Saturday, July 30, 2011

NAACP 102nd Annual Convention: "Overcoming Homophobia"


Civil Rights Icon Julian Bond Speaks at NAACPs First Town Hall Meeting on LGBT Rights

by Karen Ocamb on July 29, 2011 | 12:08 PM

The NAACP held its first-ever town hall meeting to discuss LGBT issues on July 25 as part of its 102nd annual convention held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The theme was “Our Collective Responsibility: Overcoming Homophobia”. Julian Bond, Civil Rights Icon and Chairman Emeritus NAACP, addresses the NAACP. Video by Renee Sotile & Mary Jo Godges of TraipsingThruFilms for LGBT POV and Frontiers In LA. An extensive piece on the town hall with more video is coming soon.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dangerous Complacency

On July 2nd, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act that had just been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives a few hours earlier, into law. The act outlawed segregation in businesses such as theaters, restaurants, and hotels. It banned discriminatory practices in employment and ended segregation in public places such as swimming pools, libraries, and public schools.

Passage of that piece of legislation was not easy. It had been bottled up in the House Rules Committee and in the Senate, opponents attempted to kill the legislation with a filibuster. It is a testament to the tireless work and clear vision of people of conscience that the Civil Rights Act became law in 1964. But, what if it all ended with the passage of that landmark legislation? What if all activist decided simply to stop all of their work on July 2nd, 1964? What if the NAACP simply closed its door on that victorious day? What if donors to the advancement of Civil Rights and human dignity decided to stop donating? What if volunteers decided to lend their efforts to other causes, and there were several important causes and good works (the Vietnam War, Peace Corps)? What if the President simply decided to focus on other matters?

Without sustained political pressure, volunteers, donations, activists, we would probably never have passed the Civil Rights Act of 1965 that outlawed literacy tests and poll taxes as a way of assessing whether anyone was fit or unfit to vote. After the passage of the 1965 Act, all you needed to vote was American citizenship and the registration of your name on an electoral list, after the passage of the 1965 Act no form of hindrance to this would be tolerated by the law courts. If everyone threw a party, celebrated and went home after the signing of the 1965 Act’s signing into law, what then?

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 that among other things ended legal housing discrimination, would probably not have been passed into law. If people stopped working for Equality after the signing of the 1968 Act, then there would have been no Civil Rights Act of 1991 that protected workers from unlawful harassment and intentional discrimination in the workplace.

The point of this is that the attainment of Civil Rights and Social Justice are rarely, if ever, “an event,” if history is an accurate guide, this is usually a long, painful, tedious and costly process. There will always be vested interests and uncharitable people who will work, contribute and organize to oppress minorities. Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous quote that the “Arc of history bends towards justice,” is a noble truth meant to inspire in the face of evil and not as a license to do nothing in the face of evil.

In our War for Human Dignity, we will be forced to engage in many battles. We have recently won two major battles, the final repeal of DADT that will occur on September 20th, 2011 and the establishment of Marriage Equality in New York State. Some in our community feel that they have won and that someone else, somewhere else, can fight other battles elsewhere. These sentiments are reported in an article by Alana Horowitz (Full Story).

The line of thought expressed by some members of our community is dangerous on two levels. First, there is still much work that must be accomplished before we reach Full Federal Equality and beyond that goal, Full Equality for members of our community Internationally. Here are just two major mileposts on the road ahead:

• Repeal of DOMA (the falsely named “Defense” of Marriage Act)

• Passage of ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act)

Even after we have won, and we will win, Full Federal (legal) Equality. There will be decades of work to be done to establish Full Social Equality for members of our community. There is a distinction between “legal” protection and “social” acceptance. This was tragically pressed home last fall with a spate of suicides of young people in our community. People who were hounded into self-hatred and despair by those who would “keep us in our place” (i.e. silent and invisible).

It is important, healthy and good to celebrate victories in our battles. This encourages future efforts and necessary sacrifices. However, it is a fatal mistake to assume that a victorious outcome to a particular battle, such as the victory in New York State or the Repeal of DADT, marks an end to our War for Human Dignity. It most certainly does not and I promise you that the oppressive elements at NOM and their funders in Salt Lake City and the Knights of Columbus have not stopped trying to restore injustice.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Man behind the Hate

The Intellectual Architect who transformed American Catholic Bishops into the Choirboys for the Republican Party.

