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Old 05-30-2006, 05:11 PM   #1
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false choices

this just makes me so sad, and though it's been kicked around before, it bears repeating:

[q]'Ex-Gays' Seek a Say in Schools
In response to campus programs supporting homosexuality, critics call for offering an alternative view: that people can go straight.
By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer
May 28, 2006


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Over the last decade, gay-rights activists have pushed programs to support gay and lesbian students in public schools. Their success is striking:

More than 3,000 Gay-Straight Alliance clubs meet across the country. Nearly half a million students take a vow of silence one day each spring in an annual event to support gay rights. California may soon require textbooks to feature the contributions of gays and lesbians throughout history.

Critics, mostly on the religious right, view all this as promoting the "homosexual lifestyle." Unable to stop it, they have turned to a new strategy: demanding equal time for their view in public schools and on college campuses.

Conservative Christians and Jews have teamed up with men and women who call themselves "ex-gay" to lobby — and even sue — for the right to tell teenagers that they can "heal" themselves of unwanted same-sex attractions.

They argue that schools have an obligation to balance gay-pride themes with the message that gay and lesbian students can go straight through "reparative therapy." In this view, homosexuality is not a fixed or inborn trait but a symptom of emotional distress — a disorder that can be cured.

Alan Chambers, a leading ex-gay activist, recalls how scared and depressed he felt when a high-school counselor advised him to deal with his attraction to other boys by accepting his homosexuality. He had no choice, she told him: He was gay. "It was very damaging," Chambers said. "I didn't want that. I hadn't chosen it."

His senior year, Chambers found his way to Exodus International, a network of groups that support ex-gays. He is now married to a woman, a father of two — and the president of Exodus.

Mental-health professionals overwhelmingly warn against therapy to change sexual orientation, calling it ineffective and potentially harmful to patients' self-esteem. But ex-gays say they have managed to eliminate or reduce their pull to the same sex, though it often takes years of struggle.

"That's an important perspective," Chambers said. "If you're going to allow one side into the schools, you need to allow the other side, too. People want alternatives."

That rhetoric echoes the creationist campaigns of the 1980s and '90s: Just as conservative Christians demanded equal time for Genesis whenever Darwin got a mention, ex-gays and their allies are insisting on equal time for their views whenever homosexuality is discussed. Several ex-gay websites offer equal-time policies that parents can urge their local school boards to adopt.

Teachers, too, are beginning to raise the subject with their principals and in the classroom. "It's been our hottest issue over the last two years. Without a doubt," said Finn Laursen, executive director of the Christian Educators Assn. International, which represents 7,000 teachers, mostly from public schools.

Though the equal-time argument didn't work for creationists, ex-gays have begun to notch some successes.

A high school in New Hampshire invited ex-gay activist Aaron Shorey to present his story on Civil Rights Day last year. He told several standing-room-only classes that he refused to let his attraction to men define him as gay. "I have experienced change," he told them. "Change is possible." He's working with several other New England schools to get permission for similar presentations.

The ex-gay group Inqueery, based in Des Moines, has also sent speakers to public high schools, including one in Chicago this spring.

In Boulder, Colo., educators are considering including an ex-gay pamphlet in a resource guide to help teachers handle questions about sexuality. The pamphlet states that sexual identity is fluid and that conversion therapy can help some gays and lesbians overcome depression. The district — in one of the most liberal cities in the country — does not endorse that philosophy, but "we're a big believer in providing all viewpoints," spokeswoman Maela Moore said. "It would be negligent to omit."

The ex-gay movement's biggest victory came last year, when a federal judge sided with Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays, or PFOX, in a lawsuit against a Maryland school district.

PFOX, a national advocacy group based in Alexandria, Va., had sued to block the district's new sex-education curriculum, arguing that its treatment of homosexuality was one-sided. The judge agreed that students should hear other perspectives, and PFOX took a seat on the committee charged with drafting new lesson plans.

Similar lawsuits may be filed soon. New Jersey-based JONAH — Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality — is seeking parents and students willing to sue to get the ex-gay view into schools. So is Liberty Counsel, a Christian law firm in Orlando, Fla. The firm joined PFOX last month in urging teens to form Gay to Straight Clubs and hang "Choose to Change" posters in their schools. If an administrator tries to censor that message, Liberty Counsel promises to provide legal backup.

