Report on 2014 NEA EXPO EX-GAY EDUCATORS’ CAUCUS

Given the controversy over the homosexual issue in recent years and previous experiences of tense interactions at NEA’s Annual Meeting and EXPO over the past 10 years, I was anticipating a rough 2 days at this year’s NEA EXPO in Denver. I knew I would be alone at the exhibit for periods of time as my only other help, Sissy Jochmann (Chair of the Conservative Educators Caucus) needed to fulfill other responsibilities in addition to assisting me at the EX-GAY EDUCATORS’ EXHIBIT. I was happily wrong!

When I arrived to set up the exhibit on Monday, I found our assigned spot in the back corner. The backdrop curtain was wrapped around a high railing and our “NEA EX-GAY EDUCATORS’ CAUCUS” sign was entangled in the curtain hanging by one hook. A rack of clothing belonging to the dress shop exhibit next to me blocked the view of our exhibit from anyone walking down the isle. I climbed up on a chair to unravel the curtain but could not reach high enough to re-hang our sign. A young man who working as a convention staff offered to help. He finished with a hearty, “God bless you!” My anticipation began to change.

We had a wide choice of materials to share, thanks to PFOX, Dr. Ramey, Rosaria Butterfield, and others. Our materials addressed bullying in schools; children being raised in same sex homes; health concerns of homosexuals; results of research studies; and other related issues.

During the next two days, teachers trickled by our exhibit, most with expressions of puzzlement and some with disgust. A few stopped to talk about the issue. The question was usually, “So what is an ‘Exgay?’” Our answer, “A person with unwanted same gender attractions who does not want to embrace a homosexual identity. Here are the personal stories and research which support our viewpoint.” I would usually make it more personal making sure the person knew this was my own history. Conversation rarely went deeper than that. People would pick up a few items, especially “EXGAY IS OK” buttons or bookmarks and perhaps a few brochures or research articles. A few returned to purchase Rosaria Butterfield’s book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.

The conversations that made our efforts seem worthwhile were few but important. Several openly gay people came by to respectfully engage discussion of recent events such as John Paulk’s article in Politico, “From Gay to Straight and Back,” or the dissolution of Exodus. Such conversations always attracted a group of listeners. We affirmed the right of people to make those choices but said, “We are here to stand for the right of individuals with unwanted same gender attraction to pursue other avenues besides embracing a homosexual identity and way of life. We are not here to coerce anyone to make changes they don’t want to make.” I also was able to explain that the caucus was founded when I realized that I could be forced to teach something on this issue that was contrary to my own personal experience. We also pointed out to several that CA and NJ now have laws that prohibit mental health professionals from assisting youth to resolve their same gender attraction issues in any other way than by embracing homosexuality and we believe that is a violation of our right to pursue happiness. Many were surprised that such laws exist and seemed to agree that it infringes on freedom, even when they disagreed with our views.

We had a libertarian teacher stop by to ask if we had an exhibit last year. He had missed us and was in the habit of stopping by for any new info. He affirmed our right to be there and was supportive of our theme of personal freedom.

After a group of people walked by, a convention staff young woman stopped and asked, “Tell me about this.” Before I could get out a complete sentence, she said, “That’s me.” I replied, “It was me, too.” As I explained a bit more, she listened briefly appearing to be cautious to avoid being seen at our booth. She took some resources and promised to watch the online video by FAMILY WATCH INTERNATIONAL and slipped away as she said, “I think God is talking to me.”

All of these conversations which had a measure of reasonableness to them, were well worth the effort and expense of being there. By placing ourselves in the pathway of people who have opposing views, we are showing that we are real people representing a view that is not malicious to personal freedom but rather dignifies individual choice. It is very important that we hold the place we have carved out inside the NEA in future years as long as we are able. We deeply appreciate the support of the many individual and groups who have provided us with materials and moral support through the years. And we welcome participation at future exhibits by anyone who feels the calling to be there or feels impressed to help financially.

Thank you

Jeralee Smith
Founder, NEA EXGAY EDUCATORS CAUCUS
July 21, 2014

The views expressed in this document are those of the caucus. The caucus has no authority to speak for, or act on behalf of, the NEA.