What do former LA Cardinal Mahony’s and San Francisco’s Archbishop Niederauer’s support of California’s Proposition 8, NYC Archbishop Dolan’s opposition to Marriage Equality legislation in New York state, the unified opposition to all Marriage Equality legislation by the American Catholic hierarchy and the Manhattan Declaration all have in common? Is there one person who is the intellectual architect of all the “talking points,” the inspiration for funding of a coordinated political action against Marriage Equality and LGBT civil rights? New York Times reporter David D. Kirkpatrick tells us that many social and political conservatives say one name.

Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker.

He has parlayed a 13th-century Catholic philosophy into real political influence. Glenn Beck, the Fox News talker and a big George fan, likes to introduce him as “one of the biggest brains in America,” or, on one broadcast, “Superman of the Earth.” Karl Rove told me he considers George a rising star on the right and a leading voice in persuading President George W. Bush to restrict embryonic stem-cell research. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told me he numbers George among the most-talked-about thinkers in conservative legal circles. And Newt Gingrich called him “an important and growing influence” on the conservative movement, especially on matters like abortion and marriage.

“If there really is a vast right-wing conspiracy,” the conservative Catholic journal Crisis concluded a few years ago, “its leaders probably meet in George’s kitchen.”

The Effect:

George was invited to address an audience that included many bishops at a conference in Washington. He told them with typical bluntness that they should stop talking so much about the many policy issues they have taken up in the name of social justice. They should concentrate their authority on “the moral social” issues like abortion, embryonic stem-cell research and same-sex marriage, where, he argued, the natural law and Gospel principles were clear. To be sure, he said, he had no objections to bishops' “making utter nuisances of themselves” about poverty and injustice, like the Old Testament prophets, as long as they did not advocate specific remedies. They should stop lobbying for detailed economic policies like progressive tax rates, higher minimum wage and, presumably, the expansion of health care — “matters of public policy upon which Gospel principles by themselves do not resolve differences of opinion among reasonable and well-informed people of good will,” as George put it.

A few months later, in a July 17 letter to Congress, the bishops did something close to that in the health care debate.

George’s marching orders have transformed the National Catholic Bishop’s Conference (NCCB) into becoming the choirboys for the Republican Party. What is the real world cost both to American Catholics and American Society?


Sixty leaders of Catholic religious orders representing 59,000 nuns sent a letter to Washington leaders urging them to vote for the health care reform bill. Unlike many of the Catholic bishops, who have worked against the current bill on the basis of abortion policy, the sisters argued the pending bill represented a "real pro-life stance" and urged Catholic members of Congress to pass the legislation.

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby represents one of the organizations that signed the letter to Congress, in her words,

“But this really isn't so much about a face and morals difference. It's about a political analysis difference where does this or does this not fund abortion? And our perspective is is that it does not. And it promotes life by giving 30 million people in our country access to health care when we know that 45,000 people die every year because they don't have access to health care and to having their needs met.”

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church in this country have chosen to transform the Catholic Church into a far right PAC. As Sister Campbell points out the price that the US bishops have paid is not merely dollars but 45,000 human lives per year.


Robert P. George’s own analysis of the weakness in his appeal to absolute reason:
It is a debate at least as old as the Reformation, when Martin Luther broke with the Catholic Church and insisted that reason was so corrupted that faith in the divine was humanity’s only hope of salvation. (Until relatively recently, contemporary evangelicals routinely leveled the same charge at modern Catholics.) “This is a serious issue, and if I am wrong, this is where I am wrong,” George acknowledges.
Over lunch last month at the Princeton faculty club, George noted that many evangelicals had signed the Manhattan Declaration despite the traditional Protestant skepticism about the corruption of human reason. “I sold my view about reason!” he declared. He was especially pleased that, by signing onto the text, so many Catholic bishops had endorsed his new natural-law argument about marriage. “It really is the top leadership of the American church,” he said.

“Obviously, I am gratified that view appears to have attracted a very strong following among the bishops,” he went on. “I just hope I am right. If they are going to buy my arguments, I don’t want to mislead the whole church.”


First, Professors at Creighton University in a recent book “The Sexual Person” have developed an argument that supports Marriage Equality.

