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Threat Against Gay Prom


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Threat Against Gay Prom

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: December 30, 2005 - 9:00 am ET

(Tracy, California) It may be a long time until spring, but gay students at Tracy's West High are already planning their prom and bracing for a demonstration by America's most notorious homophobe.

This already has been a difficult year for the students. The California Department of Education announced plans in October to investigate allegations that the Tracy Unified School District failed to protect LGBT students from harassment and bullying at West High. (story)

The Gay-Straight Alliance at West High School went to the state after it said the district had done little to address concerns about harassment.

The 'gay friendly' prom was aimed at giving LGBT students an opportunity to bring same-sex dates and do all of the things students do at traditional proms.

GSA President Justin Daley hoped that the event, scheduled for April 13, would be a safe environment. But that was before the Rev. Fred Phelps and his anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas got wind of it.

Now the planning, even the location, is shrouded in secrecy.

"We will announce the actual location of the event about a month before the prom," Daley told the Argus newspaper.

"I don't want to make things too easy for Rev. Phelps and his followers," Daley said.

Last year members of Westboro, mainly Phelps' relatives, demonstrated at graduation ceremonies at West High, charging that school administrators are "irreversibly bound for hell" for allowing the GSA to form.

The Phelps followers will be in the community picket the funeral of Army Sgt. Cheyenne Willey, 36. He was killed in Iraq on Dec. 23 and funeral arrangements are still being planned.

Church members have been demonstrating at military funerals saying the deaths of soldiers in Iraq is retribution for America's "soft" treatment of gays.

A fax from the church says "America has raised a generation of filthy fags and dykes" and "every body bag filled with body parts is the work of our schools."

Dayley says if the group goes ahead with its planned protest at the prom he expects several hundred counter protestors will also show up in support of the gay students, as they did with Phelps followers demonstrated at last year's graduation.

©365Gay.com 2005


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