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Houston Voice, No. 1006, February 4, 2000
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Houston Voice, No. 1006, February 4, 2000 - File 006. 2000-02-04. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 8, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3337/show/3309.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2000-02-04). Houston Voice, No. 1006, February 4, 2000 - File 006. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3337/show/3309

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1006, February 4, 2000 - File 006, 2000-02-04, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 8, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3337/show/3309.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1006, February 4, 2000
Contributor
  • Hennie, Matthew A.
Publisher Window Media
Date February 4, 2000
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 006
Transcript HOUSTON VOICE • FEBRUARY 4, 2000 NEWS INSIDE NEWS Around the South 7 Gay man, man who used 'gay panic' executed . 7 Southwest adds anti-discrimination provisions . 7 Rights commission accused of 'litmus test' .. 7 Human rights group to monitor 'Don't Ask' . 7 Around the Nation 10 Gay couple, trans woman in airliner crash .10 Military services spell out training 10 Millionaire' quietly includes gays 10 Report says priests dying of AIDS 10 Sodomized student sues school board 11 Successful HIV drugs prompt risky behavior . 15 Weighing the relative risk 15 VOICES & ECHOES Editorial: AIDS, the priesthood and hypocrisy . 8 Read: Finding the redneck within : 9 letters: Mayor Lee Brown, HIV and oil 9 OUT ON THE BAYOU Big hair, big dreams 17 Cho's time lo shine 17 On Stage: Shakespeare's greatest hits 18 Eating Out: A wonderful thing 23 Oul in Print: 'Jerome' 24 Bestsellers 24 COMMUNITY Pride organizers to host media workshop . .25 Flexology: Are you over-training? 26 Community Calendar 27 Occasions 27 MyStars! 31 ciassifieds 28 CARMART 29 DIRECTORY 30 Issue 1006 Youth sues high school over anti-gay abuse Derek Henkle claims negligence on the part of high school administrators cost him his high school diploma and the chance to be a teenager AH material in Houston Voice is protected by federal copyright law and may not be repro duced without the written consent of Houston Voice. The sexual orientation ol advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists pub iished herein is neither inferred or implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does no! necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons Houston Voice accepts unsolicited editorial material but cannot take responsibility for its return. The editor reserves the right to accept. reject or edit any submission. All rights revert to authors upon publication. Guidelines for freelance contributors are available upon request, Houston Voice 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200 Houston, TX 77006 713-52&-8490 by PAIGE PARVUS! A gay Atlanta youth is suing the principals at three high schools he attended, and five other school officials, for failing to protect him from anti-gay harassment and violence and its interference with his civil right to an education. Derek Henkle, now 19, filed a lawsuit Friday against Ross Gregory, principal at Galena High School in Washoe County, Nev., for ignoring his repeated complaints of "anti- gay harassment, assaults, intimidation and discrimination" suffered while he was a student at the school. Other plaintiffs in the suit include the vice principal at Galena, a teacher, the county director of students services, principals at two other high schools, and two school police officers. School for Henkle was a "daily nightmare," he told reporters during a teleconference Friday, with attorneys Jon Davidson and Doni Gewirtzman of Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund. "School on a daily basis was an unknown. I would turn corners and not be sure what to expect," Henkle said. "It was something I was forced to attend every day, yet I was not given any avenue to be safe. The ignoring by school officials of my daily complaints only made it so much worse." School officials not only ignored Henkle's complaints, added Davidson, they treated him as the problem^ and violated his First Amendment rights by telling him to change his behavior to protect himself. The First Amendment violations break new ground, said Davidson, who compared the response from Henkle's school administrators to the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays in the military. "We are trying to establish that under the Constitution, in schools it is a violation of the First Amendment to have a 'Don't Tell' policy," Davidson said. "If other students try to harass or abuse those students who are 'out,' the solution is not to tell students to go back in the closet." ScIkhiI officials had no immediate comment on the case, the Associated Press reported. "We haven't been served with anything yet and until we do, obviously we can't comment on specifics," said district spokesman Steve Mulvenon. School leaders blind to abuse? Between 1994 and 1996, Henkle, who was openly