Thursday, April 21, 2011
New York Times erases support group, blocks comments
(from the Heartstrong newsletter)
Executive Director's Message
Two weeks ago I was contacted by a national correspondent writer at the NY Times. He was writing a piece about gay students at religious colleges and in particular about two incidents at Baylor University and Abilene Christian University. He had learned that HeartStrong would be holding HS Forums in those towns in May and wanted more information.
I spent about 30 minutes interviewing with him on the phone about the work of HeartStrong and discussing the bravery of the students at the schools he was writing about. I also spent about 45 minutes giving him solid resources and statistical information to use for the article.
We have been waiting for two weeks and the article came out today. For some mysterious reason there is no mention of HeartStrong to be found. Its a GREAT piece about these student's courage but no mention of the only organization in the world with the sole purpose of provide help and support to GLBT students in religious schools.
As we do when an interview is not included in a media piece, we also go and place comments on the webpage for the article. HeartStrong's comment was the very first posted at 1:20am. Sometime between then and now our comment was removed from the NYT page.
We have inquired as to why it was removed but have not received word back. Additionally, they have closed comments for this article which is also odd since there are only 82 comments and the article is in today's paper.
SO, to help the NYT's readers understand that HeartStrong is the resource for GLBT students in religious schools, we are asking all of our HeartStrong Friends to write a letter to the editor.
It needs to be 150 words or less and include your name, phone number and address to get published. Send the letter to the editor at letters@NYTimes.com
Below is the letter that I sent to them. We want to inundate them with support for the students in the article and for the work of HeartStrong. When you send your letter, please send a copy of it to us here at email@example.com
Also, please post a link to this on your tweets as well!
Gay Students at Religious Schools
Tuesday's article about gay students in religious schools is an incredible show of support for those who are working to make a difference. These brave students have done what few others are able to do. Their voices represent the voices of many others who are unable to speak up for themselves.
This is the reason why HeartStrong has existed for nearly 15 years. Providing hope and help to GLBT students in religious schools where students are bullied and persecuted by students and teachers alike. No GLBT student in any school should feel like ending their life is the answer. This is why HeartStrong is there to help and will continue to be there to help GLBT students in religious schools around the world find hope, courage, confidence and peace.