“While some documents from Vatican II, like Gaudium et spes ("the marital act promotes self-giving by which spouses enrich each other"), gave hope for a renewed understanding of sexuality, the church has not carried out the full implications of this approach. In short, say Salzman and Lawler: emphasize relationships, not acts, and recognize Christianity's historically and culturally conditioned understanding of human sexuality. The Sexual Person draws historically, methodologically, and anthropologically from the best of Catholic tradition and provides a context for current theological debates between traditionalists and revisionists regarding marriage, cohabitation, homosexuality, reproductive technologies, and what it means to be human. This daring and potentially revolutionary book will be sure to provoke constructive dialogue among theologians, and between theologians and the Magisterium.”

This work by Professors Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler has already been condemned by American Catholic bishops, since they understand that it threatens to bring down the whole house of cards on their objections to Marriage Equality based on their appeal to the Natural Law (reason) argument. This would unmask the hierarchy’s relentless opposition to LGBT Civil Rights as nothing more than a cynical attempt to deflect attention from the Sexual Cover-Up Scandal and re-vivify their waning social influence and political power.

Also, too much scrutiny into the supposed “objective” role of reason in Anti-Equality arguments threatens fissures in the “Christian” alliance with Evangelicals. I respectfully suggest that LBGT persons with media connections use their influence to publicly air Professors’ Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler Natural Law theories and their logical legal/social implications.

Secondly, I’d point out that we “dropped the ball” and missed a significant opportunity to highlight the confrontation between the American Catholic bishops and Catholic Religious women’s orders (Nuns). The bishops have already been largely discredited by their complicity in the National and International Sexual Cover-Up Scandal. The Sisters on the other hand enjoy a much-deserved sterling reputation as ministers of charity and advocates for the marginalized. Diana Butler Bass ask the following question in an article for the Huffington Post,

“I have one question for you: Whom do you trust to speak for the Catholic faith? The bishops who covered up the sex scandal in the church, ignoring the cries of victims, while rewarding those with "habitually foul behavior" with ever-bigger parishes and positions in the hierarchy? Or the sisters -- the women who nursed your sick grandparents, who taught your children to read, cooked meals for hungry people, who started schools on the prairies and established hospitals in far-away jungles? When it comes to being pro-life, you best listen to the ladies.”

I am amazed that we have failed to do “Sixty-Minutes” type television exposes on this showdown between the hierarchy and these brave nuns. Most Catholics are more progressive, not only than other religious people but, than American voters as a whole on several social issues. Somehow, politicians interact with the local bishops as if he controlled a monolithic voting block that held very socially conservative opinions AND voted according to those opinions---they do not.

It is time for us to recognize the source of our oppression and the hatred & bigotry encouraged by these irresponsible theories. As a Philosophy professor of mine once quipped, “You have to shoot these people with their own bullets.” It is time for us to effectively and more aggressively fight back.

Post Script: An excellent article on Dr. George by Colleen at Open Tabernacle

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dealing with Hate

Due to our two recent political victories, Marriage Equality in New York State and the end of DADT scheduled for 20 September 2011, there has been a backlash of hatred towards our community. I have prepared a reasoned and polite letter of response to such critics.

Through such an approach I hope that we may move some of those opposed to Equality Laws to reconsider their harsh positions. I also believe that by making a reasoned argument and presenting it reasonably, we will move more people “in the middle” to support our fight for Full Federal Equality.

Please feel free to use the following in letters to editors, personal correspondence, etc.

Thank you for your interest in contacting me,

Moral questions regarding sexuality are, and should be, a concern for us all. I find the following presentation by moralist Dr. John Corvino especially helpful in regard to issues of sexuality and morality.

What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?

The following is taken from the American Psychological Association website:

Is sexual orientation a choice?

No, human beings cannot choose to be either gay or straight. For most people, sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.

Can therapy change sexual orientation?

No; even though most homosexuals live successful, happy lives, some homosexual or bisexual people may seek to change their sexual orientation through therapy, often coerced by family members or religious groups to try and do so. The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable. However, not all gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who seek assistance from a mental health professional want to change their sexual orientation. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people may seek psychological help with the coming out process or for strategies to deal with prejudice, but most go into therapy for the same reasons and life issues that bring straight people to mental health professionals.

Consider the loving advice would you give to a young person who confided in you that they had a same-sex orientation. Would your advice lead that young person to a life of love and self-acceptance, or to a life of fear, self-hatred and hiding?

Thank you very much for your interest and for making the time to consider the role of sexuality in your own and other’s lives.

