Friday, October 14, 2005

NC Family Policy Council Attack on LGBT Youth & the North Carolina State Board of Education: What YOU Can Do.

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What's Happening? The North Carolina State Board of Education was to hear new proposals on a policy governing the standards for the preparation of school counselors, social workers and other personnel. The policy contains references to sexual orientation and gender identity. The North Carolina Family Policy Council, a far-right group, has attacked the policies saying that not all forms of "diversity" need to be supported. Please see the two previous posts for more information (below). What is currently being done? EqualityNC and SafeSchoolsNC have geared up to lobby the NC State Board of Education in order to keep the enumerated categories including sexual orientation and gender identity in the policies. Many of the State Board members are leaning toward taking out the language and replacing it with more generalized language. Other groups and individuals are writing letters in support of the current policy and the Triangle Gay-Straight Alliance Network (of SafeSchoolsNC) will be holding a rally on the South Lawn of the Capitol Building on October 22nd. Please see the two previous posts for more information (below). What can I do to help?
  • Write a letter to all the members of the North Carolina State Board of Education or give them a call. Let ALL of them know that you are in support of leaving the language regarding sexual orientation and gender identity in the policy on the preparation of school counselors.
  • Support groups like the Triangle Gay-Straight Alliance Network (TGSAN)
North Carolina State Board of Education Members and Contact Information: For background information about this current controversy (October 2005) please see previous posts: SIGN THE PETITION From EqualityNC We need your help! The far-right Family Policy Council is trying to prevent school counselors and social workers from meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Help us make sure the State Board of Education doesn't let extreme religious views win. Sign our petition to the Board today. Sign online at: The Board will be voting on revisions to the professional standards for school social workers and school counselors at their next meeting on November 2 and 3. The proposed updates include requirements that these professionals understand discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and other categories. But the Family Policy Council doesn't want schools workers aiding LGBT youth and wants to take sexual orientation and gender identity out of the policy. They would prefer that school counselors impose their anti-gay religious beliefs on LGBT students and even make the absurd and offensive claim that "sexual orientation" can include pedophilia. Get more information and sign the petition online at: Equality NC is working hard to ensure that all students have a safe and affirming place to learn, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Thank you for helping us fight the radical right. For Equality, Ian Palmquist and Ed Farthing, Executive Directors --------- NEWS & OBSERVER OP-ED, OCTOBER 15, 2005 Old truth in young gays By DENNIS ROGERS, Staff Writer October 15, 2005 Did God make a mistake? I don't mean with giraffes, penguins or even the 1976 AMC Pacer. He obviously created those for the giggles. I mean with gay people. There's a proposal before the State Board of Education that says school guidance counselors and social workers should know how to deal with all sorts of discrimination students may face, including sex roles as well as race, creed and national origin. Professionals say it would help counselors and social workers do a better job if universities would include sexual orientation and gender identity training in their education counseling curriculum. That reasonable suggestion set those who proudly proclaim themselves guardians of "traditional family values" howling with outrage. "The North Carolina Family Policy Council agrees wholeheartedly that each person should be respected," read one letter to the state school board. "However, not all forms of diversity should be supported." Neat trick, that. It's difficult to be respectful to those you consider teenage sex perverts. So the question remains: Did God make a mistake when he made gay people? If he created everything else, as the anti-evolutionists on the religious right argue, wouldn't that include homosexuals, too? And would he have made so many of them if he didn't love them? I mean, they're everywhere. You can hardly swing a cat without hitting one. Not that you should do that. If God didn't make them, how'd they get here? No gay person I've known said they woke up one morning and decided to play for the other team, so to speak. From what I've observed and read, sexual orientation is determined before birth. Choice has nothing to do with it, the smart people say. It pretty much comes down to this: You're born gay or you're not. You may fake it for a while, but inside, you know. If God made some people gay, do we really want to risk his considerable wrath by condemning them? Seems a dangerous thing to do, given the comments by some fundamentalist religious leaders lately that God sends natural disasters to punish people who irritate him. As Noah asked his neighbor in a Bill Cosby routine, "How long can you tread water?" Yes, I know, there's that Leviticus chapter 20, verse 13 thing in the Bible about how gay people are an abomination. Interesting cat, Leviticus. If he got it right, God is also not crazy about tattoos (19:28), pork chops (11:7-8) or fried shrimp platters (11:10-11). And woe unto neighbors who get a little too friendly (20:10). And what was it Jesus said about homosexuality? That's right, nothing. Imagine that. Maybe when Jesus, who went out of his way to embrace societal outcasts like Mary Magdalene, said, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," he really meant what he said. And what was it he said about children? Something about "Suffer the little children to come unto me"? Wise counselors have been doing that for years, lending a sympathetic ear and offering compassionate advice to questioning kids. The state should give them the help they need to do so with all God's children, not just the ones approved by the Family Policy Council. Dennis Rogers can be reached at 829-4750 or Original Source: columnist/story/2817993p-9264471c.html