- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Programs to teach tolerance in public schools are actually being used to promote and encourage homosexuality, conservative activists said in a Capitol Hill briefing yesterday.
"Homosexual activists have hijacked our schools," California activist Karen Holgate said at the seminar sponsored by Concerned Women for America (CWA), a Washington-based Christian conservative group. "If we don't take a stand, we're going to lose this battle."
By adding the terms "gender" and "sexual orientation" to anti-discrimination laws, Mrs. Holgate said, California legislators have enabled that state's public schools to promote the acceptance of homosexuality "as normal, positive and healthy."
That agenda now begins in elementary grades, where a theater group performs pro-homosexual skits including one about a boy who wears a skirt and talks about being a "queen" in California schools for children as young as second grade.
Public schools across the country are adopting similar programs, said Robert H. Knight, director of CWA's Culture and Family Institute.
"Homosexual activists are using the idea of 'safe schools' and 'anti-bullying' campaigns to bring their pro-homosexual message into the schools," Mr. Knight told a standing-room-only crowd at the Rayburn House Office Building.
Sex education programs have been "continually redesigned to introduce children to sex at younger and younger ages," Mr. Knight said. "They are now entering the final step of the campaign, which is to openly promote acceptance of homosexuality even among the youngest children."
Mr. Knight cited the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), with a $3.5 million annual budget and more than 1,200 members whose mission, he said, "is to promote homosexuality in the schools under any guise that works."
He said the largest teachers' union, the National Education Association, has adopted many of the pro-homosexual positions advocated by GLSEN.
On its Web site (www.glsen.org), GLSEN declares that "homophobia and sexism undermine a healthy school climate," and states its aim of educating "teachers, students and the public at large about the damaging effects these forces have on youth and adults alike." The New York-based group recently launched a campaign against "institutionalized heterosexism" in schools.
In a teaching manual called "Tackling Gay Issues in School," GLSEN supplies teachers wih model lesson plans that condemn religious beliefs against homosexuality as "homophobia" and that label such beliefs "false."
One lesson plan in the GLSEN manual says middle-schoolers "should have the freedom to explore our sexual orientation and find our own unique expression of lesbian, bisexual, gay, straight, or any combination of these."
At a GLSEN conference in Boston in March, one seminar titled "Gender in the Early Childhood Classroom" discussed strategies to "set the tone for nontraditional gender role play" for pre-schoolers, while a panel of elementary school teachers talked about using "teachable moments as a means of addressing LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] issues and gender identity in the classroom."
GLSEN did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Washington Times.
GLSEN describes as "disturbing" the claims of religious groups that homosexuals can change their behavior. An evangelist who spoke at yesterday's seminar challenged the GLSEN position.
"No one is born homosexual," said Stephen Bennett, a Connecticut man who spent 10 years as an active homosexual but is now married and father to two children.
"We should not be encouraging kids to embrace a homosexual agenda," Mr. Bennett said. "It's a very unloving thing GLSEN and these other homosexual groups are doing."

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