God Bless!

Father Geoff

Friday, July 22, 2011

20 September 2011 the death of DADT.

Today President Obama joined the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen certified the repeal of the unjust Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). The clock now starts ticking for the sixty day time period after certification. On 20 September 2011 gays and lesbians will be able to serve openly in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Obviously this is of immense significance for gay/lesbian members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their loved ones. It is also a huge “game changer” for the national debate on Marriage Equality, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA] and the repeal of the unconstitutional and falsely named Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA].

In 1947 President Harry S. Truman desegregated the U.S. Civil Service and the U.S. Armed Forces. That decision set in motion changes in social attitudes. Those changing attitudes helped to usher in tectonic social changes in America. The landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education that ordered the desegregation of schools and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are both connect to Truman’s courageous Executive Order of 1947.

Imagine the impact that the repeal of DADT will have in “military towns” across America. Suddenly locals will see Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors who are gay/lesbian. Inductees into basic training will be formed to be respectful of service members with same-sex orientations. These values will become engrained and affect civil society.

Sunday the State of New York will recognize Same-sex marriages. This is a huge victory for Marriage Equality nationally, since New York is one of America’s most populace and influential states. In September the California Supreme Court will issue an opinion regarding the standing of the “Yes on Prop 8” proponents to appeal Judge Walker’s ruling striking down Prop 8 in California.

Make no mistake, there remain many battles to be fought until Full Federal Equality for LGBT people is achieved. Beyond that happy day, there will still be many struggles to end bullying and bigotry in our nation. However, it is good to celebrate and draw strength from today’s victory.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Polite Bigotry

The man who will become the new Archbishop of Philadelphia in September, Charles Chaput:

“This is the issue of our time,” Chaput adds, speaking of “gay marriage,” in an interview published today in the National Catholic Reporter. “The church understands marriage as a unique relationship, with a unique definition, which is the faithful love of a man and a woman for each other, permanent, and for the sake of children. As children, if we don’t know that our parents love one another, our lives are very unstable. That’s why I think every child deserves a family where the father loves the mother, and the mother loves the father. For us to redefine marriage as anything else undermines that notion. I think it’s very important that the church keep insisting on this.

Let us take a closer look at Chaput’s argument, he claims marriage is, “for the sake of children.” Curiously, “The Roman Ritual” revised by decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and published by the authority of Pope Paul VI, places references to children in red brackets. This is done so that the sacred minister at Catholic wedding rites can easily omit all references to children/childbearing in wedding ceremonies.

Catholic theology specifies two ends to marriage. First the “unitive end” and secondly, the “procreative end.” Marriage is a union of love and life that may also lead to physical reproduction. However, not all marriages will be procreative, a common example would be any marriage entered into by a woman who is no longer capable of reproduction. These marriages are recognized as valid and a sacrament by the Church, even though procreation is impossible. The unitive end of marriage is sufficient for a valid and sacramental marriage in the Catholic Church and always has been. This is not “new” nor does this in anyway constitute a “redefinition” of marriage.

As regards Chaput’s statement, “As children, if we don’t know that our parents love one another, our lives are very unstable. That’s why I think every child deserves a family where the father loves the mother, and the mother loves the father.”
On surface, this statement seems perfectly reasonable and it resonates interiorly with most people. Of course, a child should be raised in a community of love (family), where he/she is loved. However, the term “parent” needs to be defined. The simple biological act of reproduction does not make a person a parent. Saint Joseph did not engender Jesus and yet, I doubt that Archbishop Chaput would argue that Saint Joseph was not a father to Jesus.

Being a parent means taking an active role in the life of a child. It means loving that child. It means waking up in the middle of the night to nurse a child suffering from the flu, measles, or chickenpox. It means making time to help the child with homework and encouraging him/her to pursue their dreams. It means nurturing that child physically, psychologically and emotionally. It means enabling that child to mature into an autonomous adult, who can stand on his/her own, face the world and have a real shot at happiness.

That child may or may not share your DNA. That child may be your grandchild, your niece/nephew, or may be your adopted son/daughter. What makes you his/her parent is honestly loving and caring for him/her. That, Archbishop, is what every child “deserves.” I doubt, hope, that you never “checked” your parent’s genitalia and I sincerely doubt you ever considered that central to their parenthood.