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedi...7.story?page=1

[/q]



it's not that anyone wants to deny anyone information -- there's plenty of information out there, and should one choose to become an "ex-gay," by all means, go for it, and good luck to you -- but it is, again, the demanding (under the guise of religious descrimination) of "equal time" for viewpoints not supported by facts or research or success or really any of the traditional tools we use to guage whether or not something is legitimate or a total fabrication.

example:

[q]The ex-gay movement considers same-sex attraction to be a gender-identity disorder, brought on by inadequate parenting, unmet emotional needs and, often, childhood sexual abuse.[/q]

but there is no evidence to support this. anywhere. except when you get "experts" such as this:

[q]Mainstream associations of psychiatrists and psychologists resoundingly reject that model, but the ex-gay movement promotes it through groups such as the National Assn. for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. That group's president, psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, opened a recent conference for men and women seeking to overcome homosexuality with a ringing statement:

"There is no such thing as a homosexual. We are all heterosexual. Our body was designed for the opposite sex."

The audience of more than 700 sat rapt in the pews of a Fort Lauderdale church. Some held Bibles. Others took notes. Nicolosi went on to tell them that fathers could help their sons stay straight by bonding through rough-and-tumble games, such as tossing them in the air.

"Even if [the dad] drops the kid and he cracks his head, at least he'll be heterosexual," Nicolosi said, chuckling. "A small price to pay."
[/q]



my point is not to make this a thread about homosexuality, or "ex-gays," but to highlight the intellectual laziness that is creeping into society -- so many conservatives bemoan political correctness, the idea of many voices needing to be heard, that there is an Africa-American perspective on history, a feminist perspective on history, etc. that there is no truth, that everything is realtive, and that we should be more concerned with making sure no one is offended instead of getting to the truth of the matter.

oh, the irony.
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Old 05-30-2006, 05:39 PM   #2
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I wonder if they would support ex-christian groups as well?
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Old 05-30-2006, 05:43 PM   #3
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I don't get it. What does "equal time" really mean? GSA clubs meet before or after school.

What would an "equal time" lesson plan look like?
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Old 05-30-2006, 06:10 PM   #4
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When did free speech have a scientific verification requirement? I understand where you are going with this Irvine, but the principles to get there need refining.
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Old 05-30-2006, 06:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
When did free speech have a scientific verification requirement? I understand where you are going with this Irvine, but the principles to get there need refining.


firstly, we know that free speech within the confines of a public school is conditional at first.

anyway, are we to understand that the presentation of non-factual information (which thereby has the tacit acceptance of something as authoritative as the school and its administration) as the expression of free speech? is a teacher free to teach that 2+2=5 because of free speech? didn't we have a thread about a teacher who was suspended because he had the class draw between Bush's SOTU speech and a Hitler speech? does each and every special event require "the other side"? if we have a substance-abuse prevention workshop, should schools be required to provide a representative from NORMAL? should we have speakers who can tesitfy to the benefits of mind-altering substances and how pot can greatly enhance one's life in addition to it's (rather undeniable) medicinal benefits?

it seems almost like an issue of quality control, and i really don't think that couching bad information under "free speech" is going to fly when we're dealing with an institution of learning.
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Old 05-30-2006, 06:24 PM   #6
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Don't confuse "should we provide a contrary view" with "should we permit a contrary view".

The very existence of speech like this thread is the quality control - not the barring of specific classes of speech.
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Old 05-30-2006, 06:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Don't confuse "should we provide a contrary view" with "should we permit a contrary view".

The very existence of speech like this thread is the quality control - not the barring of specific classes of speech.


this thread is not a public school.

i'm also not saying that there's something wrong with free speech by ex-gay groups -- we have groups advocating the existence of ghosts, bigfoot, UFOs, and the Loch Ness monster. more power to them. you'd just never find such groups in a public school, unless it were some kind of paranormal activities after school program.

i think you're missing two points here:

1. the massive irony
2. this:

[q]They argue that schools have an obligation to balance gay-pride themes with the message that gay and lesbian students can go straight through "reparative therapy." [/q]

there is no obligation for the school to provide a non-factual "other side" to any issue. none. there is no reason to provide high school counselors (which is what really bothers me) literature about "reparative therapy." none. it is not a free speech issue when we're dealing with health issues where we can clearly show, as the article does, the health and emotional damage to a student that can be caused by the permitting of non-factual information such as the myth that "reparative therapy" can "cure" homosexuality.
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Old 05-30-2006, 06:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
When did free speech have a scientific verification requirement? I understand where you are going with this Irvine, but the principles to get there need refining.
When neo-Nazis and their ilk get "equal time" in high schools, then maybe we can have this discussion.

Unlike Irvine, my point is that there is a line drawn in any organization where hate groups are not allowed. A group such as the "ex-gays," whose entire fabricated existence has been completely predicated on belittling and demeaning another group has no business in schools--just as we would never expect a neo-Nazi group at schools, whose existence is solely based upon demeaning those who aren't white and aren't Protestant.

But, basically, if they're so happy to not be gay, then let them masquerade as "straight" like everyone else.

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Old 05-30-2006, 07:06 PM   #9
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I dunno. I think the groups of ex-blacks should get a chance, just like the ex-gays.
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