Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ohio Curriculum Evolving

In 2002 Ohio passed a law that set standards for classes to criticize evolution. But now they're about to give it up. The New York Times:
A majority on the Ohio Board of Education, the first state to single out evolution for "critical analysis" in science classes more than three years ago, are expected on Tuesday to challenge a model biology lesson plan they consider an excuse to teach the tenets of the disputed theory of intelligent design.

A reversal in Ohio would be the most significant in a series of developments signaling a sea change across the country against intelligent design — which posits that life is too complex to be explained by evolution alone — since a federal judge's ruling in December that teaching the theory in the public schools of Dover, Pa., was unconstitutional.

A small rural school district in California last month quickly scuttled plans for a philosophy elective on intelligent design after being challenged by lawyers involved in the Pennsylvania case. Also last month, an Indiana lawmaker who said in November that he would introduce legislation to mandate teaching of intelligent design, instead offered a watered-down bill requiring only "accuracy in textbooks." And just last week, two Democrats in Wisconsin proposed a ban on schools' teaching intelligent design as science, the first such proposal in the country.

Here in Ohio, pressure has been mounting on board members in recent weeks to toss out the lesson plan and the standards underpinning it.

Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican, called this month for a legal review of the plan, while newly revealed education department documents linking it to treatises of the intelligent design movement have renewed threats of a lawsuit by opponents of the movement. At the same time, a national group of evolution defenders has bombarded 5 of the 19 board members considered key to a vote against the lesson plan with 30,000 e-mail messages over the past week, and just Monday, the president of the National Academy of Sciences urged the board to change the lesson and the underlying curriculum guidelines to "conform to established scientific standards."

"All of that adds up to a sense of urgency and a sense of now is the time to clean up our act," said Robin C. Hovis, a stockbroker from Millersburg who is one of two board members pushing an emergency motion on Tuesday to delete the "critical analysis" language and the lesson plan. "There is an atmosphere among the board, at least a growing atmosphere, that this is a misguided policy and we better get rid of it." Ohio Expected to Rein In Class Involving Intelligent Design

It's interesting that a survey funded by a pro-Intelligent-Design group showed that a majority of Ohio residents favor teaching about alternatives to evolution.
The Seattle-based Discovery Institute, intellectual home of the design movement, had distanced itself from the Dover case but has long heralded Ohio's "critical analysis" approach as a model for the nation, and is ardently defending the lesson plan.

On Monday, the institute released a Zogby International poll it had commissioned showing that 69 percent of Ohio voters believed that scientific evidence against evolution should be included in curriculums, and 76 percent agreed that "students should also be able to learn about scientific evidence that points to an intelligent design of life." The institute has also proffered letters from two university science professors supporting Ohio's standards and model lesson plan.

This same survey also found that a majority of Ohioans also believed that students should take a full semester class studying the question of what happened to that cute blonde girl who disappeared in Aruba.

Not really.

But you gotta ask, do you always give the people what they want? Or do you do the right thing? For some people, that's a tough question.

104 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At the same time, a national group of evolution defenders has bombarded 5 of the 19 board members considered key to a vote against the lesson plan with 30,000 e-mail messages over the past week, and just Monday, the president of the National Academy of Sciences urged the board to change the lesson and the underlying curriculum guidelines to "conform to established scientific standards.""

Wow. Sounds like the evolutionists are really scared of having the deficiencies of evolutionary theory exposed. If IT is so clearly wrong, why can't its merit and arguments be discussed? Why does the very mention of intelligent design need to be banished from the thoughts of men? Sounds to me like someone is running scared. They're running around with their fingers in their ears and singing "la-la-la-la-la". Right, Jim?

February 14, 2006 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

American citizens are all free to climb up on a soapbox in the public square and preach about our religious beliefs including Intelligent Design because every last one of us has the right to freedom of speech. None of us however may preach our religious beliefs under the auspices of a public school system. This American system of maintaining a separation between church and state has kept us from fighting a religious civil war for over 200 years. The radical right's unabashed efforts to change this system to favor one religion over all other religions in American public life is short-sighted, dangerous, and unAmerican.

February 14, 2006 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"American system of maintaining a separation between church and state"

I don't see this in the founding documents of our country. Where do you get this?

February 14, 2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Because you're willfully blind. Not surprising, since your pal Michelle Turner can't even distinguish the Declaration from the Constitution.

February 14, 2006 6:29 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Ah, but questioning whether Jesus would have thought homosexuality was a sin in public school environment was perfectly okay ?

And asking questions/answers such as "is homosexuality a sin ? the angelican church of canada doesn't think so" etc is perfectly okay ?

HYPOCRITES !!!!

February 14, 2006 8:43 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa, I'm sure you feel that you just called somoebody a hypocrite. But I don't think anybody wants to talk in a public school about whether Jesus thinks such-and-such is a sin, or compare what one church or the other thinks about it.

I don't see any such comments in this thread, and in fact have never seen anyone here make such statements. So it's not clear to me who are addressing with your capital letters and exclamation marks.

JimK

February 14, 2006 8:46 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

The discarded curriculum you so vehemently defend, Jim, has a suggested quiz that the teachers could hand out basically advising students on whether homosexuality was a sin.

So I think it is pretty darn hypocritical that you should claim that right wing Christians are trying to negatively influence public school curriculum when the MCPS approved curriculum was in such blatant violation of this.

Or did you not read those sections of the "perfectly good curriculum" they should rubberstamp.

If you had, you might understand what the rest of us were so very angry.

February 14, 2006 10:39 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Theresa,

Your comment came right after mine, though I won't take it personally. I do not believe there should be ANY discussion of religion in science class. No one's religion. Not any science class. Period. I didn't have any part in the teacher's resources the last time around, and I have no problem with their revision on this topic.

As for Jesus and homosexuality, I'm fine with discussing the issue on this blog, but, as I said above, not in health class.

But I'm confused. I thought you wanted your religious beliefs to be part of the curriculum?

February 14, 2006 11:33 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Dana -

What have I said that would make you think that ? I agree with you, religion shouldn't be discussed in a public school curriculum. The old curriculum went so far as to question religios beliefs - that was competely inappropriate.

The short list of problems with the old curriculum are :

1) It did not include any of the specific increased health risks of homosexual behavior. David Fishback's justification was a. well that section wasn't being changed and b. well we don't want to stigimatize homosexuals. Retta tells me that the Fishback committee specifically voted down materials dicussing MSM risks, etc - all of which Michelle and she were advocating including.

So you talk about homosexual behavior, present it as a normal alternative lifestyle, and don't include any of the health risks. That is just flat out irresponsible.

2) It presents homosexuality as not a choice.

I think the jury is still out on this. I think any responsible curriculum should present this as "we just don't know what causes a person have same sex attractions". I liked the introduction in my daughter's highschool book.

3) It went so far as to criticize religons that believe homosexuality is a sin, referring kids to OTHER RELIGONS !

4) It called out a definition of gender identity as your inner sense of whether you are male or female. This is in 8th grade - or age 12. I don't think we should be encouraging all kids to question their gender identity to deal with the .05% of folks that may decide they are trans-sexual. You probably know the exact number on this. I think you have to go here with what is good for the majority. And I don't think you should tell 12 year old kids to go question whether they are really male or really female. Sorry.

5) the numbers is presented in the darn condom video were flat out wrong. condoms are not 99% effective. They are 99% effective in middle age females in a lab, not teenagers using them over a period of a year. I think that video would have encouraged more kids to experiment. Again, I liked the discussion in my daughter's book much better. I believe you try your best to get the kids to hold off, at least until they are out of highschool for Pete's sake. By the way, something like 90% of parents agree with that sentiment. And you continue using words like "wait till you are married", husband, wife and spouse because you want them to think in those terms. If you start saying, like my daughters 5TH GRADE SEX ED PROGRAM DID - "well you should wait till you are older"... you have completely removed any barriers. Do we tell kids "you should wait till you are older to drive" and let them re-argue with us ever day about whether they are old enough or not ? Of course, not, law says sixteen and that's it. If you start saying "well, let's not say wait till your married because we know they won't...." GEEZ, let's not tell them to not try drugs because we know everyone experiment... and we might as well let them sit in front of the TV all day - no use in trying to enforce a hour a day limit because we know they are going to break it... heck, let's just give up on trying to teach them anything why don't we ?

What kind of ridiculous circular logic is this ?

February 15, 2006 12:26 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa, I think you know where you exaggerate, so I won't try to go point-by-point here. Some teachers' background materials contained comments that everybody agrees did not need to be there. It would not have been hard to remove the offending materials, it was certainly not necessary to throw out the whole curriculum because of them.

And you know as well as I, the materials were not for classroom use.

JimK

February 15, 2006 6:57 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Theresa,

If I misrepresented you, I apologize.

I believe the main issue dividing us is that you want to protect the children from this information, while I think education is knowledge and hope. You think teaching, in class, science, will encourage sexual behavior, while I believe it will act as a brake and help limit the sexual behavior in which adolescents have been engaging from time immemorial.

No, I don't want my 18 year old son getting a 15 year old girl pregnant, for many reasons, but stomping my feet won't reduce the risk; frank and honest discussion will.

You believe that not discussing something in school teaches the kids the behavior is not acceptable -- that that is the right message, and that the message is received. I think they just realize that their parents are uptight and embarrassed to communicate about these issues. I have found that my children appreciate honesty and education, and I expect yours do, too. When I discussed sexuality with them, I made it quite clear what I considered moral and immoral behavior, but I also let them know I respected them as people and wanted them to make the right choice and, whatever they chose to do, to do it well, with decency and dignity. That means if they have intercourse to make sure it is AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE.

