GLAA testifies on DCPS Health Standards
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GLAA testifies on DCPS Health Standards


GAY AND LESBIAN ACTIVISTS ALLIANCE OF WASHINGTON
Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
(202) 667-5139

November 27, 2007

To: Beverley Wheeler
DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Dear Ms. Wheeler:

Please accept this letter as our comments on your draft Health Standards, dated October 11, 2007. We regret that we cannot appear in person at the public hearing on November 28.

We strongly support comprehensive sex education for all of the District’s youth. We especially commend your inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as part of what the introduction calls “the knowledge and skills that students need to maintain and improve their health and wellness, prevent disease, and reduce health-jeopardizing behaviors.” We agree with Advocates for Youth that “the proposed standards include complete, unbiased, comprehensive information regarding nutrition, sexual health and HIV prevention.”

In particular:

We are confident that you will resist the snake oil being peddled by anti-gay groups. One such group, Focus on the Family, issued an action alert on Nov. 6 quoting Randy Thomas of the notorious group Exodus International as objecting that the new standards “don’t represent people like me, who chose a different way to deal with their same-sex attraction.” That “different way” consists of suppression, denial, and misery.

Please consider the following in developing and implementing a curriculum based on the standards:

As you know, the D.C. Public Schools have a gay-inclusive anti-harassment policy. But the District’s history of non-discrimination is much longer than that. D.C. has prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation since 1973. The D.C. Human Rights Act now also includes an explicit prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity or expression. D.C. repealed its anti-sodomy law in 1993, a decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned all such laws. Gay people were included in D.C.’s Bias-Related Crimes Act of 1989. The District passed its domestic partnership law in 1992, and has expanded the rights and responsibilities of domestic partners in a series of amendments adopted unanimously by the D.C. Council. The inclusiveness of the draft health standards continues this tradition of equality.

Thank you for your consideration of our views, and congratulations on a strong set of draft standards.

Sincerely,

Barrett L. Brick
President

Cc: Robert Bobb, President, DC State Board of Education
Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools
Deborah Gist, DC State Superintendent of Education
Christopher Dyer, DC Office of LGBT Affairs
Adam Tenner, Metro Teen AIDS
Patricia Hawkins, Whitman-Walker Clinic


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