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Tennessee: Yearbook profile of a gay student provokes controversy

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  1. School publications should not be promoting sexual lifestyles and political activism.

    1. Ummm. A kid telling his story is not promotion of anything you idiot. If johnny football player had an article about scoring off and on the field no one would say sh*t. Get a clue.

    2. Try telling the Roman Catholic Church about that Jean !
      Rules appear to apply to some schools and not others… Get it?

    3. Dumb b!tch.

    4. Journalism is a method of reporting information, exactly what the writer of the school journal has done. Since when has reporting news about a gay guy become promoting homosexuality?

    5. I like other women, schools are a very good platform to start promoting tolerance and understanding to children. if you allow school to help teach understanding and equality then you pave the way for future society to become more tolerant..

    6. Robert in S. Kensington 5 May 2012, 7:32pm

      Sexual lifestyles must also include heterosexual lifestyles. By the way, for the edification of your pea-like brain, lifestyle suggests choice. Did you choose to be straight? I didn’t choose to be gay! Now religion, that’s a lifestyle by choice, a hobby, something that should NEVER be taught in school either.

    7. Paddyswurds 5 May 2012, 7:45pm

      … but it is OK to teach out and out lies as in the promotion of the Abrahamic cults and even more disturbing, creation the biggest lie of all.They even want creation taught in science class as a “viable alternative”. I kid you not. There are even committees that scan school text books to make sure they comply with the Xtian lie….

    8. How much time do you spend waiting for new stories to appear on PN so that you can be the first to comment? Do you actually have a life?

    9. Sam Maloney 8 May 2012, 3:13am

      In the minute chance that Jean will see this comment, I want to offer an explanation.

      Simply telling the truth about a student’s sexuality and covering the issues related to coming out– issues that are very much in the public eye– is NOT the same as ‘promoting’ homosexuality.

      If they’d published something along the lines of ‘Zach has tried gay sex and liked it, the rest of us should try it too’– that would be ‘promoting’ homosexuality.

  2. Garry Cassell 5 May 2012, 6:25pm

    Time to grow up….What has religion got to do with it? Just hate..hate ….hate..shouldn’t your religion be about love….or is that too much to take in all in the same day..

    1. Religion is about control, one way to do this is to create a class of sub-human people to hate.

  3. And by behaving hysterically and openly showing animus, they ably display exactly why the bloody page was needed in the first place.

  4. When will these bigots learn that saying it is okay to be gay is not the same as promoting it. It’s not as if people that had been straight their whole lives will suddenly find that homosexuality exists and life can continue as normal once your out and will immediately stick a penis up their bum while denouncing all forms of religion. Moron.

    And has nobody else noted that his blog looks like it was designed by a particularly boring accountant? ‘I think I’ll make it grey. Grey’s good.’

    1. Paddyswurds 5 May 2012, 7:36pm

      ……”saying it is okay to be gay is not the same as promoting it.” Oh they are very well aware it isn’t the same thing but that wouldn’t be sufficient to rile the mass of xtian crazies to whom this sort of thing is grist to their mill.
      This is exactly the same sort of wording used by the vile murdering hag Thatcher when she foisted Section 28 on us . Karma caught up with her and she now spends her final days sitting in her own p!ss and shyte, as it will eventually with all these bigots. It always does.
      However, one is suspicious that there may well be something more afoot here than is immediately obvious.
      I wonder if Zac Mitchell had been white would there be quite as much vitriolic hatred by this xtian bigot Shaver. this is Tennessee after all the home of the vile Klu Klux Klan…….

      1. Labour brought in Amendment 70 which would have became law which allowed faith schools to teach PSHE from their religious perspective ~ ie tell them that contraception, abortions and gays exist but if you are or use one them you will go to hell …. and this is in 2010. :rollseyes: good thing the new coalition got into power and removed it.

  5. He states “What I am intolerant of is an adult, a teacher no less, inflicting their personal beliefs and sexual orientation decisions on impressionable students”. Isn’t he doing exactly that by not allowing the students to come to their own conclusions from a published article?