Again, I agree with you, kids are sloppy, nothing is 100%, etc. If a girl is sexually active, she should be using contraception to prevent pregnancy, and a condom to greatly reduce the risk of STD. I can tell her not to have sex at all, for many reasons, but ultimately that will be her decision. As I've pointed out, puberty hits at 10-12, and people get married at 25-27. They just aren't going to all remain virgins, no matter what you want. The vast majority won't.

The best way to generate moral behavior is to model it. Most parents have problems with that. The schools, at best, try to compensate.

As for the issue which concerns me most closely -- gender identity -- I think, again, you react out of ignorance, which generates fear. You imply that an eighth grader can somehow be made to feel confused about his or her gender identity. There is nothing farther from the truth. The whole focus of my work is to educate the public that there is nothing more profound, more fundamental, and more irreversible than gender identity. YOU SIMPLY CANNOT CHANGE IT. You cannot make a boy believe he's a girl, or vice versa. Martin Seligman, the psychologist who has created "learned optimism" and spurred the entire field of approaching psychology from the positive side, rather than the disease model, wrote a book "What You Can Change, and What You Can't." He described transsexualism as the MOST resistant to change. It jsut can't be done, because if it could have, virtually all of us would have done so decades ago. If you got to know some of us you would have a clear understanding of that. We tried. And tried. And tried.

Teaching kids the reality will a) make them more understanding, b) increase their knowledge of biology and psychology and c)make them aware that the boys are not who they are simply because they have a penis, and the girls are girls because they don't. Maybe it will improve their sense of self and sexual behavior to realize that they are their brains, not their genitals. I do not see how that is a threat to anyone, and I encourage you to read about this (Rudacille's book) to both put your mind at ease and to help you understand.

As for the prevalence of transsexualism, you're pretty close, as best I can tell. The prevalence rate is probably between 0.1 and 0.05%. Though, as I've mentioned before, it's probably increasing because of growing pollution of endocrine disruptors.

February 15, 2006 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Theresa, I think you know where you exaggerate, so I won't try to go point-by-point here. Some teachers' background materials contained comments that everybody agrees did not need to be there. It would not have been hard to remove the offending materials, it was certainly not necessary to throw out the whole curriculum because of them.

And you know as well as I, the materials were not for classroom use."

Theresa was correct in nearly everything here. Many of her points did not involve the resource material. There is a selection and presentation of facts to create a false impression of homosexuality and the birth control information was framed in such a way as to remove any societal stigma from promiscuity.

On for those points that did refer to the teacher resources: everyone, Federal judges included, realize that the selection of the resource material indicated how the teachers would expound and expand, as they necessarily would have had to do because of the skeletal nature of the constitutionally flawed Fishback revisions.

February 15, 2006 10:29 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

A couple of interesting comments, there, Anon.

This one is central: There is a selection and presentation of facts to create a false impression of homosexuality and the birth control information was framed in such a way as to remove any societal stigma from promiscuity.

There was nothing that created any "false impression of homosexuality." As usual, I refer the reader to the curricula, which are linked on the righthand side of this page. There were simply some facts. Unless your point is that a "correct impression" should include the suggestion that gays are drug-crazed, promiscuous, child molesters. And no, that was not part of the curriculum.

Also, nothing at all in the curriculum would have been interpreted as endorsing promiscuity, of all things! Approximately one percent of people are virgins when they marry. Just about everybody has sex before marriage, and most of those do not intend to make babies. It does not seem unreasonable that a health class for adolescents would address that topic.

Anyway, I don't think there was anything in the "new" curriculum about contraception, including condoms, that was not in the "old" (current) one.

JimK

February 15, 2006 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There was nothing that created any "false impression of homosexuality." As usual, I refer the reader to the curricula, which are linked on the righthand side of this page. There were simply some facts. Unless your point is that a "correct impression" should include the suggestion that gays are drug-crazed, promiscuous, child molesters. And no, that was not part of the curriculum."

There you go again, Jim. You're an extremist. Either we have to imply that homosexuality is completely normal or we make "the suggestion that gays are drug-crazed, promiscuous, child molesters." We need to tell the truth about the negative aspects of homosexual life in our society if we have to bring up the topic at all.

By the way, the things the constitutionally flawed Fishback revision wanted to teach were not facts- they were opinions. Unless you're saying it's a fact that someone has an opinion. If so, let's put in some more opinions not just those of professional organizations.

"Also, nothing at all in the curriculum would have been interpreted as endorsing promiscuity, of all things! Approximately one percent of people are virgins when they marry. Just about everybody has sex before marriage, and most of those do not intend to make babies. It does not seem unreasonable that a health class for adolescents would address that topic."

It would be more supportive of societal stability if the information is taught as something you do when you get married rather than when you're "old enough". Don't kids always think they're old enough. The way the information is presented, makes it seem that society is approving of premarital promiscuity, if carefully considered and responsibly performed.

By the way, your idea that "hardly anyone" believes premarital sex is wrong was contradicted by a survey you posted here a few weeks ago.

"Anyway, I don't think there was anything in the "new" curriculum about contraception, including condoms, that was not in the "old" (current) one."

Well, at this point, we're considering an appropriate revision now that the constitutionally flawed Fishback revision is beyond consideration. It would be OK to amend the old curriculum to make it more responsible. We don't need to err on the side of TTF-style irresponsibility.

February 15, 2006 12:24 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

First of all, I also have discussion with my daughter (my 15 3/4 year old) about sex all the time. She is still a virgin. Some of her friends are not. That is about as far as I am willing to go on a public blog - but implying that I am too uptight to have these discussion is just flat out incorrect.

I don't have these conversations with my just turned 12 year old daughter and she is not thinking about this yet.
I don't want her thinking about this yet, either...

I was really extremely unhappy with the public school wanting to force those discussions on ALL of the kids at 10 and 11, because some small percentage was already active. (actually, I would have guessed at NCC at the time this class was taught that percentage was ZERO).

It was not age appropriate, it was way too early. Let's corrupt the majority because of the minority needing guidance ?

Wrong.

I also believe that in her school at the time, NCC, that the majority of kids were not thinking about this yet. I thought that sex ed program was 3 years too mature. I didn't appreciate that they didn't use words like "spouse" "husband" "wife" and "marriage" and instead used words like "partner" and "relationshiP".

Not okay.

Clearly, in some schools it might be necessary to start sex ed at age 10 because they are at higher risk. Perhaps you make several different tracks of sex ed and choose different tracks for different neighborhoods. But that would probably be discrimination.

I do believe though, that you have to do what is good for the majority. And concentrating on the minority of kids having sex at age 10 (and in the process corrupting the kids that are not...) isn't a good thing, in my opinion.

February 15, 2006 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theresa said, "I do believe though, that you have to do what is good for the majority."

Well then we are in agreement as majority of students and adults have approved of sex ed being taught. Majority of students take it..very few opt their children out. You can do that too, Theresa.

freebird

February 15, 2006 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well then we are in agreement as majority of students and adults have approved of sex ed being taught. Majority of students take it..very few opt their children out. You can do that too, Theresa."

Actually there hasn't been a vote- or even a poll- on the constitutionally flawed Fishback revisions.

Under-age kids, by the way, don't always know what's good for them. In our society, eighteen is the age when we deem them to be independent of adult guidance.

February 15, 2006 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous you need to get out more...sex ed has been taught for years. You are trying to have us believe the old proposed revisions made huge drastic changes...it did not.

By the age of 18..how many children have had sex...unprotected or otherwise?

Let's not forget the abstinence pledgers who have oral or anal sex to keep from having "real sex."

freebird

February 15, 2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Why do you take this position - tough, if you don't like it, opt-out..

That was your position on the whether the Mass fisting dicussion would be appropriate for the school system - if you don't like it opt-out. Doesn't matter what sort of crap we are trying to corrupt all the public school kids with - if you don't like it, opt-out.

The schools should develop a curriculum that parents are okay with to start with. I am not opposed to sex-ed. I am opposed to liberal indoctrination and homosexuality acceptance being drilled into my kids heads under the guise of public school health education.

And by the way, even if you opt your particular kid out, the rest of the kids will get it one hour a day while your kid is in the library - so you better be prepared to explain what your kid is going to get from hearsay anyway.

February 15, 2006 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to see two versions of sex-ed. One developed by CRC, one by TTF. I'd love to see them promoted by the schools are equivalent options and see which one most parents would opt for. Does anybody really doubt which would prevail?

I'd love to see the textbook Theresa kids use at their school and the constitutionally flawed Fishback revisions presented to voters for their choice. Does anybody really doubt which would prevail?

February 15, 2006 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The why are you not posting your support over at CRC message board?

You already know which prevails here and in majority. You already know CRC says all kids will be indoctrinated into being gay if they hear the word homosexual and transgendered people mutilate themselves and are mentally ill. Why not throw in there hearing about families in all sorts of combos will just make kids ears fall off. Let us not forget those ex-gays that do not exist. Yes indeed CRC and PFOX would do a bang up job on anything they put out. Other bigots like you would think so.

freebird

February 15, 2006 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theresa said, "That was your position on the whether the Mass fisting dicussion would be appropriate for the school system - if you don't like it opt-out. Doesn't matter what sort of crap we are trying to corrupt all the public school kids with - if you don't like it, opt-out."

Now Theresa are you going to pretend the "Mass fisting discussion" that you are fixated on would happen here? Oh wait you tried that on your school community and they told you to take a hike in that "the sky is falling discussion you tried to engage your school community in.

If you do not want your children to hear anything that exists in real life then keep them home locked up in their bedrooms while you limit what they see and hear.

