Ex-gay fringe group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) has filed a complaint with Maryland’s Montgomery County Board of Education against School Superintendent Joshua Starr over alleged sexual orientation discrimination. The group charges that Starr engaged in “hate speech” when he publicly criticized PFOX for distributing offensive ex-gay flyers to high school students:
STARR: I find the actions of PFOX to be repressible and deplorable. We are bound by law… to enable nonprofits to distribute flyers [...] This group has figured out a way to use that law to spread what I find to be a really disgusting message, quite frankly.
The problem with PFOX is that the group places being LGBT on par with being plagued by a mental illness that can be treated with therapy, a theory that has been disavowed and disproven time and time again. The organization’s entire premise is built on the belief that being gay or transgender is mainly a matter of gender confusion, and that “no one is born gay” and “same-sex attractions can be overcome and gender identity disorder reversed.” Such messages have a harmful stigmatizing effect on all LGBT students, and parents swayed by the pamphlets might force their children to endure the bogus therapy.
While the PFOX flyers never explicitly mention the use of a harmful and ineffective practice most commonly referred to as ‘reparative therapy,’ the group’s website does include a referral directory for obtaining ‘ex-gay’ counseling, as well as Christian prayers for those “tired of living a gay life and wants a fresh start and a new life.” As reparative therapy has been ruled dangerous by numerous medical experts, California is currently pushing through legislation that would ban the practice.