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Understanding Same-sex Attraction

This documentary is an eye-opening experience for many as it presents clear evidence showing that no one is “born gay” and that many people with unwanted same-sex attraction have been able to change. We summarize the research data, include interviews with top experts in the field, and present powerful testimonials from four men who speak honestly, openly and compellingly about what it was like for them to develop same-sex attraction and live the homosexual lifestyle. They then discuss their experiences with therapy that helped them to develop a healthy heterosexual sexual orientation.

In conjunction with the release of this video, we are also releasing our extensive new policy brief, Laws Banning Sexual Orientation Change Therapy are Harmful and Violate Fundamental Human Rights. http://familywatchinternational.org/fwi/documents/fwipolicybriefSOCE.pdf

Our new documentary and policy brief together are very timely. More and more people are confused because of misinformation regarding homosexuality, and they believe the “born that way” (and can’t change) myth. Increasingly, the rights of those who seek change therapy (also known as sexual orientation change therapy or SOCE) are violated, as laws are being enacted to ban it.

This information comes from Family Watch International.

The views expressed in this document are those of the caucus. The caucus has no authority to speak for, or act on behalf of, the NEA.

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NEA Representative Assembly Report 2013- Unsafe Schools

The NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly was held this year in Atlanta, Georgia, June 26- July 6. In reporting, I choose to focus on an alarming NEA action taken at the convention and hence the title to this report (Unsafe Schools). New Business Item 30, which delegates narrowly passed, to which I spoke in opposition, was the issue of great concern:

NBI 30- “NEA will encourage all states and NEA Affiliates to use existing means of communication to promote developmentally appropriate instructional resources in order to help all educators integrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history, people, and issues into their instruction such as, but not limited to “Unheard Voices” an oral history and curriculum project for middle and high school students created in collaboration by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Story Corps.”

On the surface this New Business Item may seem harmless, but if you investigate the website and look at the curriculum, “Unheard Voices,” an alarm for the safety of our students should sound. Let me give an example and direct quote from the curriculum itself which I presented to the NEA delegation:

After listening to an interview of transgender, Jamison Green, who transitioned from female to male in 1988, the classroom discussion (not in a book brought home) questions include: “When someone suggested to Green that he might be transsexual, he says he ‘reacted in complete horror.’ Why do you think he was so scared? What messages had he received growing up that made him afraid to even explore transitioning? What messages have you received (from family, friends, media, school, places of worship) about transgender people?”

This curriculum is for 6th through 12th graders. I personally teach 6, 7, and 8th grade. Children are so impressionable and already have confusion about sexual issues from media and other sources. Introduction of material like this would be devastating. Take Massachusetts, for example, where this type of curriculum was introduced after same-sex marriage was legalized. A recent Massachusetts survey, Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, completed by high school students across that state, reveals that students identifying as gay and who had same-sex contact rose by approximately 50% from 2005 to 2009. Now transgender, changing one’s gender, is being introduced.

Why should our children have to deal with this type of curriculum? If you listen to the interviews in the “Unheard Voices” curriculum, you can plainly see that the suggestion and encouragement of others played a great role in the individuals’ transitioning. This curriculum only encourages gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender action and mentions no risks; but there are risks to physical health and mental health.
(1) Rigorous studies demonstrate that sexuality in adolescents is fluid and that most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25.
(2) New Business Items passed by the delegates at the NEA Convention are directives for the NEA to take their monies to enact the approved new business item. Since this New Business Item was ratified, teachers and parents, please become knowledgeable of this attack on our children.

(1) www.factsaboutyouth.com
(2) National Health and Social Life Survey (1994) in. E.O. Laumann et al, The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 292-296.

No NEA Ex-Gay Caucus Expo Booth This Year

After securing an NEA Ex-Gay Caucus booth for the NEA Expo in Atlanta on April 22, 2013, I received a notice from CEPI (Conventions-Exhibits-Promotions-Inc.), Expo organizers, June 13, 2013, that my booth confirmation had been revoked as we no longer had NEA caucus status.

