Sunday, October 16, 2005

Moral Cowards

The Citizens for a Responsible Curriculm have no sense of decency.

Someone pointed me to a post on their web site, where they try to badmouth a speaker from our forum last month. I'm not going to link to it, you need to register to read it anyway.

Robert Rigby, Jr., spoke at our September 25th forum about his seventeen years' experience with reparative therapies (therapies intended to change a patient's sexual orientation from gay to straight). After discussing it with us, he chose not to go into a lot of personal details in his talk, but his presentation at the forum was moving and emotionally intense for all present. This was obviously a very difficult thing for the guy to do, to speak in public about his hopes and fears, and what some would view as his failed attempts to overcome his homosexuality.

The Washington Blade described his talk at our forum pretty well:
Rigby, who currently works as a special education math teacher at Falls Church High School, said that he tried to live as an ex-gay from the time he was a teenager until 1998.

"During those 17 years, my life was a disaster," Rigby said. He said that he experienced 19 visits to the hospital and two suicide attempts as he tried to grapple with the depression caused by repressing his sexual orientation.

"The reparative therapy only made this worse," Rigby said. "It only reinforced the notion that something was fundamentally wrong with me."

Rigby said that he wanted to become ex-gay because he thought being gay was wrong.

"I sincerely thought they were a bunch of perverts and sinners and wanted nothing to do with them," Rigby said.

Rigby said he finally came out after beings suggested to do so in a sexual reorientation therapy session. He said the experience and effects of coming out has changed his life.

"My life has become remarkably stable and happy," Rigby said.

It was an emotional segment in the forum, a very personal few minutes while he talked.

Now, I see that the nuts at CRC really think they're going to undermine him with this kind of bizarre personal attack. They have a big post up, trying to make it sound like he is trying to fool everybody. For instance, they say:
He was featured at the recent TTF forum as a gay man who allegedly spent many years involved in reparative therapy and then admits he could not change his sexual orientation and suffered bouts of depression and suicide attempts. He failed to name the particulars of that therapy. In an e-mail to Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays he admitted that he is bipolar.

He talked about his bipolar diagnose on the stage at the TeachTheFacts forum, too. In fact, listen to what he said:
Since I ended my involvement with the ex-gay stuff, I haven't experienced any severe depressive or manic episodes, nor have I been admitted to a hospital. I've worked for the same company for six years, lived in the same city, had the same friends, and formed a solid relationship with my family. I can not express how remarkable this stability is to me. When I was involved in reparative therapy, I thought I was sentenced to bouts of shame and sadness, to unstable relationships, to perennial mental illness. That turns out not to be true.

The CRC post then cites some ... I don't know what, these aren't "studies." They quote a press release by a shrink at a Christian college, a government web site that is completely irrelevant to the discussion, and then "Dr. Robert Spitzer, from his peer reviewed journal." If you know about Spitzer's publications you know where this all comes from. It is not clear what the point of these things is supposed to be, unless the mass and density of unrelated-but-academic-sounding information is intended to tip the scale toward the CRC's point of view.

This is unbelievable, it is not human, certainly not civilized. They write;
Depression and suicidal tendencies are not caused by his having homosexual feelings, nor because he tried to change them. He is bipolar and we know this bipolar condition causes depression and suicidal thoughts. He is not being truthful.

Can you imagine posting something on the Internet discussing something like this? They seem to have no idea that they are talking about a real person, and obviously a person who has gone through some very hard times. And you're going to accuse him of lying about his psychiatric diagnosis?

What kind of person does that?

I keep remembering the CRC's Ruth Jacobs telling the school board about the "game" where one kid holds another kid's head in the toilet while they flush it again and again. That's what this is like. I feel like my head is being held in their toilet, just reading this.

They write further:
Another issue, I don't believe TTF and others are aware of is Mr. Rigby's support and admittance of the existence of ex-gays. He in a 6/26/2002 email to Fairfax County Public Schools, stated his support of no harassment for ex-gays in the Fairfax school system. This is truly admittance that there are really ex-gays in the first place!
That is to his credit. This is what he said when he was trying to get the Fairfax County School Board to pass a sexual orientation non-discrimination rule:

"I myself and my organization will defend to the utmost any person who identifies as "ex-gay" against discrimination or harassment; I consider such people members of my community, even if I disagree with them;"

Why in the world would we -- or GLSEN, who obviously supported him in his statement -- care if he defends the rights of "ex-gays?" I would defend the rights of "ex-gays," even without knowing if such a thing exists. You want to be "ex-gay?" Cool, fine with me, people don't need to hassle you, maybe you'll grow out of it. Robert Rigby, Jr., spent a lot of time with these kinds of people -- who would be surprised if he defends them? And what is this supposed to prove?