Chaput goes on to say, “I think it’s very important that the church keep insisting on this [that marriage must always be heterosexual].” Again, we need to define our terms. I have already addressed the false notion of “redefinition of marriage.” I would take issue with the use by Chaput of the term “church.” The Second Vatican Council defined the “Church” as “the people of God.” This was beautifully illustrated in the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s:

“Catholic participation in the southern civil rights movement culminated at Selma in March 1965. As was customary in much of the South, Selma’s Catholic churches were strictly segregated, with the priest in charge of the African American “mission” parish ignored by the city’s other clergy. (One attempt at integration of the city’s “white” parish by a group of African American teenagers met with fierce resistance.) 1 In addition, the bishop of Montgomery, Thomas Toolen, attempted to prevent northern Catholics from responding to the please of civil rights activists for assistance, maintaining that outsiders were “out of place in these demonstrations—their place is at home doing God’s work…”2 Regardless, priests from fifty different dioceses, lay people, and nuns flocked to Alabama to join in the marches.

One participant observed that many speakers at the headquarters of the Selma campaign “pointed out with happiness and gratitude that this was the first time that so many Catholic priests, acting with their bishop’s permission, had joined them on the front lines of the movement.” 3 Ralph Abernathy congratulated one priest on the Catholic turnout, jocularly adding that “the only ones they hate more than Negroes down here are Roman Catholics, especially Monsignors.”4 Newspapers across the country, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, carried front-page photos of nuns in full-habit striding down Dallas County roads.5 One editorial concluded that “For a great many Catholics…the pictures of demonstrating clergymen and religious, flashed on TV screens or bannered across front pages, spoke more clearly and directly than any conciliar decree could ever do about the effective presence of the Church in the world today.” A nun marching down Selma’s Highway 80 made the same point more emphatically: “We are the Church,” she declared.6”

During discussions at the Second Vatican Council a “proof text” for the concept of collegiality (that the bishops come to decisions jointly) was being sought. Cardinal Ottaviani quipped, “the only one I can think of is, ‘…and they fled’ [Mark 14: 50]” As citation above demonstrates, bishops (like Bishop Thomas Toolan & his Southern colleagues) often get it wrong. The hierarchy simply remains silent about these popes and bishops, knowing that silence is a stealthy censor and ignorance of history serves as an effective “white-out.”

Chaput’s comment, “It’s also important to say that we’re not against gay people”
It is the standard bromide employed by members of the hierarchy whenever they attempt to destroy the Civil Rights of LGBT people. It is as threadbare as it is hollow; it is a hypocritical nod by vice to virtue. It is reminiscent of bromides such as, “Hate the Race, Love the man.” Employed by Southern racists to justify segregation, Jim Crow laws and the ban on interracial marriage.

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the hierarchy, later the hierarchy declared her a saint and martyr for the Faith. It seems that bishops don’t make mistakes, just martyrs and saints, but not always the way God prefers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Apostles of Hate

This week California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) legislation passed by California’s State Assembly and Senate. The new law requires public schools to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. "History should be honest," said Brown. The law takes effect in January, but state textbooks probably wont' be updated until 2015.

“The FAIR Act “[a]dds lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, persons with disabilities and others to the list of groups of people whose role and contributions shall be accurately portrayed in instructional materials and included in social science instruction, and adds sexual orientation and religion to the list of characteristics that shall not be reflected adversely in adopted instructional materials.”

Almost on cue, a group has already announced plans for a ballot proposition in California to invalidate the law and effectively avoid mentioning LGBT persons (as such) in California classrooms. In an impassioned editorial piece in the Daily Beast, author Michael Medved attempts a litany of “common sense reasons” why such legislation is erroneous, flawed and ultimately sacrifices academics on a “PC” altar. Although this particular author may not be of national significance, the arguments he makes will most probably be invoked by those who wish to force LGBT people to be invisible and thereby deny them not only of their Civil Rights, but a place at society’s table.

Let us consider some of the arguments put forth by Medved. He opens his editorial by saying,

“Thanks to California’s newly enacted “gay history” law, William Rufus Devane King will finally receive the comprehensive classroom attention that previous generations of educators had so cruelly denied him.”

Medved then attempts to make his point,

This thoroughly obscure Dixie [is alluding to “Dixie” an attempted manipulation by Medved of socially conservative African Americans?] politician left behind no major accomplishments or stirring speeches, but he represents precisely the sort of forgotten figure the Golden State legislation means to emphasize in retelling the story of America for an enlightened new generation.

