Saturday, February 26, 2005

White County, Georgia: Controversy in Gay PRIDE

In the mountains of Georgia lies a school of a thousand students where religious beliefs and personal rights are conflicting.

In Cleveland, Georgia there has been a lot of controversy over a clubs formation; the Gay-Straight Alliance. All of this was started by a Junior named Kerry Pacer. The proposal of the clubs formation sparked a religious fervor in the community surrounding White County High School.

This clubs attempted formation was partially prompted by boos from a crowd as Kerry, an openly gay Junior, joined a procession at the Sweetheart Assembly the Friday before Valentine’s Day while holding a rose given to her by a female classmate.

After much Baptist pressure, the group decided to pull out their request for the GSA club and instead requested permission to form a PRIDE club (Peers Rising in Diversity Education). The proposed club will be “a broader-based tolerance group” rather than just a support group for gay students.

However, the controversy did not stop merely for a change in the club’s name. On February 25, the White County Board of Education allowed 30 minutes for comments from the public, eight people for and against the group’s formation, including parents and religious leaders.

Rev. Chris Anderson, Pastor of Shoal Creek Baptist says, “Our children’s education is in jeopardy,” and says that there is no reason to form a club “because there have been no reports of bullying or harassment.”

This was joined by Lee Moore, a parent who does not want to see this club formed, “I don’t think the students this age, should be subjected to [this] or have it shoved down their throat.”

The students are not alone in their ongoing battle to form a club; Kerry Pacer is joined by her parents, and a good chunk of the community.

The ultimate irony is that while Kerry is trying to start a club based on tolerance and acceptance there are community members who are trying to stop its formation with bullying and harassment.

"Everyone at school is like 'It's against God. It's against God,' "Kerry said.”They tell me God is watching me, but who is watching them?"

We are watching them Kerry, and we will do what we can to support you, and your quest in tolerance.

You can reach Principal Bryan Dorsey at and tell him what you think.

Written by: Eric Carlson

::Update - March 13, 2005::

For more information on this story, I point you to:

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