MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Maryland, May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Washington school district is under fire for discriminating against ex-gay students.
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), a Virginia-based organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination against former homosexuals, has filed a sexual orientation discrimination complaint against Montgomery County Superintendent Joshua Starr after he called the group’s literature “reprehensible and deplorable.”
The flyer “promotes equality for all” and “doesn’t suggest that anybody should change” from homosexuality, PFOX Executive Director Regina Griggs told LifeSiteNews.com.
In February, PFOX distributed flyers offering to help students at five county high schools dealing with “unwanted same-sex attractions.” as part of a policy (http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/flyers/) The flyer discusses why discrimination and verbal abuse against ex-gay students are wrong. It tells students “isn’t necessary to label” your sexual orientation as a teenager, the flyers say, because “[s]exuality develops over time.” It also asks students not to criticize homosexual students.
The school allows organizations to distribute information in public schools four times a year. However, at a student townhall meeting that month, Starr accused PFOX of spreading a “really disgusting message.”
“He most definitely has a problem with ex-gays. He makes it very obvious if you watch the video,” Griggs told LifeSiteNews.com.
Although Starr said “every school has to be a welcoming environment,” PFOX says he is not very welcome to the concept some people may reject homosexuality.
In testimony before the Montgomery School Board, Grace Harley, who “lived for 18 years as a transgendered man named ‘Joe,’” accused Starr of personally insulting formerly homosexual students.
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“If he had said the same things about gays, they would have fired him by now,” Harley said. “But because he hates people like me, they support him.”
“I have suffered more discrimination and intolerance as an ex-gay than I ever did when I was gay,” Harley said. “Please stop hating us.”
Such harassment becomes more likely when officials like Starr engage in it, PFOX states. “When the School Superintendent promotes intolerance of former homosexuals and organizations that support them, students and teachers will follow his example and learn to also disrespect sexual minorities like the ex-gay community,” Griggs said last Wednesday.
Griggs tells LifeSiteNews that the flyer is strictly a tolerant, informative message that and as such Starr has no grounds for calling it despicable.
The group vows to continue its work of telling those who deal with unwanted same-sex attraction that they can change, and to fight bigotry against those who leave homosexuality behind.