Medved seemingly argues that LGBT persons have, “left behind no major accomplishments or stirring speeches.” Medved ignores Alexander the Great, the Roman Emperor Hadrian, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Joan of Arc (charged at her Church trial with dressing as a man), Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oscar Wilde, and John Maynard Keynes each of these is a noted LGBT historical figure.

Can it be that Medved is sincerely ignorant of these famous figures and the fact that they were LGBT people? Possibly; however, that seems improbable. That improbability raises a more sinister and disturbing specter. Medved deliberately selected an obscure LGBT person as if he were the only known LGBT person in recorded history. This suggests that Medved does not wish to acknowledge that LGBT people have, in his words, “left behind [any] major accomplishments.” In effect, Medved is arguing, that LGBT people have added nothing of significance or value to human history.

Medved apparently bristles at the idea that Walt Whitman, and Abraham Lincoln were gay. All this despite stark evidence that they were, for example this piece in the New York Times published on 16 December 2004,

“Was Abraham Lincoln a gay American?

The subject of the 16th president's sexuality has been debated among scholars for years. They cite his troubled marriage to Mary Todd and his youthful friendship with Joshua Speed, who shared his bed for four years. Now, in a new book, C. A. Tripp also asserts that Lincoln had a homosexual relationship with the captain of his bodyguards, David V. Derickson, who shared his bed whenever Mary Todd was away.”

Medved makes his argument clearer when he says,

“Or consider the beloved classical composer Aaron Copland. Although he made few efforts to hide his homosexuality, he never alluded to it in any of his musical compositions, in either of his bestselling books about music, or in countless articles and interviews. Except to satisfy a prurient fascination with a great artist’s private affairs, why should any middle-school or high-school student learning about American music spend precious time on an aspect of Copland’s life that the composer himself clearly considered unimportant?”

Medved, of course, is unable to refute the fact that considerable numbers of LGBT persons have been pivotal historical figures who have contributed significantly to politics, economics, science, literature, music, art, religion and changed human history. Therefore, he now attempts to dismiss their sexual orientation as “unimportant.”

Imagine if the same approach was suggested for any other minority group. Would Medved suggest that Albert Einstein’s Judaism, Susan B. Anthony’s gender, Dr. Martin Luther King’s race, was “unimportant?” Members of those groups would rightly be outraged and would instantly recognize that Medved was attempting to marginalize, subordinate and dismiss them both as groups and as individuals.

What is particularly offensive about Medved’s arguments is that they attempt to reinforce and reinstate a closet mentality in LGBT people. The American Psychological Association states the following on their official website,

“Is sexual orientation a choice?
No, human beings cannot choose to be either gay or straight. For most people, sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.

Can therapy change sexual orientation?
No; even though most homosexuals live successful, happy lives, some homosexual or bisexual people may seek to change their sexual orientation through therapy, often coerced by family members or religious groups to try and do so. The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable. However, not all gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who seek assistance from a mental health professional want to change their sexual orientation. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people may seek psychological help with the coming out process or for strategies to deal with prejudice, but most go into therapy for the same reasons and life issues that bring straight people to mental health professionals.”

Therefore, a student in a classroom discovers their sexual orientation as it emerges in early adolescence. Medved is arguing that student should not be presented with any positive role models of other LGBT people.

As the APA states,
“some homosexual or bisexual people may seek to change their sexual orientation through therapy, often coerced by family members or religious groups to try and do so.”

The results of this form of child abuse were seen in last year’s spate of suicides of LGBT young people. The Center for Disease Control, Youth at Risk study of 1999 found that one third of LGBT adolescents attempt suicide.

Evidently that is a price that Paulo Sibaja of the conservative “family” organization, Capitol Resource Institute is more than willing & happy to pay. Apologists for such thinly veiled hatred, such as Medved seem eager to be their messengers. Such irresponsible editorials threaten to promote hatred of LGBT people in general; and even more egregiously make targets of LGBT students.

The real world results as the Center for Disease Control study stated are astronomical LGBT youth suicides. Not specifically documented in that study, but logically suggested, are increased incidence of bullying of LGBT students, depression, alcohol and drug abuse and divide families. Ironically, all of these evils done in the name of “Family Values” and “God.”