ROCKVILLE, Md. — A group of LGBT advocates announced Wednesday they had delivered 50,000 flyers to high school students in Montgomery County, Md., aimed at dispelling myths about what it means to be gay.
The flyers — distributed by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and Equality Maryland — countered anti-gay flyers that were sent home with high school students recently that claimed homosexuality is a choice that can be changed.
“The goal is to counter misinformation spread by the PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays) flyers, which were distributed to students in five county high schools in February,” according to David S. Fishback, a spokesperson for PFLAG.
In February, Virginia-based PFOX had sent home flyers containing the message that homosexuality is not innate and gay people can change their identities.
LGBT advocates decried those flyers, labeling them anti-gay and harmful, while parents, students, staff, and the Superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, Joshua Starr, called them offensive, intolerant and potentially damaging to LGBT students.
The 50,000 flyers distributed Wednesday included a message from PFLAG that sexual orientation is not a choice, and that mainstream medical and mental health professional organizations agree that “there is nothing wrong with you” if you are gay.
“Individuals do not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual, nor is it something ‘that voluntarily can be changed,’” the flyer says.
On the reverse side of the flyer, the Southern Poverty Law Center challenged ex-gay therapies as ineffective and potentially harmful, and said they “present views of homosexuality that may reinforce self-hatred caused by societal prejudice.”
The school board in an executive board session last month decided to reconsider its flyer distribution policy, which currently allows any non-profit to send home leaflets at certain points throughout the year. A new policy is expected to take effect next fall for the 2012-2013 school year.