Questions About Sexuality, Anti-Gay Ties Follow ‘Invisible Children’ Co-Founder
I recently posted about the bizarre behavior of Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell who marched back and forth in a nude rant at a California intersection (the video below is via TMZ). Since that time, more and more scrutiny has become focused on Russell and the anti-gay Chrisitianist ties of Invisible Children which is best known for its recent Kony 2012 video. Among the questions that many have asked is whether or not Russell is a closeted (and apparently self-loathing) gay. The International Business Times looks at the debate as follows:
Numerous comments on TMZ’s original posting assert that Russell is gay, and some are offensive and derogatory in nature. Others took to Twitter with questions about Jason Russell’s sexuality as well as his religious beliefs.Adam Feldman, a theater and cabaret critic for Time Out New York,tweeted: “Hard to watch this without thinking that Jason Russell is aflamingly gay guy trapped in a fundie world of self-hatred” with alink to a seminar Russell gave at Liberty University — founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, no friend of gays — in November 2011.
Jason Russell’s sexuality would be irrelevant, if not for the fact that his Invisible Children organization was recently linked to anti-gay donors. New York magazine published an article about claims made by 0 that the Invisible Children charity’s major donors included “anti-gay, evolution-doubting evangelical groups, as well as the author ofUganda‘s anti-homosexuality bill, who has said ‘even animals are wiser than homosexuals.’”
What makes the whole story line even more bizarre is that Chris Sarette, VP of business operations at Invisible Children, has released a statement in which he acknowledges that he’s gay – something that will NOT sit well with Invisible Children’s virulently anti-gay financiers. Here’s what Sarette had to say:
Sarette’s statement read: ”I have been a core member of the management staff at Invisible Children for five years. The fact that Invisible Children sees people as PEOPLE — whether they be family, neighbors, or children in Central Africa — is one of the reasons I finally came out as a gay man. Invisible Children’s work concerns a human rights issue, and has attracted supporters, employees, and board members who otherwise sit on different sides of the aisle on many other issues. Invisible Children is not an anti-gay organization, and has in fact publicly spoken out against acts of violence on members of the GLBT community in Uganda. Hate in any form is counterproductive to our mission.”
Somehow methinks that anti-gay Christianist groups won’t be funding Invisible Children much longer regardless how laudatory the some of the organization’s work might be. As for Russell and Sarette, if they are both gay, I hope they find less judgmental and homophobic allies and stop accepting funds from hate groups.
Michael Hamar is an out gay attorney in a committed relationship; formerly married and father of three wonderful children; sometime activist and political/news junkie; survived coming out in mid-life and hope to share my experiences and reflections with others. Follow him at Michael In Norfolk.
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