Exgay Clubs, Differing Opinions
Although I recently poked fun at the lameness and PFOX’s hypocrisy in calling for a high school ex-gay club, I wouldn’t suggest students should be denied their rights under equal-access. Wayne Besen has taken a more aggressive position on the matter:
Allowing a Gay to Straight Club is patently absurd and a public health menace akin to schools sanctioning a cigarette smoking club.
Dare I say Besen is saying Exgay clubs have no place in the public school? Also, considering how often similar baseless “health” type arguments are made against pro-gay clubs I’m not sure if this is the most effective argument to be making.
Speaking from the perspective that public-school extracurricular should be fair and balanced, I think Gay to Straight (G2S) clubs should be allowed only if Straight to Gay (S2G) clubs are allowed — and I know of no public school system where S2Gs are permitted. (My point: GSAs are not Straight to Gay clubs.)
Speaking from the perspective that public-school extracurriculars should be rooted in fact and good public health, I don’t see how either type of club would fit. S2Gs do not exist, and G2Ss are rooted in sectarian religion and distortions of science. If G2S proponents ever reform themselves and prove their commitment to the facts, to public health, and to freedom of speech, then they might be worth considering.
As if PFOX would ever do that….
If there is an ex-gay club, then there should be an ex-straight club and an ex-ex gay club….and while we are at it, an ex-evangelical club.
We wouldn’t want any student to feel their rights are violated.
Wayne Besen is absolutely correct that Liberty Counsel and PFOX are posturing as “persecuted Christians” in their push to get their ex-gay student alliances recognized in the public schools.
I say let them rant and rave. The more they do that the more the vast majority of Americans will see their lunacy and trust them that much less. Their political power will be severely diluted as time marches on. If they are allowed to organize these kinds of clubs then they are going to have to recruit gay people to be involved with them. That means they need to find gay and lesbian people who have “unwanted same sex attraction” obviously due to the guilt and shame that these extremist Christian organizations heap on them in the first place. That’s the trouble with PFOX, Exodus and several religious leaders who support “ex-gay therapy”. They never take responsibility for the fact that their bigoted and hate filled Biblical interpretations regarding homosexuality are the ingredients that lead to some gay people not wanting or accepting their orientation which creates deep seated conflict. It is extremist fundamentalist Christian dogma that creates this conflict in the first place. That’s very tragic.
The truth is gay/straight alliances are organized in public schools by gays and lesbians (with supportive parents as well) who have been bullied by ignorance and bigotry originating from wacko’s like Jerry Fallwell and James Dobson. Good luck in finding very many self proclaimed “ex-gay” students who will get involved in organizing clubs like this.
My forethought is that if they do organize any of them and their student leaders (high school) are seen by peers cruising or at gay clubs that these “ex-gay” alliance/clubs will have a major credibility problem. Obviously that will (in the long run) destroy their ludicrous cause even further.
Time will tell and the truth will cut its own way.
I’m all for giving equal time, but I think equal time requires equal scrutiny. That means when ex-gay proponents can produce the same high level (both in terms of scholarship and integrity) of data in favor of ex-gay programs that we can produce in favor of gay-straight programs–including a statement of purpose that is reflected in their actions and activities–they can participate in society at the same level as everyone else. If they can’t, there is no reason we should refrain from opposing their involvement in the most strenuous of terms. The standard Wayne seems to be suggesting seems pretty simple to me: put up or shut up. And that’s a sound policy no matter what the subject is.
Depends, if you’re talking about student initiated clubs then if the rule is “anyone” can start one then “anyone” can. However, they should be student initiated and they all must adhere to some basic rules — including not disrupting the learning environment (by ther own actions, not because others react to them), not contributing to an unsafe environment for anyone and no actually breaking the law etc.If we’re talking about Diversity Days etc — then no.
The “Christian perspective” — let’s assume there is ONE only — at a diversity day would be to explain how Christians are discriminated against in the current school environment. Perhaps there is some school in America where kids are genuinely afraid of having their heads punched in if they tell anyone that their parents are Christian or that they think they themself may be drawn to the “Christian lifestyle”.Ditto, an exgay perspective at a diversity day would be to explain how exgays are discriminated against in the current school environment. Perhaps there is a school in America where heterosexuals — and wannabes — are mercilessly attacked and derided by the 99% who are gay or lesbian. And I imagine there would be many school boards that have been hijacked by The Gays and have, I dunno, banned discussion of heterosexuality except in disparaging terms in health classes etc. Banned Romeo and Juliet in Eng.Lit. That sort of thing.But if they imagine the Christian or exgay input into a diversity day is not to call for tolerance and basic respect of themself — an aim any decent person could support — but instead see it as yet another way and another day to attack someone else…… then they simply need to be told to p**s off.”No attacking other people. GET IT???”
Well, Wayne may very well have been going overboard on this claim that Gay-to-Straight clubs would be bad public health, but it looks like the good ole “pro-family” movement is going to use their old standby of discredited “health” information in an attempt to blunt the impact of the Day of Silence next week. According to an arrticle on today’s AFA website:
A Christian law firm is teaming up with a national organization to help public school students proclaim the truth about homosexuality and the hopeful message that change is possible for those struggling with same-sex attractions.
