Tuesday, March 04, 2008

CRC Throwing in a Towel

I got a call yesterday. A reporter wanted my reaction to the news that the Citizens for a Responsible ... Curriculum ... were not going to appeal any more, to get the new sex-ed curriculum thrown out. They'd gone to the courts, the state school board, the state superintendent of schools, another court, and now they're going to quit, he said. He also told me that they were going to try to get the state legislature to come up with an official definition of "erotic techniques," and further, they were saying that they would get information to MCPS students debunking the innateness of sexual orientation.

Normally when a reporter tells me something like this I am careful not to scoop them on the Internet. They have to work with editors and policies, deadlines and publication dates, but I don't -- after I talk to them I can have a blog post online before I get a dial tone. I have always thought it was uncool to do that; they've got a job to do and I appreciate their hard work.

But the CRC has the news on their web site, so I guess the cat's out of the bag. They have a red box that says:
CRC Not to Appeal Judge's Ruling:

Will Seek Legislative Input on Definition of "Erotic Technique".

Students To Be Given Direct Information On MCPS' False Reason

(Innate) for Homosexuality.

As far as I can see, there isn't much explanation of any of this. But there are three pieces of news here.

1. They aren't going to appeal any more. This makes sense (which is something you don't take for granted with them). Even free legal assistance can be a waste when you just lose every time. The fact is, nobody has ruled in their favor since 2005, when a judge made a hasty decision and awarded them a temporary restraining order. So they're finally giving up: this is terrific news. Some on our side are declaring victory now, but I am hesitant to do that. I don't expect the whack-a-mole game to end this easily.

2. They are going to ask the state legislature to tell us what "erotic techniques" are. If you haven't been following -- the CRC was bent out of shape because the schools are telling students that a condom should be worn for anal sex. Since this is a major channel for the spread of sexually transmitted infection, it's good medical advice, but the CRC thought it was too much. They tell people say the schools are "teaching anal sex," as if they were telling students how to do that. They started claiming that this violated a state law against "teaching erotic techniques." It's a bizarre and ridiculous claim, but they seem to have talked themselves into it. So let them bother the legislature, whatever, the definition is going to be whatever it is in the dictionary, and they won't get anywhere here. The schools aren't teaching erotic techniques, this is just more time-wasting by these nuts.

3. They are going to somehow get "information" to students about the innateness of homosexuality. They pretend that sexual orientation is a choice, and pretend to be offended that the schools say it is innate. Sorry, everybody knows it's innate. Is sexual orientation immutable? Probably, but it's not the same thing, and the schools don't say immutable, they say innate. Again, they can make a big deal out of it, but what can you say? You hit puberty or so, and something clicks. You don't choose whether to be attracted to boys or girls, it just happens. They want scientific proof? Good luck. There is scientific consensus that sexual orientation is innate, but this is not something that gets proved, it's not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested. Nobody knows what "students to be given direct information" means, but let's just say I don't expect it to be something anybody wants to see. They're not saying, so we'll just have to wait to find out what clever thing they are dreaming up.


Anonymous Andrew B. said...

Direct information to students could involve fliers passed out through the schools.

March 04, 2008 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
See, it proves the Showernuts aren't too smart. I repeat my question "If you say the word algebra-have you taught math? " If sayng "anal sex" is teaching erotic techniques- well, we can guess that foreplay among Showernuts is "Shut your eyes and think of England"

March 04, 2008 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I wonder whether PFOX et. al. will make a more concerted effort to distribute their tripe to students in schools?

March 04, 2008 6:03 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Theresa asks how it is bigoted to want to maintain sex-segregated bathrooms, and I will answer. It is not bigoted to want to do so. There are sex-segregated bathrooms, there are unisex bathrooms, and family bathrooms. There are no laws about how many bathrooms of each there must be anywhere, nor are there any laws that deal with this issue at all. I have no problem with sex-segregated bathrooms, nor do most people I know. So it couldn’t possibly be bigoted to want that to continue.
Bigotry is a prejudice directed against a class of people which is not founded on reason. It doesn’t matter how small that class is, how much money its members earn, its demographics, religious beliefs, or any such characteristic.
Theresa, you’ve made it clear that you know the bill is not about “de-segregating bathrooms.” It’s not about allowing trans women to use the women’s room, which they do already, and trans men to use the men’s room, which they also do already. This bill changes nothing.
What you want to do is peer into the stall next to you to determine the genitalia of the woman next door. That is called voyeurism, and is currently illegal. It will continue to be illegal. So why do you care? It has nothing to do with sex-segregation of bathrooms, but everything to do with the fact that you choose to be ignorant about human sexuality and choose to discriminate against trans women because you don’t think we are women. As I’ve said, believe what you want, but to discriminate against us is bigotry. It is not your call.
And then you rapidly segue from bathrooms -- you know you can never police patrons’ genitalia -- to locations of public nudity. I have told you repeatedly that there has never been an incident of a pre-op trans woman exposing herself in such a situation, but you are still obsessively hysterical. You know that Rio has a policy to allow pre-op trans women to change in the family bathroom, which is an adequate accommodation for that period of time in the life of most trans women between social transition and genital surgery. But you are still hysterical about your absurd hypothetical, and you have continued to fear-monger about it. Your irrational fear, which psychiatrists would be happy to label from the DSM, has driven you to distraction and caused you to foment hatred against a small minority in this county. That, dear, is bigotry.

