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San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus takes down 'we'll convert your children' music video after group says it received 'threats of harm'

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Image source: YouTube screenshot

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus set a music video to private after the group said it received "threats of harm" over the song that repeats the lines "we'll convert your children" and "we're coming for your children" numerous times.

Chorus director Chris Verdugo told Yahoo Life the tune — "A Message from the Gay Community" — is "satirical."

What's the background?

The SFGMC posted the video on its YouTube page July 1. It begins with one singer introducing the tune by saying, "As we celebrate Pride and progress we've made over these past years, there's still work to be done. So to those of you out there who are still working against equal rights, we have a message for you."

Then the singing begins:

You think we're sinful
You fight against our rights
You say we all lead lives you can't respect
But you're just frightened
You think that we'll corrupt your kids
If our agenda goes unchecked
Funny, just this once, you're correct

We'll convert your children
Happens bit by bit
Quietly and subtly
And you will barely notice it
You can keep them from disco
Warn about San Francisco
Make 'em wear pleated pants
We don't care
We'll convert your children
We'll make them tolerant and fair

The full chorus also sings:

We're coming for them
We're coming for your children
We're coming for them
We're coming for them
We're coming for your children
For your children

While the original clip is not viewable, it has been posted elsewhere:

"A Message From the Gay Community Performed by the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus" www.youtube.com

'Threats of harm'

Yahoo Life wrote that "not everyone got the joke" and said that after the video "went viral" it "was then lambasted by conservative media for its child-focused theme, even prompting death threats against the vocalists ..." The "conservative media" link is for TheBlaze's Wednesday story; the "lambasted" link is for Rod Dreher's piece in the American Conservative.

Verdugo told Yahoo Life that it was a "difficult decision" to set the video to private "because we are an organization whose mission really is both artistic but also activist. We are the first gay men's chorus on the planet. … We are a social justice organization … so it's very difficult for us to decide to take down that video. But the soloists — who are not in the chorus but, in their own right, rising Broadway stars, have received death threats."

Yahoo Life also reported that "critics have used various Twitter accounts to take screenshots of the chorus, numbered the individuals and created spreadsheets, harassing them, even at their places of work."

"All over a satirical piece of music," Verdugo said, according to the outlet.

The SFGMC on Thursday issued a statement on the issue that reads, in part:

The far-right conservative media found our "Message..." video and have taken it as their cause. This has all happened in the last 24 hours and it continues to pick up steam. They have taken the lyrics out of context to support a narrative that suits their intolerant and hateful needs. It is obvious the tongue-in-cheek humor is lost on many. As a result, we have seen the user comments on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram become increasingly alarming. Emails to individuals and the chorus office are vitriolic – including threats of harm.

We feel the first action we must take to keep everyone involved with the chorus and the making of this video safe is to turn the video to private. We are communicating with law-enforcement both locally and nationally. We will not be threatened and we follow legal steps to act on those threats. We will always accept others who may hold different values, but when violence is their choice of expression, since 1969 we have not backed down. After decades of children being indoctrinated and taught intolerance for anyone who is "other," from using the Bible as a weapon to reparative therapy, it's our turn. We have dedicated ourselves to being role models, teaching, and spreading the message of love, tolerance and celebration through our music.

Our second action is to work to control the narrative. The video is being illegally copied and placed on YouTube, Instagram and other websites. Others have the right to follow Fair Use laws, but that is not what is happening here. Therefore, our social media and marketing staff are working around the clock to alert moderators at YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and to file DMCA's (take down of websites featuring stolen content). So far, this has been very successful.

Interesting conclusion

Verdugo told Yahoo Life he didn't think the song would elicit the degree of negative reaction it did.

"It's a lightning rod," he acknowledged to the outlet, in regard to what Yahoo Life said were "the risks of referencing anything gay and child-related in the same breath."

However, Verdugo also told the outlet that the song "came from a very innocent place. We weren't trying to antagonize anyone … we never thought it would — and perhaps that's on us."

At least one child drag queen likes the song

Remember child drag queen Desmond Is Amazing? The kid made many headlines over the past few years in relation to his drag pursuits.

Well, Desmond happens to love the SFGMC's song and said so on Facebook:

Pushback

Despite the SFGMC's vehement defense of the song, not everyone is buying it.

Becket Adams, a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner, took issue with the response of gay men's chorus and let them have it:

Dreher in his piece noted that "what these smart-asses in San Francisco did was make a satirical song and video that would win them plaudits in their own circles by making fun of normies ... the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus said the quiet part out loud. Sure, they say in the video that they're talking about converting them into being 'tolerant and fair,' but that is not at all how it will be received. ..."

He added, "The contempt these men show towards parents who don't think like them is at the heart of this. The taunting that says, whatever your religious beliefs, we are going to steal the hearts and minds of your children, and there is nothing you hicks can do to stop us. It gives the game away. It gives the game away for them, and for all their corporate allies."

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