Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When Public Schools Peddle Ex-Gay Propaganda

by Michael A. Jones @ change.org

You expect your kids to come home from school with homework, maybe a report card, or a note from the teacher. But would you expect your kids to come home with a flier from an ex-gay organization? At a public school no less?

Turn to Montgomery County, just outside of Washington, D.C., where a group of high school students were officially given literature from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), an ex-gay organization that believes that sexual orientation is a self-chosen identity, and collaborates with organizations who view homosexuality as destructive. What did the flier given to students say?

According to teachthefacts.org, the flier told students that if they were LGBT or knew someone who identified as LGBT, that they could change. Oh, and of course, that scientists have yet to discover the “gay center of the brain.”

“Every year thousands of people with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave a gay identity through gender affirming programs, including therapy, faith based ministries, and other non-judgmental environments,” the PFOX flier stated. “No ‘gay gene’ or gay center of the brain has been found. No medical test exists to determine if a person is homosexual. Sexual orientation is based on feelings and is a matter of self-affirmation and public declaration.”

Huh, maybe next week the Montgomery County Public Schools would like to hand out fliers suggesting that the world is flat? Because that carries about as much scientific fact as what PFOX is saying. Tell the Montgomery County Public Schools that peddling propaganda from ex-gay organizations is not only harmful to LGBT students, it’s also an affront to science.

PFOX claims to have distributed the flier as a means of drawing attention to the discrimination that ex-gay people face. But as the Washington City Paper’s Amanda Hess points out, PFOX doesn’t really have all that many ex-gays among its membership. Just a lot of straight people who talk about how gay people can change their sexual orientation.

But PFOX and their bad science aside, what was the Montgomery County Public School system thinking? The President of the School Board even admitted that these fliers “probably” ran counter to what children are taught in the classroom.

“These fliers are probably counter to what is available in our health curriculum,” said President Patricia O’Neill. Really? So would you hand out a flier that says 2+2=67 too?

The school district said they were forced by a previous lawsuit to distribute the fliers. But does litigation really mean giving your students misinformation? As teachthefacts.org notes, that’s just not a good enough justification.

"This is damaging both to gay adolescents who need understanding and accurate information at a time in their lives when they are most vulnerable, and to the others, who are forming attitudes and stereotypes, and are likely to believe this junk about gay people choosing not to be gay, especially since it is handed out by their teachers, at school,” they write."

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