March 04, 2008 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What you want to do is peer into the stall next to you to determine the genitalia of the woman next door."

No one in this debate has suggested that, Dana. You are a liar and will lose this referendum.

This new law, which has been temporarily suspended by CRG, requires that you cannot discriminate against an obvious biological man who is trying to present himself as a woman in your segregation policy for facilities, which include bathrooms.

CRG thinks the policy on bathroom segregation should left to the owner of the bathroom facility. CRG seeks to revoke this law because it doesn't allow a few common sense exceptions, one of which is bathroom facilities. These exceptions are part of law in virtually every place that has included "gender identity" in its discrimination statutes.

You over-reached. Because of that and because of your tactics to interfere with democratic rights of citizens seeking to petition, you will lose.

March 05, 2008 7:24 AM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

"CRG thinks the policy on bathroom segregation should left to the owner of the bathroom facility. "

If CRG really believed that, they would not have begun this ridiculous petition referendum.

March 05, 2008 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're not making sense, BT. The new law interferes with the right of facility owners to set their own policy. No law would be necessary to leave these owners with their property rights.

March 05, 2008 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

Great! Now CRC/G will be wasting paper handing out flyers to students who don't want to read it, teachers who don't want to distribute it and by parents don't want to see it!!

I think CRC and PFOX just need to stick to a more eco-friendly approach: the internet.

All those trees cut down for no reason... (since so many petitions are more than likely not valid and the fact that MC will vote for ANTI-discrimination, not pro-discrimination like the shower-and-sexual education nuts!

They should be aware that the flyers PFOX hands out leads to hate speech and therefore should not be distributed at schools.

I guess birds of feather stick together. That seems to be the point in this case, except their "feather" is flock of hate and should not be tolerated by any means.

Societies that practice tolerance of gays, different religions, ethnicities, etc. tend to be more prosperous and healthy. Doesn't CRC want that for our children?

Nope. They don't. They just want to find someone stupid enough to believe in their theocratic agenda. They have found some...but, like them, they are not credible.

Seriously, juxtapose their agenda with their long-term final objective: teaching that hate is OKAY, especially if the person they hate isn't Christian.

Why isn't CRC/G not saving the life of those who are dying from hunger or disease?? Because, instead, they just want to sit around and think about another human
s sex life and genitalia all day. Sounds pretty sick to me!


March 05, 2008 9:25 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

It seems to me that a legal opinion has already been written on the facility issue, and it allows facilities owners to decide how to designate restrooms as they see fit. This allows them to keep out pre-op trans folks at their discretion. So what’s the problem?

From the Health and Human Services Committee memo:

“The County Attorney’s Office concluded that Bill 23-07 as introduced would not require or prohibit restroom designation according to gender identity or biological gender (see memorandum on © 17). This means that an employer or other public facility provider could maintain and enforce current gender based restrictions on public facility use.”


“Some individuals expressed concern that if Bill 23-07 lets a person use a facility appropriate for that person’s gender identity, then a non-transgender person may use that provision to excuse committing a crime.” Most of the next sentence (everything after the comma) is in bold: “If enacted, Bill 23-07 could not be used as a shield to protect a person who commits a crime in a public facility.” It then goes on to say “Any action that is a crime would remain a crime if the Council enacts Bill 23-07, regardless of the perpetrator’s identity.” The next line is important to: “For example, Maryland law specifically prohibits a person from conducting visual surveillance of another individual, with our without prurient interest, in a private place without the consent of the individual (Maryland’s “peeping tom law). Nothing in Bill 23-07 would protect a person from prosecution if that person entered a public facility and violated this law.”

And From Section 2 (“How specific should the law be regarding public facilities?”) of the Health and Human Services Committee memo, option 2:

“Amend Bill 23-07 to reaffirm current law. Current County law has an exemption from the public accommodations law for “distinctly private or personal” facilities. Bill 23-07 could be amended to more explicitly let each public facility provider determine what facility a transgender individual can use. This option would let an employer or other public facility provider decide whether to maintain restrictions based on gender identity or biological gender.”

