Tag: Mayor

London mayor candidate attacks LGBT-inclusive education

London mayor candidate attacks LGBT-inclusive education

London mayoral hopeful David Kurten is campaigning for election as the only candidate who opposes LGBT-inclusive education, which will soon be compulsory across the UK.

As British schools wrestle with whether to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, Kurten chose this moment to argue against what he sees as “indoctrination by the progressive, cultural Marxist and LGBT lobbies”.

In a “disgraceful” speech at the London Assembly, the former UKIP education spokesperson described the parents and schools challenging the progressive curriculum as “heroic” and “absolutely right”. He suggested they should be allowed to restrict children from learning of the existence of LGBT+ people.

Kurten, who has previously made comments linking homosexuality to childhood sexual abuse, expanded on his views in a blog post calling for LGBT-inclusive legislation to be rolled back in favour of free speech.

“In bowing to the demands of the mostly-childless LGBT lobby, the Westminster elite has again proven it is wholly out-of-touch with the vast majority of parents and grandparents who do not want the state to undermine traditional family and faith values by forcing children to learn about homosexual relationships and transgenderism at an age which is too much too young,” Kurten said.

He accused “the fake-Conservative government” of “deliberately usurping the role of parents” by imposing a set of values that he believes are anti-conservative, anti-family and anti-faith.

David Kurten wants to scrap the Equality Act.

Kurten claimed that many educational programs which confront homophobic bullying are actually “LGBT propaganda materials” designed to sow confusion in vulnerable children and undermine family values.

He called for the Equality Act and other pro-LGBT+ legislation to be overhauled or scrapped altogether, along with a “root and branch reform” of the education regulator Ofsted to change its focus from an “illiberal-leftist obsession with ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’”.

Kurten’s views were stridently condemned by Labour’s Leonie Cooper, who said of his London Assembly speech: “How disgusting, how disgraceful.

“I know it’s part of your platform that you’ve just launched standing as an independent against political correctness… sometimes you say things and we laugh at you because all you want to talk about is running flags for Brexit, [but] this is the kind of pernicious, disgusting statement that has no place in this London Assembly.

“I cannot wait until both the Brexit party and UKIP fail to meet the 5 per cent threshold and you are gone from this chamber.”

More than 30 leading charities and campaigners have warned that protests against LGBT-inclusive education echo the damaging rhetoric of Section 28, and that such teaching “is crucial in building a society based on tolerance and respect”.

They are supported by national and international research which shows that LGBT-inclusive relationships and sex education “overwhelmingly” benefits children and society, resulting in less risky sexual behaviour, increased use of contraception and improved attitudes towards sexual and reproductive health.

Last year MPs voted 538 to 21 in favour of introducing the teaching across the UK. The progressive curriculum will be compulsory in all schools from September 2020 — well before the London mayoral elections in May 2021.

PinkNews has reached out to David Kurten for comment but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

City’s first gay mayor makes bid for Congress

Alex Morse Congress Mayor Massachusetts

Alex Morse became his city’s first openly gay mayor when he was elected almost a decade ago at the age of 22. Now, he’s running for Congress.

Morse was elected mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts after beating an incumbent who was more than three times his age.

Now 31, Morse is facing off against US representative Richard Neal to represent the 1st Congressional District of Massachusetts in Congress.

The gay candidate advocates for Medicare for All, the legalisation of marijuana and wants to see student debts cancelled.

Crucially, he also wants to see the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) defunded.

Gay Democrat Alex Morse said coronavirus has ‘illuminated existing disparities and inequalities’ in American society.

“The pandemic and how it’s manifesting and impacting our communities in many ways just crystallises why I’m running for Congress in the first place and who our federal government should be looking out for and working for,” Morse told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

“I think it’s illuminated already existing disparities and inequalities in our communities that need to be addressed.”

Morse has been interested in politics since he served as the student representative on his district’s school board.

My coming-out process and finding my voice directly tied to my interest in politics and government and advocacy.

While still in school in Holyoke, he came out as gay – and went on to found his school’s gay-straight alliance, organise a school assembly on LGBT+ issues and worked with politicians on sex education policy.

“I was learning at a young age the power of building coalitions, and of working with other young people to amplify our voice together and the impact it makes to have people working together,” he said.