    1. Well said!

    2. Totally!

    3. yea buts ok when he does it because hes a christian, duh! lol

    4. Precisely what I was thinking.

    5. Unfortunately, in American education, the attitude is that under no circumstances should young people be taught to think for themselves, or question anything. The job of the teacher is not to prepare students for university or post-secondary training, or to help young people navigate our increasingly complex world. It is to get students through the state exam. (I was actually told *that* was my job. Right after I was told “don’t ask questions, just do your job.”)

      1. That is why the country is so screwed up, they lack the ability to think for themselves over there!

        1. Why must you sound like the trolls that hate us. No entire group of people can be catagorized together, that’s just plain stupidity. There are people in all the states that think for themselves. Yes this country is screwed up, is yours perfect? Of course not. Try not generalizing, you will sound smarter.

      2. Isn’t it authoritarian regimes that desire to produce unthinking automatons that do the bidding of the state?

    6. Dominick J. 6 May 2012, 8:33pm

      Well how in the hell do you describe Graduating Students from HIGH School Impressionable!!! Van Shaver needs to get a grasp on reality. These kids are much smarter than this Neanderthal is!!!

  6. Yet more backwardness from the Fading Empire

  7. That school board member is probably also a closet racist. I can only imagine how horribly he treats women. When I read such homophobic statements I wonder if the same child-molesting tendancies are present as with Catholic Bishops when they spew the same hate.

    1. He is a racist his blog rants that President Obama is a muslim for example. He also is a creationist fundementalist christian. The man is delusional and rabid with it. Yet another poster-boy for the jesus ith my lo ard brigade.

  8. Paddyswurds 5 May 2012, 7:18pm

    The United States is becoming a laughing stock around the world for this sort of shyte…..Are they so insular that they don’t see or know this….. As I have said elsewhere on these threads I am very much afraid The USA is in it’s final days so to speak and will soon go the way of all past imperialist powers, down the Swanee if they don’t get to grips with these xtian crazies.

    1. theGentleWarrior 6 May 2012, 2:36am

      Shall I remind you of the highlights of the UK this past week or so;

      UKIP candidate Dr Gasper: PinkNews readers ‘should be sectioned under Mental Health Act’
      UKIP posts photo of man burning picture of gay mayoral candidate Brian Paddick in Soho
      Vatican Archbishop calls for alliance with Muslims and Jews against equal marriage
      MP who warned of ‘polygamy and child marriage’ defends anti-marriage equality view
      Exclusive: Catholic school ‘urged pupils as young as 11 to sign anti-gay marriage petition’

      You are in no position to look down your nose at anyone. And when you say you are “afraid The USA is in it’s final days”, your not afraid, you are shamefully in hope, a false hope at that.
      We will overcome the “Van Shaver”s among us and you will overcome your “Gaspers” and UKIP

      You are superior to no one!

      1. Christopher 6 May 2012, 3:03am

        Oh, get over yourself. Only in the US amongst the first world do such crazy, xenophobic and discriminatory attitudes win favour with the electorate – and the electorate gets the candidate they deserve, do they not? Instead of getting indignant at a simple observation (probably from a Brit, who has also lived through the dissolution of an empire) why not pay attention to the reasons the rest of the world has formed such opinions about the decline and fall of the American Hegemony – which is due to the mass ignorance of its citizens despite living in an age of limitless research and valid information?

        1. I have your ignorance right here.

      2. Dr Robin Guthrie 6 May 2012, 8:08am

        Well would you stop exporting the likes of NOM and funding our Christian Institute from afar.

        Christ, “coming out” as an atheist in the US is almost deemed worse than coming out as gay.


        And could you get your nutty frootloops to stop getting Africa to introduce Death Penalties for gays.


        We all know it is your mob.

      3. de Villiers 6 May 2012, 8:33am

        The difference is that in England, these individuals are viewed as being on the extreme right and far from the mainstream. Unlike such the people in the states united.

