TROY, Mich. — Troy, Mich. Mayor Janice Daniels is embroiled in controversy again after members of a local high school Gay-Straight Alliance accused her of making homophobic remarks during a meeting Monday.
Troy High School Gay Straight Alliance members Skye Curtis and Zach Kilgore said that during the afternoon meeting — which both students said was an attempt to reach an understanding after the Mayor’s anti-gay Facebook slur went viral, garnering nationwide attention last month — the mayor, while discussing mental health and suicide issues that affect members of the LGBTQ community, suggested putting together a panel of psychologists to show that homosexuality is dangerous to a person’s mental health.
“She definitely meant it in quite a negative connotation,” Curtis told the local Patch media outlet.
“The mayor of Troy told my daughter this afternoon that she wants to bring in a panel of psychologists to explain to the high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance that homosexuality is a mental disease,” Rodney Curtis, Skye’s father, wrote on his Facebook page.
A lesbian couple, Amy and Tina Weber were also present for the meeting and verified what the mayor had said.
Amy Weber said she was so disturbed by Daniels’ comments that she attended the Troy City Council meeting Monday evening and asked for an audio copy of the meeting between the Troy High GSA and the mayor, which the mayor recorded, during public comment.
When asked about the comment, however, Daniels said she said no such thing.
“That is a misrepresentation entirely,” Daniels said in an interview with Troy Patch Monday evening. “I would like to meet with Skye and her parents to discuss these kinds of issues. Rather than have all this division, we need to come together, because I never said that.”
“Her tune changed completely,” Kilgore said. “Before, she was very for an anti-bullying event because she thought we could turn this into a positive thing. What we found out today was that she was not planning on doing that.
“She turned it into an anti-suicide thing, which is great, but she wanted to completely ignore the issue that started this.”
“That bullying leads to suicide,” Curtis continued. “Then we started talking about who could possibly speak, and she alluded to the fact that she wanted to bring in a panel of psychologists who would testify that homosexuality was a mental disease.”
“This was implied by her,” Kilgore clarified. “She didn’t explicitly say it. Somebody said something to the effect of, ‘we can’t tell these kids that what they’re doing is wrong.’”
“And she said, ‘well, I can get a panel to testify,’” Curtis said. “Which is really horrifying, because if we’re trying to prevent suicide, telling a room full of gay kids that they have a mental disease probably isn’t a way to prevent suicide.”
“It’s shocking that Mayor Daniels continues to promote homophobia in her community,” said Michael Gregor, Director of Communications for Equality Michigan, in an email statement to LGBTQ Nation on Tuesday.
“The comments made, if true, are both disrespectful and dehumanizing to gay and lesbian people who are represented by the mayor. It is exactly this type of behavior that contributes to harassment and violence targeting gay and lesbian people, especially teenagers. No public official should be creating such a harmful environment,” Gregor said.