#Wisconsin

Gay High School Senior Speaks Out About 'Nazi Salute' Prom Pic

Yesterday, Instinct reported on the prom photo that went viral from Baraboo school district in Wisconsin.

The photo appeared to show about 30 male members of the Baraboo High School Class of 2019 giving the Nazi salute before their junior prom last spring.

The photo, taken on the Sauk County Courthouse steps, includes nearly 50 male students, though not all are holding their arms outstretched. 

 

As noted yesterday, one student was not having the moment.

Eighteen-year-old Jordan Blue can be seen in the top right of the photo with his arms down, his face showing only a neutral expression while most of his classmates are pictured laughing.

CBS This Morning spoke with Blue about the internet controversy.

The high school senior tells CBS This Morning the photographer came up with the idea of telling the boys to "wave goodbye to their parents," but didn't specifically tell the boys to “raise your hand in a Nazi symbol way.”

It's interesting that 'raise you hand' to these young men meant doing so in Nazi fashion.

Blue added that he felt his classmates did understand what the symbol represented, and that the moment was "scary" and "uncomfortable."

Photographer Peter Gust has issued a statement which reads, "I didn't tell them to salute anything... it was waving goodbye to their parents, having a good time."

"There was nothing that diminished the quality of anyone's life," said Gust in defense of the photo. "There was nothing that diminished anyone's stature in society, there was nothing that was intended to point a finger at anyone in their class who may have some kind of difference. There was none of that."

Blue admits making the gesture makes no sense to him, saying, "Some of these people have bright futures ahead of them, so why’d they do it?”

Speaking to CNN, Blue says if he'd known the direction the photo opp would go, he wouldn't have taken part in the pics at all.

“I knew what my morals were, and it was not to salute something I firmly didn’t believe in,” he said.

He also says that while the community is a 'phenomenal' place to live, people are "hurt and very distraught" over the scandal. And he makes a point to say the photo doesn't represent Baraboo as a whole.

 

 

Blue, who came out as gay earlier this year, shared with Vice reporter Jules Suzdaltsev yesterday that he's been the target of bullying by these boys since middle school.

Suzdaltsev later tweeted that, after receiving more than 100 messages from students and parents from Baraboo High School, "nearly all of the stories echo the same basic theme: the community as a whole has a lot of casual & jokey racism, homophobia, and transphobia that is accepted as a part of life."

"The school (and other schools in the area) do little to nothing to address these issues," he added.

The American Defamation League reports the number of anti-semitic incidents in the U.S. rose 57% in 2017. That's the largest single year increase on record.

 

(h/t CNN, CBS This Morning)

Wisconsin High School Boys Throw Full-On 'Sig Heil' In Prom Photo

Folks are kind of flummoxed by a photo taken at the junior prom of Wisconsin's Baraboo High School showing the class's male students doing a 'sig heil.'

Law & Crime points out the event was last spring, but the photo just came to light when it was posted to the Twitter account @GoBaraboo that has since been been made private.

It was shared with the caption, “We even got the black kid to throw it up #BarabooProud.”

 

 

One guy in the front was clearly doing the sign for white power:

 

 

Vice contributor Jules Suzdaltsev asked Twitter to help him do a deep dive into the matter, and he began getting private messages from students at the school saying they had seen and heard a lot of racist language while attending the school.

 

 

 

 

One student who graduated from BHS this spring wrote Suzdaltsev saying he could "100% support the claims of racism at that school."

"The use of the n-word was pretty common among a lot of white students, whether jokingly or not," he added.

Another told Suzdaltsev that the day after Donald Trump was elected, students were yelling "White Power!" in the hallways.

Folks did note that one student, in the upper right hand corner of the photo, was clearly not having the moment.

Suzdaltsev spoke with the student, who says his name is Jordan Blue, who said the photo was taken so quickly he couldn't leave. But he also shared that he'd been bullied by his classmates for years.

"My name is Jordan Blue, I am the boy captured in the photo to the far right. The photo was taken during our Junior Prom Photos. I clearly am uncomfortable, with what was happening. I couldn't leave the photo as it was taken within 5 seconds. The photographer took the photos telling us to make the sign, I knew what my morals were and it not to salute something I firmly didn't believe in. I attend BHS, these classmates have bullied me since entering middle school, I have struggled with it my entire life and nothing has changed. These are the boy of Class of 2019, nothing has been done and my question is... with anything ever be done. I truly & firmly believe we need to make a change to this horrible act, it need to stop. Bullying. Immaturity. And just taking things as a "joke"..."

 

 

According to Suzdaltsev, the photographer (identified as local motorcycle photographer Peter Gust) has taken the photo album down from his website and issued an odd message calling out "malevolent behavior on the part of some in society." He seems to be blaming the scandal on folks taking issue with the idea of telling students to do a Nazi salute.

The photo has even received international attention as the Twitter account for the Auschwitz Memorial tweeted, "This is why every single day we work hard to educate."

