from Gay Activism in the Schools
The ex-gay caucus was approved by the NEA in February, 2004. According to Jeralee Smith, head of the caucus, "We want everyone who knows that gays exist to know that ex-gays exist. There should not be just one side put forth with public dollars."
Dr. Warren Throckmorton, one of the exhibitors at the Ex-Gay Educators Caucus booth said, "The NEA has historically not listened to this group." Another organization with a booth at this year's NEA convention is JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives To Homosexuality). According to JONAH co-director Elaine Berk: "If you're happy being gay, that's fine. We deal with people who are unhappy being gay."
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFOX) has been denied entrance to the NEA convention in past years. It did not try to get a booth this year but has filed a complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights after being denied space at the convention in both 2002 and 2003.
In a related story reported in the Washington Times, a coalition of liberal Republicans from Texas and California altered their caucus rules in order to remove Mrs. Diane Lenning as head of the NEA Republican Educators Caucus. Mrs. Lenning has been a vocal critic of the gay lifestyle. Lenning angered NEA leaders and gays at the convention last week by criticizing the awarding of a human rights award to Kevin Jennings, head of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
Mrs. Lenning had criticized Jennings for failing to report the sexual abuse of a 16-year-old boy by an older man when the teen had come to him for counseling in 1988. At the time, Jennings was an openly gay teacher at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts. Under Massachusetts' mandatory reporter law, Jennings was required to report possible child sexual abuse to state authorities, but he did not do so. Jennings revealed this incident in a book he has written. The Washington Times has more details on this story.