    2. I agree, one of the tricks for dictators keeping their place is to restrict education, or destroy the quality of education. The poorly educated are easier to control with brainwashing and ‘bread and circuses’.

  9. OMG gay student!!!
    They’ll be calling the Klan next.

  10. Robert in S. Kensington 5 May 2012, 7:35pm

    Hmmm, Tennessee has one of the lowest education rates in the United States. Incidentally, republican controlled states (red states as they are sometimes referred to) have the highest rate of porn consumption than in all blue states (democratically controlled) combined.

  11. Carl Rowlands 5 May 2012, 7:49pm

    The land of the free…………….

    1. Home of the deluded? Banjo religionists and closet case godbots.

  12. Rogi Riverstone 5 May 2012, 8:06pm

    Contact Van

    Address: 568 Ford Road
    Lenoir City, Tn. 37772

    Phone: 865-986-6984

    1. Well if you do want to contact Van can you please be reasonably polite and not say anything that can be twisted into a threat of some sort.

  13. Not white trash 5 May 2012, 8:26pm

    It is Tennessee, shocking that they can even write. Idiots.

    1. theGentleWarrior 5 May 2012, 9:28pm

      The trouble with your comment is that, it insults;

      – Zac Mitchell, the openly gay student
      – James Yoakley, the teacher that published the article
      – and the anonymous young woman author, of the article

      Stop generalizing and start placing the blame where it belongs, with Van Shaverand his supporters.

      1. Richard Noordijk 7 May 2012, 3:24am

        Very true…don’t attack innocents with insulting comments…that is the same tactics used by Van Shaver and his type.


    Some examples of the ‘wit and wisdom’ of Van Shaver. The deluded spews out.

    “It is time to take a stand for our faith. We aren’t being called to risk our lives and go before a king like Nehemiah – but our walls are broken down and our gates are burning. We aren’t called to sit in prison like Paul – but we are certainly in bondage. We can no longer sit idly by. We live in a world where soon it may be illegal just to speak the name of our Savior. We live in a world where wrong is right and right is wrong… but we were never called to be silent! ”
    “Then came Obama. Like it or not, Barack Hussein Obama is one of them, he is a muslim.”

    1. This is very revealing, Osric! It places the crackpot analysis
      in context.

    2. Rashid Karapiet 6 May 2012, 6:27pm

      would Pink Newws pease ask Mr.Shaver, this self-proclaimed tolerator of homosexuality, what he thinks of the Baptist pastor in North Carolina advocating breaking a child’s limp wrists rather than have him grow up homosexual? What planet do these Americans actually inhabit? And the religion they so noisily claim to belive in, is i treally the Christianity of Jesus Christ?

  15. Sinnysinsins 5 May 2012, 8:49pm

    Statements such as in the articles can usually be summised as: “I’ve nothing against gays so long as they aren’t okay with being gay.”
    There is at least one supportive teacher at that school, thankfully. The kids have someone to turn too, and I highly doubt the Journalism teacher will be sacked for this. The headmaster is not stupid, he knows he lives an extremely litigious society, and he must have allowed the article to be posted.

  16. That There Other David 5 May 2012, 8:57pm

    I’d be inclined to post how everyone should “point and laugh at Van Shaver” if this entire situation weren’t so totally tragic. Why can’t these bigoted wastes of organic matter just go back to the 17th Century where they belong?

    1. Paddyswurds 6 May 2012, 12:24pm

      ….I am very aware that this is just some nut who is a religious homophobe, however all the despots I listed all started out as just such people with extreme views but progressed as they gained power. I am also well aware that the vile Shaver person will be unlikely to ever have any more power than the school council, but we also should not forget that H1tler was just an ordinary wall paper hanger, and Stalin a labouring farmhand. Those who ignore the crazies in society are likely to live to regret that omission. I suggest reading Van Shavers blog, a tedious task I admit but very revealing nonetheless………
      witness the power of hate here

    2. I agree, it’s a shame we can’t put these retarded apes out of our misery.

  17. theGentleWarrior 5 May 2012, 9:22pm

    Van Shaver: “a concerned prude with a lot of time on his hands”

    Thumbs up if you support this addition to the dictionary

    1. David Myers 7 May 2012, 10:19am

      I liked it but its not nearly accurate and detailed enough about the uglyness and bigotry involved.