 

 

Baraboo School District Superintendent Dr. Lori Mueller issued this statement:

 

The Barabook School District sent the following letter to parents this morning in response to a photo on social media.

Dear Parents/Guardians of Baraboo School District Students:

Early this morning, a photo that was taken last spring of some Barabook School District students who appear to be making extremely inappropriate gestures began circulating on social media. The District has confirmed at this time that the photo was not taken on school property or at a school-sponsored event.

The school district is investigating this situation and is working with parents, staff and local authorities. If the gesture is what it appears to be, the district will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address the issue.

With that, we want to be very clear: the Baraboo School District is a hate-free environment where all people, regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ancestry, are respected and celebrated.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lori Mueller, Superintendent

(h/t Madison.com)

Gay Wisconsin Student Sues School District For Failing To Protect Him From Bullying

A gay teenager from Wisconsin is suing his school district for failing to protect him from bullying.

According to Journal Sentinel, 19-year-old Guadalupe Paredes has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Kenosha Unified School District for violating his Title IX and 14th Amendment rights to equal protection.

This is the second time that the school district has been sued for not protecting an LGBTQ student. The first time was earlier this year when the district settled by paying $800,000 to a transgender student who had faced discrimination in the district.

Now, Paredes has stepped forward to say that school district has wronged him in his right to an education.

According to Paredes, he started getting bullied as early as the third grade. The amount of said bullying was so bad that he was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the fifth grade.

The suit says that Paredes tried to seek help from the administration at Edward Bain School of Language and Art, but was ignored by the assistant principal, Ron Sandoval. The principal then later told Paredes to leave Sandoval alone as he “did not feel comfortable with Plaintiff’s kind.”

Unfortunately, the bullying only continued. One harasser not only attacked Paredes privately by telling the victim he should kill himself while in the school’s bathroom, but the harasser also posted the same statement on Facebook.

Paredes’s mother also got involved and tried to get help from the district’s staff, but one school official told her that Guadalupe brought the bullying on himself by “acting gay and telling other students he was gay.”

Once at Reuther Central High School, Paredes stopped reporting harassment and bullying because he thought it wasn’t worth it. With his growing depression, Paredes’s grades dropped and he was later hospitalized.

Paredes then transferred to a different high school, but eventually dropped out.

Again, Paredes is suing the school district for failing to protect him and give him an equal opportunity to learn.

The court cause continues.

h/t: Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Became The First Wisconsin City To Ban "Ex-Gay Therapy"

Milwaukee has banned forced conversion therapy on minors.

On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council passed an ordinance that bans ex-gay therapy on LGBTQ youth. This makes Milwaukee the first municipality in the state of Wisconsin to enact a bill of this sort.

The law was sponsored by Alderman Chevalier Johnson who said during the Tuesday meeting that the practice is harmful to children.

"Kids end up committing suicide because of the practice of conversion therapy being inflicted upon them," he said. "This is about protecting kids."

Not everyone agreed with Johnson however, as the regulation had two votes against it. Luckily, they were outnumbered by twelve other votes.

Despite some pushback, many people and organizations are applauding the Milwaukee Common Council. One of which was the Human Rights Campaign, which said:

"No child should be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy, which has been rejected by every major medical and mental health organization," HRC Wisconsin State Manager Wendy Strout said in a statement. "We thank the Milwaukee Common Council and the team at the Milwaukee LGBT Center for putting the well-being and safety of our children first, and hope their leadership can be an example to cities across the state."

While Milwaukee is just the first municipality in the state of Wisconsin to ban conversion therapy, many other municipalities across the country have done the same.

In addition, 11 states, Connecticut, Washington, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, and New Mexico, have all-out banned the practice too.

h/t: Chicago Pride

HIV Outbreak In Milwaukee Breaks Records

HIV Outbreak In Milwaukee Breaks Records


Seriously, What Is Going On In Wisconsin?

YIKES! I know – talking about sexually transmitted infections – once known as diseases – is extremely heavy. It’s terrifying to constantly have to remind ourselves of the reality we live in, especially members of the LGBTQ community. I won’t lie, it is always pretty awkward when you’re speaking with someone through a dating app – potentially to just have a quick hook up – and then the talk of past sexual history comes up along with the last time someone was tested. Is it just me, or does it appear that everyone online has been tested “two weeks ago”. I just that answer so often that I now take it as a lie. Was there a line outside my local West Hollywood clinic or something?! Alas, we’re in the day and age of Prep – which is a daily pill that may prevent exposure to HIV. Thus, no one wants to use a condom anymore since people now seemingly believe they’re invincible. The next story I’m about to share with you proves to anyone you should still be using condoms.


According to NewNowNext, there’s a huge increase of HIV, syphilis, or both within the last 3 months in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At least 125 people have been infected this year – including high school students. Like, what the hell is going on in the Midwest?! At least 45% of the newly infected are men – and a dozen are high school students. Authorities believe the number of high school students will rise as more people come forward to get tested.


Well, this is absolutely disturbing and unsettling. Please everyone, stay aware and careful. The fact experts believe this number will increase is horrifying.