TTF prefers a full comprehensive sex ed taught and not some bigoted version.

freebird

February 15, 2006 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free

Afraid of an open public comparison. TTF wants a full comprehensive sex-ed myth course taught. Facts selected and presented to support a "free love" ethic.

February 15, 2006 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

State drops analysis of evolution

Reversal represents a setback to backers of intelligent design in science classes

Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Catherine Candisky

The State Board of Education yesterday stripped controversial provisions from science standards that critics said promoted the teaching of intelligent design.

After narrowly rejecting a similar attempt last month, the board voted 11-4 to eliminate portions of its curriculum guidelines for 10 th-grade biology and an accompanying lesson plan that called for the critical analysis of evolution. It also directed a committee to determine whether a replacement lesson is necessary.

The reversal marked another setback for the intelligent-design movement, which holds that some life forms are too complex to be explained by Darwin’s theory of evolution and that a higher authority must have played a role.

Continues at

http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/02/15/20060215-A1-00.html

February 15, 2006 5:12 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon said TTF wants a full comprehensive sex-ed myth course taught. Facts selected and presented to support a "free love" ethic.

Anon, that may be what you think you oppose, but it is a terrible description of what we want. We worry about our kids just like everybody else, and want them to learn to behave in a modest and moderate way.

Readers, please review the curricula linked on the righthand side of this page, if you wish to see what TTF advocates.

This Anonymous troll is a liar.

JimK

February 15, 2006 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, that may be what you think you oppose, but it is a terrible description of what we want. We worry about our kids just like everybody else, and want them to learn to behave in a modest and moderate way."

A good first step would be to teach them the truth. It's worth a shot- they might be able to handle it.

February 15, 2006 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim

Do you think if you told them the truth about how homosexuals live in this country, about what dangers are inherent in the lifestyle, they would automatically start persecuting them? Give them credit. They could handle the information.

February 15, 2006 5:33 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

That's right Freebird.
Anyone who disagrees with you must be a bigot.

Thanks for proving my point.

Since we are talking about what I said to my community and what they said back, I will post it.

It's pretty clear who was over-reacting.

February 15, 2006 5:52 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

This is what I sent :

Dear Parents of NCC Children:



I am writing to inform you of some drastic changes to the Family Life Curriculum in Montgomery County Public Schools. I am a member of the parents group that has organized to halt the new curriculum, Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum.



On November 9th 2004, the Montgomery County Public School Board of Education (BOE) voted unanimously to approve a new Family Life and Human Development Curriculum for 8th grade and high school students. The new sex ed curriculum is to be piloted in the spring of 2005 at six schools and then evaluated for use at all county middle and high schools in the 2005-2006 school year.

We believe that it is not the domain of Montgomery County Public Schools to teach students what sexual values to hold. Teaching respect for persons with same-sex attraction is appropriate and right. But demanding affirmation of a homosexual orientation and behavior goes beyond the ethic of tolerance, and in fact violates the value systems of many families.

We believe that the new curriculum should be repealed by the MCPS BOE and the current sex education curriculum should be maintained.

The Montgomery County Board of Education has bypassed several of its own policies (which explicitly require the Board to inform parents of changes to the sex-ed curriculum and solicit public reaction to those changes) and rolled out the new curriculum and approved it for piloting on the same day, November 9, 2004. Parents are still reeling from this brazen decision and are wondering how to insert themselves into a tightly controlled and manipulated process that has left them out of the loop.


The Board also plans to exclude parents from evaluation of the pilot program, relying solely on teacher and student feedback before final approval for county-wide use. Keep in mind that this new curriculum includes a highly controversial presentation of homosexuality and sexual variations. We parents pay a large portion of the taxes that fund the schools and their $1.7 billion budget and, according to the Board’s policy on Citizen Review of Curricular and Instructional Materials, have the right to voice our “reaction to curriculum documents dealing with sensitive topics.” Parents are justly furious over this new curriculum that the Board is forcing on the schools with no regard for their own procedures.



For more information, please visit our website:


www.mcpscurriculum.com



Or sign the on-line petition, here:

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





Thanks

Theresa Rickman

Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum

NCC Mother of Jacen (3rd grade) and Tina (5th grade)

February 15, 2006 6:01 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

This was the first response that came back :

I am almost afraid of the torrent I'll have in my email box as a result of actually validating your ridiculous fury. But I've far too many friends and work associates, whose healthy, committed relationships set excellent examples for how to raise a loving family for this to go by without response.

Your reactions are a horrifyingly out of proportion response to an overdue change to the curriculum. Perhaps they kept this change low key in order to avoid this kind of homophobic response (although certainly all of their meetings are totally open and your Citizen's Reps were there by my reading of the minutes). Admitting that sexual variations exist and are not a mental disorder in no way invites or encourages your child to try it out. Just the thought shows a clear misunderstanding of homosexuality.

Do you also, as a homophobe, restrict their viewing of Sesame Street where equal portrayal of all kinds of families has included same sex parents for years? How do you propose to teach this respect for same sex persons if the school system isn't even allowed to mention that they exist and must dismiss their questions with a curt response?

And by the time your NCC student is introduced to the possibility of sexual variations in school at the not very innocent age of 15, they'll already be able to tell you more than you want to know about the subject.
Unfortunately, they'll have learned it on the street or in movies where honest, innocent questions and fears are not dealt with properly. Actually, you may want to ask Tina what she has picked up already - My very conservative neighbor's kid got in trouble for calling a girl on the bus a lesbian and he is only 9. He certainly hasn't learned any respect and he is normally such a sweet boy. In school, a trusted teacher can clear up confusions and foster the respect you feel is so appropriate and right - an indeed it is!

Karen Schlesinger
Very Heterosexual Mother of Adam (10), David (6) and Temma (2)

February 15, 2006 6:02 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

This is what I sent back :
Karen -

I appreciate your response and welcome the opportunity to clarify my position.

One, I am not a homophobe. I have a very good friend from childhood who is a lesbian.

Two, the main issue I have with this curriculum is that parents were not notified; and were not given an abstinence only curriculum as an alternative. I don't believe it is the job or place of a taxpayer funded school system to be teaching a clearly social issues based curriculum. But if they insist on doing so, we as parents should be given a reasonable choice.

The new curriculum includes the following statements:

1) Gender Identity: "A person's internal sense of knowing whether he or she is male or female".... (Not their genitals)
2) Dispelling common myths: "FACT: Sex play with friends of the same gender is not uncommon during early adolescence...."
3) It includes a very graphic video of a teenage girl putting a condom on a cucumber (you have to wonder how many tax payer funded studies they will have to do about the appropriate size of the cucumber...)

In contrast, my 14 year old daughter's parochial curriculum taught 1) no sex before marriage and then 2) went through in GRAPHIC detail every disease you can catch - with pictures of what disease looked like. She came home stating she was not even going to have sex with her husband. She was then tested on all the STDs, types of abortions, types of birth control, and risks of all the above.

What I am suggesting Karen, is that MCPS offer a choice. You believe it is okay for all the kids to know everything at a young age. I think I can shelter them more than that - maybe I am being too hopeful that I can keep them innocent at age 8 ... "Jimmie has two Moms instead of a Mom and Dad - some people do..." I don't have to explain everything else, I can just say that.

I don't think it is healthy for adolescents to start having sex too early. Tina, my daughter, I just told what sex was last summer. My older daughter who was 13 at the time, realized that Tina didn't know, and insisted I inform her immediately (Tina was 10). They have both been in a Catholic school. I do not agree that you have to give up on child's innocence too early - after all you monitor their TV, and you monitor the movies, right?

And I believe that a curriculum that gives up on abstinence is a bad idea.
Maryland is not even eligible for the federal funding that the Bush administration is offering schools that offer abstinence only curriculums.

You would like to represent that we are all crazy homophobes, and we are not.....We are just asking that our opinion of what is appropriate to be taught to our children (regarding a non-educational issue that our tax dollars are used to fund) be represented as well.

If you assume that you are going to fail asking your children to refrain from sex at an early age, you have given up the battle before you start.

All the best,

Theresa

February 15, 2006 6:04 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Here's another comment :
How can I learn more about this? Where can I see the video? I don't like coming into a discussion until I've done my research. Congrats to Theresa for keeping a civil and rational tone. Who is Karen and why does she feel she can editorialize Theresa's comments ("Ridculous fury"?). Does Karen work for the school system? Where I can I get the actual materials to look at?

Leslie Atkin

February 15, 2006 6:05 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa

I don't understand, was this recently? Why are you posting these things?

JimK

February 15, 2006 6:07 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Jim -

Freebird accused me of the following :

"Now Theresa are you going to pretend the "Mass fisting discussion" that you are fixated on would happen here? Oh wait you tried that on your school community and they told you to take a hike in that "the sky is falling discussion you tried to engage your school community in."

And since I have been accused several times on this blog of being an alarmist I thought I would clarify and post what I actually said on NCCNET last winter/spring.

That's all.

Theresa

February 15, 2006 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theresa you left out your "sky is falling" routine as well as telling school community folks BOE broke their own laws...the Mass episode would be on our doorsteps and more. The alarmist you are and you were asked to take it elsewhere.

freebird

February 15, 2006 7:17 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa, I don't know about last year, but today, on this blog, you implied that something similar to the Massachusetts "fisting" literature would be taught in MCPS if the new curriculum had gone through.

Which is absurd. You know that.