I quickly contacted NEA, as I had heard nothing to this effect from them. I was informed that, “Yes, the information I had been given by CEPI was correct.” (This surprised me as we have had status for the past nine years.) I was told that January 26, 2011, an email had been sent to all caucus chairs requiring a response that would “grandfather in” the caucus before new rules went into effect. I had changed my email address August 7, 2009, and consequently did not receive the email. By the way, this was the first and only caucus email I had been sent by NEA in my eight years of being caucus chair. My next step, I was told, was to re-file for caucus status. New rules require 25 NEA members and updated caucus information. Since I only found out we were not a recognized caucus on June 13, 2013, I was told it would be impossible to have an Expo booth this year because we needed committee approval and their earliest meeting date would be in September.

If you are an NEA member and you support what the Ex-Gay Caucus stands for, please consider joining. Caucus members do not need to be ex-gay themselves, but must support the beliefs offered by the caucus and explained on this website. The mission of a caucus is to make change within the NEA. Please feel free to email with any questions: admin@nea-exgay.org

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Halvorson

9/6/13

The views expressed in this document are those of the caucus. The caucus has no authority to speak for, or act on behalf of, the NEA.

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“Gender Confusion Training” and the 2012 NEA Rep. Assembly, Wash. DC

Washington, D.C. was the site of the NEA Representative Assembly this year. More than 8,000 delegates from around the nation met from June 28- July 5, 2012, to attend trainings and to do the business of the union. NEA leadership reported that NEA has lost many members this year and that the budget will need to be cut by $65 million.

At the Joint Conference on Concerns of Minorities and Women, held prior to the Representative Assembly, I attended a session entitled “Drawing Connections: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Gender & Sexual Orientation.” This teacher training had as two of its key objectives: 1.) to review the concepts of gender, race, and sexual orientation within the social justice framework 2.) to pursue strategies and resources to address diversity and the “whole student.” The portion I want to discuss here is, according to this training, seeds of doubt could be planted in children’s minds as to what gender they are. Are they a boy trapped in a girl’s body, etc.? This is very concerning to me. Except in a very small number of cases, individuals are born clearly either male or female. As we listen to this issue being discussed in the public arena, we are beginning to see T.V. shows, and also articles in magazines, about transgender issues and how sex-reassignment surgery is a viable option.

Along the same lines, a New Business Item was introduced and passed on the floor of the Representative Assembly which stated, “NEA will re-affirm its commitment to our proud legacy of promoting social justice and equality of educational opportunity for every student, and professional status for every teacher and Education Support Professional by: NEA shall also address in a special dialogue the unique issues of LGBTQ students and educators and make recommendations.” My concern, which I stated on the floor of the assembly, was this: “Is this going to include training and material for our children commensurate with the NEA trainings I have experienced, which glorified cross-dressing and put seeds of doubt in minds as to what gender someone is?” I will be following this very closely to see what action, if any, is being taken in the schools.

This year at our NEA Ex-gay Educators’ Caucus booth at the NEA Expo, Greg Quinlan and Denise Shick were guests. Greg, a former homosexual who has been out of the lifestyle for 20 years, was able to share his story and talk with many booth visitors. Denise Shick shared her heart-wrenching story of growing up in a home where her father demonstrated gender confusion and eventually had sex-reassignment surgery (changing from a man to a woman). The agony, confusion and pain it caused culminated in her father writing a poem at the end of his life. In his poem, he expressed his feelings of loss and despair at thinking the change would be fulfilling, only to find out it left him empty. The last three lines of his poem were, “Where am I? Who am I? All is loss.” Denise Shick is a compassionate individual who has now begun a ministry for families going through similar, agonizing experiences. I would encourage you to visit her website: http://www.help4families.com and to read her book My Daddy’s Secret.

Gender Confusion. My heart is heavy. God help us.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Halvorson
NEA Ex-gay Educators’ Caucus, Chair
8/11/2012

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NEA Representative Assembly in Chicago – 2011

Facts or Feelings
NEA- RA Report 2011

The National Education Association, the largest democratic, deliberative body in the world, met in Chicago, June 30 through July 5, to conduct its annual representative assembly business. Delegates, numbering a little over 8,000, met to make decisions for the union. Dennis Van Roekel and Lilly Eskelsen were re-elected as NEA president and vice president for a three year term. Among other items of business, 97 New Business Items were discussed and voted on. In a secret ballot vote, delegates chose to back Barak Obama for president in 2012 by a 72% to 28% margin.

