Yes, this is happening again Degrassians.
The FFA continued its email campaign against Degrassi with an email blitz last Tuesday. Their main target is Adam’s storyline, in which “millions of young teens and children witness this irresponsible affirmation of a transgender lifestyle.” Once again, they are going after Degrassi’s advertisers. However, this time, they are clearly aware of the intense support from Degrassi fans. Choosing not to publically post articles, the FFA instead is simply emailing their supporters. They recently sent out an email which said: “Many large main stream companies have since stopped advertising on Degrassi. However, this article will not include the names of the dropped advertisers to prevent the very active proponents of Degrassi from launching a reverse email campaign as they did with Kodak and State Farm.”
This blatant promotion of intolerance, hate and ignorance has already caught the attention of the Huffington Post. They interviewed David Canton (the founder of the FFA) who said “How many high schools have a gay first-string quarterback who becomes lovers with someone else on the team? This relationship is extremely unlikely and they shouldn’t open this to dialogue … And I think that it is statistically improbable that you will have a female-to-male transgender who is in love with a lesbian or bisexual in a school setting.” Because apparently Degrassi is guilty of promoting acceptance and inclusion. Liz Owen, the Director of Communications for PFLAG offered support for Degrassi, telling THP that “the episode acknowledges that there are trans people out there and, due to bullying and harassment in a school setting, they really have a hard time … Our message boards got overwhelmingly positive feedback, from trans kids saying how much it helped them to kids saying that, while they didn’t have any transgender kids in their school, they would act positively if they did.”
Best selling author Sarah Dessen also responded to the controversy, after she found herself a target of the protest. Apparently her publisher had bought advertising time during Degrassi, and Dessen suddenly discovered that she had 1,060 new emails. Despite the fact that Dessen has little control over where and when her ad airs, she found that many of these emails were personally attacking her. Dessen took to her blog to react, saying:
I will say this, though. I don’t watch Degrassi, it came along after my time. But I believe in equal rights for ALL people, regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation. If that makes me “depraved” and “lacking integrity” (both things I have been accused of today, more than once) then, well, okay. I’ll take it. I was raised to stand by what I believe, and I believe in equality. You don’t have to agree with me. That’s what’s great about this world. But you don’t have to be nasty about it, either.
I encourage you all to read Sarah Dessen’s full blog entry on the controversy right here!
As Degrassi fans, we have all been influenced by the show in one way or another. Whether you’re life has been personally changed by a storyline, or you just enjoy Degrassi for the characters and the drama, we have all seen the impact that this show has had. Adam’s storyline, in particular, has been groundbreaking for teen television. Just like Marco paved the way for more gay characters on TV, I have no doubt that Adam will do the same for the transgender community. As young people, we have an obligation to stand up for our peers and fight for what we believe in. I hope that we can all take this for what it is. There is always going to be negativity in this world, but Degrassi fans will continue to move forward and support this amazing TV show.
I have no doubt that other media outlets will pick up on this soon. I will keep you guys updated, and edit this post as new information becomes available.
EDIT: Unsurprisingly, this story made it to Perez Hilton.