Wednesday, April 26, 2006

After School Special: Sex Clubs!

Parents, it’s 4:00 p.m. Do you know where your children are?

That seems to be the main theme of a recent article in WorldNetDaily, “How Homosexual School Clubs Offer Sex to Students,” by Linda Harvey. (Ms. Harvey is president of an organization that “monitors homosexual activism, the occult and New Age influence on American youth,” although it doesn’t appear she “monitors” these disparate topics so much as rails against them.) Despite the juicy headline, she doesn’t have any evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that school-based GSA clubs or youth-oriented LGBTQ community centers “offer sex” to anyone.

Today, April 26, is the “Day of Silence,” an annual event sponsored by GLSEN in schools and colleges where students protest discriminatory treatment against people who are gay or perceived to be gay or people who do not conform to traditional gender roles by maintaining silence. Ms. Harvey advocates instead for April 27, “Day of Truth,” sponsored by the conservative legal group Alliance Defense Fund.

Her main concern is that youth, especially very young children, are being indoctrinated by these clubs and community centers into a lifestyle of sexual irresponsibility and near-certain HIV infection. Her particular outrage focuses on the idea that explicit discussion of sexual behavior is made available to underage youth, and that participation in these groups requires no parental consent, notification, or participation. As evidence that such organizations “target” young children, she writes that many centers “are located conveniently on bus lines to accommodate kids under driving age.” Oh, those cunning homosexuals!

Ms. Harvey also clearly believes in sexual preference, not orientation, a distinction she makes by always using quotation marks around words like gay or acronyms such as LGBTQ. One imagines her speaking a la Dr. Evil, using “quotation fingers” every time she finds herself needing to say “lesbian.” Because of this misunderstanding, she assumes a principal function of such groups is recruitment.

She can’t be faulted for being concerned about spreading HIV, but she should be roundly condemned for her association of HIV with homosexuality. One of the reasons that the rates of transmission are highest among heterosexuals is the belief that AIDS is a gay disease. She also has fallen prey to the bizarre notion that people who are well informed about the risks of sexual behavior and actions they can take to avoid or minimize those risks are more likely to engage in risky behavior than those who remain uneducated. She doesn’t realize that an educated teen (or adult) can still make a moral choice for abstinence.

Look at the programs she criticizes: a youth group in Boston describes a seminar by saying they provide “sexy new ways to use condoms and barriers,” with “honest, judgment-free conversations about…how to keep it safe and advocate for yourself.” Yes, the language includes mention of behaviors such as group sex, mixing sex and drugs and unprotected sex. But that’s not promotion of these behaviors: it’s educating young people about the risks involved and ways to avoid them. It empowers youths to make informed decisions about sexual behavior. Similarly, she warns about an Ohio program called K.I.S.S., which stands for “Keep It Smart and Safe.”

She’s living in La-La-Land if she thinks heterosexual teenagers aren’t also having unprotected, risky sex. This is not a gay phenomenon. It wasn’t gay students having oral sex in the backseats of the weekend ski bus in my junior high.

My senior year in high school I attended a few meetings of the Gay-Straight Alliance. I don’t recall that we ever talked about sex, nor were we “encouraged” to participate in sexual behaviors. There certainly wasn’t any sex going on during the meetings, as Harvey seems to allege is commonplace. We talked about issues relating to safety and self esteem, and mostly it was just a fantastic relief to show up and find out that I wasn’t alone at my school. It was comforting to know that other people I’d known for years were struggling with the same issues – including the bully who’d kicked my ass in the locker room in eighth grade. (The day he showed up I nearly fell out of my chair.)

She is inordinately worried that these kinds of meetings do not typically involve parents.

“Parents are, by and large, not a problem for kids, but the primary people in the world who care most about a kid’s welfare,” writes Harvey. Well, duh. But these programs aren’t necessarily for kids with great parents who are involved in their children’s lives and emotionally available for these kinds of intimate discussions. One only needs to open the local paper to read stories about parents who abuse their children physically, emotionally and sexually. Some kids can’t talk to their parents about issues of sexual orientation, because they risk abuse or being thrown out on the street. That’s not the fault of the gay community, that’s the fault of people like Ms. Harvey who continue to advocate for ignorance, and against what she terms “the beasts of tolerance and acceptance.”

10 comments:

Quinn said...

List of extracurricular organizaitons at my high school that must be eliminated because the participants used them to either discuss or participate in sex:

Band
Theater
Orchestra
Various sports teams
Cheerleading
Student Government
Physics Club (I know!)
The peer counseling organization (Don't do drugs... do me!)
National Honor Society
...

Shall I go on?

Andy said...

Yeah, hello...the band trip to Hawaii? Everybody lost their virginity but us. That's because we were properly educated about responsible sexual behavior and chose abstinence. Or maybe because I was gay, I don't know.

Time said...

She monitors homosexual activisum; that's her job in life?

While she's out there, she should be passing out condoms.

Jarred said...

Sounds like the typical ramblings of the leader of a paranoid "watchdog" group looking for other people to blame the world's problems on rather than doing their own part to solve them.

But then, maybe I'm just a cynical bastard. But I maintain I can be cynical and right. ;)

Anthony said...

Tolerance and acceptance viewed as beasts? That alone should ring alarm bells.

kr pdx said...

Quinn:
Physics Club?!?
OK, I apparently TOTALLY dropped out of that club too soon ;).

National Honor Society
(we had meetings? But hey, I guess nearly all the guys I was attracted to would have been there ... if they thought it was important enough to show up to ... not that I apparently did ... )

Frankly, I think I heard more talk about sex in English (from teachers, and Nathan) and math (from Quinn ;) ) classes.

Very very socially conservative Christians actually write things books "to be read after you are married" that include things like "Now that you can have sex, it does not mean you can go out and have sex with everyone--it only means it is now not a sin to have sex with your spouse." Apparently "saving it until you are married" isn't always correctly understood ... . (I am totally not kidding. I picked up one of these books to glance through at a Christian bookstore once. Nothing terribly juicy. It was divided into "only the man" and "only the woman" halves, though, which was funny. Or sad?)

Frankly, if you keep a kid ignorant, they are not going to know when they transgress whatever line you think you've clearly drawn. Post-Victorian fiction sometimes portrayed the young single mother who just hadn't "known" ... Forget Andy's late-learning on "masturbation," I didn't even know what a "condom" was until I was 13 or 14!

The only way to really convince kids not to engage in sex is to get them to think there's (a) positive reason(s) not to. Fear and forced ignorance are the tools of the Devil. Be nice if folks remembered that sometimes.

Darius said...

There are a lot of people out there who need to ask themselves why they're so afraid of homosexuality. But they're afraid to ask.

samrocha said...

this makes me sad...

Jade said...

This one time, in band camp...

*ducking*

I thought K.I.S.S. was Knights in Satan's Service? I must be watching the wrong after school specials.

Personally, I loved it when the condom lady came to our jr. high health class - she really pushed the whole abstinance thing. I also remember my then-boyfriend got to watch the birth of Mr. McGoo's kid in his health class and vowed never to "touch anything below the waist" after seeing what it looks like when a kid comes out.

Kind of a mood killer, that was.

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