Staver says students participating in the “Change is Possible Campaign” will be provided with a “Students’ Rights” brochure, sample graphics to use to create their own literature, relevant health statistics, and a list of groups that affirm an individual’s decision to leave homosexuality. These youth will also be encouraged to start “Gay to Straight Clubs” at their schools, he adds.
More of the same.
Ok fine, if Staver wants to play that way, then ex-ex-gays need to step forward and demand equal access.
If the ex-gays want to play that way then turnabout is fair play.
Everytime PFOX demands to be included a school board needs to say “fine but we’re inviting Wade Richards to tell about his failure in your programs”.
The G2S clubs seem to be advanced by antigay student and faculty bullies (not by exgay students). And they are being steered by propaganda from political and religious activists, not from objective educational resources.
Furthermore, they are being steered by “abstinence only” activists whose ideology is motivated by religion, not health, and whose programs raise the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases by failing to give students the information they need to make informed decisions about whether to engage in sexual activity.
So, how are G2S clubs not a threat to public health?
I’ve been trying to find additional information on GSC’s. Neither PFOX nor Liberty Counsel seem to have any information about exactly what such a club would consist of nor any information about any such existing club. Do you have a link? If you click the “Gay To Straight” link at Liberty’s website it takes you to Richard Cohen’s website. I didn’t see anything about clubs there.
Since the only resources provided to kids wanting to start clubs are
1) a logo (apparantly not yet available);
2) a listing of the legal rights of students to pass out literature at school; and
3) a listing of the purported health risks of “the homosexual lifestyle”,
I think it’s pretty clear that the intent is anti-gay rather than pro-ex-gay.
If they are telling the truth when they say that they are encouraging kids to start these groups, surely there is a start-up package somewhere telling them how to go about doing this. Otherwise they are just spinning hype.
But, then again, truth is the first casualty of a culture war.
Timothy — as best I can tell, you are correct that there isn’t (yet) a single “start-up package”.But an assortment is already prepared.We can start with PFOX: their “how to” is plainly not intended for exgay (or even gay) students. The approach (see also here) is plainly a trojan horse for anti-gay students — Step 1 and 2: set out to ban GSA’s. Failing that do this…PFOX directs you to their resources, all of which are anti-gay and all of which promote a particular religious viewpoint. It also appears that PFOX has backstabbed Warren Throckmorton with the brochures (assuming Warren’s assertion is correct). Nice, trustworthy folks we’re dealing with here (Regina Griggs, DL Foster, Richard Cohen…).This approach — first try to ban, second try anti-gay via G2S/exgay — was recently advocated by Mike Ensley, at the Exodus blog.
Mike, of course, suggests some Exodus product.We can start with Groundswell. Exgay support group? Nope, it’s intended to respond to “the onslaught of homosexuality”. Apart from being organised and largely presented by an ever-straight employee of Exodus, Scott Davis, you’ll keep getting directed back to other anti-gay offerings at…Exodus Youth. (Don’t you just love casade marketing.)If you manage to wade through all the religious fluff (all of which takes only one perspective), you’ll still find Exodus using Paul Cameron and his Family Research Institute as a reference. Obviously Exodus don’t care where they get their information from, just so long as it sounds anti-gay enough. Looking for exgay material? Well, you’ll get the promises but no hard information. Again.A more recent Exodus Youth presentation is “Truth and Tolerance”. One again hoping this is a support manual for exgays? — sorry, wrong again. It’s an anti-gay manual designed “for addressing homosexuality”. The Truth is only viewed as such by very few. The Tolerance is hard to find, given the entire piece is intended to be used to target a particular group. Exgay get’s mentioned only as sideline promise of what you can turn a homosexual into. What exactly an exgay is (other than, it seems, Not A Gay) is not discussed; but once again one is lead to believe they are heterosexual.Got to fly, so will add only one other: the misleadingly named…Day of Truth — coming from all the usual suspects — is also not pro-exgay, but foremostly an anti-gay initiative “established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint…”. One is hard pressed to find much of a mention, let alone support, (let alone facts), for exgays in all their offered resources. Anti-gay is not so hard to find.But, in a nutshell, although the “resources” are scattered it seems quite obvious that a general approach has been adopted:firstly, attempt to ban and/or censor gay supportive groups — including those comprised of gay and straight students working together against anti-gay prejudice.if that fails, demand the introduction of “exgay materials” that — in fact — have almost nothing to do with exgays. Exgay, as presented, is wholly anti-gay; rather than something of itself.That approach, alone, is evidence that these are not exgay support groups. They are instead intended to promote misunderstanding and prejudice against another group.And on that understanding, they should be excluded.But you knew all that, didn’t you 🙂
Grantdale said “It also appears that PFOX has backstabbed Warren Throckmorton with the brochures (assuming Warren’s assertion is correct).”
Grantdale, from what I read on your link Warren didn’t seem too upset by this – he still wants to distribute the brochures with the big lie. If he really had a conscience he’d be saying something about getting the brochures corrected and reprinted – that doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal if he was really concerned about the truth.
Randi, yep — and hope you spotted the “Why does this keep happening to you?” comment from us… read that as you will, but it’s clearer if you read between the lines 🙂