Monday, July 18, 2005

In Need of Therapy

Salon.com has the first part of a four-part series on the efforts of a group of people whose mission in life is to turn gay people straight.

Last month, the Montgomery County Board of Education in suburban Maryland settled a lawsuit over sex education in the county’s public schools, brought in part by PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays). The group is a branch of a national network of “ministries” that claim homosexuality is a chosen and dangerous lifestyle, and that through “reparative therapy” a gay person can be turned straight — into an “ex-gay.”

PFOX won a restraining order in May and successfully halted the county’s new sex ed curriculum, intended, among other things, to promote tolerance toward gays by treating homosexuality as natural and benign. A judge concluded the school curriculum did exclude other views on homosexuality — namely, those of PFOX. Under the settlement last month, the county agreed to pay $36,000 of PFOX’s legal expenses. The group also gets a seat at the table in drafting a new sex ed curriculum for county schools.

With homosexuality and gay marriage at the vortex of the culture wars, religious conservatives say the victory in Montgomery County will be the shot heard around the world. “This has national significance because Montgomery County is a wealthy, influential school district and the lid has been ripped off an agenda that has crept into schools nationwide,” declared Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute at Concerned Women for America.

“We are going to march across the country and we are going to help parents organize in every county,” says Richard Cohen, president of PFOX. “We want parents to check out the curriculum in every place where sex ed is being taught, and if they are advocating homosexuality without any other diverse views being offered to the children, we will help them with a legal defense.”

[…]

Despite the Maryland settlement, PFOX’s claims about homosexuality are, according to virtually all mental health professions, wrong, bizarre and potentially dangerous. “I can give you a short answer of where reparative therapy fits in with the modern mental health profession: It does not,” says Dr. Douglas Haldeman, president of the Association of Practicing Psychologists, a group affiliated with the American Psychological Association. “These theories have been discredited for years.”

I’ll post the rest of these articles as they become available. (Salon.com is a subscription site, but you can get a Day Pass.)

It’s not enough that the Religious Reich wants to control all the straight people and the churches, schools, courthouses, and legislatures; now they want to “un-gay” America? Well, I wish them a whole shitload of luck. That’s like turning black people white, and you can see how successful that’s been — how’s things out at the Neverland Ranch, by the way?

The sad fact about these PFOX people is that their own lives are so empty and meaningless that they have to inflict their misery on everyone. Their strange obsession with other people’s sex lives tells me that they have a whole lot of issues that they need to take care of before they start offering advice to other people.