT FAMILIES
Children's cable network Nickelodeon aired a groundbreaking and long-overdue news program last night entitled, "Nick News Special Edition:My Family Is Different." Produced by Linda Ellerbee's Lucky Duck Productions and hosted by Ellerbee, "My Family Is Different" featured children of gay and lesbian parents talking with children from households that oppose equal rights for gay and lesbian families about the issues that affect their lives, including hate speech, bullying and harassment. Among the other participants on the show:openly lesbian parent Rosie O'Donnell; Tom Ryan, a New York City firefighter who is also a gay father; and Mark French, an openly gay school principal.
The program focused on teaching respect amid differences, and demonstrated that kids are more than able to have mature discussions about complex issues. The Traditional Values Coalition (which rushed to condemn any discussion of the diversity of America's families and organized an unsuccessful, mean-spirited campaign to stop the show from airing) should pay more attention to these kids. Even those who felt obliged to speak out against gay and lesbian parents did so in a civil, sensitive manner that respected the feelings of everyone involved. Compare that with the name calling and misinformation-riddled commentary offered in recent weeks by TVC spokespeople (visit http://www.traditionalvalues.org/search.php?query=Nickelodeon and read yesterday's "New York Times" article on the show at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/18/arts/television/18SALA.html for numerous examples).
One aspect of the program that particularly deserves accolades was the inclusion of openly gay people like O'Donnell, Ryan and French in the small group discussion. As we saw by the language the kids were using, those opposed to homosexuality seemed very used to viewing and talking about LGBT people in the abstract. Knowing real people is an important step toward understanding them, and Nick News' decision to allow everyday gay people to share their experiences with the kids in the audience is an important step toward demystifying who we are as people. The understanding that comes with knowing us as real people is clearly one of the things the anti-gay right fears most. Kids who watched this show also saw, perhaps for some for the first time, the hurt they cause when they use words like "fag." And if one kid thinks twice before using demeaning words like "fag" or "dyke," this program really accomplished something.
Linda Ellerbee closed the show by saying:"Today, we have talked about living in, and coping with, the real world -- the 'what is,' not what you or I or somebody else wishes it were. There's a big difference. A final note:we don't become gay -- or straight -- by talking about these things. Gay is not catching. Hate, however, is. Is it possible to make tolerance catching, too?
"If so, it begins with you," Ellerbee concluded. "How does it end? That's up to you, too. But if we can't be friends, maybe we can at least learn to be better strangers to each other."
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Please thank Nickelodeon for dismissing the far right's specious, uninformed attacks on their programming and for giving their audience the opportunity to watch, discuss and decide for themselves. Send your feedback and thoughts on this program to Nickelodeon by contacting:
Herb Scannell, President
1515 Broadway, 38th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Phone:(212) 846-2537 (Nick News Viewer Services line)
Nickelodeon does not have an e-mail address for viewer feedback. You may give feedback through their Web site at: http://www.nick.com/blab/write_nick/mail.jhtml
NOTE FROM SAFE SCHOOLS COALITION: COLAGE did send us this email address to which people can address comments:firstname.lastname@example.org ... maybe you will want to do both. -- BR
The Safe Schools Coalition is a public-private partnership of 80+ organizations (government agencies, schools, community agencies, churches, youth/student groups, gay/lesbian groups, human rights groups) and 400+ individuals working to help schools become safe places where every family can belong, where every educator can teach, and where every child can learn, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Safe Schools' website: http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org
Got a problem at school with anti-gay harassment?
Call us 3-9 p.m., M-F:1-888-307-9275 or email us any time email@example.com
For donations:"Safe Schools/NCHD" c/o NW Coalition for Human Dignity, PO Box 21428, Seattle, WA 98111-3428 (or call 206-762-5627, ext. 11)
Frieda Takamura, Washington Education Association, firstname.lastname@example.org, 253-765-7062
Roberta Adams, School Nurse Organization of Washington, email@example.com
Beth Reis, Public Health - Seattle & King County, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-296-4970
Beth Reis, for most messages (email@example.com)
Sue Anderson, for legislative and fundraising messages(firstname.lastname@example.org)
This message has been distributed as a free, non-profit informational service, to members of the Coalition and others who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. Please do not publish or post in a public place on the Internet, copyrighted material without attribution. Forwarding of this material should not necessarily be construed as an endorsement of the content.
This message was sent by Public Health - Seattle & King County, which belongs to the Safe Schools Coalition. We invite you to use our clinical services. If you are eligible for medical coupons and don't already have one, we can help you apply. Our services are confidential and we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, the presence of a sensory, mental or physical disability, or the ability to pay.
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 17:01:38 -0400
Sender:Student Pride Organizer studentpride@GLSEN.ORG
From:Student Organizing studentorganizer@GLSEN.ORG
Welcome to the Student Organizer, a bi-weekly update of News, Info and Resources to help you change the world!
TODAY JUNE 18, 2002 9:00 PM
NICKELODEON NEWS SPECIAL EDITION:"MY FAMILY IS DIFFERENT"
Nick News, a television show dedicated to educating children about world issues, has dedicated one half hour to discussing families with LGBT parents. The program, which airs at 9 p.m. EDT, is largely a discussion. Although Rosie O'Donnell, a gay school principal and a gay New York City firefighter who is a father of three, will be on the show, children are the main focus. This is an important show for everyone to see. The host, Linda Ellerbee, decided to take on this project after finding out that the word fag was the most commonly used insult on the playground.
"It is never a wrong time to talk about hate," Ellerbee said. "It's just not. That's all our show is about. It is not in any way about the homosexual lifestyle. It's not even introducing the subject to most kids. They know. But quite frankly, many of them know it from a hate standpoint without even knowing what they're talking about."
Nickelodeon is helping to get the message out that hate is unacceptable at any age. This program should help inform younger students and their parents about families with LGBT parents. GLSEN currently has over 60 middle schools registered with the Student Organizing department and over 100 middle school students have registered with the Day of Silence Project.
Return to P.E.R.S.O.N. Project Home Page
Last updated 6/21/2002 by Jean Richter, richter@eecs.Berkeley.EDU