Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) appears to have played a key role in organizing the caucus, but its current role in the caucus is unclear.
As past XGW messages indicate, PFOX has lobbied in favor of discrimination against gays and opposed antibullying programs in schools. Until last year, its webmaster (operating under the pen name “Burning Black Triangle”) also operated a personal web site that parodied old gay-revolutionary literature by advocating death to homosexuals, the burning of gay churches, and the immolation of gay activist Wayne Besen.
“We regard it as their right to lobby the NEA,” said NEA spokesperson Kathleen Lyons in a press release confirming the registration of the Ex-Gay Educators’ Caucus.
Lyons added that official recognition of the Ex-Gay Educators does not mean that the National Education Association endorses the group’s viewpoint. In fact, the NEA has promoted a booklet that argues against the possibility of changing one’s sexual orientation.
By registering the “ex-gay” group, the NEA settles a long-simmering dispute.
Wayne Besen commented on the dispute here.
Here’s the press release:
Ex-Gay Teachers Form National Education Association Caucus
February 17, 2004
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of ex-gay teachers has formed a recognized caucus of the National Education Association (NEA). The new NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus is chaired by Jeralee Smith, a former lesbian.
The NEA is the largest teachers’ union in the United States. An NEA caucus is an internal entity recognized by NEA for the purpose of attempting to influence NEA governance. Caucuses do not speak for, or act on behalf of the NEA, but advise and lobby NEA governance.
According to Smith, the Ex-Gay Educators Caucus will work to prevent discrimination and intolerance against ex-gay students, teachers, and their supporters. It will advocate a safe environment for all diverse populations, including ex-gay education employees and questioning youth.
Said Smith, “Our caucus will work with NEA to develop policies that recognize the needs of ex-gays in our education system. We believe education is the best way to overcome society’s phobia of former homosexuals. The caucus will also advocate alternatives to homosexuality in school curriculum to ensure diversity.”
Contact: Jeralee Smith, Chair, NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus
Interested persons can subscribe to the caucus email newsletter by sending an email to: NEA_ExGay_Caucusfirstname.lastname@example.org