Friday, January 27, 2006

A Little Perspective

At this time, the Montomery County Public Schools are putting together curricula for 8th and 10th grade sections on "sexual variation." We haven't seen it yet, so we don't know how the district will interpret the term, or what will be included in the classes. Judging from the last curriculum outlines that were worked up, "sexual variation" will mean that there is some discussion of sexual orientation, that is, whether a person is attracted sexually to people of their own sex, the opposite sex, or both sexes, and it will probably include some discussion of gender identity, which is your sense of being male or female and which varies among individuals; the previous curriculum also talked about gender roles and their function in a society, which sounds appropriate to me at this age. There was some mention -- one sentence, as I recall -- in the 10th grade curriculum defining the term "trangender," which is certainly relevant to a discussion of sexual identity, but nothing else on that topic in the "old new" curriculum, and I would expect and hope that there is something in the next version as well.

A lot of the discussion on this web site centers around attitudes toward sexual variations. I think all of us in TeachTheFacts.org feel that it is morally and intellectually preferable to discuss sexual identity and orientation in objective, factual, and thorough terms, describing the phenomena so that students have some knowledge about some interesting things in the world around them. And we are in the mainstream on that -- surveys across the country, including in states like Alabama, show that a great majority of people everywhere supports comprehensive sex education.

I have pointed out before that even if you use the most conservative numbers, say, Peter Sprigg's two percent, which is surely an underestimate of the proportion of gay people in the population but never mind, you still have more than a fifty percent chance of finding at least one gay student in any class of thirty kids. It definitely seems to me that that kid deserves to know what is happening to him or her, and it also seems like a decent thing to give some information to the other students, so they have some understanding of what's going on with their friend.

That having been said, I will remind the reader that the world is not about gay people. Whatever the percentage -- which depends on how you define the concept and how you ask the question --gay people don't make up a big part of society, number-wise, though they are a significant part if only for all the contributions they have made. There doesn't need to be a whole semester class on the subject, field trips to Dupont Circle, role-playing games, or in-class confession of students' deepest darkest secrets, but homosexuality is an important enough part of our culture that we should expect some mention, some information, and currently there is none -- health teachers are gagged regarding this subject, not allowed to mention it in Montgomery County.

The school district brought out a new curriculum last year, and some of us became alarmed when a group of radicals tried to claim that the school board was "undermining their values" and "promoting the gay agenda." No, the school board was planning how to teach our public school students some important facts about the world. And that's why we're here. We're standing up for a clear-minded educational program for our children, and our neighbors' children.

Almost none of the sound and fury over the curriculum actually consisted of quotes from the curriculum itself. And when the complainers did quote from the district's documents things were twisted, misconstrued, taken out of context, and cast in the worst light possible. The curriculum itself was hardly controversial, but some people who wanted to promote some very ugly beliefs took the opportunity to make a lot of noise, so they could substitute their ideas for the mainstream content that was proposed.

These days we see more and more evidence that acceptance of sexual minorities is on the rise. They don't need us to defend them, and we're not here to fight their fight for them. I could list a hundred things in popular culture that show that the general public is getting over a lot of the old prejudices; most straight people today don't really care if somebody is gay or not. I'm sure our gay and transgender readers will still have stories that somebody like me would never dream of, stories of rude people and ugly situations (hinted at by some of the unbelievable stuff we have witnessed in our comments section), but I am equally sure that things have changed in my lifetime. A lot.

And now it's simply time for the schools to catch up. Some handful of whiners will try to set back the clocks, but people have already changed.

The MCPS sex-education curriculum isn't "about" being gay, and certainly goes into no detail about the varieties of transgender phenomena. There will probably be units that cover identity and orientation, it's just a class that kids take in middle school and high school. A little knowledge won't hurt them, and those who try to allege that the school district is promoting this-or-that are just exaggerating.

We at TeachTheFacts.org are committed to this cause, and we make some strong statements. We don't like the ugliness, the discrimination, the prejudice, and we'll fight hard to keep the wheels of progress rolling. But the truth is, to put it in perspective, we're talking about two Health classes here.

80 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim

Liked the tenor, if not all the content of today's post. Here's the other side of a few points, as I see them.

"Judging from the last curriculum outlines that were worked up, "sexual variation" will mean that"

I hope the committee will insist that some legal advice is sought to look at the legislative record and find out what COMAR refers to. All the psychobabble about gender identity seems unlikely to have been part of it and seems to be the kind of stuff that is easily manipulated by activists.

"A lot of the discussion on this web site centers around attitudes toward sexual variations. I think all of us in TeachTheFacts.org feel that it is morally and intellectually preferable to discuss sexual identity and orientation in objective, factual, and thorough terms, describing the phenomena so that students have some knowledge about some interesting things in the world around them."

Kids will interpret this as official approval especially when problems involved with same-gender sexual activity are glossed over.


"And we are in the mainstream on that -- surveys across the country, including in states like Alabama, show that a great majority of people everywhere supports comprehensive sex education."

You're changing the subject now. Comprehensive sex education generally refers to birth control and disease prevention not sexual preference. The mainstream does not think homosexuality should be taught to children as a legitimately alternative lifestyle.

"I have pointed out before that even if you use the most conservative numbers, say, Peter Sprigg's two percent, which is surely an underestimate of the proportion of gay people in the population but never mind, you still have more than a fifty percent chance of finding at least one gay student in any class of thirty kids."

If you mean "gay" as in something that is innately part of your identity at birth, there is no agreement that such a thing exists. Teaching that it does might encourage kids that are vulnerable or rebellious to experiment and, as a recent scientific paper noted was a possibility, engaging in the behavior may strength a tendency toward it. This would be tragic and shows the importance of being precise in teaching this subject.

"It definitely seems to me that that kid deserves to know what is happening to him or her,"

Yes, but they should not be taught that resistance is futile. Fleeting attraction is not a Borg invasion.

"and it also seems like a decent thing to give some information to the other students, so they have some understanding of what's going on with their friend."

Agreed, if it's factual.

"There doesn't need to be a whole semester class on the subject, field trips to Dupont Circle, role-playing games, or in-class confession of students' deepest darkest secrets, but homosexuality is an important enough part of our culture that we should expect some mention, some information,"

If you're going to teach something at all, and something that is potentially life-changing, you need to teach enough to prevent misunderstanding. The past proposed revision was sketchy and vague- open to misinterpretation.

"and currently there is none -- health teachers are gagged regarding this subject, not allowed to mention it in Montgomery County."

It hasn't stopped mention of it in history or English or sociology or anthropology classes. These teachers not only mention it but have ridiculed kids who have moral objections to homosexuality. Additionally, P.E. teachers in MCPS schools have, in the past, announced gay protest events.

"Almost none of the sound and fury over the curriculum actually consisted of quotes from the curriculum itself."

You only need a few words to corrupt. It's the dearth of details that is the problem.

"The curriculum itself was hardly controversial, but some people who wanted to promote some very ugly beliefs took the opportunity to make a lot of noise, so they could substitute their ideas for the mainstream content that was proposed."

If you're going to continue to characterize traditional moral views as "ugly", your group will continue to have problems. The mainstream doesn't think the idea that homosexuality is immoral is ugly. This is attested to by the reactions of politicians, even in a blue state like Maryland. The mainstream is very leery of the NEA and its proposals for "Gay History Month" and the like.

"These days we see more and more evidence that acceptance of sexual minorities is on the rise. They don't need us to defend them, and we're not here to fight their fight for them."

It's a good point. You notice that not many homosexuals contribute here and I wonder if most of them don't like things just the way they are.

"I could list a hundred things in popular culture that show that the general public is getting over a lot of the old prejudices; most straight people today don't really care if somebody is gay or not."

It's been this way since the late 60s. Not much has changed. Brokeback Mountain is not much new. Midnight Cowboy with a bisexual protagonist won Best Picture in the 60s. Billy Crystal played a gay characer in a top-rated TV show in the 70s. Boy George was a big pop star in the 80s. Tom Hanks won a Oscar playing a gay guy in the 90s. The gay advocacy movement is trying to create the impression of some historic shift but not much has changed in people's attitudes.

"And now it's simply time for the schools to catch up. Some handful of whiners will try to set back the clocks, but people have already changed."

TTF wants to turn the clock back to about 1979, right before the AIDS epidemic hit. Who knows what the consequences might be this time out.

"A little knowledge won't hurt them,"

As the old adage goes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. You need to teach at least enough not to mislead. If there's not time for that, don't teach it at all.

January 27, 2006 12:32 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

The mainstream does not think homosexuality should be taught to children as a legitimately alternative lifestyle.

You see, Anon, this is why people keep telling you you're an idiot. Nobody said anything about legitimacy or alternatives, and no mention was made of any lifestyle. You read X and then argue with Y. That's how we know you''re an idiot.