In both the first quote above and the last one directly above, employers and public facility providers get to decide. They are not forced one way or another. The law apparently is already interpreted that way and they didn’t see the need to amend it further.

So what is the problem?



March 05, 2008 9:42 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...


She used the pronoun “he” with respect to the County attorney, who happens to be male.

Theresa, I’m sure he can do it, but since I’m not his boss, I won’t be asking him to do so. I imagine he has more important issues on his desk.

As for the Code, well, I and others have already told you that there is nothing in the Code on bathrooms, because there is no law here, or anywhere else, segregating bathrooms. If you can find one I will be happy to admit my mistake. Why the county should promulgate such a law when there hasn’t been a need for one before is beyond me.

As for people being insulting, I think Maryanne has spoken eloquently on that topic. Insults are uncalled for, and we can get very heated here at times. That you think we come off looking bad, rather than you, is quite funny, but you’re entitled to your opinion. As for my calling you bigoted, I did so because you posted yesterday on Maryland Politics Watch and challenged me to explain why I consider you to be so. And I did. You tried to smear me with this topic once in one of your email blasts, and simply came away looking ignorant. As I’ve said, you may believe whatever you want, but when you ignore reality, science and medicine as an excuse to denigrate a class of people, often falling back on nonsensical religious justifications, then you’re being bigoted. And when you use the political process to deprive a group of people of its rights, then you raise that bigotry to the level of prejudice of which we have seen far too much in this country’s history.

You know what the consequences are of this kind of hate speech. Real people die, especially young people. And that apparently matters nothing to you compared to your discomfort at recognizing our existence. Not very Christian, nor, more importantly, very moral.

March 05, 2008 9:47 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

You're calling me a liar?

March 05, 2008 9:48 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Theresa and Wyatt and Johnnie and company,

You are not lawyers, and based on your legal abilities as manifest in your previous incarnation as CRC, it's pretty evident you don't know what you're talking about legally.

Yes, you've temporarily put the law on hold, just as you did the sex-ed curriculum. Temporarily.

March 05, 2008 9:52 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Oh, sorry. Excuse me. Garza is, indeed, a lawyer. I apologize.

March 05, 2008 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You're calling me a liar?"

You made this statement about Theresa:

"What you want to do is peer into the stall next to you to determine the genitalia of the woman next door."

It's a lie.

March 05, 2008 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

The Gazette talks about the genitalia nuts!!! (Read below)

After years of failed attempts to have county schools’ sex-education curriculum thrown out, a collection of religious conservative groups has given up its legal battle and will turn to state lawmakers to help tweak the lesson.

It is a change for the opposition groups, who had also appealed to state agencies to halt the curriculum, which includes two 45-minute lessons in eighth- and 10th-grade on sexual orientation and a video on condom usage.

In January, county Circuit Court Judge William J. Rowan III decided the lessons are legal. Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and Family Leader Network have argued that it is illegal to teach students that homosexuality is innate. And even after the school system overhauled the curriculum, the groups say the lesson plans still teach alternative forms of sex to students.

Previously, State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and the state school board upheld the county school board’s decision to move forward with the sex-education curriculum. The county board approved the curriculum in June with a response teachers can use when a student asks if homosexuality is an illness.

On Monday, Michelle Turner, a CRC spokeswoman, said the three groups never received a clear definition of ‘‘erotic technique” from the state school board and want state lawmakers to set a universal definition of the term.

‘‘Right now, we are just looking for a definition that could be used statewide,” she said. ‘‘We are seeking somebody at the state level to require a definition, so if that means the state legislators make a definition, then so be it.”

As for homosexuality being innate, the school system has not shown any ‘‘scientific proof” of that finding, so the groups are looking at different ways to pass the information along to students, she said.

Turner declined to say which lawmakers the groups have contacted, or how they would get their information to students. Other group members did not return repeated requests for comment.

‘‘We are exploring avenues now to get that information out, specifically to the students,” she said. ‘‘We’re not exposing our hand just yet. We need to fine-tune a couple of things before we put our message out there.”

Turner did not rule out future litigation against the school system to stop the lessons. ‘‘I’m not going to say there are no more legal options,” she said. ‘‘Right now, we’re looking for a more direct route, and one that is more timely. At this time, we don’t think it’s possible to get a fair ruling.”

In 2004, the school board approved and piloted a video on condom use. CRC and PFOX filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to stop a discussion of homosexuality that was to be piloted in spring 2005.

The discussions never took place after the federal judge placed a restraining order on the lesson, citing a teachers guide that he said unfairly singled out a religious denomination for its view on homosexuality.

As part of a settlement with the opponents, the board agreed to scrap the curriculum and restarted the process of revising the lessons. The opponents were given seats on a reconstituted advisory panel.

