Ex-gays and the Anoka-Hennepin School District

Doesn’t it sound like the world’s most awkward band name?

I found this article very interesting. I’ve written about Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District before, and probably will again. It’s nice to see the school district standing up to the Parents Action League, gives me hope that maybe there really will be a better future for the children in those schools.

The Parents Action League is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a title they wear with pride. That probably tells you just about everything you need to know about them, really.

Something the PAL was pushing for pretty hard in their list of demands was including “ex-gay” material in the school libraries and counseling offices, and generally providing access and credibility to ex-gay organizations. Frankly you start to wonder if someone has a money interest, there.

On the first page of a google search for “ex gay” I found, among other sites, Beyond Exgay, which has stories from people who went through exgay programs. One of them was from a fellow named Brock, and I will quote a short passage from it.

I soon discovered the desolate underground promiscuous subculture of lost, closeted men. I couldn’t believe the staggering amount of married men entrapped by their homosexual desire. The temptations were everywhere. The accessibility for sex, combined with the shame I felt from my desire to be with another man, and compounded by the lack of outlet to express my feelings or thoughts could easily spiral me out of control, seeking another rendezvous to ease the pain.

As I read that, many things that never really made sense before came together in my head. Little things mostly, rumors and stereotypes and urban legends. Reigning over them all the frequent anti-gay rhetorical claims of “unhealthy lifestyles” and I suddenly realized that this is what they were talking about. Not the “gay lifestyle” I think of, which aside from a propensity for rainbow colors, marching in parades and dating people of your own sex is pretty much indistinguishable from the “straight lifestyle”. They’re talking about a dark, hidden world filled with people trapped in a destructive cycle of repression, lies, guilt, and despair.

It’s difficult to think about, but not terribly surprising. It’s estimated that about ten percent of the population is gay, but only three percent of Americans are openly so. That means for everyone who’s out there are two still in the closet. Think about that the next time you see a pride event, in that area more than twice that crowd is still living in fear. Across the nation that’s over twenty million Americans.

How else could they live? They hide themselves, go into denial, get married and have a family. Always longing, always feeling incomplete. They’re constantly lying to themselves and their loved ones, which just adds feelings of shame and guilt. They probably already felt pretty bad since their youth, which is why they never came out. It builds up, crushing them. Staggering under the weight of the guilt and the lies, desperate for the touch of a person they desire, they find moments of solace in brief, secret affairs. Which just add to the guilt and shame as they lie about it to their families.

Infuriatingly, the people who hold up this life of lies and shame and anonymous sex as what it means to be gay and why homosexuality is a destructive force in our society are the very same fucking assholes who create it. People like the PAL build a culture so hostile and terrifying to anyone who’s not straight (or even just not straight enough) that two-thirds of them never conquer their fear and instead accept a life of lies that can never be complete. Then they have the unmitigated gall to hold up statistics of depression & suicide, statistics they created by promoting an atmosphere of hostility and denying gay youth their due support and protection, and say that these statistics demonstrate that being gay is unhealthy and should be hidden and shamed and stigmatized. Which, of course, will only prolong the cycle of abuse.

Makes me think of a group of business owners who place “negroes need not apply” on their help wanted ads, then say that the unemployment statistics show that black people are lazy. Come to think of it, these assholes would probably do that too were it not for anti-discrimination laws.

Perhaps the most tragic part is that it doesn’t have to be like this. It’s an artificially created situation that would evaporate almost overnight if people would just start treating each other like human beings unconditionally.

The child you love and cherish doesn’t change the moment they come out to you, doesn’t get replaced by a demon or anything, they’re still the same person they always were. Why could you accept them before, but not now, when the only difference is that they’ve told you about it?

Just about done here, but I wanted to go back to that article for a moment since I’m talking about assholes with unmitigated gall. A representative from the PAL said the school district was legally liable for “hostile academic environment, for discrimination and for violating the First Amendment rights of parents and students.” Just so we’re clear, these are the people trying to have “not being heteronormative” treated as a mental disorder in the school counseling offices, and they’re complaining about the new anti-bullying rules that basically say bullying gay kids won’t be tolerated anymore.

Seriously.

In the district that had ten suicides in two years, these assholes are saying that not being allowed to treat the different like shit without consequences is discrimination. They have the blood of children on their hands and they’re claiming that being expected to act like half-decent human beings is creating a hostile environment for them.

I don’t know what to say to that, really. I can only assume that their identity is so wrapped up in being horrible to other people that being told there will be consequences for it feels like an attack to them.

About Leo Tarvi

Mostly fictional.

Posted on April 5, 2012, in Daily Post and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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