JimK

February 15, 2006 7:23 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

I find in general the opposition here makes any kind of grandstanding statement they want. Theresa is being silly about the fisting thing- she knows it was never going to be taught.
But let's bring it up as if it was. As to Anon- or Anons- there is a text used in Montgomery County schools- if you were actually interested you could read it. However, it is so much easier to spout nonsense about what is taught. I read the text along with my student who took the 10th grade class- I know what the text says about STIs and what photos it shows ans what it says about relationships. It is obvious that the opposition does not.

February 15, 2006 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I find in general the opposition here makes any kind of grandstanding statement they want. Theresa is being silly about the fisting thing- she knows it was never going to be taught.
But let's bring it up as if it was. As to Anon- or Anons- there is a text used in Montgomery County schools- if you were actually interested you could read it. However, it is so much easier to spout nonsense about what is taught. I read the text along with my student who took the 10th grade class- I know what the text says about STIs and what photos it shows ans what it says about relationships. It is obvious that the opposition does not."

Sounds like you covered what you wanted to teach your kids, Nadrea. Why do you think you need to impose your point of view on everyone else's kids?

February 15, 2006 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said, "Why do you think you need to impose your point of view on everyone else's kids? "

Sorry anonymous you have the TTF blog mixed up with the lame CRC message board in which this question would be right at home there. Yes CRC/PFOX would love nothing better than to hoist their views on the majority.

freebird

February 15, 2006 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sorry anonymous you have the TTF blog mixed up with the lame CRC message board in which this question would be right at home there. Yes CRC/PFOX would love nothing better than to hoist their views on the majority."

Just shows how deluded you are. The CRC has consistently said that parents should have more say over what their kids are taught. TTF holds that the taxpayers' money should be reserved for converting as many kids as possible to the warped point of view of GLAAD. They favor viewpoint discrimination. Ask judge Williams.

February 15, 2006 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous if you wants us to believe this and that CRC is this nice little group...well you will not get that at TTF because we and others saw how CRC got started, saw their plotting and see it continued. Just look at the items Michelle Turner as CRC pres. has put forth lately alone.

CRC wants to tell ALL parents what their children should be allowed to have in sex ed. As said before on this blog.."CRC says all kids will be indoctrinated into being gay if they hear the word homosexual and transgendered people mutilate themselves and are mentally ill. Why not throw in there hearing about families in all sorts of combos will just make kids ears fall off. Let us not forget those ex-gays that do not exist. Yes indeed CRC and PFOX would do a bang up job on anything they put out. Other bigots like you would think so."


freebird

February 16, 2006 6:54 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Hi, Theresa,

Thank you for posting. I find dialoguing with you so much more pleasant than with the coward Anon. I apologize for saying you’re too uptight to talk to your daughter, and I now recall that you mentioned that some months ago. I can be very hard keeping previous statements in mind with all these threads.

I assume that Tina’s friends also attended the same Catholic school? If so, why is it that they’ve had sex with the school curriculum warning them in graphic terms not to? That’s been my point all along – condemnation of sex, primarily from religious authorities, has been par for the course for at least 2500 years. It doesn’t work. Hell and damnation can’t do the trick. Humans are sexual beings, and most so during adolescence. It’s biology, and unless you’re willing to chemically castrate all teenage boys, you simply have to deal with it. Apparently you’ve succeeded with Tina, but you’re one person, and those who are having sex or are going to have sex before marriage (the vast majority) need the facts.

In addition, it may be that Tina will rebel against her teachers when she realizes just how they manipulated her. I’ve seen that happen plenty of times, myself included. Kids don’t take to hypocrisy and manipulation very well. Remember “The Catcher in the Rye”?

As for your 12 year old, there is age-appropriate education. Biology is biology, and if she’s menstruating, she should know ehat’s going on. If she isn’t, she should be prepared. We can argue about what is age-appropriate.

Are you telling us that at NCC they didn’t use words such as husband and wife, spouse? I have no problem with that. But you should also add partner and significant other; otherwise you’re deceiving by exclusion. By the way, many gay couples are beginning to refer to each other as husband or wife.


I agree with you – a public school system has to be concerned with teaching what is good for the majority of students .But that doesn’t exclude anything having to do with a deeper understanding of sexuality.

“Gender Identity: "A person's internal sense of knowing whether he or she is male or female".... (Not their genitals)” – you posted this in the email you recently blogged. I’ve already addressed this to you, but you really seem to be worked up over this one issue.
Would you please explain to me your problem with that definition of gender identity, or with your children and others learning about it?

Thanks.

February 16, 2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Dana -

You have my older daughter Jessica confused with my younger daughter Tina.

I think it would be very interesting to see studies of virginity rates at parochial private schools versus public schools. I tend to think the virginity rates are higher at the private schools then the public schools - that is just an opinion.
Clearly, it is also going to be related to family structure stability and I would think to some extent economic status.

Let me be quite clear, the parochial school curriculum in highschool does cover birth control. They just approach the whole subject quite differently.

As far as the gender identity issue - 12 is way too early to be discussing this. I think kids are already confused and quite impressionable at this age. Throwing in a discussion of gender identity begs the question - what if I have a gender identity different than what I am physically exhibit - which brings you to a transsexual discussion at whatever age the subject of gender identity is broached. Regardless of whether it is specifically in the curriculum or not. Which is of course why I believe Fishback put it in there.

And transgenderism was not in the curriculum to be discussed as part of the revisions, after all. Gender identity is just a ploy to make sure the subject comes up.

So, starting to talk about "gender identity" at age 12...again, way too early.

February 17, 2006 12:04 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Theresa,

I'm sorry about confusing your two daughters. I must have misread a previous post.

I don't believe David, or anyone else for that matter, added a single-line mention of gender identity into the previous curriculum, to instigate anything, whih is what you're implying. Bottom line, it was a single line out of a total of 90 minutes. And people go ballistic about it. It's part of human biology, brain sex, cognitive development -- whatever category you want to place it in. It's part of life.

But more importantly, you still sound scared. You say, "I think kids are already confused and quite impressionable at this age." I really don't know what you're talking about. Can you point me to a single child who is not transsexual who is confused about her gender identity, at any age. You can't. This is the same canard used about homosexuality. If you just mention the word, you will create a generation of gay people. It doesn't happen, it never has, and I doubt it ever will. You minimize my life's experience by being so anxious, and I will go so far as to say it's insulting. And if there is one 12 year old somewhere who happens to be trans and has not yet discovered the internet, who is helped by a single-line mention by a teacher in a sex-ed class, that it would be worth it. Nobody is harmed by it, and I challenge you to show my any evidence of harm.

February 17, 2006 8:16 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Dana -

When I say kids are confused and impressionable, I don't mean about their gender identity.

I mean that there are typically lots of cliques starting to develop at this age, kids in the 6th/7th grades are starting to notice the opposite sex, etc.

I don't think throwing a gender identity discussion at them is a good idea - and I don't think it is necessary either.

But then I am of the opinion that they shouldn't be dating, and certainly shouldn't be having sex at this age either.

You admitted that trans-sexuals are 1 out of a 1000 people. The potential harm to the 999 (even it is really just a lose of "innocence of mind") far out weighs the benefit, in my opinion.

February 17, 2006 7:19 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Well, we will differ on this. I don't think the "loss of innocence" is a valid argument, and I know you've made it before. I can tell that you take it very seriously. I do, too, in a sentimental sort of way, but I don't think that is sufficient.

Do I think eighth graders should be having sex? No, and especially not if you mean any kind of intercourse. But what I want is not important to them. Should they be dating? I think some sort of organized dating is preferable to the informal dating that will occur if parents ban it. I dated in eighth grade, and it was confusing and frightening and all that, but part of growing up.

You might notice that you still haven't offered one concrete example where you think mentioning gender identity would be too difficult for these kids. I don't see how knowledge of brain sex vs. genital sex counts as "loss of innocence," and, on the contrary, I think it would help kids understand themselves, their emotions and their drives much more fully.

The bottom line is, if one can't make a rational argument for or against something, one really can't be part of a mature debate. We all have a tendency to get emotional, projecting our own fears and past anxieties on our children, but we need to keep perspective. And the whole point of bringing in science and teaching the facts, is that science and facts can be considered rationally.

February 17, 2006 10:07 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

You are correct Dana.

I haven't offered one concrete explanation other than that they are my kids, not the state's kids and it is my right and my responsibility as a parent to keep them from being exposed to things I believe are harmful to them.

It is a sad state of affairs when a large groups of parents believe that the school system is going to harm their children. The "glove" party Jim had on the blog is a great example.

Sometimes you have to go with your gut on what is right and what is wrong. This isn't a religous reaction - my husband is an atheist, and he was every bit as opposed to this curriculum as I was.

Teaching kids that they might possibly have a gender different than what they were born with is wrong. Period. It is just wrong.

February 17, 2006 11:20 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Thank you for acknowledging that, Theresa.

I will end this by saying three things:

First, that it is the state's obligation to educate its children, and sex-ed is part of biology which is part of science which is part of the curriculum and all this libertarianism is besides the point. If you don't want the state involved, you can get them a private education or educate them yourself. This is America. And that is not the issue here.

Second, that nowhere did I suggest saying that I would teach kids "that they might possibly have a gender different than what they were born with is wrong." You won't find my saying that anywhere. You're implying, again, that I'm somehow trying to confuse or recruit kids. That's so patently absurd. I've been very clear what I would teach. I would teach that sex and gender are complex concepts, that brain sex is the determinant for who you feel you are, that your genitals do not determine your sex, and that there are people, 1:1500, whose genitals do not match their brain sex. That's all. And I have taught that, at the college level. I have never gone into a room of children and said "Some of you have a gender different from your genitals," because they would think such a statement hilarious. Though it might get their attention. If I did say that, I would then say that it's true but only for that 1:1500. But I would provoke them into understanding just what makes the boys feel like boys and the girls feel like girls. That is always very instructive, and not harmful at all. It's even worked with Bob Knight and Don Dwyer. You still haven't explained to me why that makes you uncomfortable.