  18. Shawn Bruffett 5 May 2012, 9:31pm

    I have a Simple Cure for those Bigots Out there that Oppose this Article In THEIR Year Book… It’s Called a Razor. you Take it and Carefully Cut Along the Edge of the Page Closest to the Binding (for the Ignorant people, which are who I’m giving this suggestion to, that is where the page is attached in the book…) and simply Cut it Out of YOUR Year Book.. Then Go Bury Your Head In The Sand or Back Up Your Own Ass Where You are Safe from those Scary Gay People that Seem to Terrify You.

    1. David Myers 7 May 2012, 10:21am

      Perfect solution for everyone. Unfortunately, that is not enough for bigots who feel it is their right to impose their hatred on everyone else.

  19. radioredrafts 5 May 2012, 9:49pm

    I’m afraid that as the sane people come over to our side, the sick ones will be left on the other. We should keep this in mind.

  20. I find it interesting how the bible states that Christians are to be persecuted for their beliefs and yet in this day and age it seems that they are doing most of the persecuting.

  21. Aaaand this is why I live in Israel. Seriously, one of the guys in my school collected his graduation certificate IN DRAG. People love it :P

  22. This is supreme school bullying and homophobia at its best. To think that freedom of expression can be so easily attacked and attempted to be suppressed by such bigotry and hatred.
    And you have people like this on your school board responsible for what ???

    1. A travesty for sure. I can only imagine what that poor kid has had to deal with being out for so long in that state and being black to boot. My last boyfriend of three years was black. His insight to how the black community here feels about their gay population was a shocker. We gays in the south have to be very careful of the bigots because the state will not protect our freedom to express ourselves in public.

  23. Gillian Middleton 5 May 2012, 11:09pm

    Yes, we can see how ‘tolerant’ you are. You ‘don’t mind’ if people ‘choose’ to be gay, just as long as no one talks about it, acts on it, or appears outside their own home. Right?

  24. jonnielondon 5 May 2012, 11:36pm

    What a wonderful article in the year book about this young gay man. Zac, you are a hero to so many you people. Mr. Yoakley, thank you for having the courage to include this in the yearbook. Shaver, you are exactly why this article needs to be there. You are a disgrace to the human race!

  25. Paddyswurds 5 May 2012, 11:38pm

    One shudders to think of the awfulness of the environment people like Van Shaver were raised in to have turned them into such evil twisted beings, and to think that he and his ilk want to have that hatred now taught in schools all over the southern USA. Van Shaver is in the same league as the awful fascist Brevick and people like Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, the Il dynasty in N Korea, H1tler, and on and on. Imagine if someone like Van Shaver were to gain any kind of power. What is to be done to rid the world of such utter evil and depravity. I have often said and I say again, I am so glad i am the age I am because eventually one of these crazies is going to gain power and then the sh1t will truly hit the fan and i just don’t want to be around to witness it.

    1. Sinnysinsins 6 May 2012, 1:01am

      Yeah, he’s a bit of a prick, but he’s hardly genocidal.
      Brevik – Killed 70 odd at a youth camp.
      Stalin – Created a famine within Ukraine, killing millions.
      Van Shaver – made himself look like a fool and it is unclear whether he has any support.

      Don’t exaggerate.

      1. Get a grip (as you would say). Some twit writing a blindingly stupid blog is not even remotely in the same league as a genocidal dictator like Pot Pot, and you diminish the horror of regimes like his by this sort of hysterical overstatement,

        And I think you mean the Kim Dynasty. There is no such thing as the Il Dysnasty in North Korea (or anywhere else as far as I know).

