Teach facts, not beliefs

I just heard a very good discussion on WETA of the ongoing Montgomery County sexuality education controversy (the modified curriculum is being voted on today).

Guests were David Fishback, a PFLAG parent and founding member of the parents organization that is defending the right of students to comprehensive sexuality education, Martha Kempner of Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), and Brian Edwards of the Montgomery County Public Schools Information Office.

The controversy over curriculum has been brewing since last year, when a “vocal minority who have particularly conservative views about human sexuality, with the help of national groups” filed a lawsuit to block additions to the curriculum addressing sexual orientation. These lessons were developed by a citizens advisory committee including parents, students, educators and medical professionals.

The input from medical professionals was the problem, apparently, since they provided the evidence-based position, supported by every mainstream medical professional association: That variability in sexual orientation among human beings is normal. The simple declaratory statement that “homosexuality is not a mental disorder or a disease” was just too much for the the anti-gay set. Their merely ideological belief systems are no match for objective reality, so they, as they did in Loudoun with regard to theatrical presentations, used the “hecker’s veto” to bully the school board.

You can read the background of the ongoing controversy at Teach the Facts.

We can see in Loudoun a gathering storm to attempt something similar, despite the fact that Loudoun County Public Schools “Family Life Curriculum” remains very, very far from comprehensive. A small, vocal minority of parents who feel entitled to impose their ideology on other people’s children is attempting in myriad ways to block the availability of information in our schools, or to present dangerous misinformation.

The purpose of health education, according to David Fishback, is the physical and mental well-being of students. All students. That doesn’t come from wishful thinking, beliefs, or what might make certain parents feel good; it comes from medically and factually accurate information. As one caller asked, why would we be opposed to disseminating factual information to our children?

The consensus of medicine is this: Based on an overwhelming body of evidence, homosexuality is not a mental disorder or a disease, and all so-called “therapies” intended to change an individual’s sexual orientation not only don’t work, but can do an incredible amount of damage. To suggest, as a small, vocal minority has done, including in a health curriculum a concept that mainstream medicine has condemned as dangerous, is simply perverted.

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