Dave’s Testimony

Dave was a special guest at the 2016 NEA Ex-Gay Educators’Caucus booth. The following is his testimony:

My Three Dads
This is a story about my three dads. For most of my life, I felt as if I didn’t have a dad at all. Now, I realize that God has provided father-figures all along, including Himself. Let me tell you a little about them and about me…

In the 60’s an unwanted pregnancy was looked upon with much scorn and shame. So I came into this world feeling rejection from mom, dad, grandparents, the rest of my family and society. Many say that I was an illegitimate child, but now I know that there is no such thing–only illegitimate parents.

My biological father, Ray, never married my mom. Despite many efforts to meet him, Ray chose to shut me out of his life for 46 years. In the fall of 2010, I decided to try, once again, to reach out to him. So, I sent him this testimony. A week later, there was a strong prompting to pray for him, and I did for three days. A month later, he called me and we talked for two hours. I told him that I didn’t want anything from him—just offering the gift of resolution. I felt that he may have been stuffing emotions of guilt and shame for decades. I said that if I were him, I couldn’t live with the fact that I knew I had a son somewhere but didn’t know if he was dead or alive; a good person or a criminal. Nor, would I know what my son loved and hated, or even what he looked like. I told Ray I’d like to meet him and my biological family–but would wait until he was ready. For two years we talked on the phone. Then, in 2012, I went to Minneapolis for a conference and he finally agreed to meet with me. So, at age 48, I got to see my biological father for the first time when we talked for three hours at a restaurant. Ray stated that he didn’t believe I was his son, even though he had paid child support for 22 years. I think this was a self-protection mechanism to justify his actions in rejecting me. After we met, someone told me that he said that we really didn’t connect—but I think that he really didn’t want to connect with me. As a result, of this long-anticipated meeting, I left with a sense of resolution, but also disappointment. Since then, we talked on the phone a number of times, but little came of it. Ray died in 2014 of Leukemia.

My step-dad/adoptive father, Walter, married my mother when I was six months old. He was a Vietnam veteran who experienced the horrors of war. Walter suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and health issues as a result of the war. He used alcohol to self-medicate his emotional and physical pain. And, his violent rages caused a lot of trauma for me as a child. I’ll never forget calling the police when he pulled a knife on my mom. Or, the time he pried the hinges off the bathroom door to get at her.

The effects of growing up as a child of an alcoholic have been many. I tended to overreact to changes I couldn’t control, I had difficulty having fun because I took myself too seriously, I constantly sought approval, I felt different, and I was extremely loyal—even in unhealthy relationships, I also had difficulty finishing projects and I struggled with intimate relationships. Some of these things I still deal with daily.

I felt Walter favored my younger brother, his namesake. Only recently, have I realized this was a misperception on my part. Because my parents divorced when I was young, I never had a dad to play catch with, or to run to when I was afraid. Boys need three things from their fathers—affirmation, attention and affection. I didn’t get any of that from him. As a result, bitterness set in, and for over 20 years, I had nothing to do with my stepfather. Gradually, as I grew to know the Lord, I was able to forgive him and begin a relationship with him and my brother. Now we don’t see each other without an “I love you” and a hug. That forgiveness allowed me to help reconcile my sister with him as well. What a blessing it was to be able to take my nine-year-old nephew to see his grandfather for the first time! Now my family has been restored.

For many years I prayed about my dad’s alcoholism. In 2009, he went to a treatment center and then Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and he has been sober ever since. He even visits other veterans who are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. I’m so proud of him.

A few years ago, I learned that he had always wanted to adopt me but my mom wouldn’t let him. This caused a lot of friction in their marriage. After waiting many years for him to initiate the adoption discussion, I decided to bring it up. This, I thought, was a way to publicly acknowledge the healing that had taken place in our relationship. So, on April 18, 2011, I was formally adopted at age 48 in a courthouse in Columbus, Ohio.

My mom was a very kind and compassionate woman who became a nurse in order to help others. Throughout her whole life, she was plagued with mental illness, with severe depressions and then bouts of mania. As a result, she was irresponsible and unpredictable in her love. Sometimes she wouldn’t communicate for long periods of time, and then she would be very involved in my life. This fed my sense of rejection and caused instability in my life.

Stability came from my grandmother who lived two blocks away. This strong-willed, kind and extremely generous woman not only raised me, but also provided for me financially and emotionally. In school, I became painfully shy and reclusive. Allergies and asthma kept me from gym class and sports. When teams were chosen, I was always picked last. I felt rejection, and I also rejected myself with feelings of low self-esteem and self-hatred.

