Kids at Rockville’s Albert Einstein High School, Maryland, on February 1 took home their report cards, but some parents were shocked to find that alongside their kids’ grades there was also a leaflet telling their kids how being gay is a choice and that it is possible to change.So reads (in part) a flyer from FPOX(Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays).
I'm a bit too angry to do a full writeup; I'll do more later when I cool down.
In brief, school authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland, are forced by regulation to allow Display and Distribution of Information Materials and Announcements from non-profits. So this "ex-gay" message goes out with every report card.
The flyer states, (PDF link) in part, that
According to mainstream psychological associations, there are no replicated scientific studies to support that a person can be born “gay.” 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. Some teens are labeled “gay” or other names even though they do not have same-sex attractions. Appearance is not a reliable means to know what another person feels. No one should be labeled based on the perception of others. Name calling is wrong because the victim may begin to believe what others tell them about themselves, which may be completely false labeling and cause gender confusion.
Thousands of ex-gay men and women had those very same feelings when they were in school. Get smart! Explore the origins of your same-sex attraction. Why do I have these feelings? .... The decision of a prom date, a car, or whether to super-sie those fries can be baed on a feeling, but important decisions should not be made on feelings alone. . . . .There is a small disclaimer at the bottom:
These materials are neither sponsored nor endorsed by the Board of Education of Montegomery County, the superintendent, or this school.One would hope not. But the allowed these flyers to go home in every single report card at the school. Because choosing to be gay is just like choosing to super-size your fries.
* More later, when I have time to relax a bit*
UPDATED : Contact information provided by RumsfeldResign (thanks!)
11135 Newport Mill Rd.
Kensington, MD 20895
Please be polite! Remember, they are just following a regulation -- the didn't volunteer to do this! Most teachers I know would sigh and lump this with, "more crap I have to do that doesn't involved actually teaching!"
UPDATE 2: Washington Posted reported on this 2/28/12
The Montgomery County Board of Education is reconsidering its policy on distributing community flyers, following protests over an announcement sent home with students last month that many found potentially harmful to gay people.It looks like all flyers will be banned. Personally I would prefer to see this flyer considered "hate speech", but I guess in general their solution works.
The flyer, which was distributed along with report cards to students at five high schools, came from Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays (PFOX), a Virginia-based organization that advocates that gay people can change their sexual orientation — a view that several national medical organizations contest.
The existing school system policy permits any nonprofit to send flyers home with high school students four times a year, unless the message is considered hate speech. The right was upheld in a court case several years ago.
To remain viewpoint neutral, the school system has to allow any nonprofit — or forbid all nonprofits — from sending home messages.
The important thing to note is that the Superintendant has already spoken out against the flyers, calling the actions "reprehensive and deplorable." he said this when asked about the flyers by students(!!) at a televised town hall meeting at the school (again, !!). The flyers, "contradict the county’s sex education curriculum describing homosexuality as innate."
In short, the school administration appears to be on our side very strongly. If you feel led to contact them, a brief "thank you" is probably appropriate.
There is also blatting by PFOX about how everyone is so intolerant to them. If you want to read it follow the link, I refuse to reproduce their boo-hooing here.
Rec list? Thank you all for taking LGBT rights to heart!