Fleeting attraction is not a Borg invasion.

You will remember that the CRC demanded the "fleeting attraction" part be taken out, even in its more powerful form, that even experimenting doesn't mean you're gay. They were furious about this, and it was finally removed, at their insistence.

These teachers not only mention it but have ridiculed kids who have moral objections to homosexuality.

Sure, Anon, Christians are persecuted in the public schools, not gays, sure. [cough *idiot* cough]

TTF wants to turn the clock back to about 1979, right before the AIDS epidemic hit.

Anon, you seem to get stupider every time you check in here, but nice try. People today just don't have a problem with it, and it's time for the schools to catch up. Call it whatever you want, though it used to be the norm, these days there just aren't many people like you. TTF wants the schools to teach the facts, as the proposed curriculum did (and you can refresh your memory about that by looking for the curricula on the righthand side of this blog).

Interesting survey HERE I see that 73 percent of parents think students should be taught about homosexuality in the schools, and 18 percent think that they should be taught that it's wrong.

JimK

January 27, 2006 1:22 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

OK, Anon, so what is it? The curriculum teaches too much, by even discussing homosexuality, or it teaches too little? The CRC gutted the curriculum before, and will probably try again. I suppose the rationale is anything that a teacher mentions to a student will be taken as gospel. Must be a lot of fundamentalist Christian kids in public school who view their teachers as priests and ministers. If you have children, I imagine they're ashamed at your total lack of respect for them and ability to trust in their judgment.

But I will return to my area of expertise: "All the psychobabble about gender identity seems unlikely to have been part of it and seems to be the kind of stuff that is easily manipulated by activists."

Show me a single instance of "psychobabble." I have asked for almost a year now, and none of you, including Michelle Turner and Theresa, has provided a scintilla of evidence supporting your case. What is your position? Oh, yes, that we don't have a gender identity.

No one I have ever discussed this with has had any problem understanding the concept. Only Christian fundamentalists like you (and many of them do not).

January 27, 2006 1:48 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Here';s a letter from yesterday's Times:

To the Editor:

William Saletan's assessment of the politics and morality of abortion is on target in every way but one. What we call the abortion conflict is not just about abortion; it is about sexuality in general and women's sexuality in particular. A thought experiment will make this clear.

Suppose the pro-choice forces offered the pro-life forces a truce. Under its terms, both sides would cease all activities pertaining to abortion itself. Instead, they would devote their full resources of money, political clout, moral authority and volunteer time to promoting universal sex education and easy access to contraception, with the goal of eliminating abortion by preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Whichever side of the debate you are on, can you imagine the pro-life movement accepting this plan, even if its success were somehow guaranteed?

Mr. Saletan dismisses "yammering about chastity" as if it were the least of our worries. That, alas, is wishful thinking.

James Trilling
Providence, R.I., Jan. 22, 2006

Do you disagree, Anon and Theresa? If such a truce could be arranged (and I have never met a woman who has had or considered having an abortion who wasn't torn up over it)would you then support comprehensive sex-ed and full access to birth control?

Like the writer, I doubt it.

January 27, 2006 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened, Jim? For a fleeting moment, you were civil- and then, you learned you can resist fleeting impulses. Apparently, GLAAD has advised you that slinging epithets will win you points. Oh well, here goes:

"The mainstream does not think homosexuality should be taught to children as a legitimately alternative lifestyle.

You see, Anon, this is why people keep telling you you're an idiot. Nobody said anything about legitimacy or alternatives, and no mention was made of any lifestyle. You read X and then argue with Y. That's how we know you''re an idiot."

As you can see if you reread my post, my position is that the facts are chosen and presented to imply legitimacy. The judge who eliminated the faulty Fishback curriculum agreed. He said it contained "viewpoint discrimination" with respect to sexual preferences.

"Fleeting attraction is not a Borg invasion.

You will remember that the CRC demanded the "fleeting attraction" part be taken out, even in its more powerful form, that even experimenting doesn't mean you're gay. They were furious about this, and it was finally removed, at their insistence."

Actually, the faulty Fishback curriculum neglected, without justification, the distinct possibility that all sexual preference begins as a fleeting attraction that can be resisted.

If I recall, CRC objected to saying this fleeting attraction is "common". Again, by falsely identifying the phenomena as common, the faulty Fishback curriculum implied legitimacy.

"These teachers not only mention it but have ridiculed kids who have moral objections to homosexuality.

Sure, Anon, Christians are persecuted in the public schools, not gays, sure. [cough *idiot* cough]"

No, they're fine as long as they keep their ideas to themselves and pay deference to NEA positions. If not, watch out.

"TTF wants to turn the clock back to about 1979, right before the AIDS epidemic hit.

Anon, you seem to get stupider every time you check in here, but nice try. People today just don't have a problem with it, and it's time for the schools to catch up."

Jim, you're old enough to know that the 70s were actually a much looser time than today in terms of sexual mores. A backlash happened because the consequences became apparent.

"Call it whatever you want, though it used to be the norm, these days there just aren't many people like you."

So what are these Maryland legislators so scared of?

"TTF wants the schools to teach the facts,"

Only the carefully selected facts, out of context, which support your view.

"as the proposed curriculum did (and you can refresh your memory about that by looking for the curricula on the righthand side of this blog)."

dearth and selection

"Interesting survey HERE I see that 73 percent of parents think students should be taught about homosexuality in the schools, and 18 percent think that they should be taught that it's wrong."

I don't think it should taught that it's wrong either. I think the consequences and history should taught and kids should be left to make up their own mind, hopefully enlightened by family- and church-taught values. You might note that only 8% believe it should taught as right, which is what the carefully selected facts of gay advocacy champion, David Fishback, implied. The vast majority of Americans agree with CRC that high school sex-ed should give the facts and let kids decide what's right.

The survey had other interesting facts as well. 50% believed premarital sex was wrong. This is a position that you have repeatedly stated here is held by virtually no one in our society. Additionally, regardless of morality, almost 60% believed premarital sex had negative consequences.

January 27, 2006 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long in total with the classes last? Two 45 minutes classes? The whole curriculum 90 minutes?

January 27, 2006 3:22 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Here's what happened, Anon.

Hiding behind the anonyimity of the Internet, you insisted on repetitively calling my friend Dana by the wrong name, time after time, even posting the lyrics to "Danny Boy" in these comments. Your only point is to try to trivialize her transgender experience, which she has been extremely honest about sharing here, and which it seems to me has required not only a lot of soul-searching but a lot of courage, unlike your cheap bullying, which simply requires that you have some buddies to back you up.

From this behavior I realized that you're nothing more than a big loser, and there is nothing to be gained by pretending that you are able to carry on an intelligent conversation. You are not what I'd call a person of extremely low intelligence. No, those people can work hard to improve themselves. You are what I call an idiot.

JimK

January 27, 2006 3:24 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Woops, I see the link to that survey didn't come through. Try again. You should find it HERE

JimK

January 27, 2006 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"From this behavior I realized that you're nothing more than a big loser, and there is nothing to be gained by pretending that you are able to carry on an intelligent conversation."

OK, Jim. I can see now why nothing you said seemed to show any intelligence. You must not have been trying.

January 27, 2006 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Woops, I see the link to that survey didn't come through. Try again. You should find it HERE"

It came through fine last time. It doesn't support your point of view unless you take it out of context. This, even though NPR is a little liberal to say the least.

January 27, 2006 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How long in total with the classes last? Two 45 minutes classes? The whole curriculum 90 minutes?"

Teachers could go over the faulty Fishback version in about 30 minutes flat.

January 27, 2006 3:56 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Teachers could go over the faulty Fishback version in about 30 minutes flat."

There was nothing faulty in the version of the proposed revised curriculum, as administratively adjusted shortly after the Nov. 2004 BOE vote. I would be proud to take full credit for it, but it was the result of a lot of work by a lot of people.

You are probably correct that the materials on sexual orientation in the revised curriculum could be done in 30 minutes -- indeed, maybe less. Those revisions were interspersed in material covering a wider range of materials. The lessons that included the material on sexual orientation were anticipated as covering two 45 minute class periods.

That is why the frantic attacks on the revisions were so silly. All the curriculum revisions would have done would have been to provide some basic facts, as understood by the health care community, on sexual orientation.

A few people, backed by Dobson and Falwell groups, were not able to intimidate the Board of Education. They got lucky with a lawsuit that amounted to litigation by ambush. So MCPS had to start over. I believe that MCPS and the BOE will, again, not be intimidated by the Far Right.

January 27, 2006 5:59 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Look,
I think if you are going to teach about homosexuality in the public schools you HAVE to tell kids about the health risks. Period.

That doesn't mean just the health risks of "risky sexual behavior".