It is amazing to see that CRC thinks that defending the rights of people you disagree with is some kind of contradiction or indicates moral weakness. It just says so much.

Several of us had lunch with Robert before the forum, to meet him and see what he might want to say, and he was perfectly candid with us. He talked about maintaining connections to PFOX and others from his old life after he left the group. He even talked about that in his presentation at the forum. Why would we care? And why would CRC try to say that we're not aware of something? They'd be the last to know what we're aware of.

Robert gave an incredible talk at the TeachTheFacts forum, and it was because of his honesty and openness, not because he claimed to be something he wasn't. He presented himself as a nuanced thinker, a person with a lot of empathy for others who were going through what he'd gone through, a very real person.

Finally, the CRC writes:
Another issue, his bibliography on the back page of the program from TTF Forum, states that he came out as a homosexual in 1998 and in 2000 he co-founded the local chapter of Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN.) Remember GLSEN opposes ex-gays and does not acknowledge they exist. Rigby made his support and admittance of ex-gays in 2002. Their founder, Kevin Jennings has stated on GLSEN’s website that he believes reorientation therapy is "quackery".

Why are Mr. Rigby's views in direct conflict with the organization he represents?

Maybe the gay community should ask Mr. Rigby why he "double talks" and misrepresents the facts. Maybe he isn't a good choice to have as a spokesperson.

Mmm, I wonder how the CRC got a cover of the program from our forum. Guess they sent somebody undercover. Wow, this is real Spy Versus Spy stuff.

Listen: Robert Rigby, Junior, had the courage to stand up in front of more than a hundred people and tell them about the most private parts of his life. He grew up gay, tried to "get over it" through various kinds of therapies -- he didn't tell the crowd the half of it, but what he actually went through was incredible. And now he says he doesn't agree with those who claim to be "ex-gays," but he will defend their right to express themselves.

And for that, the CRC will try to make you believe he is a liar or a hypocrite, that he "'double talks' and misrepresents the facts."

They are moral cowards. That's all there is to it. This posting on the CRC forum is a personal attack of the lowest order, lies built on assumptions built on hatred and directed at a guy who deserves lots and lots of respect for what he did and the character it showed.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like CRC may have a point. There's apparently more to this guy's story than was disclosed.

Jim, you need to drop the hyperbole. If only everyone was as "decent" as you. Then anyone could rub themselves on whatever or whoever they want without getting any wisecracks from the "no decency" crowd.

The "Spy vs Spy" remark is hilarious coming from a guy who was mysteriously "sent" all the CRC's private e-mail communication last summer. It also says something about your literary roots.

October 16, 2005 4:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cowardly Anon said it all, " If only everyone was as "decent" as you."

If CRC/PFOX were as "decent" and tolerant and understanding JimK's writing indicates him to be, this would be a much nicer world for all of us, gay and straight, to live in.

And if only people were as decent as Robert Rigby, who because of and in spite of the suffering he endured for 17 years continues to reach out and offer unconditional support to those caught in the nightmare of reparative therapy rather than being as hateful as this CRC writer, this world would be a much better place.

Notice how when Mr. Rigby makes a statement the CRC agrees with, the writer says, "That is to his credit." But when he disagrees with CRC, this *anti-gay, pro-reparative therapy group* attacks him personally.

If that is the CRC's idea of love, understanding, and decency, they can keep it.

Aunt Bea

October 16, 2005 8:13 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, you're wrong this time. I'm sorry you can't see it, but this kind of personal attack has no place in a discussion about a public school health class. This is outrageous, and it is telling that you can't see that.

I would be interested to know what makes you think there is "apparently more to this guy's story than was disclosed." It seemed to me he was very honest about all of it.

JimK

October 16, 2005 10:34 AM  
Blogger andrear said...

Oh, the CRC/PFOX never fooled me- they profess to be deeply moral religious people- but they are dishonest and haters. Hate the sin, not the sinner(yeah, right), my cousin is okay- he was born gay-not like the rest of the gay people, we didn't use the school directories, we did use the school directories, we had to use the school directories to protect your children- even though you don't want us to use personal student information.

Reparative "therapy"- as good as the psychic surgeons who remove tumors and other growths(whoops- they turn out to be chicken parts) and using laetrile.

And certainly CRC/PFOX are so much better informed by their people than by Surgeons General Satcher and Novello who wrote about the problems, depression and suicides of gay people due to anti-gay attitudes.

October 16, 2005 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel the need to respond to the comments on my talk by the author of the CRC blog (I don't have access to that, so I'm responding to what Jim quoted here).

