In Michele Bachmann’s district, a school district’s hands are tied by a so-called neutrality policy on sexual orientation. A Parent’s group is using ex-gay materials from NARTH and Exodus to mislead themselves and those at the school who want to maintain the policy. Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor, has called on NARTH and Exodus to tell the truth in this post:
The New York Times examined the conflict in the Anoka-Hennepin school district over bullying prevention. The school district in Michele Bachmann’s Congressional district has lost eight students to suicide in the last two years. Critics of the district say that some of the suicides are due to anti-gay bullying and want the school district to renounce a policy of neutrality toward discussions of sexual orientation. A parent’s group, using ex-gay literature and arguments, is fighting to keep the policy in place. Although not named in the article, the group is called the Parents Action League. They claim to disapprove of bullying for any reason; however, I believe they are a part of the problem. Their website does not do what they claim — “to…equip citizens with current and accurate information” — and in fact adds to harmful stereotyping of LGBT people.
“I believe the school should name the problem and specifically forbid bullying based on real or perceived sexual orientation. The Olweus Bullying prevention program should be implemented.
I also believe that groups like NARTH and Exodus should take some responsibility for the information they promote. Speaking directly to NARTH and Exodus: Parent’s are obstructing the well being of children because of the information you disseminate. You promote change as happening more frequently than it actually does, and I believe you know it. Many people do decide to channel their actions in alignment with their beliefs, but it is infrequent that someone goes from gay to straight in attractions, fantasies and actions. You should end your silence and communicate the real situation to these groups. Part of the reason they obstruct progress in addressing bullying is because of the distorted narrative you have helped to create.
I believe there are caring people with the PAL, but they think that being attracted to the same sex is due to deliberate choice of a lifestyle or the result of bad parenting or a wicked culture. If they knew that many same-sex attracted kids have great loving parents, attend church, live moral lives and are simply trying to understand what is happening to them, they might become part of the solution and not the problem. Why do PAL people think what they think? Many reasons probably, but the intellectual source nearly always comes back to NARTH or Exodus.”
Read Dr. Throckmorton’s article here: wthrockmorton.com/2011/09/13/mn-parents-action-league-obstructs-bullying-prevention-with-help-of-ex-gay-groups/
In 2009, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Stephanie Simon about his work on sexual identity and religion. Another accurate description of his views can be found in a well-written article by Mimi Swartz in the New York Times Magazine (June 16, 2011, see page 5 to the end). These articles describe the sexual identity therapy framework which he co-authored with Mark Yarhouse. The website supporting that framework is here.
With Michael Frey, Throckmorton co-founded a bullying prevention initiative called the Golden Rule Pledge. They promote the application of the Golden Rule by evangelical youth as a means of preventing school bullying. The GRP is a partner with the Pacer Center for National Bullying Prevention Month in October of each year.
Dr. Throckmorton, who is on the Clinical Advisory Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors, also writes for Religion Dispatches, Huffington Post and Crosswalk.com. His academic work has been published by journals of the American Psychological Association, the American Mental Health Counseling Association and the Christian Association for Psychological Studies.
Other Articles on the topic by Melanie Nathan at gayusathemovie.com/?s=School+district
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