February 6th, 2010
As reported by Controversial flier goes out with report card (Washington Post 2/05/10) and When Public Schools Peddle Ex-Gay Propaganda (Change.org 2/05/10), Montgomery County MD schools distributed fliers this week from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), an organization which maintains that gays can be “turned straight” through therapy and a desire to change (the Trojan horse in its larger attack on the “gay agenda,” criticism of which is featured prominently on the PFOX webite). The schools say they must allow groups like PFOX to use their distribution systems due to a 2006 court case that required that any registered non-profit be permitted to distribute non-hate speech literature to students four times per year. PFOX has distributed fliers at half of the county’s schools, and plans to distribute fliers to the other half at the end of the school year. For more on PFOX, see also The Ex-Gay Movement that Wasn’t: A look at D.C.’s tiniest demographic (Washington City Paper 9/09/09), and SIGN THIS PETITION to protest PFOX’s action.
“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… 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.” – Text from flier distributed by PFOX at Montgomery County high schools
“We believe that people have the right to seek change if they’re unhappy. No one’s telling anybody that they have to support our position.” — PFOX Executive Director Regina Griggs
“These fliers are probably counter to what is available in our health curriculum, but that curriculum focuses on respect, and we respect freedom of speech.” – Patricia O’Neill, President Montgomery County Board of Education
Can sexuality be converted
And from gay to straight be reverted?
Religious rightists believe being gay is a choice
And “converting back” is a triumph in which to rejoice.
But what if people are born gay?
Can you convert them anyway?
Scientists say heterosexuals have latent homosexual tendency
(That may explain “everstraight” anger at gay rights’ ascendancy).
If that’s the case, might the reverse also be true?
Could gays have heterosexual tendencies too?
But what if the idea that you can “convert” is erroneous?
Me, I’d stick with the advice from Polonius:
“This above all else: to thine own self be true,”
Which is what we should also let other people do.
Why should Winston Churchill High gays
Taking home report cards with A’s
Have to painfully endure
That their grades be accompanied by a PFOX brochure?
How does it make those kids feel when that brochure
Says that what they need is a cure
For who and what they are?
Sorry, but that’s taking “free speech” too far.
If the court said fliers can’t include hate,
Why is this even up for debate?
How is it not hateful to hurt
Someone by telling them they should “convert”?
Life is already hard enough for an adolescent
(It’s not easy for anyone to be pubescent).
Why allow a campaign
That causes gay kids pain?
PFOX says schools shouldn’t affirm gay self-identification.
Since when is that a problem sweeping the nation?
And what’s wrong with letting kids know it’s OK
If they (or others) turn out to be gay?
For some, maybe sexual identity isn’t immutable–
Things change in life, that’s irrefutable.
But that change shouldn’t be forced, or just to go along
With “friends” or family that tell you being gay is wrong.
There is one thing of which I’m sure:
You can’t “convert” kids from being gay with a brochure.
All you can do is make them feel bad
When if they got good grades, they should be glad.
Not only that, PFOX’s whole premise is shaky
I’m not saying that all ex-gays are liars,
But I sure am against those damned fliers.
PS: The titular reference is to Harvey Milk’s line in the film Milk (here’s the clip).
Here’s the real Harvey Milk speaking about giving hope to that young kid who may have just realized he or she is gay.