Alberta trustee under fire for suggesting gay teens should be less open
EDMONTON, Alberta, 23 November, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Alberta school trustee has come under attack in the media after suggesting that “it would be helpful” if students who self-identify as homosexual were less overt about their sexual orientation.
“If children with a gay tendency appear a certain way, we know that we have to be vigilant to make sure they are not discriminated against,” Dale Schaffrick, who is the trustee for Pembina Hills Regional School Division and a farmer, told CBC News.
When asked if such students should be “less identifiable,” in the words of CBC, Schaffrick reportedly responded that “for their own benefit… it would be helpful.”
The trustee had made similar remarks during a debate over an “anti-homophobia” proposal at the Alberta School Boards Association on Monday. The policy was rejected over concerns that it unnecessarily singled out homosexual students for protection, instead of protecting all students equally.
Education Minister Jeff Johnson told media that he was “disappointed” by the comments and found them “entirely inappropriate.”
“As a parent, I find it offensive that anyone would suggest that children should hide who they are under any circumstances,” Johnson said.
Schaffrick has since apologized. “I want to apologize for my remarks at the ASBA fall general meeting,” he said Thursday. “They were inappropriate and offensive and I apologize for that. I was speaking as an individual trustee and not on behalf of my board.”
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However, pro-family activists pointed out that Schaffrick’s suggestion that teens steer clear of overtly identifying as gay has the backing of the American College of Pediatricians (ACP).
In a recent letter to school officials, ACP president Den Trumbull, MD, FCP warned that students should not be encouraged to “‘come out as gay’ and be ‘affirmed’” because of a “serious risk of erroneously labeling students” who may only be “experiencing transient sexual confusion and/or engaging in sexual experimentation.”
“Rigorous studies demonstrate that most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25,” the letter stated.
The ACP said that among adolescents who “claim a ‘gay’ identity, the health risks include higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, alcoholism, substance abuse, anxiety, depression and suicide. Encouragingly, the longer students delay self-labeling as ‘gay,’ the less likely they are to experience these health risks.”
“Premature labeling may then lead some adolescents into harmful homosexual behaviors that they otherwise would not pursue.”
Diane Watts of REAL Women of Canada told LifeSiteNews that encouraging “young people to ‘come out’ and ‘identify’” is against the “best advice of unbiased psychologists.”
She called the media’s reaction to Schaffrick’s comment an example of the “enforcement of homosexual activist dogma.”
“This trustee, in attempting to help teens, has offended homosexual activist dogma and he is being punished.”
Watts said she believes the media is basing their attacks on Schaffrick on the unproven claims that “homosexuality is innate, as in ‘born that way’ and ‘who they are’” and “that same sex attraction does not change.”
Jack Fonseca, project manager for Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that he worries that in some cases teens who “come out” as homosexual “are deliberately ‘in-your-face’ and are trying to cause conflict with traditionally-principled teachers and students.”
“They know that if they can get in their face and elicit any kind of negative reaction, they can then run to the media and claim ‘discrimination’,” said Fonseca.
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