A flyer sent home with some Maryland high school students sparked controversy this week because of its message to teenagers that no one is “born gay.”
The one-page flyer, from a group called “Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays,” was distributed to students at Albert Einstein High School in Montgomery County, Md. and claimed that each year, “thousands of people with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave a gay identity,” Washington Fox affiliate WTTG-TV reported.
“PFOX,” the flyer said, “promotes diversity for the ex-gay community. Ex-gays demonstrate that those with unwanted same-sex attractions can seek help and information on overcoming their feelings.”
According to WTTG, the letter was sent home in compliance with the school board’s policy on flyer distribution, which says that if a group can prove it is a nonprofit organization, it can distribute flyers to students four times a year.
Karen Yount-Merrell, a clinical social worker, told WTTG she was disturbed when one of the flyers came home with her son.
“I don’t like it,” she told the station. “Everything in this flyer make its sound like the goal is to be [an] ex-gay, [or an ex]-lesbian. It is not embracing of a different orientation. It reiterates a societal view that there’s something ‘wrong’ with you if you’re not in the norm. If you aren’t heterosexual.”
She continued, “Teenagers have a hard enough time dealing with who they are and feeling good about themselves.”
PFOX board member Peter Sprigg disagreed, saying the flyer is just calling for “tolerance” of a different view on homosexuality.
“If people were to actually read the content of the flyer that we’re distributing, they will see there is nothing in here that is insulting or even critical of homosexuals,” Sprigg told WTTG. “All it is telling kids [is] that you don’t have to be gay if you don’t want to be.”