A California bill (AB-1856) that would require LGBT training for foster parents and caregivers has conservatives up in arms. Focus on the Family said last week that it believes the policy would “drive Christian couples away” and hurt kids who are already “seriously damaged” because of sexual abuse. Today, the American Family Association ran its own story on the bill, inexplicably inviting Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values — an Ohio-based anti-gay group — to describe his concern that the training will somehow be used to recruit people to be gay by “confusing children”:
BURRESS: It’s going to continue to confuse children. This is the way the homosexual activists continue to build their numbers — is to get people confused about their gender identity and start acting out… Obviously, people who care about children — Christian couples — they will probably go ahead and go through the training if they’re required to. When they start raising them, they’re just going to have to raise them as Christians.
Burress is yet another reminder that conservative beliefs about homosexuality have not changed over the decades. Just as hate groups like AFA are concerned about “indoctrinating students into homosexual behavior” by teaching them about same-sex families, they believe that something as simple as family acceptance is actually some kind of gay recruitment tool. Worse yet, they now seem to be encouraging conservative parents to pretend to be accepting so that they can instead force anti-gay and anti-trans self-hatred upon these young people.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are not necessarily intertwined. Both, however, present naturally and any identity along either spectrum cannot be separated from a person’s mental health. Research shows that family rejection can impact depression, substance abuse, risk of HIV and STI contraction, and suicide, while family acceptance minimizes those risks. By scaring families into ignoring the importance of supporting LGBT young people, these “family” groups are promoting their very destruction. Confusion is cured with understanding, not condemnation.