The CRC author makes a big deal out of my diagnosis as bipolar. That diagnosis is something I've shared with my principal, immediate supervisor, and, when it seems as if it would be helpful, to certain students. Because of some people's preconceptions of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it is not something I share with everyone.

Now to the comments: Of course bipolar disorder makes me vulnerable; if I were not bipolar, I might not have stayed involved with reparative therapy so long, and would probably not have had the severity of symptoms that I did. My major point is that while I was involved with reparative therapy, my life was a mess. You could say my symptoms were severe. Since I left that behind, I have been stable -- buying a car, living in the same place, working for the same school district, staying off disability and out of the hospital. The difference is remarkable. I stand by the statement that while I was involved in reparative therapy, my life was a mess, and now that I have left, it is not.

The CRC author makes a big deal of my promise to defend people who identify as ex-gay to the best of my ability. Note the word "identify;" I honestly think that reparative therapy doesn't work, and that people who identify as ex-gay are in fact gay people who are trying hard not to be gay. That was my personal experience, and the experience of some of my friends.

Thanks for reading this message.

Robert Rigby, Jr.

October 16, 2005 2:38 PM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

I have been told the poster of the hateful message on CRC message board about Mr. Rigby was Retta Brown(CRC Precious) who has been hoisted up by CRC as a possible rep on new CAC for them.(no need to get into how she does not qualify) If Retta refutes this she can certainly say so.

I will say that Mr. Rigby's presentation at TTF Forum moved me to tears. I did admire his honesty and courage in speaking to the public about something so personal.

October 16, 2005 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Tish said...

Robert, thank you again for sharing your story with us. (And I don't mean that in the snarky way that so many people say, "Thank you for sharing.") I really appreciate your willingness to put yourself out there for families who are grappling with orientation and identity. I had a friend in high school who was placed into reorientation "therapy" and it was very destructive. He would not be willing to be as open as you are.

I'd welcome you back to our table any time.

October 16, 2005 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert

Question: Do you think that reparative therapy or society's disapproval of homosexuality caused your bipolar disorder? I think the TTFers are trying to imply that it is.

Also, do you feel the people who tried to use therapy to cure your homosexuality were "hateful"? Do you think they were sincere in their desire to help you? Do you find "hateful" the idea that homosexuality is sinful? Can someone think that homosexuality is either a sin or a disease without being "bigoted" and "hateful"?

October 16, 2005 11:23 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I will certainly let Robert speak for himself, buth there is more of the usual anti-science attitude in the latest Anon comment, as well as the usual "people of faith" defense.

No one at TTF is saying that conversion therapy caused Robert's bipolar disease. No one is suggesting it. I didn't infer from Robert that he felt that way either. Bipolar disease is an organic brain syndrome. Period.

However, the events of one's life can certainly exacerbate it. If one is organically depressed and then is affected by one's environment in a negative manner, that will exacerbate the depression. The opposite holds for mania. So someone who is at risk and is constantly shamed will be at further risk. That person has fewer defenses aagainst an attack on their sense of self.

As for the final question, "Can someone think that homosexuality is either a sin or a disease without being "bigoted" and "hateful"?"

A sin? That's a religious judgment. And that's not the point. There are 613 commandments in the Torah. Violation of any and all of them is, by definition, a sin. So what? It depends on how you define the words in the first place. And even if we could all agree on the words, it would matter whether we care to abide by them. If you do, it's your business, and it is not your business to impose your religious beliefs on anyone else or society as a whole. And, finally, it's what you make of it that counts. If you become obsessed with a particular sin and become hateful as a result, then the problem is with you, and not the sinner. People of certain faith and faiths take it for granted that they can determine who sins and who doesn't. They have no business doing so except in their private lives.

As for homosexuality being a disease, well, once again, you're entitled to your own belief, but not your facts. Medicine does not consider it a disease. Your wishing it to be so does not make it so. Back in the 1960s you would have had more company; in the 1860s, much less. So what? We understand the science much better, so we've recategorized it. The purpose of education is to help people understand the changing scientific landscape.

Rational people move with the changing times; obsessively religious people have a tendency to be anti-modern and to cling to feudal ways (except when it comes to medical care for them and their family, cell phones, computers, air travel, etc.). It seems to convenient.

October 17, 2005 9:16 AM  
Blogger Corinne said...

Do you find "hateful" the idea that homosexuality is sinful? Can someone think that homosexuality is either a sin or a disease without being "bigoted" and "hateful"?