That means making sure that kids understand in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that if he chooses to engage in anal sex with another male, especially another older homosexual male, that he is at FAR GREATER RISK of catching something and dying from it than if the kid is just having heterosexual sex with another highschool kid.

Otherwise you leave these teenage boys, horny, likely to experiment, with the impression that this behavior is "normal" and "safe".

I really don't care whether this stigmatizes homosexuals or not (that might be a good thing if it encourages them to be a bit more careful about their sexual practicies).

You can't present homosexuality to these teenagers and NOT tell them this as well.

Thus, increased risks of MSM, proportions of the AIDS virus in the male homosexual population as compared to the heterosexual population MUST be included.

Especially if you are presenting homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.

And, by the way, telling people they should "opt-out" as the alternative to Massachesuets graphic discussion of "fisting" is really not a position that the vast majority of parents are okay with... one anon TTF'r thought this was an acceptable response.

.

January 27, 2006 9:57 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

And by the way Mr. Fishback, THAT IS ONE REALLY GOOD REASON WHY YOUR CURRICULUM WAS UNACCEPTABLE -

besides that little "stomping all over the beliefs" in a sanctioned public school curriculum infrigement...

January 27, 2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa

... I don't think anybody quite knew what that last capitalized rant was about ...

It does sound like you insist that MCPS teach children about anal sex then, is that right?

And what does the STD section of the Health curriculum say about MSM and AIDS?

JimK

January 27, 2006 10:10 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

And by the way, Theresa, two things. The "fisting" Massachusetts thing is a rightwing myth blown out of proportion. You guys love to talk about that, as if it happens all the time (SSomebody left some books on a table at a high school, with graphic gay sexual terminology that has been reprinted on every rightwing web site on the net). You look at how many heterosexual teachers have sex with their students, and ... well you don't find that quite as fascinating, do you?

The other thing. I think everybody agrees that students should be taught about the prevalence of AIDS among the gay population, how it is spread, and how to prevent it (abstinence and condoms). You seem to think there is some controversy there, but I think everybody agrees, gay boys need to know what the risks are. As far as your concern about a stigma, I don't really see why that would happen; lots of subpopulations have diseases that prey upon them especially, and it doesn't stigmatize them. Like ... women get breast cancer more than men ... blacks get sickle cell ... Nobody ever said that was a reason not to be a woman, or not to be black, or that it reflected poorly on those groups. So I doubt you need to worry.

JimK

January 27, 2006 10:19 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I will let David and Jim respond to Theresa's more general statement, but I have to ask her:

Theresa, do you honestly believe that straight boys experiment with anal sex with each other? I understand that "abstinence-only programs" are encouraging kids to perform heterosexual oral and anal sex, but boys have anal sex just for the fun of it? Or to experiment? I simply do not believe it. None of my friends ever did, and I tend to doubt it happens in this generation, either. Even pre-op transwomen, who would be more likely to have sex with gay men than straight men, hardly ever do so, unless forced to do so to stay alive.

I think the facts are pretty clear: Men are more likely to transmit HIV than women. HIV is much more readily transmitted anally than vaginally or orally. Therefore, men having anal sex with men are at a higher risk of transmitting and contracting HIV.

I have no problem teaching that. That's why safe sex has to be taught.

But your side believes that people should have sex only within marriage, gay men, who are people, shouldn't be able to get married, and therefore gay men shouldn't have sex. Sounds like a Catch-22 to me -- Milo Minderbinder would be proud. You can find him, if you're interested, presiding over the Senate on occasion.

January 27, 2006 10:29 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Sorry, Jim -
but this "dobson and falwell" backing that David constantly harps on is completely incorrect and I should not let him get to me. You get angry too when folks accuse TTF of being a national organization - CRC isn't.

There wasn't any information in the old curriculum or the revisions about MSM rates or increased rates of AIDS in the homosexual population, that I know of.

You can talk about increased rates of new AIDS infections among MSM, percentage of AIDS infections among the homosexual population as opposed to the heterosexual population, without specifically discussing anal sex, I think.

I am glad you agree with me that this information needs to be presented - but I don't think David agrees with either of us.

January 27, 2006 10:37 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Dana -

Here's the old petition link - not up anymore since it specified rescinding the curriculum, which the BOE did.

Somewhere on these signatures was one that horrified me.

It was from someone in California, complaining that her nephew had decided to start having sex with his male friend because his school system had told him that it was okay...

http://www.petitiononline.com/mcpsboe/petition.html

No idea if she was making it up or not, I was in favor of contacting her and getting a press release...

didn't act on that one, though.

theresa

January 27, 2006 10:50 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa, I'm looking at the MCPS Health Curriculum web site, and it appears there are a lot of discussions, videos, and reading materials dealing with AIDS, even now. I doubt that they avoid the fact that in the US the gay population has been the hardest hit by the epidemic. I also think that your suggestion that it isn't discussed in the health curriculum is impossible, given how much of the outline is devoted to the topic.

I also think you make a mockery of prudery by suggesting that they should talk about the spread of AIDS without mentioning anal sex. It isn't being gay that spreads the virus, it's introducing infected fluids into absorbing tissues. As you know, far more heterosexuals than homosexuals practice anal sex. Largely because of the way the epidemic was introduced to our society, it has hit the gay population especially hard. In other countries that's not always the case.

JimK

January 27, 2006 10:55 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

... had decided to start having sex with his male friend because his school system had told him that it was okay ...

Theresa ... Theresa ... how gullible are you? Do you believe is it remotely, one one-gazillionth of one percent possible that an adolescent did something just because the school system told him it was ok? Do you think middle and high school boys are just sitting around wishing they could have anal sex with their buddies, but nobody's told them it was okay?

... Theresa ... Say it ain't so. Tell me you were joking.

JimK

January 27, 2006 11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking only 90 minutes to "teach" about sexual orientation to 8th and 10th graders is like provoking an angry mob and fleeing.

January 28, 2006 5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim & Co

Teaching kids that homosexuality is acceptable will have an affect on kids. How much will depend on the individual kid but its not far-fetched to think that some kids may be more likely to experiment after going through NEA indoctrination. (by the way, the Wall Street Journal did round two of details on NEA funding of liberal political causes yesterday after receiving a letter from the president of NEA)

In additions to dangers of a particular act, kids should get the straight story on what they will encounter out in the real world if they pursue a gay lifestyle.

January 28, 2006 9:27 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Uh, yeah, Anon, it's all an "NEA indoctrination." I don't know about you, but I didn't have any urge at all to "experiment" with homosexuality when I heard what it was. And I don't think other straught guys do, either.

Maybe what you're saying is that some kids who are gay will realize why they feel different from the other kids. I'm sure you think that would be a great disservice.

JimK

January 28, 2006 9:36 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Theresa,

Have I ever said that CRC is a "front" for any other group? The answer is no. Have I said it is backed up by Falwell and Dobson groups? Yes. That is public record. Falwell's Liberty Counsel handled CRC's lawsuit against MCPS. Peter Sprigg of Dobson's Family Research Council and Robert Knight of Concerned Women of America were featured speakers at CRC's forum last March.

As to the risks of sexual activity, if you listen to the tapes that Retta presumably still has, you will discover that I repeatedly sought (and received) assurances from MCPS that those risks -- both heterosexual and homosexual transmission -- were a strong part of the curriculum. Student members of the CAC who had taken the health course informed the adult members that those STI issues were stressed to a farethewell. To be sure of this, I even had the MCPS Health Coordinator make a full presentation to the CAC of the STI unit and materials last spring.

I agree that monogamy is the ideal -- and certainly the safest -- basis for our sexual lives, whether they be straight or gay. That is what I believe the MCPS curriculum should stress. We have a practical disagreement over whether discussing safer sex information should also be part of that curriculum. But it is simply incorrect to say that I advocate disregarding the hazards of sexual activity. I have a pretty thick skin, and I know that in the current public discourse people try to score points by telling untruths about people. I can take it, but I will call it for what it is: Falsehood.

The real issue is what is the best means toward the end of keeping our children safe and giving them information they will need for the rest of their lives.

You appear to have the view that those who are homosexual are so inherently promiscuous that, unlike heterosexuals, their feelings should be completely suppressed. This is the odd contradiction of the FRC types. On the one hand, they excoriate promiscuity among both gays and straights (I assume they do the latter, although they seem oddly fixated on gays); but on the other hand assert that the government should only promote monogamy among straights -- i.e., the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

In any event, the presence in our community of committed same-sex couples, whose relationships go back for decades, puts the lie to the "inherent increased promiscuity" argument. Indeed, the more that homosexuals are accepted for who they are, the more monogamy there will be.

So it appears to me that the issue for the FRC types regarding homosexuals is not promiscuity and the attendant hazards. FRC types are entitled to their theological viewpoints on sexual orientation (and even their irrational fear that somehow if more people are out as homosexuals, then people who are heterosexual will somehow get re-wired). But it is sad and tragic that they damage the lives of so many other people (sometimes their own children, like Maya Keyes) in the process.

