Booklet on Homosexual Tolerance Sent to Nation's Schools

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - A coalition of medical, mental health, educational and religious groups today is sending the nation's 14,700 public school districts a 12-page booklet outlining "just the facts" about homosexuality.

The Just the Facts Coalition - including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and the National Education Association -- said the booklet "provides information that will help school administrators and educators to create safe and healthy environments in which all students can achieve to the best of their ability."

The New York Times reports that among other things, the book says there is "no support" for the idea that homosexuality is abnormal or mentally unhealthy. It also says "therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation ... can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation."

Conservative groups say the booklet isn't factual - it's propaganda.

Janet Parshall, chief spokeswoman for the Family Research Council (FRC) told the newspaper, "If they're going to talk about the facts, here's a fact: All the major religions of the world consider homosexuality wrong."

But homosexual advocacy groups applaud the effort. Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network called the booklet's mailing a "history changing moment." Jennings said, "The entire mainstream education and mental health establishment has said that it isn't lesbian, gay and bisexual students who need to change, it is the conditions in our schools that need to change."

The booklet is entitled "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth." It is divided into chapters, including sections on how sexual orientation develops; reparative therapy, transformational ministries and other efforts to try to help homosexuals change their sexual orientation, and laws protecting gay men and lesbians from discrimination.

Bruce Hunter, director of public affairs for the American Association of School Administrators said his organization agreed with the booklet's message and believes the booklet is likely to be used by school administrators based on community values.

Hunter also said, "There are many communities in this country that are just too conservative for that and I trust superintendents know their communities. On the other hand, when push comes to shove, occasionally you have to stand up and we would hope they would stand up for tolerance."

Other coalition members endorsing the booklet are the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Association of Social Workers, the National Association of School Psychologists and the Interfaith Alliance Foundation.