And, finally, I'm glad we've cleared up that it isn't a religious thing with you and your husband. Which is probably why we can dialogue with you on this blog but not with Anon. But the bottom line is your fear, which is completely irrational. I suggest you and your husband read the Rudacille book (she's a regular, straight white woman) and then discuss between yourselves why this whole topic makes you uncomfortable. Ask yourselves, seriously, what makes you a woman and your husband a man. You might find it instructive. I've counseled men post-prostatectomy who can't get erections, and they still feel like men. Or men on estrogens for prostate cancer with no erections and large breasts. And they still feel like men. Or women post-mastectomy, or total hysterectomy, who still feel like women. To say nothing at all of the intersex cases which put a lie to the religious fundamentalists' attitude that the penis is all that matters.

I, and others on this blog, have read extensively in the literature from your side, as well as the scriptural writings. As a matter of fact, when I came out to my rabbi, I presented a halakhic (Jewish legal) case, fully documented, as to why trans persons are perfectly acceptable according to Jewish tradition. I've been there, and done that. Now it would be nice if you and some of your colleagues actually took the time to read the evidence that we have for our position, instead of just saying "It's wrong. period." That's not an argument.

February 18, 2006 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it is the state's obligation to educate its children,"

If you believe this, do you then want to change this?:

"If you don't want the state involved, you can get them a private education or educate them yourself."

Doesn't seem you can consistently hold both views.

"Second, that nowhere did I suggest saying that I would teach kids "that they might possibly have a gender different than what they were born with is wrong." You won't find my saying that anywhere. You're implying, again, that I'm somehow trying to confuse or recruit kids. That's so patently absurd. I've been very clear what I would teach. I would teach that sex and gender are complex concepts, that brain sex is the determinant for who you feel you are, that your genitals do not determine your sex, and that there are people, 1:1500, whose genitals do not match their brain sex. That's all. And I have taught that, at the college level. I have never gone into a room of children and said "Some of you have a gender different from your genitals," because they would think such a statement hilarious. Though it might get their attention. If I did say that, I would then say that it's true but only for that 1:1500. But I would provoke them into understanding just what makes the boys feel like boys and the girls feel like girls. That is always very instructive, and not harmful at all. It's even worked with Bob Knight and Don Dwyer. You still haven't explained to me why that makes you uncomfortable."

Kids at that age are still forming their identity. We shouldn't throw gender in. At a minimum, it could cause some difficulties.

"And, finally, I'm glad we've cleared up that it isn't a religious thing with you and your husband."

The really unclear thing here is why you've rejected any belief in Judeo-Christian doctrines and, yet, in any discussion about it, you seem to have a proprietary interest in it. Bizarre.

"Which is probably why we can dialogue with you on this blog but not with Anon."

No, it's because Theresa always is gracious enough to give you a back door out of your illogical arguments while the incisive anon appears to have discarded that strategy. The sad thing is her restraint usually results in a bunch of epithets and ranting on your side.

"But the bottom line is your fear, which is completely irrational."

It's called concern and it's justified. You yourself complain about how difficult your life has been. Let's be careful not to say things that will cause kids to consider that demented path.

"I suggest you and your husband read the Rudacille book (she's a regular, straight white woman) and then discuss between yourselves why this whole topic makes you uncomfortable. Ask yourselves, seriously, what makes you a woman and your husband a man."

Hey, maybe the Y chromosome does it.

"You might find it instructive. I've counseled men post-prostatectomy who can't get erections, and they still feel like men. Or men on estrogens for prostate cancer with no erections and large breasts. And they still feel like men. Or women post-mastectomy, or total hysterectomy, who still feel like women."

And why would they come to you for counseling?

"To say nothing at all of the intersex cases which put a lie to the religious fundamentalists' attitude that the penis is all that matters."

Your bigoted interpretation.

"I, and others on this blog, have read extensively in the literature from your side, as well as the scriptural writings."

We all have read your propaganda.

"As a matter of fact, when I came out to my rabbi, I presented a halakhic (Jewish legal) case, fully documented, as to why trans persons are perfectly acceptable according to Jewish tradition. I've been there, and done that. Now it would be nice if you and some of your colleagues actually took the time to read the evidence that we have for our position, instead of just saying "It's wrong. period." That's not an argument."

Don't say "it's just wrong period". We've told you why.

You disrespect science and don't listen to facts. And make them up.

February 18, 2006 11:40 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon,

I didn't invite you into the discussion and I won't respond to your inanities. I take science seriously, and I also take my religious and ethnic background and history seriously. I apply rational arguments to any and all issues, including religion; with science it goes without saying. I've had a rather unique life experience which I can use to clarify issues which have been ignored and which are subject to fear. You are willfully ignorant, blind and hateful, particularly when it comes to sex and gender.

February 18, 2006 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I didn't invite you into the discussion"

Well, obviously. It's not your place, though. You made an insult to a friend of mine. I responded. Think before you speak or it might happen again.

"and I won't respond to your inanities."

Oh, come on. It's the weekend. Give us a good laugh.

"I take science seriously,"

Yes, we know. You commonly exploit its gravitas by selectively manipulating facts to push your twisted ideas.

"and I also take my religious and ethnic background"

Background being the key term. You've got a lot of it.

"and history seriously. I apply rational arguments to any and all issues,"

Oh, please.

"including religion; with science it goes without saying."

You blatantly ignore the warnings of scientists that you should not jump to conclusions. Science has a responsible core at the center. You're on the fringe.

"I've had a rather unique life experience which I can use to clarify issues which have been ignored and which are subject to fear."

Or which have boxed you into a corner you can't get out of. You made your choices. There's no need to evangelize for your cause.

"You are willfully ignorant, blind and hateful, particularly when it comes to sex and gender."

I thought you said none of us has a will. We can't help it, right?

February 18, 2006 1:14 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Theresa wrote:

"The short list of problems with the old curriculum are :

"1) It did not include any of the specific increased health risks of homosexual behavior. David Fishback's justification was a. well that section wasn't being changed and b. well we don't want to stigimatize homosexuals. Retta tells me that the Fishback committee specifically voted down materials dicussing MSM risks, etc - all of which Michelle and she were advocating including.

"So you talk about homosexual behavior, present it as a normal alternative lifestyle, and don't include any of the health risks. That is just flat out irresponsible."

***********************************
I just went through this thread for the first time. A lot of it is just a restatement of debates we have already had. I do want to respond to the above comment, however.

Theresa, why don’t you ask Retta to give you the entire tape of the meeting where these matters were discussed? When she raised these materials, I specifically asked the MCPS Coordinator of Health Education if materials setting forth risks of sexual activity, including same-sex activity, were already discussed in the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Unit. He confirmed that they were. The high school students on the Committee confirmed (either at this or at other meetings) that these issues were discussed extensively in the STI Unit.

Heterosexual activity also has health risks. Retta did not offer to restate those in the Family Life and Human Sexuality (FLHS) Unit. If she had, then there might well have been an interesting discussion as to whether the STI materials should be brought in again into the FLHS Unit. But she did not – she plainly wished to single out gays. After the vote turning down Retta’s materials, I pointedly spoke directly into the microphone she kept on the table and laid out all of what I have just discussed.

In any event, you should seriously consider not taking what Retta says at face value. This lie -- which has been repeated over and over by Retta and her allies -- that I urged that MCPS ignore the dangers of sexual activity is outrageous. I have endeavored to be calm and measured in my responses in these conversations, but this libel should be beneath the dignity of anyone who wishes to have reasoned, respectful discussions of the health education curriculum.

February 19, 2006 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Heterosexual activity also has health risks...she plainly wished to single out gays."

Monogamous heterosexual marital relations carry no risk (excepting, of course, infidelity.) However, even in those who are promiscuous, heterosexuality is nowhere near as dangerous as homosexuality. It's just a fact.

David, think of these kids who decide they are going to pursue homosexuality. Looking for partners, they are much less likely to find a safe situation than if they were looking for heterosexual partners. It's not just a matter of intercorse mechanics. To say or imply anything else is to present a fairy tale version of the gay life. The kids deserve better.

"In any event, you should seriously consider not taking what Retta says at face value. This lie -- which has been repeated over and over by Retta and her allies -- that I urged that MCPS ignore the dangers of sexual activity is outrageous. I have endeavored to be calm and measured in my responses in these conversations, but this libel should be beneath the dignity of anyone who wishes to have reasoned, respectful discussions of the health education curriculum."

David, do you think facts that would tend to stigmatize homosexual should be left out of the curriculum? Do you think that no such facts exist?

You used the term libel. Do you think a person on a governmental committee can sue for libel or slander in connection with actions taken by that committee?

I don't think that Theresa said that you "urged that MCPS ignore the dangers of sexual activity". I think that she was saying that the particular dangers of homosexual activity were specifically excluded from the curriculum. Isn't that what this meant: "After the vote turning down Retta’s materials,"?

David, did you have any associations or conflicts of interest that made you inappropriate as a selection to chair the committee?

Not making any statements, just asking what you think.

February 20, 2006 8:43 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I was in a box for fifty years because of the ignorance and fear of this society on matters sexual, because of the greed of drug companies and the laziness and negligence of physicians who didn’t bother to read the research, and my own lack of courage. But I’m out now.

You, on the other hand, have constructed yourself a much more constricting box composed of equal parts ignorance and fanaticism. And the sad thing about it is that you actually believe your God is proud of you for your beliefs, actions and words.

