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American College of Pediatricians Compares Homosexuality to Drunk Driving

Pediatric Group Compares Homosexuality to Drunk Driving

Friends don't let friends drive drunk be gay. At least, not if the American College of Pediatricians has anything to do with it. The splinter group, which broke away from the much larger American Academy of Pediatrics in 2002 after disagreements over homosexual parenting, is urging schools to respond to homosexual tendencies and gender confusion with skepticism and/or reorientation therapy. In the words of ACP President Thomas Benton:

"If I was aware that my teenage son was thinking about getting drunk and operating a car, I'd do everything in my power to prevent him from doing that. . . . [Schools] should provide an environment that is safe for all children, but they shouldn't promote an agenda. They shouldn't say, 'Let's have a coming-out party.' "

Warns the ACP in a letter to school superintendents last month, just because a kid has homosexual tendencies at 12 doesn't mean he or she will turn out gay by 25; prematurely labeling teens could steer them "into harmful homosexual behaviors they otherwise would not pursue."

The ACP makes homosexuality out to be a consequence of peer pressure, but coming out is a huge deal — not something many teens take lightly. While it's true that teenagers often engage in same-sex experimentation — sexual urges start to surface around age 10 — most experts agree that sexual orientation can't be altered by therapy.

It takes time before a teen fully comes to terms with his or her sexual orientation. So what should parents do in the meantime? Keep an open mind and try not to pass judgment one way or the other. Says Caitlin Ryan, director of the Family Acceptance Project, "we tell parents and families that they need to provide a supportive environment for their children before they know who they'll become."

I'd say that's pretty great advice when it comes to — well, pretty much anything. Except maybe drunk driving.

Join The Conversation
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 7 years
Warns the ACP in a letter to school superintendents last month, just because a kid has homosexual tendencies at 12 doesn't mean he or she will turn out gay by 25; prematurely labeling teens could steer them "into harmful homosexual behaviors they otherwise would not pursue." i disagree with the harmful behaviors statement, and labeling probably has nothing to do with harmful behaviors even if gay behaviors of teenagers were more dangerous than straight however there is no need to have a coming out party or for children to talk about their personal life in class unless its relevant, also no need for teachers to ask if any one is in a relationship, straight, or gay. no need for teachers to focus on kids being gay. lets just keep things professional. but if the kid is really pushing the issue to talk about their own sexuality, they are probably really gay, not confused or whatever the case may be (i'd think its a very small percentage who go from gay to straight?) if straight couples are allowed to hold hands and kiss at school, so should gay couples be. by the way, if a 12 year old hast the confidence to come out at school, he/ she is probably a strong enough person to hypothetically admit he is no longer gay (?!) when he is 18 or whatever. seriously, does this happen?
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I'm a government lawyer --- we don't rack in the bucks like the private practice kids! :P
runningesq runningesq 7 years
That's so sad, SKG. Imagine who he would be today had his parents tried not to make him someone he wasn't. Also. Super jealous of your iPad !
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
JennyJK, the ACP also supports the use of reorientation therapy, which to me seems like a horrible way to overly pressure a child, preteen, or teen with homosexual feelings/thoughts. I agree with hypnotic that schools should remain somewhat neutral (not obviously swaying into homophobic school status or for-homosexuals-only status), but it is important to note that silence often translates to complicity. I think it's important for schools/teachers to incorporate tolerance-building, multicultural, multi-family aspects into their classrooms. Maybe an actual separate lesson on homosexuality or families of homosexual parents is somewhat isolating (such as hypnotic's example of the school in Alameda), but incorporating it into other areas is important. For example, the classroom library should contain books representing many cultures and even sexualities. There ARE children's books out there geared to represent children of homosexual parents, i.e. Daddy's Roommate. That book should casually sit with the the rest of the books. A lesson on families in general could include examples of two moms or two dads, just like it should include examples of single parents, multiracial parents, children of adoption, and your standard one mom/one dad family.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
SKG - You would think that the right-wing Conservatives would have realized it was a losing battle when it came to light years ago that Dick Cheney's daughter is gay. Ugh, the hypocrisy of it all makes me SO mad! Everyone should watch the French film "Ma Vie En Rose." It really shows the pain that is inflicted upon young children who are gay in a homophobic society.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
SKG: I think the rest of the world would function better without ring wing nut jobs :P I think Kurt's dad on Glee last night put it best when he told Kurt that he's his son, and will love him whether he is straight or gay.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I'm sure that it may take some individuals well into adulthood to figure out who they are in terms of sexuality . . . but, my mom is an elementary school guidance counselor, and she's found that the 5 year olds who seem gay (i.e. want to dress up in girls clothing and ply with barbies, friends with only girls, etc.) generally grow up to be openly gay in high school. I don't think there's any point in being in denial about it, and the comparison to drunk driving is just plain stupid.
JennyJK JennyJK 7 years
Ehhhh, I don't think this is so off-base or offensive actually. I feel like society has become WAY too touchy feely with anything that could possibly be an offensive comparison. Also, I don't know how much of a comparison they were drawing directly between drunk driving and being homosexual. There's an ellipses in that quote above so we don't know what else was said in there. (I looked for the original statement real quickly but couldn't find it). All the ACP is saying is don't overly pressure teens into something. The same thing could be said about being heterosexual, a jock, geek, etc. I just think the message is more about tolerance and openess towards teenagers finding themselves, although they could have done a better job with the wording. And to be fair, isn't kind of weird/ awkward to have a party celebrating sexual orientation in HIGH SCHOOL?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
As for their assertion that adolescent orientation experimentation is likened to drunk driving they're idiots. "just because a kid has homosexual tendencies at 12 doesn't mean he or she will turn out gay by 25" Well duh...many heterosexual men experimented once or twice usually just mutual masturbation and moved on to be women lovin men. However some are truly gay and to steer them away from natural experimentation and push reorientation therapy during a crucial development period is simply dangerous. Homosexual teens already have an unbearably high suicide rate because they're trapped in a microcosm where everyone and everything is telling them who they are is wrong. I do agree though that schools should be completely neutral on the matter other than protecting a gay student from bullying just as they would any other student. Teaching tolerance is also appropriate but not like an elementary school did in Alameda Ca. They focused a lesson on tolerance strictly on homosexuality. Well what about everyone else? As for schools having coming out party's I think that's made up, at least I hope to God it is.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
Ugh. That's about all I can say.
bryseana bryseana 7 years
I think the people who have these type of opinions have never known a gay person. If they did, they would pass such silly and unfair judgment. My niece is gay. She's 18 and in a committed relationship with her girlfriend of 3 years. She's also attending college, working full time, and volunteers at a children's hospital in her spare time. She's a great person - definitely no one to be compared to a drunk driver, drug user, or other type of criminal. I'm proud of her.
reesiecup reesiecup 7 years
Thank heavens nothing harmful ever comes from heterosexual behaviors! And who knew coming-out parties was as dangerous as drunk driving? Seriously, I think I may have been able to stomach his comment if he actually tried to construct a plausible argument.
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