SNAP: Pride Empathy Line
OK, we snapped for this a couple issues ago, but new year, new slate. The new hot line will be the first of its kind in the state — a place where lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people of all ages can seek not only resources, but a listening ear, for facing any number of challenges that pertain to being a sexual or gender minority. Given that suicide and substance abuse rates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are higher than those for their straight, non-transgender counterparts, this line could not come at a better time. If you’re over 18 years old please consider volunteering to staff the phone lines, and if you’re under 18, please contact the Utah Pride Center to find out other ways that you can help.
SLAP: Sen. Chris Buttars
There is a scientific law that governs the Utah Legislature: a general session cannot pass without Sen. Chris Buttars sticking his foot in his mouth at least once. But this year, he seems to have begun early. At a meeting of the arch-conservative Eagle Forum, the West Jordan Republican accused state school boards of trying to undermine God and the state’s values, and said that he would strive to put state schools under the Legislature’s authority. While he hasn’t yet said that punishing the Salt Lake City School Board for protecting gay and transgender students from bullying is the real purpose of his plan, does anyone really believe otherwise? And while we’re at it, why the hell is Buttars running the State Public Education Committee after his call to do away with the 12th Grade last year? Asking Buttars to be ashamed of himself is like asking a pig to sing, but we can certainly ask his colleagues to be ashamed of him, and to vote down his Senate Joint Resolution that would hamstring the state’s school boards.