Prior to the Representative Assembly, the NEA Ex-gay Educators’ Caucus once again had a booth at the NEA Expo. Mary Lokers, ex-gay from Michigan, was able to share her story how after 16 years in the homosexual life, she decided to get information and make decisions based on facts rather than simply acting on her feelings. Her life exudes the joy and contentment she possesses after being out of homosexuality for four years. You can read her story on her blog- http://sharinglightinthemidstofdarkness.blogspot.com/p/untangled-by-truth.html Also in attendance at the Expo booth were Leon and Angela Yuan, who were able to share the amazing story of their son, Christopher’s journey out of homosexuality. His story has been written in the book entitled, Out of a Far Country, by Christopher and Angela Yuan. Additionally at the booth, many pieces of information containing facts, medical information, and scientific studies were distributed.

Very concerning to me on the topic of sexual orientation and gender identification was a sparsely attended training for teachers entitled “Drawing Connections: Exploring Intersections- Gender, Race and Sexual Orientation.” It was offered at the Women and Minorities Pre-Conference. The training purported the idea that we all carry biases which could potentially limit ourselves or others from pursuing our feelings or perceived destiny in life. For example, if an individual is born a male, but perceives himself to be a female, we should celebrate diversity and the individual should be supported in his desire to become a female. One problem with this theory is the omission of the fact that every cell in one’s body, except the sex cells, already identifies that we are a male or a female. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002327.htm ) Rather than presenting facts, medical information, and scientific studies, the training stressed acting on one’s feelings and perceptions rather than considering facts. If this philosophy should permeate into our schools, how will our children be affected? Studies show that children during adolescence already struggle with confusion and experimentation. We certainly don’t want to plant seeds of doubt that will inspire decisions someone may later deeply regret. Additonally, teaching kids to make choices based on feelings and perceptions stands in direct opposition to reading comprehension and higher level thinking skills teachers so wisely espouse.

Finally, as much as some gay activists want to ridicule and deride the idea of ex-gays, thousands currently exist. The NEA Ex-gay Educators’ Caucus exists to make change in the NEA by presenting facts at the NEA conventions in the areas of sexual orientation and gender identification. It is my hope that after two and a half years of requesting and being denied ex-gay representation on the NEA Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification Committee, discrimination will come to an end, and ex-gays will finally realize committee representation.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Halvorson, Chair
NEA Ex-gay Educators’ Caucus
8/9/11

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NEA Representative Assembly in New Orleans – 2010

NEA Representative Assembly in New Orleans – 2010

The theme for this year’s NEA Representative Assembly in New Orleans was “Hope Turned into Action”, that is, it seems, for everyone but ex-gays.
This year I spoke at the Resolutions Committee Open Hearing asking that in Resolution B 14a “ex-gays” be added to the list of individuals (gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders) needing protection from discrimination. Following is the rationale I presented to the committee.

1. A June 26, 2009 Washington, D.C. Superior Court ruling in Parents and Friends of Ex-gays (PFOX) vs. D.C. Office of Human Rights, 2008CA003662, identified ex-gays as a protected class under sexual orientation.

2. Contrary to popular belief, no scientific research to date shows that homosexuality is innate, but rather science points to multiple, complex factors. The researchers from the studies which have been quoted as proving that homosexuality is innate say that their research has been misinterpreted.

Researcher, Dr. Simon LeVay, – in the famous 1991 “gay gene” study reported in Science magazine… “It is important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain.”

Studies of identical twins to date show homosexuality is not innate.
In a 1991 Bailey/Pillard study, 52% of male identical twins (raised in same households) were both homosexual. If homosexuality had been genetic, 100% would have both been homosexual. In other studies, the percentages of identical twins being homosexual were significantly lower.

3. The misconception that this category of protection is not needed, since if someone is not homosexual, bisexual or transgender, they fit the category of heterosexual. Ex-gays are discriminated against and often silenced because they are ex-gay, not because they are heterosexual. It is a completely separate class under sexual orientation. Most heterosexuals cannot say they are ex-gay.