February 20, 2006 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"equal parts ignorance and fanaticism."

We're all ignorant and fantical about some things- and probably always will be. We still have to do our best to look for truth- that's what I've done. I'm not in a box- I constantly re-evaluate and reconsider. The fact is none of you have said anything that would make a reasonable person reconsider traditional sexuality morality.

"And the sad thing about it is that you actually believe your God is proud of you for your beliefs, actions and words."

You've need to get over this "your God" thing. It helps you cope and gloss over things, I guess, but, truthfully, there is only one God. Doesn't change if you don't believe in Him. "Hear O Israel. The Lord our God is one God."

February 20, 2006 9:32 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Great retort. "We're all ignorant and fanatical about some things." Everyone on this blog has seen your unbending fanaticism and and ignorance since day one. I'll leave it at that.

As to "your God," please, give me a break. You say you're an evangelical Christian. I accept that. I respect that. That means Jesus is your God. You have no religion without Jesus. You don't accept Yahweh as the one God, and you're not a member of Israel. No Jew is going to believe you, regardless of your protestations. 1900 years ago you would have had a good argument but, then again, you would have been Jewish. You're not now.

Muslims have a much greater claim to make that statement, because they don't pretend Mohammed is a God as fundamentalists Christians do about Jesus.

And it's all pretty moot, since both of you have spent the last 1400-1900 years killing us whenever you had the chance. You call that "believing in the same God"? What possible purpose, natural or supernatural, could there be in killing fellow believers over theology? Tell us, because Christians have made that into a fine art within their own community over the past 500 years.

I have no doubt religion plays an important role in many lives, maybe THE important role. There must be good reasons for that. But it is a human trait, and no individual or group has any business in claiming to be superior or to have a superior role. To do so inevitably leads to the misery and murder that is also a hallmark of religious belief. Better to just be the best you can be in accordance with your beliefs, and leave everyone else out of it.

February 20, 2006 5:26 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 20, 2006 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the above deleted comment wasn't demented.

February 20, 2006 6:54 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Sorry, Anon, not to fulfill your fantiasies this evening, but it was a simple "double-click" error.

February 20, 2006 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darn. I wanted to start referring to you as "Dr. Demento".

February 20, 2006 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try standing up straight, Anon. Your knuckles are scraping

again

February 20, 2006 10:31 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anonymous said in response to my posting:

1. "Heterosexual activity also has health risks...she plainly wished to single out gays.

"Monogamous heterosexual marital relations carry no risk (excepting, of course, infidelity.) However, even in those who are promiscuous, heterosexuality is nowhere near as dangerous as homosexuality. It's just a fact.

"David, think of these kids who decide they are going to pursue homosexuality. Looking for partners, they are much less likely to find a safe situation than if they were looking for heterosexual partners. It's not just a matter of intercorse mechanics. To say or imply anything else is to present a fairy tale version of the gay life. The kids deserve better."

My response: Monogamous homosexual relations similarly avoid risks of STIs. But your position in which society would continue to marginalize gays obstructs, rather than encourages monogamy. Imagine if heterosexuals were not permitted the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage, for example.

2. "David, do you think facts that would tend to stigmatize homosexual should be left out of the curriculum? Do you think that no such facts exist?"

My response: I will say this once again, MCPS staff informed the CAC that the facts about same-sex, as well as opposite sex, transmission of STIs was already included in the STI unit of the Health Education Curriculum. That you persist in ignoring that fact demonstrates that your purpose is not to educate, but to demonize.

3. "You used the term libel. Do you think a person on a governmental committee can sue for libel or slander in connection with actions taken by that committee?"

My response: I do not know whether an public institution can sue for libel or slander. Under the Supreme Court’s decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, dealing with libel suits by public figures, the bar would be very high – as it should be. I did not use the term libel with respect to the CAC; rather, I used it as to me personally. In any event, as former chair of the CAC, I would probably fall within Sullivan, as well. More to the point, I am not going to sue anyone over this libel – and unlike the CRC, I mean what I say. I would note out that my Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines libel as a defamatory written published statement; it defines defamation as falsely attacking someone’s reputation. To accuse me of not caring about the risks of sexual activity fits that definition, in my view.

4. "I don't think that Theresa said that you 'urged that MCPS ignore the dangers of sexual activity'. I think that she was saying that the particular dangers of homosexual activity were specifically excluded from the curriculum. Isn't that what this meant: 'After the vote turning down Retta’s materials.'?"

My response: See response No. 2, above. I want my children and everyone's children to be safe and to lead happy fulfilling lives. If there had been no adequate material in the STI Unit on same-sex transmission of STIs, I would have pushed to include it. To say otherwise is to accuse me of caring more about an abstraction than about my children and other people's children. THAT is defamatory. People like Alan Keyes, who threw his lesbian daughter out of the house, elevate abstraction over humanity. I am proud to say that I am the polar opposite of Alan Keyes.

5. "David, did you have any associations or conflicts of interest that made you inappropriate as a selection to chair the committee?"

My response: No. When the previous chair retired from the CAC in late autumn 2002, another CAC member offered himself as a replacement. He, like me, was a newly-appointed member; we had had conversations about several matters, and I did not get the sense that he would be a good chair. No one else came forward, so I offered my candidacy, as well. We both presented our backgrounds and qualifications. The other candidate withdrew, and I was elected in January 2003. The other candidate was elected vice-chair without opposition, but never came to another meeting and eventually resigned from the CAC. I was re-elected without opposition in autumn 2004.
I am sure that you are alluding to the fact that my wife and I are the parents of two adult, gay sons. I applied for membership on the CAC in the spring of 2002 because I thought my family’s experience would be a useful in the discussions that the CAC was to have in the future. (In March 2002, the BOE deferred consideration of the CAC’s recommendation that information on sexual orientation be included in the 8th and 10th grade curriculum; this recommendation was adopted by the BOE the following autumn). I had learned much in the years since my younger son had come out at the age of 15, and I thought it appropriate to share that knowledge with the CAC; I did not want other children to go through the unnecessary pain and isolation my children went through. Presentation of basic information about sexual orientation as understood by the mainstream medical and mental health communities could go a long way toward making those children’s lives better. My experience and knowledge was not a conflict – rather, I believe it was an asset.

Incidentally, I laid all this out to my fellow CAC members in advance of my election as chair. This was no secret – in fact, it was reported in the Gazette in 2002, following the BOE’s appointments, which included a member of PFOX. There was much controversy over the PFOX appointment. I was asked by the Gazette to comment and my response was that a range of views in the CAC deliberations could be useful. That article noted that I had two gay sons..

Those opposing the CAC’s recommendations often noted the fact that I have gay children, but never explained why this was a problem.

To complete my answer to your question, I certainly have no financial conflicts. Except for two semesters as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School a long time ago, the only financial compensation I have received since I graduated law school has been my salary as a career government lawyer.

February 21, 2006 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Try standing up straight, Anon. Your knuckles are scraping again"

I'm just bending over to watch you slithering through the grass.

February 21, 2006 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am sure that you are alluding to the fact that my wife and I are the parents of two adult, gay sons."

I was talking more about your alleged membership in gay advocacy groups.

February 21, 2006 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Monogamous homosexual relations similarly avoid risks of STIs."

The idea that this would ever be a widespread phenomena is purely conjecture. A realistic view is that gays will always be promiscuous.

"But your position in which society would continue to marginalize gays obstructs, rather than encourages monogamy. Imagine if heterosexuals were not permitted the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage, for example."

But, David, it doesn't look like homosexual marriage is ever going to be a permanent reality. Are you saying that the curriculum has as part of its goal, gay marriage?

February 21, 2006 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To say otherwise is to accuse me of caring more about an abstraction than about my children and other people's children. THAT is defamatory."

Nah.

February 21, 2006 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"To accuse me of not caring about the risks of sexual activity fits that definition, in my view."

Actually, there were probably just saying that you thought other considerations are more important- like individual rights.

Do you think preventing the risks of sexual activity are more important than anything? I don't.

February 21, 2006 8:10 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anonymous suggests that I should not have been elected chair of the CAC because of my “alleged membership in gay advocacy groups.” Anonymous tries to make it sound nefarious, by asserting my “alleged” membership. What a bizarre suggestion: That because I am a member of PFLAG I should not have been CAC chair.

By his reasoning, I likewise should not have been chair because of my membership in a synagogue that is affiliated with the Union of Reform Judaism, which is very public in being very gay affirming. Likewise, any member of, for example, a congregation of the United Church of Christ.

By his reasoning, no one who is a member of the American Medical Association should be chair of the CAC. Is he calling for the resignation of the current CAC Chair, Dr. Carol Plotsky, who I assume is an AMA member?

February 21, 2006 1:13 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anonymous seeks to rebut my statement that his “position in which society would continue to marginalize gays obstructs, rather than encourages, monogamy,” by saying that “it doesn't look like homosexual marriage is ever going to be a permanent reality. Are you saying that the curriculum has as part of its goal, gay marriage?”

I want the health curriculum to state the facts as understood by the mainstream medical and mental health care professionals. When people have the facts, they can draw their own conclusions regarding issues such as same-sex marriage.

I do believe that the health curriculum should do more to describe the rights and responsibilities of marriage, setting forth why marriage is a good thing period. Surely Anonymous would agree with that.

February 21, 2006 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"By his reasoning, no one who is a member of the American Medical Association should be chair of the CAC. Is he calling for the resignation of the current CAC Chair, Dr. Carol Plotsky, who I assume is an AMA member?"