Judge not, lest you be judged...Let he who is without sin cast the first stone...yes, the "idea" that homosexuality is sinful is hateful in that people who believe that to be true believe they are in a position to judge the sins of another. That's hateful. The Bible makes it quite clear that sinners -- and, according to the Bible we all are sinners -- don't have the authority to make such judgements. It is hateful, too, because people who believe homosexuality to be sinful also say and do hateful things in the name of righteousness. It is the rare individual who can think that homosexuality is a sin or a disease and not be "bigoted" or "hateful." Just read the CRC Forum from time to time and you will see that believing homosexuality to be sinful translates into hateful diabtribes.

October 17, 2005 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Robert Rigby, Jr. said...

I think of what Paul told the Christians in Rome asked his advice on dealing with the sinfulness and licentiousness in the pagan community around them. He confronted them with their own sinfulness, suggested they live upright lives as an example, and asked them to be "patient, kind and tolerant" of the sinners, as god was patient kind and tolerant with them. So is someone who berates gays with their sinfulness being hateful or bigoted? I think it depends; but such a person is certainly not following the advice of the apostle Paul (reference the first and second chapters of the Letter to the Romans).

Robert

October 17, 2005 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, you're wrong this time."

I'm having trouble finding time to read all these posts, much less respond by providing the usual common sense perspective.Hopefully, tomorrow.

I did want to take a second to extend my appreciation for Jim's above endorsement of my past posts.

October 18, 2005 11:51 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Man, you're taking it where you can find it, huh?

JimK

October 19, 2005 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Man, you're taking it where you can find it, huh?"

On a website where the average poster thinks it's hateful to not teach 10-years-olds about anal sex...you have to.

October 19, 2005 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...On a website where the average poster thinks it's hateful to not teach 10-years-olds about anal sex...you have to.



anon = "anal retentive"

October 19, 2005 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm aural retentive. I like to stick things in my ear.

October 20, 2005 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Actually, I'm aural retentive. I like to stick things in my ear.




Would that be ear plugs so you do not hear anything about sex?

"Anon Free"

October 20, 2005 8:50 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

I shouldn't, but I'm going to clear something up. Anon described us as: a website where the average poster thinks it's hateful to not teach 10-years-olds about anal sex...

Why do you guys do this?

Nobody here has said that anybody should teach 10-year-olds about anal sex. We did discuss whether it would hurt for 10-year-olds to hear the phrase "anal sex," but no one suggested that the teacher would talk about it. At least one person here thought the phrase should not be used at all, and some thought the teacher could say the phrase, and then say, "You'll have to ask your parents about that one."

And certainly nobody said that a parent who was concerned about their young children being exposed to such adult concepts was "hateful." It just wasn't said. Hate is a part of our discussion here, because some people's attitude toward homosexuality is hateful and bigoted, and we're not going to dance around that. But you're not fooling anybody, Anon, by trying to act like it's all the same thing.

The "average poster" at this web site ... that would be me, I guess. And I don't think it's hateful to not teach 10-years-olds about anal sex.

The average commenter (which might be what you meant) here, it seems to me, is an intelligent adult person who is concerned, one way or the other, about how the school district is going teach Montgomery County public school students about sex. We have been lucky enough to have some visitors recently who are able to articulate the conservative point of view, and of course we have others who feel more progressive about it. And they're talking to each other, and I think that's a good thing.

But these kinds of sweeping lies are not making this web site a better place to discuss these important issues.

JimK

October 22, 2005 2:19 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

well, I think this outright lying is how CRC likes to work. In one post on some subject, you find the word "hate" such as when I refer to the CRC hate fest. Then you find the words "anal sex" because recently a CRCer suggested that literally hearing the words "anal sex" can harm a 5th grade student -even though the subject will not be brought up first by a teacher or explained in class. I said that if a kid is asking the question in class- the same kid and others are probably talking about it on the bus or at lunch or after school so I think it is better that a kid be able to ask and be told ask your parent so other kids aren't the source of the no doubt bad information. So for anon that is easily convertible into forced teaching of anal sex to small children.
CRC is fond of the big lie program- tell a lie, make it big- people accept big lies because many people still think most
people are basically honest and would never say such things if they weren't true. We know better,

October 23, 2005 8:17 AM  
Blogger shaving mirrors said...

Hey , Blogger

Your blog posted on Moral Cowards that is very important information for us . I have looked various tips by this your blog . Really , I loved this your blog . As ,I want to share Do you know Mental disorders symptoms? This blog motivates depressed people to get better by positive thinking and urges them to change their thought pattern and to feel strong. A greater focus is on the topic of teenage depression and help for adults who had depression as early in the teenage This blog also helps people with anxiety and other mental health disorders..

Thanks for sharing .

July 25, 2013 10:06 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home