This past week, hundreds of students in the Montgomery County Public School system were given fliers by an ex-gay organization. That organization - Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) - believes that people choose to be gay and that homosexuality is destructive. They regularly counsel people to convert their sexual orientation from gay to straight, and suggest inaccurately that science supports the notion that homosexuality is not biological.
Why are public school students receiving handouts from an organization like this? The President of the Montgomery County Public School board even went on record to say that the PFOX fliers "are probably counter to what is available in our health curriculum." So why give students information that defy what you teach them in class?
Furthermore, these fliers are intended to tell LGBT people, particularly LGBT youth, that they can change their sexual orientation. That is a damaging message to send to queer youth. Tell the Montgomery County Public School District that fliers like this don't deserve an official endorsement from the school.
- President, Board of Education
- Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Jerry Weast
This past week, hundreds of students were given copies of a flier from an ex-gay organization, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX). This organization has consistently misused science to describe homosexuality as a changeable variable, and regularly partners with organizations that believe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are destructive.
Moreover, the fliers that were handed out to students were full of misinformation. As you yourself said, Mrs. O'Neill, these fliers probably ran counter to the education Montgomery County Public School students receive in health class. That's an accurate assertion. The information presented by PFOX also runs counter to almost nearly every mainstream scientific and medical organization.
Handing out these fliers to students is damaging. In the first place it tells LGBT students that they should desire to change their sexual orientation. In the second place, it reaffirms for many the stereotypes that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is unnatural, or something that can be easily changed or manipulated.
There's no place for these fliers in Montgomery County Public Schools, or in any public schools. I would like an apology for the School District recognizing that these fliers could be detrimental to students, as well as a statement that your School District will pledge to institute a process whereby fliers that are not based on facts -- in this case scientific facts about sexual orientation -- won't be handed out to students.
Giving students fliers is one thing. But giving them misinformation is not the job of our education system. Thank you for your time.
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