January 28, 2006 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Maybe what you're saying is that some kids who are gay will realize why they feel different from the other kids. I'm sure you think that would be a great disservice."

Or maybe experimenting leads to increased same gender desire. Kids could be led to experiment for all sorts of reasons and it's more likely to happen if they get the impression society approves.

You may have had occassions of fleeting desires and forgotten about it because you didn't pursue it.(or, maybe not) If so, society's disapproval may have helped you make the right choice. You need to overcome your subjectivity.

January 28, 2006 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and even their irrational fear that somehow if more people are out as homosexuals, then people who are heterosexual will somehow get re-wired"

You don't know for a fact that homosexuality is wired. The research is ambiguous and could reasonably lead to either conclusion. To say otherwise is a falsehood.

David, I've consulted with gay couples (I do tax planning) who have businesses and they are constantly worried that the other partner is exposing them to AIDS. (if you're wondering, it comes up when we talk about reducing health insurance expenses). They generally don't trust each other. Gays will always be more promiscuous than even promiscuous heteros. You see, when you've so clearly rejected one of society's taboos, it becomes hard to see why you should adhere to any of them.

January 28, 2006 10:05 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

"But it is simply incorrect to say that I advocate disregarding the hazards of sexual activity"

David -
so you would advise putting material in the curriculum that specifically talks about not only the hazards of sexual activity but also the much increased hazards of homosexual sexual activity ?
I had the definite impression from your earlier posts that you did not support this.

Anon -
I don't believe that the curriculum should take the position that homosexual behavior is acceptable - it is a position that stomps on the religous beliefs of a large percentage of the population. But if they insist on doing so, pointing out the risks of experimentation and homosexual sex becomes imperative.

January 28, 2006 10:43 AM  
Blogger digger said...

Anonymous said:

"Actually, the faulty Fishback curriculum neglected, without justification, the distinct possibility that all sexual preference begins as a fleeting attraction that can be resisted."

All of my freds speak of deep-seated feelings that persisted for years before they acted on them, and this was certainly my experience. It is also true of the sexual orientation of the straight people to whom I've spoken about this. The study you reference expressed, with due scientific caution, as a kind of null hypothesis, that neurological differences may result from experience rather than genetics or hormonal indfluence. The real life experience of real people seems to indicate that this is not the case. Surely the real life experience of real people doesn't back up the idea of "fleeting attractions" being reinforced by choice. As I've said before, go talk to real gay people. Online surfing and even "scintific surveys" are too easily biased when it comes to this very charged issue.

I agree with Theresa that youth should be taught that unprotected and promiscuous sex with older men is hazardous. My problem with sex ed is that it is enormously hetero-focused, to the detriment of the safety of our youth. I once had a teenager from Prince William County tell me that he was glad he was gay, so he wouldn't get HIV from sex. He'd learned this because sex-ed in his school focused almost exclusively on straight people, and he thought it didn't apply to him.

Virginia,through grant money to the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry, sponsors a program that educates lgbt youth to do outreach to other lgbt youth on STDs, drug use and alcohol, with the goal of affecting the rising rate of HI infection among gay youth. It's a very small drop in a large bucket. NOVAM carries he program to schools where they are allowed (Alexandria and Arlington) and does outreach to GSAs where schools permit it.

In Maryland, SMYAL has a similar program (though I think only in PG). Schools abrogate their responsibility to gay youth when they do not address their particular concerns and risks.

If we want to end the AIDS epidemic among youth, we hve to get down to the nitty-gritty of what teenagers really do, and show them how to minimize rsks. All the talk about choice, fleeting attractions, abstinence pledges, sin, etc. is just whisting in the dark.

Too long of a post. Sorry. I got carried away.

Robert

January 28, 2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

There's a widespread theory that people who are obsessed with suppressing homosexuality might have an "issue" with it in their own lives. I didn't like that theory at first, because it's too handy -- you get to argue against the person and insult their false self-image at the same time. But I am coming to believe it more and more. Somebody here in the comments just suggested that I must have had "fleeting desires" or whatever, and forgot about them. This supposition would lead to the conclusion that it's best to obstruct any mention of homosexuality, so that young people who are choosing their sexual orientation won't go down that fork in the road an never come back.

For me, that's now how it worked, and I don't think that's how it works for most people. When I got to be about 12 or 13, girls took on a whole new meaning. Dancing with them, walking home from school with them, passing notes to them in class took on a new dimension. I didn't decide to be that way, and believe me, life would be much easier if I knew where the switch was to turn that off -- even now, women make it hard to concentrate!

At the American Psychological Association convention this past year, I spoke with a professor who studies sexual identity at the University of Utah. I asked her about the "ex-gay" thing, just to see what she had to say. I blogged about it: she said there is "absolutely no data" supporting the "ex-gay" point of view. But besides that, she told me that she has been visited numerous times by Mormon guys who tell her they "just can't be gay" and ask for help changing. The church doesn't allow it, and when they realize what they are, they are ashamed. The point: it's not that they chose that, it happened despite their deepest wishes. (I see that Robert has just made this point very well.)

There isn't any good research that I know of that shows that a significant number of men are truly bisexual. It seems we mostly go one way or the other, and it shouldn't be hard to figure out what catches your eye.

I have known guys before who I would describe as "gay but doesn't know it." I've got nothing against that, but I'll bet they wonder why it's hard to keep a girlfriend (the main guy I'm thinking of always had girlfriends that looked like boys). Lately I am theorizing that this phenomenon underlies a lot of the anti-gay sentiment that we see, for instance lately in our comments section, where guys think that just talking about sexual orientation will make adolescent boys turn gay. That may have been the case for the people saying those things, maybe they made a choice to resist temptation and live as a straight person, and that's up to them. But you gotta realize, for most of us, there's no choice, and there's nothing intriguing or interesting about the idea of having anal sex with our buddies. Homosexuality is not a lurking threat, it's just ... something in the world.

JimK

January 28, 2006 11:22 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Theresa wrote:

"David -
so you would advise putting material in the curriculum that specifically talks about not only the hazards of sexual activity but also the much increased hazards of homosexual sexual activity ?
I had the definite impression from your earlier posts that you did not support this."

Theresa,
It would be useful to look at what I have said and written, not how some people choose to mischaracterize it. I have always advocated for comprehensive, accurate information regarding STI risks. I have opposed spinning it in a way that would stigmatize homosexuals, as Retta sought to do by putting redundant materials on same-sex STI transmission (but not opposite sex STI transmission) in the FLHS unit, which is taught near, but separately from, the STI unit.

As a PFLAG Dad, I certainly want accurate information on risks of same-sex activity in the curriculum. And MCPS, thankfully, already does this. Now it needs to add information from the AMA, AAP, etc., so that student in the future who happen to be gay will not be marginalized or sent the message that they are diseased.

January 28, 2006 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And by the way, Theresa, two things. The "fisting" Massachusetts thing is a rightwing myth blown out of proportion. You guys love to talk about that, as if it happens all the time (SSomebody left some books on a table at a high school, with graphic gay sexual terminology that has been reprinted on every rightwing web site on the net)."

Jim, a book with stuff just as outrageous was used at Sligo Middle School in the MC only 5 years ago, and for all I know it still is.

Besides there are people with some other pretty outrageous other ideas for the schools here:

- Gay History Month
- Cross-dressing Day
- Avoiding heterosexist litereature

"You look at how many heterosexual teachers have sex with their students, and ... well you don't find that quite as fascinating, do you?"

It's improper but only half as bad as its homosexual equivalent.

"The other thing. I think everybody agrees that students should be taught about the prevalence of AIDS among the gay population, how it is spread, and how to prevent it (abstinence and condoms). You seem to think there is some controversy there, but I think everybody agrees, gay boys need to know what the risks are. As far as your concern about a stigma, I don't really see why that would happen; lots of subpopulations have diseases that prey upon them especially, and it doesn't stigmatize them. Like ... women get breast cancer more than men ... blacks get sickle cell ... Nobody ever said that was a reason not to be a woman, or not to be black, or that it reflected poorly on those groups. So I doubt you need to worry."

Actually the disease is related to behavior so the stigma would be different. Read the Post today and see that Blacks don't want to be considered the equivalent of homosexuals.

The description of the lifestyle, the myth that it cannot be changed, the myth that it's normal, the history of its place in society and the consequences need to be taught in a way that ties them together and makes the information relevant to the student.

January 28, 2006 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It isn't being gay that spreads the virus, it's introducing infected fluids into absorbing tissues. As you know, far more heterosexuals than homosexuals practice anal sex."

It not the introducing of fluids, it's doing it with many non-monogamous partners and the chance increases when you seek out homosexual relations because of the behavior prevalent among homosexuals.

