The 2008 NEA Representative Assembly met in Washington, D.C. , July 1-July 6. This year’s theme was “Team NEA. Commitment. Courage. Power.” As always, it was truly amazing to see 9,000 delegates discuss, debate, and make decisions affecting education.
This year the first NEA Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Open Hearing was held. Unfortunately, currently the ex-gay perspective is not represented on the newly formed NEA Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee. Another area of concern to me was that while I was attending the various pre-conference meetings, I became ever more aware of the ex-gay voice being silenced by the inappropriate use of the term “homophobe”. The American Psychiatric Association’s definition of phobia explains that it involves an extreme dread and avoidance of the object of the phobia. It seems to me that healthy dialogue spoken with respect and love are the coveted trademarks of American society and is a part of what keeps our country healthy and great.
On a more positive note, during the pre-conference Expo, the NEA Ex-Gay Educator’s Caucus did have a booth in which we were able to give out 483 pieces of literature, as well as talk with numerous people about the our caucus beliefs and goals, and answer questions the visitors had.
NEA Ex-Gay Educators’ Caucus Chair