Finally, someone really paid attention to me. He was an older second cousin who sexually molested me at age 12. I kept this dark shame a secret, for 13 years, telling no one until I was 25. This, and other factors, opened the door to homosexual attraction.

At the insistence of my devout grandmother, I was active in a lifeless mainline church. At age 15, I accepted Christ as my savior during an evangelistic seminar. While still attending the same church, I started to grow spiritually, on my own, by reading Christian books and listening to Christian radio. When it came time for college, I was blessed to attend a bible-believing Christian school. There, I grew relationally with others and began my journey out of shyness. My family couldn’t afford a private college for me, but God miraculously provided with a campus job and financial aid.

After graduation, I headed to Washington, DC to pursue a career in politics and began attending a vibrant church, where I was baptized. Becoming more aware of homosexual feelings, I got involved in Regeneration which ministers to those with unwanted same-sex attractions. My life was finally starting to click. I become a support group leader and began a serious dating relationship with a girl named Karen. I began to trust God, not only as my Savior, but also as Lord of my life. I was having a fantastic relationship with Him, myself and others and I was on top of the world.

Then, my world came crashing down. It seemed that every summer I was plagued by a persistent and deepening depression. That year, it became so intense that I experienced panic attacks and even began hallucinating. I lost my job, my girlfriend, and the peace I felt from God. I remember crying out to God but I felt the heavens were silent. Under the care of an incompetent counselor and doctor, I plunged into a suicidal depression and became obsessed with dying and going straight to hell.

Then, I found a new Christian counselor who rescued me with medication and therapy. However, my deep depression was followed by an equally unrestrained manic phase. I started many businesses, had grandiose ideas, and plunged head-first into the gay lifestyle.

My life became filled with anonymous sexual partners and hanging out at gay bars, beaches and bathhouses. I decided to seek acceptance from those I thought could relate to me best—other gays. However, more rejection, not acceptance, was what I felt the most. I was rejected by those who were more muscular, handsome and self-assured than I. And, I rejected those who didn’t measure up in my eyes. I allowed myself to be treated in ways I would never otherwise allow. And, treated others in ways I would never otherwise treat them. For seven years, I became the prodigal son with my “to hell with the world” attitude.

I didn’t choose to have homosexual feelings. My research and experience has shown the development of my same-sex attraction was rooted in a number of factors: an absent father, abusive stepfather, strong-willed grandmother, passive grandfather, sensitive personality and sexual abuse. These were things that happened to me. However, there were things that I did to contribute to my problem. I chose how to respond to what happened in my childhood, to act on my same-sex attractions and discount the power of God’s grace in my life. This choice to pursue the gay lifestyle not only endangered my physical life, but also my relational, emotional and spiritual life. It also led to a life-dominating sexual addiction that would take years of pain and struggle to overcome.

My Heavenly Father, Abba
Father God lovingly, and persistently, pursued me. And, in 2000, I started on my journey back home, just like the prodigal son did. I returned to Regeneration and began to deal with my overwhelming sexual addiction, as well as the roots of my same-sex attraction. I became accountable to a ministry leader and began attending and serving in a local church. I was also able to forgive my step-dad, mother and the cousin who molested me.

My journey to wholeness and holiness has not been quick or painless. Many times I stumbled along the way (and I still stumble!), but Father God has always been present. I let go of quick, fleeting counterfeit “love” (lust and sex) and slowly developed true and lasting love through deep meaningful relationships with others and God. Of all my fathers, Father God has been the most faithful and consistent.

He is a father to the fatherless… (and, He is a father to those who were fathered less!) Psalm 68:5
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow. Deuteronomy 10:18
The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Psalm 10:14
The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow. Psalm 146:9
He also made them objects of compassion in the presence of all their captors. Psalm 106:46
And I will be a Father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to me. 2 Corinthians 6:8
Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. Ps. 103:11

For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but my lovingkindness will not be removed from you. Isaiah 54:10
I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Again, I will build you and you shall be rebuilt. Jer. 31:3

Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget but I will not forget you. Behold I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. Your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:14-16

Even though I have a biological father and an adopted father, I know that my true father is the “Father to the Fatherless”. I have come to know what it means to have God as my father. Growing up without a healthy father figure hindered my growth into masculinity. Abba Father is continually healing many of these deficits. He has shown Himself as a strong provider, protector and caring dad, who adores me whether I perform or not. As I learn to be loved by Him, I am growing into the man He wants me to be. As Abba lavishly meets my needs for love and acceptance, I am able to love Him and others correctly and abundantly. My desire is that all of my holiness, giving, serving, loving and sharing flows from this supply of limitless love and acceptance, for I am beloved. I have learned to rely on God when I could rely on no one else. He has shown me, through promises in His Word and through my experiences with Him, that He is faithful. As I step out in faith, trusting His promises, I have seen that He will encourage me, equip me, protect me, provide for me, and bless my efforts.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor those who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9