4. Because ex-gays are discriminated against and silenced, the message of hope for those with unwanted same-sex attraction is being withheld from those desiring it. Students and school personnel are not given the right to hear all the information to make informed decisions which could have possible psychological, social and health consequences. According to the American Psychological Association in 2008, “mental health organizations call on their members to respect a person’s right to self-determination.”

As a Washington, D.C. court has recently determined, and as the NEA champions social justice, please add ex-gays to the list of individuals needing protection under sexual orientation within the NEA.

The request was denied.

As a side note, once again this year, as chair of the NEA Ex-gay Educator’s Caucus, I wrote a letter to President Dennis VanRoekel requesting ex-gay representation on the NEA SOGI Committee (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification). Once again, to date that request was denied.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Halvorson
NEA Ex-gay Educators’ Caucus Chair
10/17/2010

Please excuse the lateness of the report. Computer woes along with preparation for the new school year contributed greatly to the delay.

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Hope Starts Here?

“Hope Starts Here”  was this year’s theme for the annual NEA Representative Assembly which was held in San Diego, CA, July 1-6, 2009.  Approximately 90 new business items were discussed as nearly 9,000 delegates did business and made policy for the largest, democratic, deliberative body in the world.

Among the new business items discussed was the issue of same-sex marriage.  The new business item was brought forward by the NEA Board of Directors.  See the wording below.

“NEA will support its affiliates seeking to enact state legislation that guarantees to same-sex couples the right to enter into a legally recognized relationship pursuant to which they have the same rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples including, without limitation, rights and benefits with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration. . . NEA does not believe that a single term must be used to designate this legally recognized ‘equal treatment’ relationship, and recommends that each state decide for itself whether ‘marriage,’ ‘civil union,’ ’domestic partnership,’ or some other term is most appropriate based upon the cultural, social, and religious values of its citizenry. . . NEA will support its affiliates in opposing state constitutional and/or statutory provisions that could have the effect of prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions from providing the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples as are provided to similarly situated heterosexual couples. . . NEA will take such actions as may be appropriate to support efforts to (a) repeal any federal legislation and/or regulations that discriminate against same-sex couples, and (b) enact federal legislation and/or regulations that treat same-sex couples and similarly-situated heterosexual couples equally with regard to social security, health care, taxation, and other federal rights and benefits. . .NEA recognizes that the term ‘marriage’ has religious connotations and that same-sex marriages may not be compatible with the beliefs, values, and/or practices of certain religions. Because of its support for the separation of church and state and the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, NEA supports the right of religious institutions to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. ”

Debate of this issue was cut short after a total of only about nine speakers when President Van Roekel, in an unusual move, although not against Robert’s Rules of Order, asked delegates to vote on closing debate with many more speakers on both sides of the issue still lined up to speak.  Usual procedure waits for delegates, rather than leadership, to request an end to debate.  The new business item was then adopted by the assembly.  Some delegates felt that there was not enough debate to make an informed decision on a topic which may be divisive and/or have ramifications on membership.

Susan Halvorson, NEA Ex-gay Caucus chair, at the Resolutions Open Hearing asked that ex-gays be added to the list of groups in a diverse society that should receive respect, understanding, acceptance and sensitivity under the broad category of Educational Equity.  Among others, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender persons were already on the list.  Rational to include ex-gays included a current court ruling in Washington, D.C. (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, Inc.  v.  Government of the District Office of Human Rights) identifying ex-gays as a protected class and the American Psychological Association’s 2008 statement calling on health organizations to respect a person’s right to self-determination.  After discussion, the resolutions committee denied the request.

Another area of concern is that there is no ex-gay representation on any NEA committees.  Inclusion of ex-gays has been requested for the NEA Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification Committee.  To date this request has also been denied.

Once again the NEA ExGay Educators’ Caucus had a booth at the Expo distributing many pieces of ex-gay literature to interested delegates and guests who stopped by.  Four ex-gays shared their stories of finding freedom from unwanted same-sex attraction.

The 2009 NEA Representative Assembly was a message of hope for some, but in many ways, denied hope to ex-gays and those with unwanted same-sex attraction.

Susan Halvorson

NEA Ex-Gay Educators’ Caucus Chair

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