PFOX has been at it again with the distribution of their fliers in schools. This time, the letters were passed out at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland. The article in the school newspaper titled, PFOX letter stirs student emotions, details the quickly organized student protest that followed the PFOX letter campaign.
“I thought the PFOX letter was very well written and put up a great façade,” GSA president, senior Chloe Richard said. “Most students didn’t understand why [we] were protesting the letter because it was so well written. It was a good fake out, and it really masked the reality of the organization very well.”
The students at Winston Churchill, in response to the flyers, protested by discarding their letters in recycling bins as well as trash bags labeled “PFOX.”
According to the letter passed out to students,
“PFOX seeks to eliminate prejudice and discrimination against former homosexuals” and “conducts community-building activities that support the individual’s right to all information and self-determination.”
PFOX attempts to mask it’s efforts to recruit ex-gays by promoting themselves as an organization for tolerance and awareness of ex-gays, suggesting that ex-gay is a seperate sexual orientation. While I support any individual’s self-determination in regards to their sexual orientation, I can’t get behind pushing ex-gay rhetoric to public school students. PFOX does nothing more than use the same techniques they complain and accuse gay activists of using. Even more frustrating, is the thinking of many PFOX members that there is no such thing as a homosexual (merely broken heterosexuals), and their refusal to use the word gay unless embraced with scare quotes. In the same breath, these folks insist on tolerance for ex-homosexuals and ex-gays. It makes no sense.
PFOX’s continued distribution of information to public school students seems to have been prompted by the 4th circuit court’s ruling that student backpacks are an open forum for non-profit community groups, religious or otherwise. Regular readers at Ex-Gay Watch may also recall this little scuffle last November over the district’s sex/health education curriculum.
As draconian as it may sound, most educators, including myself, would put an end to ALL distributions of brochures, pamphlets, fliers, or letters. Teachers spend incredible amounts of valuable learning time doling out information as if we were the postal service. One of the most amazing things to me, as an educator, is that enough of these things make it home to upset anyone in the first place. This is why secondary schools mail report cards. The protest staged by the students at Winston Churchill was most obviously a protest because the students actually placed the letters in designated receptacles. Most of the information teachers pass out winds up scattered throughout the halls and across the school yard.
Another concern over the PFOX’s association with public school students is the message they send to those students who indeed are struggling with their sexuality. It seems that PFOX would be more astute in understanding that, yes, it is the word homosexual or gay that causes these young people to live, at times, in fear of what others will think of them. Putting “former” or “ex” in front of it only further convolutes the matter at this point. If PFOX were truly concerned about kids, it seems they’d have a clearer understanding of the fact that providing support for “former” homosexuals and “ex” gays only serves to target those who’ve openly identified themselves as gay. This makes it seem as if PFOX is more of an anti-gay group than an ex-gay affirming group. Surely not.