      2. The above was in response to Paddyswurds.

      3. Paddyswurds 6 May 2012, 2:15pm

        … Somehow my reply ended up way up the page ….. but maybe you already sen it? sorry… But here it is again in case you missed it.
        ….I am very aware that this is just some nut who is a religious homophobe, however all the despots I listed all started out as just such people with extreme views but progressed as they gained power. I am also well aware that the vile Shaver person will be unlikely to ever have any more power than the school council, but we also should not forget that H1tler was just an ordinary wall paper hanger, and Stalin a labouring farmhand. Those who ignore the crazies in society are likely to live to regret that omission. I suggest reading Van Shavers blog, a tedious task I admit but very revealing nonetheless………
        witness the power of hate here

    2. theGentleWarrior 6 May 2012, 2:54am

      Same league as Stalin! Hitler! can anyone else hear a drama queen!
      Shaver is a “keyboard warrior”, “a concerned prude with a lot of time on his hands”, nothing more. He is all talk with no results and has gathered plenty of opposition.

      (capitalize that first ‘i’) “i am the age I am” unless you have plans to leave us in the next 4-6 months, your not too old (or too young) to suffer the effects of your next ‘Hitler’.
      “What is to be done to rid the world of such utter evil and depravity”, should end with a ‘?’!

      Even if your scaremongering had merits, that eventually one of these crazies is going to gain serious power

      It won’t turn out that way … We still have time to make it better.

      1. Paddyswurds 6 May 2012, 3:04pm

        Don’ you think it is a bit rich for a Yank to be teaching us English and English grammar or punctuation.
        Re getting to grips with your religious crazies…it doesn’t seem from out here that you are even trying, more like you are all running scared. It started with McCarthyism and the inclusion of “god” in the Oath of Allegiance, then the prayers in Congress and then the “In god we trust ” shyte on your banknotes.
        Thomas Jefferson et al must be spinning in their graves……

        1. David Myers 7 May 2012, 10:27am

          To say nothing of poor Abraham Lincoln – the Republican’s first elected president. I’m absolutely sure Lincoln would not be a Republican today and would be appalled by what has happened to the party that was born out of abolutionism and hatred for slavery! P.S. I’m a dual US/Canadian citizen and I agree with most of the criticisms of the US societie’s institutionalized homophobia and racism.

    3. Of course, Mr. Shaver actually does have some power, more’s the pity.

  26. He has done everything to earn his diploma, and with that comes the privilege of walking across the stage during commencement. To take that away because he’s gay? I’m appalled and disgusted.

  27. Errol Semple 6 May 2012, 12:58am

    Sack the bigot.
    Intolerance and hate has no place in school.

  28. Hetero-pride.. Great 2B Straight!. 6 May 2012, 1:09am

    I like to drink my own pee, my mum smacked my ar*e because she caught me. im secretly jealous because you guys are more comfortable with your sexuality than i am.

    1. Ignore the mad troll?

      1. radioredrafts 6 May 2012, 8:09am

        One of the sick ones I mentioned about 10 hours ago.

  29. God Bless this young man who was made by God to live equal and free and love one another. Thank God LGBT people can come out and have freedom of speech in America, don’t let the anti gay Christian haters stop you. We all have rights granted to us in America not just some people.

    1. Billy, we do all have rights here in the good old USA, just not equal rights. It is getting better but we must be patient, just look at Biden’s comment. People here in Texas that are gay are still being harassed, beaten and threatened everyday. There is a long way to go for sure.

  30. Mr. Shaver’s crackpot analysis does not explain why we should somehow be as feverishly appalled by Mr. Yoakley as Mr. Shaver is. What that analysis does explain is how we gay people should always be extraordinarily wary of anyone who begins his screed with some variation of “…I’m not intolerant…”

