Gay-Straight Student Group Compared to Hitler Youth
Judith Reisman, a critic of the pioneering American sexuality researcher Alfred Kinsey who has reportedly claimed that Kinsey sexually molested children, has leveled a new charge: this time against gay youth-supportive group the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, likening GLSEN to the Hitler Youth.
Reisman--whose purported claims against Kinsey have never been verified--authored an essay that appeared on April 1 at the anti-gay Web site WorldNewDaily.
The charge that GLBT equality activists parallel the Nazis has been made numerous times by religious right and socially conservative pundits.
Recently, anti-gay writer Scott Lively, author of the book "The Pink Swastika," which claims that Hitler and other top Nazis were gay, generated headlines when his planned address to a Republican group in California was canceled due to liability concerns from the management of the country club where the address was to have taken place.
The management’s concerns were piqued by the possibility that the appearance by Lively would be met with a demonstration by the local chapter of the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG).
Though Lively’s address is scheduled to take place on the evening of April 3, at this writing the location of the address is still "TBD," according to the Web site of the Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly Club the group Lively is scheduled to address.
The Nazis arrested and sent to concentration camps an estimated 60,000 gays (some estimates are higher).
Highly placed Nazi official Heinrich Himmler spoke plainly about the Nazi view of gays, saying, "We must exterminate these people root and branch."
Himmler added, "We can’t permit such danger to the country; the homosexual must be entirely eliminated."
After Allied forces liberated the camp’s prisoners, it was not uncommon for gays to be put back in prison under the German penal code’s Paragraph 175.
Nonetheless, it has been something of a reliable chestnut from the religious right and social conservatives to accuse gays--along with feminists--of being similar to the Nazis.
The latest accusations of "Nazism" seem to have been set off by the House of Representatives’ approval of a bill that would promote youth volunteerism.
The bill, titled the "Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act" (GIVE), has come under criticism by opponents who claim that America’s young people might be inculcated into political views that they find objectionable.
The WND essay quoted a Texas Republican, Congressman Ted Poe, as saying, "The purpose of the bill is to require mandatory community service for all young people in the United States."
Poe implied that as part of that service, some form of social re-education would be imposed on the young. "The mobilization of the youth to put them into community work environments that are specified in the bill raises questions about who will be teaching the youth and what is deemed appropriate community service," he claimed.
Wrote Reisman, a second-generation Jewish American, "Old-timers naturally recall Communist, Fascist and Nazi youth brigades as severing children from their parent’s religious traditions and beliefs."
From there, Reisman took aim at GLSEN and other groups and institutions, writing, "Such American classroom indoctrination is now found in ’hate’ and sexual diversity training and in 3,500 nationwide Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) school clubs.
"Under color of a ’Safe Schools Movement’ battling alleged ’bullying’ of so-called ’gay’ children (K-12), some see GLSEN as a modern version of the Hitler Youth and as preparing the ground for a larger, sweeping, schoolroom Youth Brigade."
In some states where anti-bullying laws have been considered by lawmakers, anti-gay groups have voiced opposition, fearing that children might be taught that there is no stigma to the so-called "gay lifestyle."
Rhetoric citing schoolchildren as young as those in kindergarten has also been a staple of religious right and socially conservative pundits. In last year’s successful effort to rescind existing marriage rights for gay and lesbian families in California, anti-marriage advocates claimed that young children would be forced to learn about gay families at early ages.
State education officials denied those allegations, but TV ads depicting children coming home with stories about learning of same-gender marriages are credited with helping pass the anti-gay constitutional amendment, which squeaked through at the ballot box, throwing the legal status of 18,000 California families into doubt.
Reisman’s article went on to assert, "The similarities between Hitler’s National Socialist Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Rockefeller and Playboy funded National Education Association (NEA) and American Library Association (ALA) troubles some World War II elders.
"Like Hitler’s NSTA, our NEA also largely guides the ’ideological indoctrination of teachers,’" Reisman alleged, quoting from a book about the Holocaust.
The essay went on to charge that children were being separated from the values of their parents and their country. Wrote Reisman, "GLESN’s [sic] Day of Silence and ’GAY ALLY!’ pledge cards for kindergartners and other children are direct assaults on traditional parental, American values."
Without citing an American equivalent, Reisman invoked the history of Nazi indoctrination, writing, "German children’s literature historians document Hitler’s pioneering ban of both the Ten Commandments and biblical stories from Nazi school texts in favor of coarse and violent tales that ridiculed religious believers and their values.
"Without his NSTA teachers, Hitler could not have created a goose-stepping, unthinking army," Reisman added.
Returning to America of the present day, Reisman wrote, "The claim it was preventing AIDS and the alleged ’bullying’ of children labeled ’gay,’ ’trans,’ etc., allowed GLESN’s nose under the tent."
All but repeating the unverified claims she earlier lodged against Kinsey, Reisman, author of the book "Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences," claimed, "That pornographers, pedophiles and homosexually radical school superintendents, principals, teachers and librarians have been training schoolchildren to be ’politically correct’ followers is well-documented," though no citations were provided in the essay.
The Kinsey Institute has addressed Reisman’s claims that Kinsey was a child molester, stating, "Kinsey was not a pedophile in any shape or form."
Wikipedia notes that Reisman, whose Ph.D. is in communication, had made assertions involving neurophysiology and pornography, claiming that "erototoxins"--including a number of naturally occurring hormones--flood the brain when an individual views erotic imagery. No scientific basis for this theory has as yet been proven.
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.