AMA is not a political advocacy group. Your appointment could be seen as more like appointing Saddam Hussein to be chair of a committee to promote democracy.

February 21, 2006 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I want the health curriculum to state the facts as understood by the mainstream medical and mental health care professionals."

How about just the facts- and nothing but the facts? "Facts as they are understood" is a euphemism for "opinion". Fact is no one knows for sure what mainstream medical and mental health professionals think. We do know what scientific researchers have said in their papers, though.

By the by, should we teach the position of the DSM that transexualism is a mental disease?

"When people have the facts, they can draw their own conclusions regarding issues such as same-sex marriage."

And you hope by carefully selecting which facts they are taught, you'll manipulate them into reaching the same conclusion as you.

February 21, 2006 11:39 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

David -

On the health risks in the old curriculum, I must admit I am still confused.

I have been told that the old curriculum did not discuss the specific and unique health risks of homosexual sex, because the old curriculum did not talk about homosexuality at all. It would stand to reason and follow that if homosexuality was not discussed in the "curriculum" - it would not be addressed in the family life section, and the specific studies like MSM rates would not have been listed in the STI section.

You have indicated on this blog before that when this issue was brought up during the CAC, and came to a vote, that the specific materials were voted down because they would have belonged in the STI section (which was not being updated at the time). Kind of a stupid oversight on the part of whomever planned the update at the BOE in that case, but whatever.

I think one of the few things everyone on this blog has agreed on - Jim, Robert, Dana, etc ... is that the specific and unique risks of homosexual sex should be included in a new curriculum which broaches the subject of homosexuality for the first time.

Regardless of why it wasn't included the first time, and actually that is kind of irrevelant, are you in agreement with everyone else on this blog that a new curriculum should most definitely point out the specific and unique risks of homosexual sex ? (Increased rates of AIDS in the MSM population compared to heterosexual population, percentage of new AIDs infections attrtibuted to identified hetereosexual as opposed to homosexual AND their geographic location, etc).

Just curious.
Thanks
Theresa

February 21, 2006 11:48 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Uh, Anon, I'm sorry to disappoint you so early this morning, but the DSM doesn't take the position that transsexualism is a mental disease. It doesn't mention transsexualism at all.

And to not simply play silly word games like you, it does mention Gender Identity Disorder, but never states that it is a mental illness. And it, of course, undercuts itself because one can't have a disorder of brain sex in the first place (whatever that could possibly mean) if the treatment is overwhelmningly agreed to be genital reconstruction. One doesn't treat the mind by repairing the body; one fixes a congenital mismatch between brain and body by fixing the body, since the mind is primary. Even for you.

February 22, 2006 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And it, of course, undercuts itself"

Could you let your friends here know this? They think the DSM is infallible. That's why they want to teach it in the new curriculum.

February 22, 2006 8:27 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

OK, people, any of you here think the DSM is infallible? Please let me know.

And, Anon, since you are apparently not a psychiatrist, but more likely a pencil-pusher or a number cruncher, you should be aware that the DSM is basically a code book, used for standardizing diagnoses for research, legal and insurance purposes. It is a not a medical textbook, not a medical monograph nor a journal. It is often out of date, since revisions only come roughly every decade. People don't practice based on its text, though they try to organize their analyses based on its categories, again for standardization's sake. Medicine is a huge and unwieldly bureaucracy, besiced being a healing profession.

February 22, 2006 10:47 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Theresa, speaking for myself -- please don't misconstrue my words. What I believe I said (I don't have the text before me and I won't search for it) is that I wholeheartedly support using the best and most up-to-date statisitcs for STIs. That the data should be presented based on sex acts, not identity. Therefore, we should present data for vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse and oral intercourse. A man can transmit HIV anally to either a man or a woman, and vice versa (though much less likely). Stigmatizing people as being gay is immoral and useless. Gay men who don't practice anal intercourse are at no higher risk than straight men who don't. Lesbians rarely do anal intercourse. And straights often do. That's where the risk lies.

Now, I seem to remember a thread where a number of people (though I don't believe you were among them) got up in arms about even mentioning the phrase "anal intercourse." (Well, we know Ruth Jacobs wasn't among them, either.) Now, if you want to teach that gay men practice anal intercourse more frequently than straight men and women, that's fine with me. As long as you say that the risk is from the act, not the identity.

And keep in mind that as long as you exhort kids not to have vaginal sex, they are going to find a substitute, which, in the case of anal sex, is much more dangerous.

Also, the course mentions that promiscuity leads to higher risk. Therefore, shouldn't we be teaching gay kids to be monogamous? Shouldn't we be providing them a goal of monogamous marriage, even if only to reduce their risk of infection? Unfortunately, I don't think you really care, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.

February 22, 2006 10:56 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Theresa,

As I have said before, I specifically asked the MCPS Health Education Coordinator if the risks of same-sex transmission of STIs were discussed in the STI unit, and he assured the CAC that it was. No one on the CAC, including Retta and Michelle, engaged in a cross-examination of Mr. Henke on that issue.

Anyway, I have said it before and I say it again: I believe that full accurate information regarding the risks of all kinds of sexual activity should be impressed upon our students. That information need not -- to have its desired impact -- be spun to attack gays. Since the revised curriculum was not a "gay" unit, but rather incorporated some basic information into the existing unit on human sexuality, the only reason to discuss same-sex, but not opposite sex, STI transmission in that unit would have been to stigmatize gays. Again, a proposal to reiterate ALL the details of the STI unit in the Family Life and Human Sexuality Unit may be worth discussing. But that is NOT what was involved with the proposals Retta made in 2004.

Finally, I agree that the different degrees of risk posed by different types of sexual behaviors -- e.g., vaginal, anal, oral both with and without the use of condoms -- should be a part of the STI unit. My understanding is that that information is conveyed now. If not, it should be. As Dana noted, those relative risks are not "unique" to same-sex activity, other than vaginal sex, which, of course, is not germane to gay men.

All of this information, presented properly, should lead students to more carefully consider the benefits of abstinence and, ultimately, permanent monogamous relationships. That is a goal we share for heterosexuals; I am disappointed that you do not share it for homosexuals.

The purpose of the STI and Family Life and Human Sexuality Units should be to help our children be healthy, both mentally and physically. That will not be accomplished by singling out gays as being "uniquely" in danger because they are gay. People are at higher risk if they are promiscuous; they are at no risk if they are abstinent and then monogamous. That is true of all people, whether gay or straight.

Remember, for example, the AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa is principally one of heterosexual, not homosexual, transmission.

February 22, 2006 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"OK, people, any of you here think the DSM is infallible? Please let me know."

It was the basis of the Constitutionally flawed Fishback revision's statement that homosx is not a disease. Whenever I question it, Jim goes into an epiphany of a speech about maintaining the proper reverence for scientific professionals.

I was at a seminar recently on detecting fraud in the health industry and the errors of the DSM was mentioned more than once.

February 22, 2006 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The purpose of the STI and Family Life and Human Sexuality Units should be to help our children be healthy, both mentally and physically."

You're a persistent fellow, David. This can't be achieved without letting them know what kind of characters they will encounter if they pursue this lifestyle. There aren't alot of Ozzie and Harold situations available. If kids choose to pursue a gay lifestyle, early death is a strong possibility.

Mental problems are also part of the package. Both from the potential partners and from the consequences of the act itself.

Solely focusing on the physical dangers of the mechanical act of intercourse is not enough.

February 22, 2006 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Medicine is a huge and unwieldly bureaucracy, besiced being a healing profession."

Quite so. This is why we can't just take opinions of professional associations and make them into a curriculum. We need to look at actual scientific findings.

February 22, 2006 1:19 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

The DSM was not the basis of anything. The considered opinions of the APA, APA, and numerous other organizations, as well as thousands of practitioners, was.

As for your remarks about gay people in general -- those are your typical ignorant, bigoted nonsense.

February 22, 2006 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Virtually any organization that holds this position refers to the DSM as justification.

The opinions of practitioners is unresearched as far as I know. If you got ant evidence to the contrary, let's hear it.

February 22, 2006 4:41 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon, once again, the DSM is not a SOURCE. It is a product.

You depend, for the most part, on the opinions of your medical practitioners all the time. Very little of medicine is research-based, or has been subject to statistically valid clinical studies. That's just the way it is. You just don't like the results when it comes to sexuality.

As to research, at least with regards to gender identity, I've already told you that there is no evidence in the literature showing that transsexualism is a mental illness, however you describe that. And I've been reading the literature for 35 years. You're the gadfly -- you show me scientific literature that supports your opinion.

February 22, 2006 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon, once again, the DSM is not a SOURCE. It is a product."

If you'll read the statements from those organizations, you'll find they almost always specifically refer to the DSM as their soruce.

February 22, 2006 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As to research, at least with regards to gender identity"

In the words of Dick Vitale,

broken-record-city, baby!

February 22, 2006 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You just don't like the results when it comes to sexuality."

I love the results about sexuality. They all say things are quite inconclusive. I love that!

February 22, 2006 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dana
If I feel in my mind I should be a cat, I should get a doctor to attach a tail on me? Should I start purring?

February 22, 2006 9:47 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon, you are an idiot.

Oops, sorry. Broken-record-city.

February 22, 2006 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr D

That last one about the cat wasn't from the usual anon. When you think about it... it is an interesting thought, though.

February 22, 2006 10:16 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Oh for goodness sake, David.

I can see why Retta got frustrated.

Male homosexuals overwhelming practice anal sex. I am sure you are not going to argue with that.

Hetereosexuals overwhelminging practice vaginal sex (show me a study that says otherwise).

