They can’t help themselves – HB 1727

Poor NARTH*. They try so earnestly to be taken seriously as a legitimate research institution, but can’t seem to stop demonstrating that they aren’t.

In an illuminating article they published at the end of August, NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee member Joseph Berger advocates allowing transgender children to be bullied by their peers as a kind of “therapy.”

I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counselling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.

Can you feel the love? More importantly, does this sound familiar? It should.

This document was first quietly edited to remove the above quoted material. Then it was removed from the website entirely, with no acknowledgement that it was ever there.

I doubt that our Virginia legislators would want to be associated with such “thinking.” Therefore, they need to examine very carefully both the intention and the effect of HB 1727. The intention isn’t hard to discern, since the bill’s advocates have flat out admitted that their goal is to discourage students from participating in Gay/Straight Alliances or similar support networks:

This year, The Family Foundation will have legislation introduced that will require parents give their permission for their children to participate in any non-curricular, after school activity…

…For example, groups that promote the homosexual lifestyle [sic] are able to use after school groups like so-called “Gay Straight Alliances” to influence middle and high school students without parents ever knowing.

Anti-gay activists have been unable to outright prohibit GSAs, which, like Bible study groups or any other student-intiated extra-curricular clubs, are protected by federal Equal Access law – so they are attempting instead to deny access to the very students who are most in need of support and information.

Here is the key issue, explained by a GSA founder at a Lynchburg high school:

The clubs serve as a place where “students should be able to express themselves and who they are with the confidence they may receive the help, advice or open ear that they’re seeking,” Lawrence said. “This includes situations in which a student is searching for aid in approaching a parent or legal guardian about coming out or raising other gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender issues.

“If a permission slip were to be required for these clubs, it would defeat the purpose of the safe zone that the students are looking to for support.”

The kids who are most in need of the support offered by GSAs would be the least likely to get it if what they really need is help figuring out how to discuss the subject of sexual orientation with their parents. The actual effect of this bill would be to further close down communication between students and parents (NOT, as the patron claims, “encourage parental involvement”).

There have been kids who committed suicide rather than face the unknown of coming out to family – when tragically, their parents would have been supportive if only they had known what was troubling their child. If these kids had been able to ask questions about the coming out experiences of their peers, some of that fear could have been alleviated.

This is a horribly misguided bill that will result in both increased bullying by peers and decreased communication with parents for the students who are most vulnerable and most in need of support. Unfortunately, although some legislators will unwittingly support it out of ignorance, some are actually motivated by the kind of abusive intent expressed in the disappearing NARTH article. They are amoral, and perfectly willing to use bullying and intimidation as a tool to erase GLBT youth. It’s up to us to speak up for these kids.

Click here to send a free email to the members of the House Education Committee urging them to reject this bill. You can also call the constituent hotline at 1-800-889-0229.

*The “National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality,” a tool of the Anti-gay Industry, is a think tank created to support the so-called “ex-gay” movement and to legitimize harmful “reparative therapies” that have been denounced by the medical profession.

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