gay while in high school, spent his school days being harassed, threatened and sometimes physically attacked, and was bounced from school to school "for his own protection," he said. The intimidation and violence had such a severe impact on Henkle that he was unable to finish high school, according to the complaint filed by his attorneys in U.S. District Court in Nevada. "What we have here is a school district's complete abdication of its responsibility to protect all young people in its care," said Davidson. Henkle described a particularly harrowing incident that he says took place in fall 1995, scKin after he appeared on a local public access TV show and spoke openly about being gay in school. Henkle, then a sophomore at Galena High School in Reno, was walking through the school parking lot one afternoon when some half-dozen students surrounded him, taunting him with anti-gay slurs like "fag," "fain" and "butt pirate," Henkle recalled. Then, in a chilling scenario reminiscent of a high-profile 1998 hate crime in which a Texas black man was dragged to death behind a truck, one of the students produced a rope and urged his comrades to heip him "lasso the fag," tie him behind a truck and drag him down a nearby highway, Henkle said. The students threw the rope around Henkle's neck three different times, but he was able to pull it off, he said. Terrified, Henkle ran to the office of his English instructor, where he called assistant principal Denise Hausauer, requesting that she come immediately. But Hausauer didn't arrive until almost two hours later, and when Henkle, still frightened, began to stammer out his story, she laughed, according to Henkle. After this incident, Henkle said, he and his parents were told the attack would be dealt with under the school's sexual harassment policy. Eventually it was decided the offending students would receive a letter, written by Henkle himself. "Basically, Ross Gregory decided to ignore it," Henkle said. After a semester at Galena, Henkle asked to be transferred and was sent to Washoe High School, an alternative school for problem students, despite a highly promising academic record. Defendants Joe Anastasio, county director of student services, and Washoe principal Bob Floyd ordered Henkle to hide his sexual orientation at the new school, Henkle said. As a condition of the transfer, he was told not to discuss his sexuality with fellow students and to remove pro-gay buttons from his school backpack. In a meeting, Floyd told Henkle to "stop acting like a fag," the young man recalled. When Henkle asked for another transfer because of the poor academic program at Washoe, he was initially told by Floyd that a "traditional" high school would not be appropriate for him because he was openly gay, Henkle claimed. But eventually he was transferred to Wooster High School for the fall 1996 school year, again after being warned not to disclose his sexual orientation to other students, he said. Former classmates knew he was gay, though, and he fared no better at Wooster. Midway through the school year, Henkle alleged, he was attacked and beaten by a group of students at Wooster, while two Now 19, Derek Henkle hopes his lawsuit will send a message that taunts, threats and violence against gay kids in school is not okay. school police officers looked on. The officers, defendants Arnel Ramilo and Glen Selbv, later discouraged Henkle from calling the local police and refused to arrest the youth who assaulted him. "I was surrounded by students, all encouraging [the attacker], and all I could see was about a hundred yards away, two school police officials standing there," Henkle said of the incident. "All I can remember thinking was, 'Why aren't they doing something about this?'" In February 1997, at age 16, Henkle was finally put into an adult education program, where he was eligible to earn a GED but not a high school diploma, he said. At 17, Henkle sued to become emancipated from his parents and began living on his own, working in television broadcasting In 1998 he moved to Atlanta, where he works for Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network as an operations coordinator. He also volunteers as communications director for Project Freedom, a fledgling gay rights group. Missing out on high school has placed a continuing burden on Henkle, he said. "I have a ton of education stuff that is lacking, and I am doing the best I can with what ! have," Henkle said. "I think the strength for that really has derived from the passion I have around these issues, and what personally happened to me." During high school, Henkle said, his mother was aware of what was happening to him, but school officials told her they were dealing with the problem by transferring him for his own safety. Since his troubled high school days, relations with his parents have become stronger, Henkle said. He proudly reports that his mother and stepfather met at a meeting of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Henkle described his current relationship with both of them as "very supportive," and says his father is "coming around." >- Continued on Page 11
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