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Are ex-gays 'really, really disgusting'?
Supt. blasts group determined legally protected class in 2009 ruling
Published: 02/14/2012 at 9:36 PM
by Bob Unruh
A spokesman for the school board in Montgomery County, Md., says the slurs against a minority group by the superintendent are not an “issue.”
That’s after Supt. Joshua Starr told students that a flyer sent home by an advocacy organization supporting those who have chosen to leave the homosexual lifestyle contained information that was “really, really disgusting.”
Officials with Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays had utilized the school district’s services to outside groups that allow them to distribute flyers to students on occasion.
Students at a public forum then had asked Starr about the flyers, which provided information to students with unwanted same-sex attractions, discouraged name-calling and labeling, and urged tolerance for former homosexuals.
Starr’s response was that the flyers are “reprehensible and deplorable,” according to a report in the Washington Post. The Washington Examiner quoted Starr blasting PFOX.
“We can’t really do much about it unless we wanted to cut off all flyer distribution, which is an option,” he said. “This group has figured out how to use that law to spread what I find to be a really, really disgusting message, frankly.”
PFOX officials suggested that the board of education should reprimand Starr for violating the district’s nondiscrimination policy.
“We call on the Montgomery County Board of Education to enforce its nondiscrimination policy and censure Starr immediately,” said Regina Griggs, executive director of PFOX. “The policy mandates that schools provide ‘an atmosphere where differences are understood and appreciated, and where all persons are treated fairly and with respect in an environment free of discrimination and … abuse.’ Clearly Superintendent Starr has violated the board’s policy.”
She continued, “Starr’s verbal abuse, disrespectful behavior, and slurs against the ex-gay community amount to hate and illegal sexual orientation discrimination, which are all forbidden by the policy.”
A spokesman in Starr’s office, Dana Tofig, said Starr’s position is that he “disagrees” with the statements made in the flyers but they are distributed because of a federal court ruling that the school could not discriminate based on content.
Tofig declined to say whether there are other subject matters that earn the scorn and vilification from Starr as the PFOX brochures.
A spokesman at the district board office, Roland Ikheloa, told WND that, “There is no such issue (a request for an apology) on the table.”
The board includes Shirley Brandman, Christopher Barclay, Philip Kauffman, Judith Docca, Laura Berthiaume, Patricia O’Neill, Michael Durso and Alan Xie.
“Starr does not respect diversity and is creating an unsafe school environment,” warned Griggs.
She noted the district nondiscrimination policy also requires training for students and staff to ensure its implementation.
“Starr’s flagrant violation of the policy demonstrates that all tolerance training and diversity education must include ex-gays, which is the only sexual orientation discriminated against in Montgomery County Public Schools. Its ‘Respect for Differences in Human Sexuality’ lessons promote tolerance of gays, bisexuals, transgenders, cross-dressers and the intersexed, yet fail to include ex-gays, which explains the appalling lack of respect for former homosexuals. The board must act immediately to remedy this blatant discrimination and include ex-gays,” Griggs said.
PFOX reported that it was just a year ago when officials met with Kevin Jennings, former assistant deputy director of the U.S. Department of Education, and he “affirmed the right of ex-gay organizations to have equal access in the nation’s public schools and agreed that former homosexuals should not be discriminated against during outreach efforts for students with unwanted same-sex attractions.”
PFOX also reported it met with Joseph Wheeler, attorney for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. He agreed with a 2009 court ruling that ex-”gays” are a legally protected class. PFOX had brought this lawsuit to ensure equality for the ex-”gay” community.