Coming to Terms With Sexual Orientation

Washington Post
May 23, 2005

Uninformed opinions and one-sided reporting do not belong on the front page of The Post [“Montgomery Mother’s Stand on Sex-Ed Begins at Home,” May 19]. The article reported on a stay-at-home, conservative Mormon mom, Michelle Turner, who is trying to derail Montgomery County’s proposed changes in its sex education curriculum.

She believes that homosexuality is a choice — except in rare instances, such as the case of her cousin. Nowhere in the article do readers get the truth about sexual orientation, nor do they read the School Board’s position and background for the proposed changes. The article does not even report on what anyone else in the county might believe.

The truth: The American Psychological Association and other recognized authorities have determined that sexual orientation is not a choice and that efforts to change people from gay to straight have proved harmful and ineffective.

Yes, you can change behavior but not orientation. It is as basic as blue eyes and left-handedness. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) students have been greatly harmed by students, teachers and parents who do not understand this reality. GLBT students have been threatened, assaulted, teased, shamed and abandoned. Changes in curriculum would help protect GLBT students by eliminating myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation.

Under current Montgomery County rules, teachers are not allowed to discuss sexual orientation or gender identity. Teachers asked for help, and the School Board responded. School officials have a responsibility to help their students understand and accept the diversity of their peers, help GLBT students accept their true nature, and help all students grow up to be informed adults.

Executive Director
Metro DC Parents Families and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

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