Most of the new AIDS infections in the US can be traced to males having sex with males (HOMOSEXUAL MALE ACTIVITY).

So trying to reduce this issue to the mechanics is just trying to deliberately confuse the kids and in the process not alert them to the danges of the lifestyle (which of course was your whole point).

At the risk of stigmatizing .01-.03 % of the population versus the great risk of not alerting the 97% to the dangers of the behavior.

Again, flat out irresponsible and not looking out for the kids.

The .01-.03% of the population that insists on spreading this diesase to the rest of us SHOULD be stigmatized and learn some restraint.

February 23, 2006 1:56 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

"The .01-.03% of the population that insists on spreading this diesase to the rest of us SHOULD be stigmatized and learn some restraint."

Okay, before anyone throws a fit about this comment I want to clarify.

What I believe David is suggesting is HIDING FACTS. He is suggesting NOT GIVING KIDS THE MSM AIDS rates, NOT GIVING KIDS the TRUTH. He is suggesting taking all the data that the CDC gathers specific to increased health risks in a homo-sexual life style and HIDING IT - representing it to kids as either anal sex or vaginal sex, and making kids do the correlation themselves.

This is not stigmatizing, this is deliberating misrepresenting FACTs. Hiding facts about the homosexual disease rates from kids because of the risk of stigmatizing a section of the population. what next ? are we going to hide the effects of eating junk food from overweight folks because we don't want to stigmatize them ? or increased anemia rates from blacks ?
or increased risk of downs in over forty females? how about alcohol ? drugs ?

This is HIDING FACTS. NOT TEACHING THEM.

So, Jim, Cilly, all the rest of you at TEACH THE FACTS.
where do you weigh in ?

Is this TEACHING FACTS ?
OR IS THIS DELIBERATELY WITH A PARTICULAR SOCIAL PURPOSE IN MIND MIS-REPRESENTING THEM ??????

this, by the way, was my number one issue with this curriculum.

February 23, 2006 2:14 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Theresa said, "What I believe David is suggesting is HIDING FACTS. He is suggesting NOT GIVING KIDS THE MSM AIDS rates, NOT GIVING KIDS the TRUTH. He is suggesting taking all the data that the CDC gathers specific to increased health risks in a homo-sexual life style and HIDING IT "

I disagree. David did not talk about hiding these facts. He said several times they were already in the STI portion of the curriculum:

"I will say this once again, MCPS staff informed the CAC that the facts about same-sex, as well as opposite sex, transmission of STIs was already included in the STI unit of the Health Education Curriculum. That you persist in ignoring that fact demonstrates that your purpose is not to educate, but to demonize."

Further, David pointed out that the idea of repeating the risks for ALL sexual activities is an interesting one that Retta never brought up:

"Heterosexual activity also has health risks. Retta did not offer to restate those in the Family Life and Human Sexuality (FLHS) Unit. If she had, then there might well have been an interesting discussion as to whether the STI materials should be brought in again into the FLHS Unit. But she did not – she plainly wished to single out gays. After the vote turning down Retta’s materials, I pointedly spoke directly into the microphone she kept on the table and laid out all of what I have just discussed."

In response to your question, Theresa, I weigh in with David. It seems obvious there's a difference between what David says here and what Retta is telling you off line. There's one way to find out who is telling the truth and the fact that it hasn't been done yet speaks volumes to me about who is being truthful here. Ask Retta to produce audiofiles of her tapes so we can all hear for ourselves who is telling the truth.

And Theresa, I believe I have answered every inquiry you've made of me. I would like to point out that I am still waiting for you to answer a single question I posed to you: when did CRC began to plan to join PFOX's lawsuit against our public school system? I await your reply.

Thank you,
Christine

February 23, 2006 7:00 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Theresa,

You've dug yourself into a corner. Your side does not want to acknowledge that gay males exist, other than to stigmatize them. If we lived in a world without religious homophobia, then we could discuss homosecxuality without fear of lawsuits or offended parents. In that case, some kid in class is going to ask the reasonable question -- how do guys "do it"? The answer will be numbers of ways, but primarily anally. OK. So what are the risks of anal sex? And the answers will be provided. How does one reduce those risks? Monogamy, condoms, staying healthy . . .

You persist in speaking of the "homosexual lifestyle" which you know, in your heart, no longer exists. This is not San Francisco in the 70's. Gays are not ostracized as they were then, and are not driven to such behavior, which is typical of all men in groups and gangs, by the way. All the gay men I know -- ALL -- live lives as boring as the straight people I know, with the same relationship dynamics.

Last time I looked HIV was transmitted primarily via vaginal sex in this country. That the original epidemic was in the gay male community is an historical fact, and tragedy, but now a manageable public health issue. At least most gay men are aware of the risks; are straight men and women, the ones now becoming infected? And why are they at risk? Because in particular communities being gay or bi is still a terrible shame, so the homosexual behavior is ignored and put in denial, and the women - again - get screwed, literally and figuratively. I would think you'd care about them. I personally have a very good friend who was infected because her husband -- HUSBAND -- was on the "down lo." And a religious guy to boot.

So the straight population needs this information much more than the gay population does, and protecting their innocence won't wash down the anti-retrovirals when the time comes.

As David has pointed out, globally HIV transmission is overwhelmingly via vaginal sex. Also, the initial case, the zero case, has been isolated to Kinshasa, Congo in the late 1930s after the virus mutated in chimps in the Cameroons and jumped to humans. And in Africa transmission has always been heterosexual. It is only here that the epidemic broke in the gay community.

February 23, 2006 7:57 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

MSM HIV aids rates were not in the old curriculum.

Period.
They weren't there.

David is saying keep them out - data respresented in that way marginalizes gays.
You guys are okay with that.

That's sad. You are not out for protecting kids, you are for social advocacy of a particular lifesytle.

Thanks for admitting it.

February 23, 2006 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I personally have a very good friend who was infected because her husband -- HUSBAND -- was on the "down lo." And a religious guy to boot."

We probably need to find a way to out these guys, right? Do you ever hear of wives infected by straight husbands who cheat? Wonder why?

"And in Africa transmission has always been heterosexual. It is only here that the epidemic broke in the gay community."

That's because there is no open homosexuality in Africa. It's not tolerated. Maybe that's the safest thing for gays- to be a societal taboo.

February 23, 2006 9:03 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Kinda funny, since Africans deny that they are ever homosexual.

And, yes, I have heard about wives infected by straight husbands who cheat with women.I was only referring to my friend.

And the incidence of most STIs in women is secondary to their husbands cheating with other women, loyal, monogamous fellas that they are.

February 23, 2006 10:03 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Theresa,

I haven't the faintest idea what either David or I has said that in any way does not put the data front and center that kids should know. You are the one who insists in implying homosexual sex is bad, in and of itself. You should just come out and say it, like your religious friends. At least they are consistent.

And this ploy is very clear to all of us here, and was on the CAC last year as well, as it is to the vast majority of citizens in Montgomery County. If you truly want gay kids to stay healthy, you should be making their lives easier, encouraging them to be monogamous, and give them married role models to which they can aspire. But last month in Annapolis, who was there in the front row spewing her bigotry out at the House? None other than "Let's protect the kids from the dangers of swirlies" herself, Dr. Ruth Jacobs.

Maybe you should simply sit down with someone like David or me and get to know real people, with real lives, real families. When you can seek comfort in your religious beliefs you lose track of the core of those beliefs in the first place, and you cause great damage to real people.

February 23, 2006 10:10 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Theresa said, "David is saying keep them out "

No, he is not saying that Theresa. He said MCPS said the rates are included in the STI unit. We all agree they should be included. He also said the idea of adding all HIV rates to the FLHD unit would have been an "interesting" discussion for the CAC to have but that it never came up. And he informed us that the vote to add MSM-only HIV rates indicated the majority did not approve of Retta's idea. Retta's tapes can prove who is telling the truth. These are the facts.

When did CRC begin to plan to join PFOX in the lawsuit against MCPS?

Christine

February 23, 2006 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So the straight population needs this information much more than the gay population does,"

Actually, unless they are IV drug users or prostitutes or have a shady thug husband gettin' it on the down low, it's probably not imperative. Better to counsel them to associate with persons of good character and strong family background and to teach them to hold the Ten Commandments as an ideal. That will save lives in the long run.

February 23, 2006 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As David has pointed out, globally HIV transmission is overwhelmingly via vaginal sex"

Failing to point out it's usually in poor areas where prostitution is rampant.

The U.S. isn't a third world country yet. And we've got a new Supreme Court to turn things around.

February 23, 2006 6:34 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Your way has proved awfully inadequate for the last 2500 years. Get a life.

February 23, 2006 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it hasn't.

February 23, 2006 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how a posting about a set of scientifically inaccurate lessons in the OHIO curriculum (with implicitly religious overtones) critiquing EVOLUTION gets hijacked into issues of homosexuality and related concerns (not unimportant in their own right) in MCPS(?). There was NO lesson activities asking about the relationship between homosexuality and sin in that Ohio package--in the health curriculum in MCPS, who knows, but that was NOT the curriculum under debate. Last time I checked, MCPS is not in Ohio unless the Discovery Institute has initiated a new form of faith-based geography where communities are designated as fluid dependent upon where you sleep that night in which case parts of Michigan are now in Florida (temporarily).

March 01, 2006 3:54 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Does anybody have any idea what this guy is saying? "Parts of Michigan are now in Florida?"

The attempt to undermine the science of evolution in the schools is definitely relevant to the parallel efforts to undermine the teaching of medically and scientifically accurate information about sexuality. We will be following both subjects on this blog.

JimK

March 01, 2006 5:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home