For more information, please contact:

804-453-4737 http://www.pfox.org

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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Report on 2015 NEA Expo Ex-Gay Educators’ Caucus

This year the NEA Convention was held in Orlando, Florida, July 1-6. Dr. Paul Sullins, Department of Sociology, The Catholic University of America, was our caucus’ special guest. He is a devoted scholar and researcher in the field of social sciences and very capable of handling the hard core statistical challenges faced by visitors to our NEA EXPO booth. He was also very effective at drawing passers-by into discussions about many aspects of human sexuality, including his recent research on same sex parenting. I would encourage you to check out his research on-line.

Most encounters at our exhibit booth were at least civil and some were very supportive. There were a few hostile encounters, too. After reading the title of our caucus (NEA EXGAY EDUCATORS CAUCUS), one man walked right up and shaking his finger in my face said, “You are damaging children. Shame on you!” He talked over my comment that I support his right to have another opinion. Obviously the good will was not reciprocated!

When asked by Dr. Sullins if he knew what an Exgay was, another man walked by without even slowing his pace and said, “They don’t exist.”

A couple approached the booth and the husband, a school counselor, I believe, got into a heavy discussion of the research. When his wife had a turn, she explained how she believes adolescents need to experiment with sexuality to see which direction feels right to them. I interjected, “Do you believe a person finds out who they are by consulting their feelings?” She said, “No,” and went on to embellish her previous position but was obviously distracted by my question and her body language told me she was recognizing that perhaps she was saying that feelings tell you who you are. When she finished, I said, “Do you think it’s OK if a person wants other parts of them, like their goals to have a family, or their faith, to be a more important source than feelings to tell them who they are?” With a look of genuine discovery on her face, she said, “That’s a new thought!”

Another young man came to express his views more than listen to anything we had to say. His comment that stuck in my mind was, “I believe there should be a law against a physician writing a baby’s gender on their birth certificate because they’re too young to know what they want to be.”

During a lull in the traffic, a man from Cameroon expressed his desire to see polygamy accepted in America. In his Muslim country, he said it is very frustrating and sad when his countrymen came to this country to avoid the dangerous hostility of the Muslim extremists to have to choose one of their 4 wives to bring along and leave the other 3 in danger. He repeated several times that not all Muslims are terrorists. I asked him what he thinks might happen to the homosexuals in the US if Sharia law gains more influence. His reply, “They will put an end to that.” He didn’t say how.

Some conversations lead to topics of religion and freedom of religion. Many were able to concede that it is OK for a person to make their religion a priority over their sexuality but most were also quick to add, “But it’s not OK to make someone feel forced to do so!” Many were suspicious that we were prompting religion and religious tradition on this issue. There were also a few who wanted our information to be fair in presenting all sides of the issue and a few who openly identified as Christians. Although we were open to taking conversations into the spiritual aspects of this issue, most conversations centered around sharing of little known research information and discussions of freedom on the issue.

At the representative assembly, the delegates voted on some troublesome things this year. Right off the bat, the first item put to the vote by NEA leadership in complete denial of recent punitive rulings against Christians, was to use NEA resources to fight “bogus” religious liberty laws that might make discrimination and hatred against LGBT people more entrenched. They also voted to revise history books to make them more “relevant.” Another item (NBI #84) attacks the use of the words, “right to work!” There were several transgender supportive business items that passed including allowing children to dress as boys or girls or use whatever restrooms they wished. Many items were disturbing, but this one submitted by vote of state delegations pushed my buttons: (New Business Item 86) “NEA will disseminate to educators through existing publications current information regarding the methods and damaging effects of anti-gay “conversion/reparative therapies”. This was debated and re-worded to tone it down. The item initially supported legislation to make it illegal for counselors to attempt to help a young person with unwanted same sex attraction. During the debate, a delegate raised the question, “Is it the intent of this item to do away with the NEA EXGAY EDUCATORS CAUCUS?” The author replied, “Absolutely not!” I find it interesting that although NEA included the category “Q” (defined by them as “QUESTIONING” as in NBI 78) in decisions supportive of LGBTQ individuals, they also voted to limit the freedom and resources for those who are questioning their sexuality in NBI 86! To view more of the 2015 NEA decisions, go to http://www.nea.org/ra. This will give you a list of all the items that passed and full coverage of the 2015 Representative Assembly.

Jeralee Smith
Founder, NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus

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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Homosexuality 101

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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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
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


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

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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

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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

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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