He has an ‘uphill battle’ to win the primary – but he is prepared for any outcome.

“My coming-out process and finding my voice directly tied to my interest in politics and government and advocacy.

“Without those high school experiences, I wouldn’t be as passionate or involved in the work I’m doing today.”

Political analysts claim that Morse has an “uphill battle” to beat his Democrat rival in September’s primary – but he is prepared for any outcome.

He spends his spare time baking, playing tennis, doing yoga, and watching Schitt’s Creek and Queer Eye.

“If this Congress thing doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll just bake more,” he joked.

“Mayor Pete” Stars in New Picture Book

"Mayor Pete" Stars in New Picture Book

A new picture-book biography of Pete Buttigieg chronicles his life from his birth in Indiana to his groundbreaking run as a presidential candidate.

Mayor Pete - Rob Sanders

Mayor Pete: The Story of Pete Buttigieg, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Levi Hastings (Henry Holt), begins during a “record-setting snowstorm” in South Bend, Indiana, as his parents welcome their new baby. “Only time would tell” who he would become, Sanders writes, a theme that recurs throughout the book as we follow the hard-working Buttigieg (referred to as “Pete” or “Mayor Pete”) through high school, college, world travels, learning about business, and being inspired to a life of service. We see him fail and then succeed both in a race for high school class president and later, in running for public office, where he lost a race for state treasurer before being elected mayor of South Bend.

We read of how the city gained a “new outlook,” during his first term as mayor, with “innovative industries” and “a community that welcomed all people—no matter their age, race, gender, religion, culture, or sexual orientation.” After serving in Afghanistan with the Navy Reserves and beginning a reelection campaign once he returned, Mayor Pete realized, however, “He had stood up for the rights of others but had never told the whole truth about himself.” He came out as gay in the local paper, writing, “It’s just a fact of life, like having brown hair, and part of who I am.” This honesty “was a win for Pete,” Sanders assures us, although some thought it would mean a loss as mayor. “Only time would tell,” we read again—although as it turns out, he won.

He then met teacher Chasten Glezman. “A friendship sprouted” between them, and they eventually fell in love, started a home, adopted dogs, and married. Hastings gives us a joyous full-page image of the two men kissing at their wedding.

Mayor Pete’s desire to serve kept him moving forward, however, and he soon thought about running for president, driven by his idea of “what America could be.” The book ends with Mayor Pete announcing his candidacy, and the observation that “Only time will tell who Pete Buttigieg, presidential candidate, will become.” It’s a smart way to end a book that was finished in May 2019 and fast-tracked for publication, as Sanders confirmed with me—well before Mayor Pete won the Iowa Democratic Caucuses but shortly thereafter dropped out of the race—and it may serve to inspire young readers on their own journeys of self-discovery and service.

This is a picture-book biography that appropriately takes a broad-brush approach to Mayor Pete’s achievements, almost completely skipping his business career and offering examples of mayoral duties that children can understand, like helping the city face snowstorms and floods, showing up for festivals and ribbon cuttings, officiating weddings, and reading to students. Throughout the book, Sanders poetically weaves in images of Indiana’s weather, seasons, and harvest. When Pete and Chasten meet, for example, “like Indiana sweet corn, a relationship began to grow.” It’s a nice way to ground the book in Pete’s midwestern roots and helps elevate it above many drier biographies for children.

An afterward gives further details about Mayor Pete’s distinction as the first out gay Democratic presidential candidate, the first millennial candidate, and the first veteran of the war in Afghanistan to be a candidate. It also provides a helpful lesson on how to say his last name, information on the requirements to be president, and a timeline of his life through April 2019. Hastings’ illustrations are heavy on patriotic red, white, and blue, brightened by a warm yellow that evokes both Indiana corn and Mayor Pete’s presidential campaign colors. Mayor Pete and his family are White; the people he encounters are an assortment of races and skin tones.

Sanders is one of the most prominent authors of LGBTQ-inclusive nonfiction picture books, including The Fighting Infantryman: The Story of Albert D.J. Cashier, Transgender Civil War Soldier (my review here), Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution (my review here), Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag (my review here), and Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights (my review here). Mayor Pete is another skillful volume to add to the list and should particularly appeal to readers seeking a more contemporary look at LGBTQ people and history.


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