‘‘It sounds like they’re desperate,” said James Kennedy, a panel member and president of TeachtheFacts.org, a parents group formed to support the county’s sex-education curriculum. ‘‘They’re out of steam now. They’ve lost all their appeals. They’ve lost everything.”

Turner disagreed. ‘‘We’re not throwing in the towel,” she said. ‘‘We still have plenty of support. We still have plenty of people who want to see this curriculum fixed.”

The school system is ready to move past the litigation, said Brian K. Edwards, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast’s chief of staff.

‘‘This is good news for our community. Now, we can focus on our primary mission — educating children — and leave the courtroom behind,” he said of the groups’ decision not to file an appeal. ‘‘It has been a long, expensive journey, but in the end, the courts upheld the rule of law and rejected the notion that a small group of opponents can decide what will or will not be taught in our classrooms.”

This week, school board member Patricia B. O’Neill (Dist. 3) of Bethesda said it may be difficult for the groups to find a Montgomery lawmaker willing to take their side. She has spoken with several lawmakers who were on board with the lesson plans, O’Neill said.

‘‘I believe we are right,” she said. ‘‘I can’t imagine that they would find a Montgomery County sponsor.”

Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. said Wednesday that he ‘‘certainly would consider” helping the groups’ fight against the curriculum. But instead of the religious groups asking the state school board for a definition of ‘‘erotic technique,” it would be more worthwhile for a legislator to do so, he said.

‘‘I have a problem with the sex-ed curriculum, as do many parents in Montgomery County,” said Dwyer (R-Dist. 31) of Glen Burnie. ‘‘Somebody from Montgomery County ought to be fighting their cause.”

Students may opt in to take the lessons; those who don’t opt in take alternative classes. Ninety-five percent of eighth-graders participated in the lessons last October, and 97 percent of 10th-graders participated in the lessons last month, according to school system data.

From: http://www.gazette.net/stories/030508/montnew60401_32363.shtml

March 05, 2008 10:44 AM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...


as I understand it, the law says NOTHING about restrooms. It would seem that you all have pushed up a hypothetical situation through lies.

March 05, 2008 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BT, you don't understand it correctly. The bill is an amendment that adds gender identity to an existing law banning several other types of discrimination. It mentions the use of facilities. This has always been interpretted as including restrooms when applied to other forms of discrimination. Why wouldn't it now?

TTF, the County Council and the idiotic County Executive are lying because they know they are in political trouble. If the citizens, for the first time in decades, overturn a county law, they worry about the political future of those who passed it and signed it.

They are right to worry. They should make things right by adding common sense exemptions rather than lying. It's called leadership and they're failing at it.

March 05, 2008 1:13 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

It's not a lie, Anonomite. I may be wrong, and I was referring to Theresa's people, not specifically to her, but she has made it very clear that she is obsessed with the genitals of the women in the bathroom.

She has no idea right now about anyone's genitals, and the only way she can know is to observe. Same holds for you, so unless you have any suggestions about bathroom policing you are not contributing to the dialogue.

March 05, 2008 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're still lying. Neither I nor anyone at CRG has suggested "policing bathrooms". Quite the opposite. Opponents of your new law want business owners free to set their own policies. You're the one that wants the government involved in policing something: interpersonal relationships.

March 05, 2008 2:04 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

"Interpersdonal relationships"? What in the world are you talking about?

I want to use the bathroom; Theresa doesn't want to let me. She's made that clear.

March 05, 2008 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a lie, Dana.

March 05, 2008 3:05 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

No, its an undeniable fact Red Baron

March 05, 2008 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought dana had a sex change operation....true ?

March 05, 2008 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Emproph said...

Maybe they see it like gay marriage.

People who are transgendered don't really want to use the bathroom, they just want to destroy the right to do so for everyone else.

March 05, 2008 5:06 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

In my area, they just passed a non-discrimination law in housing and public accomodations. There was NO fuss about bathrooms and locker rooms.

It sounds like what happened in Maryland is that a group disagreed with the policy being passed and so looked for a loophole that would appeal to people's fear and disgust.

They say the problem is things are are not clear regarding bathrooms and locker rooms, but their problem is with one thing - gay people being protected under the law.

And I really don't think I am telling people something that they don't already know.

March 05, 2008 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In my area, they just passed a non-discrimination law in housing and public accomodations. There was NO fuss about bathrooms and locker rooms."

Your area was probably reasonable and included an exemption for restrooms.

March 05, 2008 6:58 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

now which is it? i have heard those against these policies play both sides. first they say religious exemptions were not present. then they say provisions regarding bathrooms and the like were not present.

again, which is it?

March 05, 2008 7:12 PM  

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