Former Ga. legislator attacks KSU’s gay history month

Former Ga. legislator Roger Hines and retired high school teacher Roger Hines is none too pleased with Kennessaw State University’s decision to celebrate “Gay Pride Month” in October, calling it a “slap in the face” and accusing the administration of the publicly-funded campus of “biting the hand that feeds” it.

In a Sept. 29 column in the Cherokee Tribune titled “Biting the hand that feeds you: The way of academia,” Hines, 69, of Acworth, writes KSU’s decision to recognize October as LGBT History Month is “a slap in the face of the citizens of Cobb, Cherokee, Bartow and all other counties in the region KSU serves.”

“For that matter, KSU’s celebration of Gay Pride is an affront to the entire state since the university, the state’s third largest, receives tax money generated by citizens across Georgia. No one who has lived in Georgia for six months could be in doubt about the state’s predominant culture. We aren’t Washington State, and Atlanta isn’t San Francisco either, or not yet,” Hines writes. He served in the Ga. General Assembly from 2001 to 2004. In 2004, he lost the GOP primary to U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell for the 6th District Congressional seat. He also made an unsuccesful bid for school superintendent in 2009.

As the third largest university in the state which receives tax money, KSU has no right to celebrate anything related to gay pride, Hines believes. He can’t even bother to try to understand the letters in the acronym that tries to encompass so many in our community. From his column:

“T” is for transgender. This one makes me sad, because any way you cut it, it argues that God made a mistake. We should never be unkind to anyone who grapples with this issue, but neither should we allow a tax-supported university to tout or defend it.

“I” is for intersex. Don’t ask me about this one, and if you know, don’t tell. I don’t want to know. If KSU’s goal is “to increase awareness,” they failed to reach me on this one, but there’s enough in the mix already to get the picture.

“Q” is the most disturbing, not because it stands for queer, which it does, but because it also stands for “questioning.” In other words, if a 17- or 18-year-old freshman thinks his or her parents are so yesterday and has questions about his or her sexuality, KSU has answers. Or at least aid and comfort. KSU, that’s not why we have given you all these decades of support. Please get on with mathematics, history, your nursing program, etc.

Hines’ harsh reaction comes nearly two weeks after an article appeared in the Marietta Daily Journal outlining KSU’s plans to celebrate LGBT History Month in October to include programming throughout the month.

The MDJ article notes this is the first year the campus is officially celebrating the month to include several events throughout the month. A kick-off of a history exhibit on Oct. 3 named “Opening Doors, Outing LGBTQ History” will be presided over by KSU President Dan Papp and other administrators.

Having KSU administrators participate in any kind of recognition of LGBT equality on campus also drew ire from Hines.

… I will never believe that most Georgians approve of KSU or any of their other universities pressing or encouraging the gay agenda. But universities do it anyhow. It is the way of academia. They ply state legislators for funds and then foster such things as gay politics that neither state legislators nor their constituents approve of. This should cease.

According to newspaper reports, Dr. Papp will participate in the Gay Pride Month kickoff event on October 3. His goal and that of KSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (what does that office do eight hours a day?) is to “open doors” and “make gays feel safe.”

Let’s hope that KSU is inclusive of conservative Christian students somewhere in all of their diversity. There are legions of them amongst KSU’s 23,000 students. I’ll be thinking about them come October.

What Hines, who now apparently teaches English at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary forgets — or even knows — is that KSU has a long history of LGBTQ inclusion. In 1996, KSU became one of the first university systems in Georgia to include sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy. There is also the Kennesaw Pride Alliance and Safe Space program on campus for students and faculty. There is also the GLBTIQ Resource Center

In 2008, Teresa Joyce was named as KSU’s associate provost, becoming the highest ranking openly gay person in the state’s university system at that time. In 2012, the university’s athletic program was named one of the top 10 LGBT friendly programs in the nation by Campus Pride. Professor Robert Sherer, a renowned artist, set up an LGBT scholarship program in the College of the Arts.

Hines is a senior Georgian like others referred to in a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll that indicates as older residents die, the younger generation proves to be much more tolerant and supportive of equality for LGBTQ people.

Hines is so 2004. And his time is quickly running out.