"Largely because of the way the epidemic was introduced to our society, it has hit the gay population especially hard. In other countries that's not always the case."

It probably wouldn't exist in America if not for the gay rights movement of the 60s and 70s.

Countries where heteros have it are third-world with poor hygiene.

January 28, 2006 4:22 PM  
Blogger digger said...

Anonymous said:

"The description of the lifestyle, the myth that it cannot be changed, the myth that it's normal, the history of its place in society and the consequences need to be taught in a way that ties them together and makes the information relevant to the student."


You just don't like gay people, do you?

Seriously?

Robert

January 28, 2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa, thought you would be interested in this story from this morning's new York Times:

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.


LINK HERE

JimK

January 28, 2006 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.""


How appropriate this is depends on whether he is using government resources to push an agenda without any evidence linking greenhouse gases to global warning. As we know, scientists using government computers on goverment time may be working against the best interests of tax-paying citizens.

I shouldn't have to pay taxes to promote false, radical and harmful agendas.

If you'll read Crichton's book, you'll see evidence that millions of people would not have died of malaria over the last several decades if DDT had not been banned. Turned out it was never that harmful.

January 28, 2006 7:12 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I have nothing against Gay History Month, though I think all these "Months" are a bit overblown. People who've made contributions to American society should be recognized throughout the curriculum where appropriate, and their sexuality shouldn't be whitewashed if its mention is appropriate in the first place.

What's wrong with cross-dressing, Anon? Did Uncle Milty or Geraldine freak you out when you were a kid? Or maybe Boy George? Why the need for rigid sexual apartheid?

Removal of heterosexist literature? I don't think so. Then there would be very little literature at all. "Heterosexist" simply refers to the assumption of heterosexuality made by heterosexuals who simply assume everyone is straight, and don't leave the smallest amount of room for the 3-5% who are not. As if those people are somehow a threat.

And I forgot to point out that not only are you a pretty poor phislosopher and scientist, but you also fail miserably as a cultural and film critic. If you think there has been no change in society since "Midnight Cowboy" and Billy Crystal in the late 60's and the 70's, you simply haven't been out recently. There have been a number of books written on homosoexuality in film; I think the most famous, though a bit dated, is "The Celluloid Closet."

To show you just how far we've come wrt trans issues, just compare the difference between "Psycho" in 1960 and "Silence of the Lambs" as late as 1991, and "Transamerica" today as well as all the most popular tv programs, such as Cold Case, Law and Order: SVU, CSI, etc.

Oh, and I love your comment that hetero sex between student and teacher is "improper but only half as bad as its homosexual equivalent." Did you figure that out that "half as bad" using advanced nymber theory, Markov chain analysis, or what?

January 28, 2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Wow! Science policy made on the recommendation of Michael Crichton, a anovelist, rather than over a thousand climatologists. Idiot. Sorry. I know I'm not supposed to say that. (That GLAAD training has worn off).

Oh, and as far as DDT is concerned, yes, you're right, it's been a very potent treatment for malaria, as well as a very potent endocrine disruptor. The problem is you can't use a general reproductive antagonist against one species and expect it won't affect all other species that use the system system platform. As most invertebrates and vertebrates do. DDT even causes transsexualism, which would probably freak you out if it didn't throw your worldview into chaos.

January 28, 2006 10:08 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, this is amazing. The guy in the article is described as "the top climate scientist at NASA." He's not pushing an agenda, he studies climate. And sometimes scientists, even ones working for the government, give talks and write research papers. But, for political reasons, the admininstration doesn't want this guy to talk about what has been learned.

If I read you correctly, you are saying that we should read a popular novel more closely, and ignore the warnings of NASA's top climate scientist, because the novel supports your preconceptions. It is weird to think that people have no respect for knowledge and rigorous research. This anti-intellectuality in our society, which I believe has been carefully cultivated because ignorant people are easier to manipulate, is the one thing that scares me the most about our times. People like you will believe anything, and sadly, you're not unique.

JimK

January 28, 2006 10:25 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

From tomorrow's Washington Post:

Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend.

This "tipping point" scenario has begun to consume many prominent researchers in the United States and abroad, because the answer could determine how drastically countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. While scientists remain uncertain when such a point might occur, many say it is urgent that policymakers cut global carbon dioxide emissions in half over the next 50 years or risk the triggering of changes that would be irreversible.


LINK HERE

Ah, but maybe we'll get a happier ending if we pick our literature from the Fiction shelves.

JimK

January 28, 2006 10:45 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

"As a PFLAG Dad, I certainly want accurate information on risks of same-sex activity in the curriculum. And MCPS, thankfully, already does this. Now it needs to add information from the AMA, AAP, etc., so that student in the future who happen to be gay will not be marginalized or sent the message that they are diseased."

David, I am confused. The STI unit for MCPS was developed before the rejected curriculum which introducted for the first time the subject of homosexuality.

So, presumably, since the topic of homosexuality was not permitted to be discussed in the old curriculum, I would be surprised to see specific studies citing increased rates of AIDS in the homosexual population in the old STI section. Retta specifically did say that they weren't there.

You are now claiming that studies discussing specifically MSM AIDS rates were in the old STI section of the curriculum even though homosexuality was not discussed in the family life section ?

I find that a little difficult to believe.

January 28, 2006 11:34 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Jim -
In Crichton's book, he claims he spent 3 years researching the subject and there are references throughout the book.

You should get it and read it. Even though clearly it is a work of fiction, he states that the extensive footnotes (every 3 pages just about) are accurate.

I think he spends a lot of time consulting with scientists before he writes his books. I have google some of the concepts in his books before (like Congo with signing ape) and found them to be pretty accurate - you would know this better than any of us though, since I am pretty sure you would have read the book he consulted you as a reference for...

So, how valid were the concepts he presented in Prey, Jim ? Do you think he is off the wall or do you think he is pretty much honest ?

January 28, 2006 11:41 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa, that's a good question. He took my research, and that of others, and made an exciting story out of it. What happens in Prey uses research like mine, but it's pure fiction -- the stuff in the book can't happen, won't happen, and has no resemblance to anything that has or will happen. He uses scientific concepts to create a narrative situation that might make a good movie. No problem there, it's a fine tradition, but science fiction and science are two different things.

I was pleased that he borrowed the concepts appropriately, he obviously read the literature, but the work is pure fiction. I review one to two papers a week in this field, and attend the major conferences, and what is in Prey has absolutely no similarity to the science. I assume his global-warming writing follows the same template.

He's a novelist. A pretty good one, a prolific one, one who knows the market. But his writing is fiction.

JimK

January 29, 2006 12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JimK said:
"It isn't being gay that spreads the virus, it's introducing infected fluids into absorbing tissues. As you know, far more heterosexuals than homosexuals practice anal sex."


Anonymous said:
"It not the introducing of fluids, it's doing it with many non-monogamous partners and the chance increases when you seek out homosexual relations because of the behavior prevalent among homosexuals."


I can't believe you would actually state outright that it's "not the introducing of fluids" that spreads HIV. This is basic sex education here; you're denying undeniable facts. Your constant fixation on homosexuals clouds your judgement, and you're making it all too clear.

If a homosexual couple engages in anal sex (assume "one-way"), do you think the chances of one of the participants catching an STI are inherently higher than when compared to a heterosexual couple doing the same?

January 29, 2006 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that Mr. Fishback refers to the Liberty Council and makes an issue of alleged religious bias in CRC’s opposition to the curriculum he nurtured, when one of the Federal Judge’s key objections to Mr. Fishback’s curriculum was that it was religiously biased and in violation of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

January 29, 2006 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David:
If the behavior that characterizes a particular group of people is shown to be more dangerous than the behavior of other people, doesn’t that inherently identify that group as being more at risk? Is that not marginalizing? You can’t have it both ways!

January 29, 2006 8:07 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, the fact that an epidemic has hit one population especially hard doesn't have anything to do with marginalizing. Gay boys should learn about how AIDS is spread in their community and how to minimize their chances of catching it. I don't know exactly what's in the STD section of the Health curriculum, but there's alot about AIDS, and if they don't discuss MSM transmission, they certainly should. That part of the curriculum is not being developed currently, but if that's not in there, I think it should be. BOE public comments would be a good place to ask for a revision of the STD unit.

Some people seem to think that because gay sex has risks, people just ... shouldn't be gay. That's silly, of course. There are risks with straight sex, too, but I don't see people giving it up.

I don't see the part where you say that anyone is trying to "have it both ways."

JimK

January 29, 2006 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask David what he means by "marginalizing"?

January 29, 2006 11:24 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

David can certainly answer this, but I will answer as well from my personal experience.

