Friday, August 12, 2005

David Fishback's Statement to the Board

David Fishback, the former chair of the citzens advisory committee that produced the new curriculum, made a significant statement during the public comments segment of the June 27th MCPS school board meeting. He gave the board a handout that contained policy statements from the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Assocation, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, condemning conversion or "reparative" therapy, as well as the letter from the American Counseling Assocation expelling Richard Cohen for life.

Here is the text of Mr. Fishback's presentation to the board:
Last month, the PFOX/CRC lawyer asked you to develop a health curriculum that's "not offensive." What did PFOX/CRC find offensive in the pilot curriculum that their lawsuit derailed?

Was it the use of definitions from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association?

Was it the factual statements:

That "all major professional mental health organizations affirm that homosexuality is not a mental disorder"?

That "most experts in the field have concluded that sexual orientation is not a choice"?

That "different religions take different stands on sexual behaviors and there are even different views among people of the same religion"?

That "having homosexual parents/guardians does not predispose you to being homosexual"?

That there are families in our community headed by same-sex couples?I have just described nearly everything on sexual orientation contained in the derailed curriculum. PFOX/CRC apparently find this offensive, as they find offensive any omission of their perspective on so-called "reparative therapy." At your last meeting, PFOX president Richard Cohen alluded to reparative therapy, while misrepresenting much of what PFOX and like-minded James Dobson-connected groups do. Perhaps the misrepresentations are not surprising, for the American Counseling Association has expelled Mr. Cohen for life for unethical conduct.

All mainstream health care organizations reject the PFOX/CRC approach. The American Medical Association specifically states that it "opposes the use of 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation" (AMA Policy Number H-160.991, attached).

MCPS has a choice: It may choose not to offend PFOX/CRC OR it may choose to follow the lead and wisdom of the mainstream health care professionals and end the silence on sexual orientation which has caused so much harm in the past. Indeed, failure to do the latter would be offensive to the vast majority of MCPS stakeholders.

I have confidence that you will choose wisely.

For your convenience, I have attached pertinent documents from the AMA and other mainstream health groups.


Documents of the
American Medical Association
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Letter from the American Counseling Association, expelling Richard Cohen.

Mr. Fishback's handout is available from the Resources page here, or from HERE. It makes some interesting reading. This "ex-gay" topic is a red herring. The professional organizations don't buy it, and neither should our school district.

And note that last item. Richard Cohen is the President of PFOX, the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays. He calls himself a psychotherapist, but he does not have any doctorate, and was kicked out of the American Counseling Association for numerous ethical violations.


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