Concerned Women for America (CWA), a right-wing Christian organization, recently posted an interview with Jeanne Sparks on its website. Sparks, a CWA prayer chapter leader in Westchester County, NY, has zeroed in on an LGBT youth conference called Prideworks, sponsored by GLSEN Hudson Valley.
According to a commentary piece at the CWA website, for the past six years, Sparks has been distributing "ex-gay" literature to young people outside the Prideworks conference. In addition to handing out brochures from Exodus International and JONAH, she tells young people that no one is born gay, and that they can change their sexual orientation if they choose. Sparks admits that she was asked to leave the conference premises on at least one occasion.
In their commentary, which brands GLSEN as a "homosexual pressure group", CWA praises Sparks for presenting "a case for healing" to LGBT youth. Sparks claims that GLSEN "discriminates" against people who hold a "Biblical worldview" because it refuse to acknowledge the supposed benefits of reparative therapy.
I was appalled. Promoting these unhealthy messages outside what is supposed to be a safe space for LGBT youth is unacceptable. In a world where LGBT youth have to contend with bullying and hate crimes, adults should be showing them acceptance. In a world with so much homophobia, adults should be encouraging LGBT youth to be proud of who they are. They should NOT telling them that they are disordered and in need of change. They should NOT promote destructive and ineffective reparative "therapy" to youngsters. They should NOT be invoking God to justify intolerance. People such as Sparks need to understand this.
Kudos to GLSEN Hudson Valley for providing LGBT youth with a safe space. To learn more about this year's Prideworks conference, visit these links.
LoHud.com: PrideWorks conference to promote respect for others
LoHud.com: PrideWorks draws 600, features gay country singer