I felt "outside the community," "like a leper," "shamed," throughout my entire youth and adolescence (note the terms are biblical in origin). As an adult I never felt like becoming a player, participating in the community and society, because I felt like a fraud within. I would be extremely hesitant to give to others outside the professional structure in which I worked, as well as refusing to accept the generosity of the community. I was an official member of a number of communities, in none of which I felt I really belonged. I never felt comfortable in either my own skin or my communities.

I call that marginalization.

January 30, 2006 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All of my freds speak of deep-seated feelings that persisted for years before they acted on them, and this was certainly my experience. It is also true of the sexual orientation of the straight people to whom I've spoken about this. The study you reference expressed, with due scientific caution, as a kind of null hypothesis, that neurological differences may result from experience rather than genetics or hormonal indfluence. The real life experience of real people seems to indicate that this is not the case. Surely the real life experience of real people doesn't back up the idea of "fleeting attractions" being reinforced by choice. As I've said before, go talk to real gay people. Online surfing and even "scintific surveys" are too easily biased when it comes to this very charged issue."

Robert,

The fact that you and your buddies spent several years before you actually had a partner is irrelevant. Maturbating with homosexual fantasies is an experience which can lead to conditioning. When you chose to indulge these fantasies rather than others, and you may not remember the moment, you, for all intents and purposes, chose to be gay. Anytime you have a pleasurable experience, the memory will later cause a physiological response.

You know, it's interesting, the whole field of psychology is predicated on the fact that we don't really understand why we think as we do and yet, with the homosexual experience, the liberal establishment just says, if you want to know if they chose to make this choice, just ask them. Nonsensical.

Thirty years ago, you didn't hear all this talk about having no choice. It was created as a propaganda tool for political purposes. Indeed, they are groups of gays that say, "yes, we made this choice".

By the way, is "fred" a slang term or did you just mis-spell "friend"?

January 30, 2006 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All of my freds speak of deep-seated feelings that persisted for years before they acted on them, and this was certainly my experience. It is also true of the sexual orientation of the straight people to whom I've spoken about this. The study you reference expressed, with due scientific caution, as a kind of null hypothesis, that neurological differences may result from experience rather than genetics or hormonal indfluence. The real life experience of real people seems to indicate that this is not the case. Surely the real life experience of real people doesn't back up the idea of "fleeting attractions" being reinforced by choice. As I've said before, go talk to real gay people. Online surfing and even "scintific surveys" are too easily biased when it comes to this very charged issue."

Robert,

The fact that you and your buddies spent several years before you actually had a partner is irrelevant. Maturbating with homosexual fantasies is an experience which can lead to conditioning. When you chose to indulge these fantasies rather than others, and you may not remember the moment, you, for all intents and purposes, chose to be gay. Anytime you have a pleasurable experience, the memory will later cause a physiological response.

You know, it's interesting, the whole field of psychology is predicated on the fact that we don't really understand why we think as we do and yet, with the homosexual experience, the liberal establishment just says, if you want to know if they chose to make this choice, just ask them. Nonsensical.

Thirty years ago, you didn't hear all this talk about having no choice. It was created as a propaganda tool for political purposes. Indeed, they are groups of gays that say, "yes, we made this choice".

By the way, is "fred" a slang term or did you just mis-spell "friend"?

January 30, 2006 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"David can certainly answer this, but I will answer as well from my personal experience.

I felt "outside the community," "like a leper," "shamed," throughout my entire youth and adolescence (note the terms are biblical in origin). As an adult I never felt like becoming a player, participating in the community and society, because I felt like a fraud within. I would be extremely hesitant to give to others outside the professional structure in which I worked, as well as refusing to accept the generosity of the community. I was an official member of a number of communities, in none of which I felt I really belonged. I never felt comfortable in either my own skin or my communities.

I call that marginalization."

Completely internal and your responsibility. Government is not responsible for improving the self-esteem of people with poor self-image.

January 30, 2006 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some people seem to think that because gay sex has risks, people just ... shouldn't be gay. That's silly, of course. There are risks with straight sex, too, but I don't see people giving it up."

Some people seem to think that just because extramarital sex has a lot of risks, that doesn't mean people should avoid it. That's silly, of course. We tell them to avoid other activity that is detrimental to their health.

January 30, 2006 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

""David can certainly answer this, but I will answer as well from my personal experience.

I felt "outside the community," "like a leper," "shamed," throughout my entire youth and adolescence (note the terms are biblical in origin). As an adult I never felt like becoming a player, participating in the community and society, because I felt like a fraud within. I would be extremely hesitant to give to others outside the professional structure in which I worked, as well as refusing to accept the generosity of the community. I was an official member of a number of communities, in none of which I felt I really belonged. I never felt comfortable in either my own skin or my communities.

I call that marginalization."

Completely internal and your responsibility. Government is not responsible for improving the self-esteem of people with poor self-image."

Absolutely, if you want to make bizarre choices, we are not obligated to affirm them. Have the courage of your convictions if you want to rebel against society.

January 30, 2006 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, this is amazing. The guy in the article is described as "the top climate scientist at NASA." He's not pushing an agenda, he studies climate. And sometimes scientists, even ones working for the government, give talks and write research papers. But, for political reasons, the admininstration doesn't want this guy to talk about what has been learned."

Scientists often disagree although all are well-trained. This guy was not the head of NASA much less NOAA. The administration has many resources and can decide which message it wants to support. The same guy was brought up again in yesterday's Post story. One thing about journalism is that when you keep hearing the same guy quoted, take it with a grain of salt.

"If I read you correctly, you are saying that we should read a popular novel more closely, and ignore the warnings of NASA's top climate scientist, because the novel supports your preconceptions."

You read incorrectly. Crichton quotes studies and experts. He didn't do the studies himself. He has a long forward, that is not a novel, that details what he found when he began to look up studies. I'm not saying you should ignore top scientists. I'm saying we should take a hard look at which ones the liberal media decides to quote. Considering the point of view of the source is an important part of critical thinking.

"It is weird to think that people have no respect for knowledge and rigorous research."

What's really weird is your deification of the scientific establishment. You often expressed the viewpoint here that once the scientific community has decided on something, we have no business questioning them. Extraordinarily bizarre. Henry the Eighth doesn't work for NASA. Get yourself a glass of mead and a turkey leg and listen to all the voices, for once.

"This anti-intellectuality in our society, which I believe has been carefully cultivated because ignorant people are easier to manipulate, is the one thing that scares me the most about our times."

This is called commonsense-a-phobia. Get help.

"People like you will believe anything, and sadly, you're not unique."

Jim, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. That's the position you're in.

January 30, 2006 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the behavior that characterizes a particular group of people is shown to be more dangerous than the behavior of other people, doesn’t that inherently identify that group as being more at risk? Is that not marginalizing? You can’t have it both ways!"

Here here!

We must teach the facts!

January 30, 2006 8:40 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

I'm sure I'll take your comments very seriously, Anon. Good luck, man, I hope this works for you.

JimK

January 30, 2006 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You just don't like gay people, do you?"

Robert, if you teach that this activity is acceptable, you must tell them what's prevalent in the gay community. What they're likely to encounter if they pursue this. It would be misleading and evil to hide these facts

January 30, 2006 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can't believe you would actually state outright that it's "not the introducing of fluids" that spreads HIV. This is basic sex education here; you're denying undeniable facts. Your constant fixation on homosexuals clouds your judgement, and you're making it all too clear."

Exchanging fluids with non-infected partners is completely safe. It's the promiscuity and disregard for conventional morality that has brought this disease into our midst.

"If a homosexual couple engages in anal sex (assume "one-way"), do you think the chances of one of the participants catching an STI are inherently higher than when compared to a heterosexual couple doing the same?"

Well, yes, if you talking about the statistical odds that your partner will be someone who is already infected.

January 30, 2006 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm sure I'll take your comments very seriously, Anon. Good luck, man, I hope this works for you."

I hope this means you're not going to make one of your heavily rationalized refutations of common logic. That stuff is just obnoxious and just makes you look bad.

January 30, 2006 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 30, 2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

FYI, Anon just posted a stupid message about the "Marriage Protection Act," which is a piece of Maryland legislation intended to formalize discrimination against gays by making sure they don't get the benefits of marriage. It wasn't a "blog comment" per se, but some organization's press release on the subject, possibly Don Dwyer's, I couldn't tell. We're not here to provide a kiosk for rightwing propaganda, and so I deleted it.

Anon, you're pushing it. You've become nothing more than a troll. Soon we will get to the point where I'm going to delete your comments just because I'm tired of the noise. You obviously can't understand what's being said to you, and your case starts and ends with the stigmatization of people you don't understand, for reasons you can't explain. As I said, I hope your beliefs serve you well, I understand that there are some people like you, even in Montgomery County, and the CRC provides an online forum for that sort of rhetoric. TeachTheFacts.org doesn't need to provide a base for your attitude: you are right on the edge of officially wearing out your welcome here.

