PFLAG Returns to NPTA Convention for Workshop on Safe Schools; Supports Exclusion of ’Psychologically Damaging’ Reparative Therapy Group
WASHINGTON, June 23 -- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is pleased to return to the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) Convention in Columbus, Ohio next week. PFLAG will present a workshop to help parents and educators address and prevent bullying, particularly physical and verbal abuse based on sexual orientation.
PFLAG believes that all students are entitled to a safe learning environment. At a time when 84 percent of gay students are verbally harassed and 39 percent are physically harassed, PFLAG is thankful that the NPTA recognizes the need to combat this epidemic of hostility. (statistics courtesy GLSEN, 2003)
PFLAG is also aware that a copy-cat group called “Parents, Families and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays” (PFOX) was denied participation in the NPTA Convention. While PFLAG is not privy to the NPTA’s reasons for rejecting PFOX, we know they are in good company. Workshops by PFOX have been rejected by the National Mental Health Association, National Education Association and the American Association of University Women.
PFOX claims that “reparative therapy” can change homosexuals to heterosexuals and aggressively advocates for this position to be taught in schools. What PFOX fails to mention is that “reparative therapy” has been repeatedly denounced as “psychologically damaging” by the leading scientific, medical and mental health professional organizations. These organizations include the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Psychological Association.
PFLAG and others also find the basic premise of PFOX’s rationale confusing. If someone is not gay or bisexual, they are heterosexual. “Since this is the case,” says PFLAG’s executive director Jody Huckaby, “PFOX should have no concerns. PFLAG supports safe schools for all sexual orientations -- gay, bisexual and heterosexual.”
PFLAG insists that schools should be safe and that anti-gay hostility and violence must be stopped. Students will continue to identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and all are entitled to a safe learning environment.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is the nation’s foremost family-based organization committed to the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. Founded in 1973 by mothers and fathers, PFLAG has more than 200,000 members and supporters in over 500 chapters and affiliates throughout the United States.
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