The Problem with Southern Poverty Law Center‘s (SPLC) flyer given to students in Montgomery County, Maryland Public Schools (MCPS)
Montgomery County’s parents should be aware of serious problems with statements found in the SPLC flyer, Providing Safe and Supportive Environments for LGBT Youth. According to SPLC, the flyer relies on information found in the document, “Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth”[i], a document generated by Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) .
However, medical professionals of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) have written an extensive negative critique of “Just the Facts” document[ii] that calls into question the validity of the entire SPLC flyer which also provides inaccurate health information that is potentially harmful to students.
- SPLC makes the statement that information in this flyer is supported with material that comes from the “Just the Facts” document. The APA statement found in the SPLC flyer is NOT the APA statement from the “Just the Facts” document!
SPLC does not give the resource or scientific support for their alleged APA statement provided in their flyer.
The statement from the “Just the Facts” document states:
“That the American Psychological Association opposes portrayals of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and supports the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation and mental health and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.”[Page 7, “Just the Facts” document]
The statement relied in the SPLC flyer actually states:
Do attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation work? Simply put, no. The American Psychological Association (APA) has determined: “There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.” The APA has also expressed concern that the aggressive promotion of efforts to change gay sexual orientation “create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”
SPLC attempts to use the conclusionary statement from “Just the Facts” document, which did not support the APA statement found in the “Just the Facts document”, however SPLC changed the “Just the Facts” APA statement, as seen above, to make their “new” APA statement “support” the conclusion taken from the “Just the Facts” document. The conclusionary statement from the “Just the Facts” document, which has no stated scientific support, actually states:
The nation’s leading professional medical, health, and mental health organizations do not support efforts to change young people’s sexual orientation through therapy and have raised serious concerns about the potential harm from such efforts. [Page 8, “Just the Facts” document]
- Further the SPLC flyer does not teach, as alleged, tolerance for ALL students.
It is disingenuous to want tolerance “for all students” and then single out those who do not wish to stay homosexual and imply that these same students are wrong to feel they want to change their sexual orientation. Does tolerance not apply to heterosexuals or people desiring to follow the heterosexual life style? SPLC intolerance statement could promote and support an unsafe environment for those students that have a different view and experience of homosexuality.
- The SPLC flyer attempts to challenge that people can change their sexual orientation (at least from homosexual to heterosexual)
Do attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation work? Simply put, no. The American Psychological Association (APA) has determined: “There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.”[SPLC flyer]
This SPLC statement in the flyer shows disregard for decades of scientific research about people who have changed their sexual orientation both from homosexual to heterosexual and from heterosexual to homosexual. Where is the acceptance for a student’s father or mom who is a former homosexual? Where is the acceptance for a student who may be questioning his sexual orientation?
- Most alarmingly, the SPLC flyer provides dangerously misleading information about the health of non-heterosexuals also taken from the “Just the Facts” document. :
“Like most heterosexual youths, most lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths are healthy individuals …” [SPLC flyer]
In sharp contrast The Centers for Disease Control states:
“Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the early 1990s.”[iii] “CDC estimates that MSM account for just 2% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009.”[iv] “In 2010, among adult and adolescent males diagnosed with HIV infection in the 46 states and 5 U.S. dependent areas with long-term confidential name-based HIV infection reporting, an estimated 77% of infections were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact…”[v]Approximately 12% of diagnosed infections were attributed to heterosexual contact…”[vi]
Further, The United States Department of Health and Human Services has observed grave medical problems associated with non-heterosexual behavior.
“Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in the United States have unique health risks. The US Department of Health and Human Services has identified 29 Healthy People 2010 objectives in which disparities exist between homosexual or bisexual persons and heterosexual persons. These focus areas include access to care, educational and community-based programs, family planning, immunization and infectious disease, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, injury and violence prevention, mental health and mental disorders, substance abuse, and tobacco use.”[vii]
In a critique of the “Just the Facts” document by Dale O’Leary, Dean Byrd, Ph.D., Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D., dispute the notion that lesbian, gay and bisexual youths are as healthy as heterosexual youths because of their behavior:
“Persons with Same Sex Attraction (SSA) are more likely than those without to suffer from psychological disorders, including depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse problems. …since 1999 a number of large well-designed studies have found significant differences. It should also be noted that persons sympathetic to the gay agenda conducted the majority of these studies.[viii]
The example of misrepresentations of information and false health claims calls into question the information in the entire SPLC flyer.
[i] http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/just-the-facts.pdf The document (revised in 2006), was generated by Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), published and supported by Michael Dively, a gay philanthropist, the American Psychological Association (APA), Interfaith Alliance (gay affirming religious organization) and others
[ii] http://factsaboutyouth.com/posts/rebuttals-to-just-the-facts-about-sexual-orientation-and-youth/“You need to know that this document is biased and grossly misleading. Just the Facts omit critical facts and makes recommendations that are refuted by decades of scientific research and extensive clinical experience. Most alarmingly, the recommendations offered will place young people at increased risk of grave psychological, emotional, and physical harm.”
[vii] Sell RL, Becker JB. Sexual orientation data collection and progress toward Healthy People 2010. Am J Public Health.2001;91:876– 882 This resource was provided by the American Association of Pediatrics.