Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Open forum: All-inclusive committee does not include ex-gays

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I have always been proud of living in Montgomery County because of the willingness to accept diversity.

I was a member of the Montgomery County Public Schools Citizens Advisory Committee for the last two years and helped to review the new sex-ed curriculum. I did not apply for reappointment because of the committee’s refusal to include ex-gays and lesbians.

Some committee members either have a relative in an alternative lifestyle or are themselves gay.

I was shocked because this ‘‘liberal” committee voted to include all kinds of lifestyles but didn’t include ex-gays or ex-transgenders. What about a committee that is more inclusive of others?

I was frustrated that my voice was silenced 99 percent of the time. I have served in several boards and commissions and have always being proud of my service, but in good faith I couldn’t lend my name to a curriculum that does not reflect the population of Montgomery County and does not follow Montgomery County efforts of inclusion.

I do want to thank Dr. Jerry Weast, Brian Porter and the incredible staff of curriculum and instruction for their work and dedication. In contrast, I can’t let pass the attitudes of board members Sharon Cox and Patricia O’Neill, who challenge the opposition to bring on the lawsuits and that they’re ready for it.

I can see how ready they are with our taxpayer money. They would sing a different tune if they had to pay from their own pockets. This money should be used to pay for our children’s programs and not for lawsuits defending their un-inclusive thinking.

As Dr. Dana Beyer stated in her July 11 letter, ‘‘we need morality that welcomes all into the community with dignity and respect.”

Maria Pena-Faustino, Laytonsville

The writer ran for County Council in 1998 and is a former member of the Citizens Advisory Committee.