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The 2000 Boston Massacre

Here's the Boston Massacre you heard about. Below, one you haven't (Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com)

I recently went back to take a look at a piece I did in the year 2000 for the Weekly Standard, about a huge controversy then in Boston. It is astonishing from the viewpoint of 2016 to observe how all of this was a trial run for what’s happening across the nation now. I’m going to quote from it at length. It’s prophetic:

[Brian] Camenker and [Scott] Whiteman, who live in the Boston suburbs, head a Bay State grass-roots organization called the Parents’ Rights Coalition. For years, the PRC has been complaining to Massachusetts officials that radical homosexuals are introducing grossly objectionable material to children and seeking to undermine parental authority over the moral instruction of their kids. Time and time again, members of the Parents’ Rights Coalition took evidence backing their concerns to school and state officials, to no avail, they say.

Indeed, Paul Cellucci, the state’s Republican governor, has continued to budget $ 1.5 million for the Governor’s Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth. The commission oversees the creation and support of “Gay/Straight Alliances” — student clubs organized around gay issues.

Furthermore, Whiteman was called a “slanderer” by a member of the Board of Education, he says. “I knew I wasn’t lying. I knew I wasn’t making it up. I knew I wasn’t an alarmist.”

Frustrated by official indifference, Whiteman secretly took his tape recorder along to the 10th annual conference of the Boston chapter of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, at Tufts University on March 25. GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”) is a national organization whose purpose is to train teachers and students and develop programs to, in the words of its Boston chapter leader, “challenge the anti-gay, hetero-centric culture that still prevails in our schools.”

The state-sanctioned conference, which was open to the public but attended chiefly by students, administrators, and teachers, undercut the official GLSEN line — that their work is aimed only at making schools safer by teaching tolerance and respect.

The event, backed by the state’s largest teachers’ union, included such workshops as “Ask the Transsexuals,” “Early Childhood Educators: How to Decide Whether to Come Out at Work or Not,” “The Struggles and Triumphs of Including Homosexuality in a Middle School Curriculum” (with suggestions for including gay issues when teaching the Holocaust), “From Lesbos to Stonewall: Incorporating Sexuality into a World History Curriculum,” and “Creating a Safe and Inclusive Community in Elementary Schools,” in which the “Rationale for integrating glbt [gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender] issues in the early elementary years will be presented.”

You see how the whole “safety” canard was used to smuggle this ideology into the schools. More:

Whiteman sat in on a “youth only, ages 14-21” workshop called “What They Didn’t Tell You About Queer Sex & Sexuality in Health Class.” If “they” didn’t tell you about this stuff, it’s probably because “they” worried they’d be sent to jail.

The raucous session was led by Massachusetts Department of Education employees Margot Abels and Julie Netherland, and Michael Gaucher, an AIDS educator from the Massachusetts public health agency. Gaucher opened the session by asking the teens how they know whether or not they’ve had sex. Someone asked whether oral sex was really sex.

“If that’s not sex, then the number of times I’ve had sex has dramatically decreased, from a mountain to a valley, baby!” squealed Gaucher. He then coaxed a reluctant young participant to talk about which orifices need to be filled for sex to have occurred: “Don’t be shy, honey, you can do it.”

Later, the three adults took written questions from the kids. One inquired about “fisting,” a sex practice in which one inserts his hand and forearm into the rectum of his partner. The helpful and enthusiastic Gaucher demonstrated the proper hand position for this act. Abels described fisting as “an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with,” and praised it for putting one “into an exploratory mode.”

Gaucher urged the teens to consult their “really hip” Gay/Straight Alliance adviser for hints on how to come on to a potential sex partner. The trio went on to explain that lesbians could indeed experience sexual bliss through rubbing their clitorises together, and Gaucher told the kids that male ejaculate is rumored to taste “sweeter if people eat celery.” On and on like this the session went.

Camenker and Whiteman transcribed the tape and wrote a lengthy report for Massachusetts News, a conservative monthly. Then they announced that copies of the recorded sessions would be made available to state legislators and the local media. GLSEN threatened to sue them for violating Massachusetts’ wiretap laws and invading the privacy of the minors present at one workshop.

They sent copies of the tape to the media anyway. Know what happened? The Boston Globe denounced Camenker and White in an editorial. A rally of thousands of gay youth in Boston condemned their “hatred” — this, simply for recording what was actually said at the event! Then a judge issued a gag order on the Parents Rights Coalition, as well as all the news media and Massachusetts state legislators, forbidding them to talk about the tapes.

The tapes that were made in public. At a state-funded educational event. For minors. And nobody in the news media protested!


“Sometimes civil libertarians become ambivalent when the First Amendment clashes with their liberal agenda. I’ve been fighting that for years,” Dershowitz told me. “It’s a situation where the political correctness of the Boston news media has caused it to take a back seat,” says Boston civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate. “Of course, what will happen is, in some other case in which the news media will have more of an interest, where one of their darlings will get restrained, then suddenly they will find they’ve allowed a precedent to be set. It’s perfect example of the news media not rushing in and protecting [free speech] no matter whose ox is being gored.”

Days later, van Gestel [the judge] held a hearing to reconsider his gag order. Says Camenker, “The only news organization that showed up to demand their First Amendment right to play the tape was the Fox News Channel.” Van Gestel relented somewhat, lifting the gag on everyone but Camenker and Whiteman.

Read the whole thing.  There are lots of details that you really should see. I wrote this line in this piece, 16 years ago: “As goes Massachusetts, in time, so may go the rest of America.”

And here we are. The same dishonest propaganda — that this is all about “safety” and “suicide prevention” — is still being used, and still being bought hook, line, and sinker. The same malicious character assassination is employed, and the same liberal-media disinterest in same. When I met him for dinner in Rome earlier this year, reader Giuseppe Scalas told me about the “gender ideology” agenda in Italy, and how the activists’ focus is on educators. He said that they know the best way to change the minds of future generations is to get to their teachers.

And now, they’ve more or less won the federal government, with Obama’s decree.

Believe it or not, Brian Camenker is still at it, still raising hell, still being denounced by SJW activists. And it all started because he and Scott Whiteman made a tape and told the truth.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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