  31. Here we go again, people thinking that being gay is a choice. Like he chose to be a dimwit?

  32. Paddyswurds 6 May 2012, 1:59pm

    ……I am actually Irish, and 30 years ago I lived for 10 years in Massachusetts, one of the saner States in the Union.
    the GentleWarrior…
    ….You list is factual but the difference between Europe and The United States is that we do not allow religion of whatever hue to run our lives or indeed colour our politics.
    to wit;
    Julia Gasper lost the election and garnered only a paltry 69 votes….
    The UKIP picture burning of a gay candidate was stage managed by UKIP by roping and American tourist off the street…..
    Vatican Archbishops carry no weight in Europe in general and even less in Ireland and the UK…..
    MPs are, believe it or not, allowed to voice their opinion no matter how homophobic in the UK, even tho the said MP is a powerless back bencher.
    St Philomena’ RC School has been censured and is under investigation by the Government and may lose its Government Grant….
    So yes we are in a position to pour scorn on a once powerful and proud nation, now being….

    1. Paddyswurds 6 May 2012, 2:09pm

      …torn apart by rabid xtian evangelists and which puts forward the likes of Sarah Palin for the second most powerful job on Earth, never mind th US.
      a woman who believes the Earth is only 6000 years old and that the Dinosaurs walked the Earth with Man….. and even worse, who believes that Paul Revere was a British agent. A woman who couldn’t name one Newspaper never mind what was printed in one or any. I can tell you for nothing that the entire world breathed a sigh of relief when she and her elderly running mate lost to Barak Obama.
      So yes the US has become a laughing stock for the way it is being destroyed by the religious crazies.

      1. Paddyswurds 6 May 2012, 2:29pm

        ….I should have also said:
        We here in Ireland have, in the last twenty years, become all too painfully aware of blind acceptance of religion and religious crazies, when we discovered that the entire Irish RC Church was involved for the last thousand years or so in the rape and physical abuse of our children, yours truly being among those unfortunates.
        The upshot is that Ireland is now one of the most secular States on the planet and has even gone as far as closing our Embassy in the Vatican, where so much of the abuse was enabled and covered up even after it was discovered.
        This year only four priests will be ordained in Ireland as opposed to over a thousand a year 50 years ago or less.
        Any country that has a reference to an imaginary deity on its money is hardly in a position to lecture anyone on how religion affects our lives. We are not in thrall to a few religious crazies, we scorn them…on the other hand Americans are running scared of them

  33. Tennessee has become a cesspool. What is great, however, is the numbskull’s attack has brought a lot more readers to this article. Zac Mitchell is a brave young man. May he thrive!

  34. I was born and raised in Tennessee. I graduated from the University of Tennessee….TWICE!! Oh, and I am a lesbian.

    Not all Tennesseans are illiterate….or stupid. Just the ones that are ignorant.

    1. Thanks for your comment Lesleigh. I hate those people that catagorize an entire people, either in a state or country, skin color or whatever. They sound as stupid as these bigots that we are trying to get our equal rights from. There are also some looking down their long noses from overseas at us. This is a shame because we should all be in this fight together, not quibbling amongst ourselves.

    2. Sam Maloney 8 May 2012, 3:08am

      But given the number of anti-gay stories coming out of Tennessee, I think it’s only fair to admit that this is a state with a BIG problem.

      Far too many of the ignorant there are being elected to public office, and once in office they seem to spend an inordinate amount of time bashing Gays and promoting Jesus instead of addressing themselves to those issues that actually fall under their jurisdiction.

      Name them, shame them and perhaps Tennessee will start electing a better class of public servant.

  35. There is now enough evidence from the social science literature to show the negative impact on the mental health of young GLBT where schools support policies of intolerance, hatred or lack of access to factual sexuality development information to young people.

    In a country like the USA it is time they started to sue the hell out of these professional haters. They are responsible for stoking the fires that end up harming some young people.

  36. Contact Van

    Address: 568 Ford Road
    Lenoir City, Tn. 37772

    Phone: 865-986-6984

    THIS is the contact information from his website. Let’s all contact him, shall we? I already have.

    1. I just noticed, sorry.. Apparently “Van” doesn’t even have the courage to stand up for his own convictions, as this email address doesn’t even go to him, it goes to a minion. But the number works. :)

  37. ‘sexual orientation decisions…’ ???
    I don’t remember being given a choice.

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