JimK

January 30, 2006 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You obviously can't understand what's being said to you, and your case starts and ends with the stigmatization of people you don't understand, for reasons you can't explain."

Facts are facts. You profess to be committed to them.

January 30, 2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger digger said...

By the way, is "fred" a slang term or did you just mis-spell "friend"?

No, something's wrong with my keyboard.

I still think you just don't like us.

Robert

January 30, 2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I still think you just don't like us."

Too simplistic, Robert. I judge people on an individual basis. Admittedly, I don't like certain exaggerated types of stereotypical behavior. I think that's true of most people, even a lot of gays. I can't even stand to listen to that guy, Nathan Lane.

In any case, I not suggesting public policy based on the type of people I find agreeable. The problems are moral and health-related- and the combination.

January 30, 2006 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We're not here to provide a kiosk for rightwing propaganda,"

The letter I provided you contained details of how pro-family forces plan to proceed given the recent court case in Maryland concerning the redefinition of marriage. It was good intelligence for you- too bad you ignored the gift.

There was a fact of interest in the letter. Voters in nineteen states have been given a chance to vote on whether marriage should be redefined to encompass same-gender couples. All nineteen have rejected the idea. "Gay marriage" is not mainstream. That's why I didn't mind sharing our plans. We're unstoppable- the voting public agreees with us.

January 30, 2006 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Exchanging fluids with non-infected partners is completely safe. It's the promiscuity and disregard for conventional morality that has brought this disease into our midst."


Promiscuity? Yes. Disregard for conventional morality? You'll need to elaborate on that; I don't see the connection.

If you really want to reduce the spread of HIV and reduce promiscuity among homosexuals, encouraging abstinence is essential. If you simply criticise gays, their behaviour, their supposed immorality, the "inherent" risks of their "lifestyle", their disgusting practices, just what kind of message are you sending to homosexual kids and teenagers? Homosexuals as a group are prejudged more than you can imagine, and sticking to stereotypes is not something you want to do in a curriculum. Facts should be taught in an unbiased manner.

January 30, 2006 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you really want to reduce the spread of HIV and reduce promiscuity among homosexuals, encouraging abstinence is essential. If you simply criticise gays, their behaviour, their supposed immorality, the "inherent" risks of their "lifestyle", their disgusting practices, just what kind of message are you sending to homosexual kids and teenagers? Homosexuals as a group are prejudged more than you can imagine, and sticking to stereotypes is not something you want to do in a curriculum. Facts should be taught in an unbiased manner."

Problem is, there a large group of heterosexuals that believe in monogamous marriage. Even more view it as a goal. Few would embrace promiscuity openly.

Not so in the homosexual community-and there not much evidence it will ever be that way. Schools are for education, not social engineering. They're not there to create a new homosexual society or to make fairy tales come true. It's not bias- it's facts.

January 30, 2006 3:27 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

to create a new homosexual society

Anon, as usual you miss the entire point of this blog post. Nobody is trying to create a "new homosexual society" -- nobody. There are a few gay people in our community, and they deserve to be treated fairly and respected.

See, blowing everything out of proportion like this backfires on you. Everybody has figured this out already, straight people don't feel any temptation to "turn gay," and gay people pose no threat to them. Some small percentage of people turn out that way, and they seem to be, by and large, a pretty regular group of people. Most of us can handle that, we're not afraid that the whole world's gonna go gay because we lightened up a little bit.

JimK

January 30, 2006 3:35 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

>Completely internal and your responsibility. Government is not responsible for improving the self-esteem of people with poor self-image."

Absolutely, if you want to make bizarre choices, we are not obligated to affirm them. Have the courage of your convictions if you want to rebel against society.<

Anon, the only bizarre choice I've made recently was engaging in discourse with you.

I agree -- the government is not in the business of managing self-esteem. It's in the business of educating kids based on facts, and not promoting your "traditional morality." I never accused the government of causing my problems. They were caused by drug companies and inadequate medical oversight, and an ignorant and fearful society. You continue to read your beliefs into my writing, as well as that of others.

I believe I have acted on the courage of my convictions to a far greater degree than you have or ever will.

I do not, nor does Jim, simply accept the scientific consensus on anything. I think most scientists enjoy controversy, unsolved problems, challenges. Your problem is you don't accept science, period. When I see rational thought and experiment that runs counter to the consensus, then I pay attention. I will not take a stand on quantum mechanics, because I don't know of a single experiment that disputes its validity. I don't doubt evolution, on the molecular level at least, for the same reason. It seems to me the same holds for climatology. There is broad agreement on what is happening, and why, but there still are a lot of holes. But what I don't understand is what stake you have in the status quo that would lead you to vociferously attack any of these sciences? Are you a disgruntled molecular biologist or climatologist? Or do you simply not want to be bothered to have to exchange your SUV for a more efficient and useful vehicle? Are you one of those who will reject a vaccine because because you distrust evolution?

My sense is no. There are those who do, such as Christian Scientists, and I believe they should be entitled to do so, though not to their children. At least they're consistent. But neither you nor Theresa seems to be -- you only hate the science that directly threatens your religious worldview, and you would only do that out of fear that your faith could not withstand the rigor of rational analysis.

January 30, 2006 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"to create a new homosexual society

Anon, as usual you miss the entire point of this blog post. Nobody is trying to create a "new homosexual society" -- nobody. There are a few gay people in our community, and they deserve to be treated fairly and respected.

See, blowing everything out of proportion like this backfires on you. Everybody has figured this out already, straight people don't feel any temptation to "turn gay," and gay people pose no threat to them. Some small percentage of people turn out that way, and they seem to be, by and large, a pretty regular group of people. Most of us can handle that, we're not afraid that the whole world's gonna go gay because we lightened up a little bit."

You missed the point, as usual. By "new homosexual society", I didn't mean more gays- I meant a traditionalist, monogamous, white-picket-fence type of gay society. This isn't the reality of the gay experience but the Fishback currciulum wanted to teach that it was, hoping to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's a futile effort and not the government's place anyway.

January 30, 2006 4:20 PM  
Blogger digger said...

Anonymous said...
"I still think you just don't like us."

Too simplistic, Robert.

Dear anonymous:

You're right, too simplistic. Let me more clear and blunt. I would surmise that you feel that you have made better moral choices than any gay people, and that you live a cleaner, more moral life than most gay people. I conclude this because you always seem to say and assert the worst things about gay people: i.e. given conflicting assertions, you choose to follow the one that puts gay people in the worst light.

Please, please go and read the first part of the second chapter of Romans. I think the christian community in Rome wrote Paul with many of the types of concerns that you have, and he gave them some clear (and I think) helpful ways to handle it.

Always the best (and that invitation to dinner still stands).

Robert

January 30, 2006 5:13 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

By "new homosexual society", I didn't mean more gays- I meant a traditionalist, monogamous, white-picket-fence type of gay society. This isn't the reality of the gay experience but the Fishback currciulum wanted to teach that it was, hoping to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's a futile effort and not the government's place anyway.

See, Anon, here's why I posted a piece called "A Little Perspective."

You seem to think that MCPS is going to teach people -- you say that we want the schools to teach people -- that gay people will live in a "traditionalist, monogamous, white-picket-fence type of gay society."

This is pure hallucination on your part. Nobody says anything anywhere, at any time, about picket fences, monogamy, or anything else that haunts your dreams. Some people are gay. The consensus among experts is that it's not a choice, and it's not a disease. Most people have gotten over it. If gay people want picket fences (there is a lesbian couple in my neighborhood in Rockville with a picket fence), then ... what's to fear? This may be a nightmare of yours, but it's got nothing to do with sex education in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The point is -- quit blowing it out of perspective. That was the whole reason I posted this little piece. The schools are going to take a couple of hours to tell kids that some people are gay, and say a little bit about it. That's it, that's all there is to it.

JimK

January 30, 2006 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You're right, too simplistic. Let me more clear and blunt. I would surmise that you feel that you have made better moral choices than any gay people, and that you live a cleaner, more moral life than most gay people."

Not true, Robert. It's true that I believe that homosexuality is wrong and I haven't been part of it. But I don't consider sexual morality to be the most vital element of a "moral" life and I, like hopefully all Christians, would not hold myself up as an example. You sound like you're somewhat familiar with scripture so I'm sure you know that Jesus often forgave sexual sins quickly but reserved harshest judgment for liars and hypocrites.

I'm pretty familiar with the first chapter of Romans. As a matter of fact, I've mentioned on this blog before because it seems to say that some homosexuals don't have a choice. These guys just reflexively scoffed. Still, I don't understand your point so maybe you could expand.

Oops, just went back and reread your comment. You said Romans 2. I'll check it out later and get back to you.

January 31, 2006 9:31 AM  
Blogger digger said...

"Oops, just went back and reread your comment. You said Romans 2. I'll check it out later and get back to you."

I'm interested in your read of Romans 2, with respect to the activities (especially supporting sodomy laws) of Concerned Women for America, PFOX, Dobson, Falwell, the Montgomery group, etc. They seem to focus on Romans 1, which I think was just Paul's preface to Romans 2, his real point.

Robert

January 31, 2006 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You seem to think that MCPS is going to teach people -- you say that we want the schools to teach people -- that gay people will live in a "traditionalist, monogamous, white-picket-fence type of gay society."

This is pure hallucination on your part. Nobody says anything anywhere, at any time, about picket fences, monogamy, or anything else that haunts your dreams."

You imply it but leaving out details of what the lifestyle has and does emcompass. It selectively mentions facts, out of context, that will lead to this conclusion.

"Some people are gay."

If you mean by "gay", a unique class of people wired to engage in same-gender sexual relations, I'd dispute that.

"The consensus among experts is that it's not a choice, and it's not a disease."

There's a curious lack of information on what the consensus is among experts. We know what the associations say and we also know that they don't necessarily represent their membership. We also know that peer-reviewed papers on the subject qualify the point on choice and say it's not necessarily so.

"Most people have gotten over it."

If you mean to the extent of supporting gay marriage or supporting gay affirmative sex-ed, you're wrong. Most people are libertarian on the issue and don't want there to be legal consequences to homosexual behavior. They also don't want government to take sides in the social struggle by teaching the propaganda of the gay agenda or taking science out of context and teaching it to kids. In the cultural wars, the American people want the schools to be Switzerland.

"If gay people want picket fences (there is a lesbian couple in my neighborhood in Rockville with a picket fence), then ... what's to fear?"

No problem with me. There's a lesbian couple five houses down from us too. Most of my comments are about male homosexuality. I personally think lesbianism has little to do with sex.

"This may be a nightmare of yours, but it's got nothing to do with sex education in Montgomery County, Maryland."

Already explained.

"The point is -- quit blowing it out of perspective. That was the whole reason I posted this little piece. The schools are going to take a couple of hours to tell kids that some people are gay, and say a little bit about it. That's it, that's all there is to it."

If it's no big deal, why can't we leave it out of the public school and move it to another arena? Truth is, you apparently think it's a very big deal or you wouldn't have set this website up.

January 31, 2006 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm interested in your read of Romans 2, with respect to the activities (especially supporting sodomy laws) of Concerned Women for America, PFOX, Dobson, Falwell, the Montgomery group, etc. They seem to focus on Romans 1, which I think was just Paul's preface to Romans 2, his real point."

OK, Robert, I'll check it out. I'm personally opposed to sodomy laws and I didn't know CRC had a position on it.

January 31, 2006 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just went to an online Bible, Robert. Seems to be cautioning against trying to be righteous by following the law. Doesn't seem to contradict Romans 1 to me but maybe you tell me how you see the two passages relating.

January 31, 2006 10:16 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

1. TO: Anonymous
RE: “Marginalization,”

Dana did a nice job of explaining it, but I am not going to waste my time dealing with silly questions, when the person asking it clearly understands what is meant.

2. TO: Anonymous
RE: Your assertion regarding
inherent promiscuity of
homosexuals

You write that “[i]f the behavior that characterizes a particular group of people is shown to be more dangerous than the behavior of other people, doesn’t that inherently identify that group as being more at risk?”

I suspect you will discover that during the waves of eastern and southern European immigration to America, and the accompanying poverty that afflicted so many in those earlier generations, the “street crime” rates among those groups were quite high. Did that mean that, say, Italians, Jews, Poles, Slovaks, etc, were inherently a criminal class? Whatever your ancestral ethnicity, Anonymous, I assume that you would not believe that. The fundamental truth is that societal conditions have an impact on behaviors. When society supports and encourages monogamy, we are more likely to get more monogamy.

3. TO: Theresa
RE: Teaching about STIs

You write:
“David, I am confused. The STI unit for MCPS was developed before the rejected curriculum which introduced for the first time the subject of homosexuality.
“So, presumably, since the topic of homosexuality was not permitted to be discussed in the old curriculum, I would be surprised to see specific studies citing increased rates of AIDS in the homosexual population in the old STI section. Retta specifically did say that they weren't there.
“You are now claiming that studies discussing specifically MSM AIDS rates were in the old STI section of the curriculum even though homosexuality was not discussed in the family life section?”

I will assume that you are not trying to play a “gotcha” game by slipping in Retta’s reference of “specific studies citing increased rates of AIDS in the homosexual population” and suggesting that I now admit or assert that those particular studies were “there.”

My understanding from Russ Henke was that the STI unit did discuss same-sex STI transmission. Nothing in MCPS regulations barred such teaching, although STI issues apparently were the only thing the teachers could bring up that mentioned homosexuality. The now-eliminated "gag rule" from MCPS Regulation IGP-RA stated that "Direct questions from students regarding sexual variation may be briefly and objectively answered with no solicitation of discussion." My understanding is that, in the health courses as presently constituted, the only reference to homosexuality is with respect to disease transmission – which ought to make Anonymous and Retta quite happy. (Of course, I should also note that the STI unit of the Health Curriculum may only be taken with parental permission.)

I do not know whether the sorts of numbers you would like are discussed in the STI materials used by MCPS. But that is irrelevant. The point we need to drive home is that ALL sexual activity involving exchange of bodily fluids has great risks and that the physical risks are much greater when condoms are not used. The dispute with Retta was whether, in addition to placing resources on STIs in the STI unit, we should place ONLY resources on same-sex STI transmission in the FLHS unit, as well. At no time did she or her allies on the CAC seek revisiting of the materials used in the STI unit.

The more abstinence and the more monogamy we have, the less the threats of STIs will be. That is true whether we are talking about homosexuals or heterosexuals. The epidemic of AIDS in Asia and Africa, for example, is principally the result of heterosexual transmission. We need to teach the value of abstinence and then life-long monogamy to all students, whether gay or straight.

The reality is that very few Americans are fortunate enough to meet their life-long soul-mate so early in life that they only have sexual relations with one person in the course of a lifetime. That is why we must also provide basic information on safer sex. This is also important because, in addition to STI prevention, unintended pregnancies – including among married couples – are things to be avoided. (And no one can say that that attacks Catholic teaching, since the Church is quite open about approving the risky “rhythm” method.)

Anything else worth responding to in Anonymous’ and Theresa’s posts on this thread can be found in my post in this thread the morning of January 28.

January 31, 2006 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"If you mean by 'gay', a unique class of people wired to engage in same-gender sexual relations, I'd dispute that."


I'm sure Jim didn't mean that. If you prefer the term "homosexual", consider interpreting it that way.

Anonymous said:
"There's a curious lack of information on what the consensus is among experts. We know what the associations say and we also know that they don't necessarily represent their membership. We also know that peer-reviewed papers on the subject qualify the point on choice and say it's not necessarily so."


Would you rather propose the curriculum to teach that the issue of choice is currently unknown? Any gay students on the receiving end of such information would most likely object and give their side of the story to the class. What then? Tell them they made a choice that they forgot about, or made a sub-conscious choice? You can bet debates will ensue, and I doubt you'd know how the gays students would feel as a result of that.

The previous curriculum simply mentioned what most experts agree on, and it is indeed most of them (at least officially). The only counter group large enough to be noticeable would be NARTH. If there were in fact a large minority (or even majority) of experts that disagreed with their own official publications you would expect the publicity of such disagreement.

Anonymous said:
"No problem with me. There's a lesbian couple five houses down from us too. Most of my comments are about male homosexuality. I personally think lesbianism has little to do with sex."


Look at things this way:

Homosexuality: being attracted to members of the same sex.
Female Homosexuality: females attracted to other females.
Male Homosexuality: males attracted to other males.

Now simply look at females and males as inidividual categories (disregard homosexuality, and sexual orientation in general). Generalising: males tend to have a higher sex drive than women; women prefer to be intimate with a single person. If a male is promiscuous, he is considered a "stud" or a "high scorer"; if a female is promiscuous, she is considered a "slut" or a "slapper".

Now if you combine homosexuality with either category, I hope you'll see why things are the way they are.

Anonymous said:
"If it's no big deal, why can't we leave it out of the public school and move it to another arena? Truth is, you apparently think it's a very big deal or you wouldn't have set this website up."


It shouldn't be a big deal. This website wouldn't exist if it weren't for the opposition to the previous curriculum. CRC blew it out of proportion. Jim just tried to put things back into perspective. It's important for some basic information on homosexuality to be in the curriculum, but it shouldn't be big deal.

Honestly 90 minutes is nothing, but it would be an important 90 minutes.

January 31, 2006 3:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home