11 August 1977 |
Los Angeles Times
re: "Initiative Aimed at Firing Homosexual Teachers Filed"
L.A. Times, August 4, 1977
That the myth of homosexual recruitment still plagues people like Briggs is truly incomprehensible. In a day of increasingly respectable research in the fields of education, sociology, psychology and the like, it is sad that a public servant like Briggs has not even bothered to find out that there is virtually no evidence in the literature to support his fears that gay teachers will "entice young, impressionable children into their life-style" (Times, Aug. 4).
Briggs is so deep into his emotional rhetoric (portraying children as victims is a sure-fire attention-getter) that he must also be unaware that most research evidence suggests that by the time a child reaches school age her/his future sexual preference is probably already formed.
If Briggs is wrong, as I believe he is, then his proposed law would needlessly destroy the careers of possibly some very fine teachers. But the other side of the coin is the greater tragedy in my view, for it is many of the children who would suffer the saddest loss if Briggs would have his way.
A law such as he proposes would discourage teachers, as well as others, from offering support and advice to those kids who are discovering on the brink of adulthood that in their earlier years they developed a preference for loving members of their same sex. The only permissible advice for these kids under Briggs' law would be that they change themselves into heterosexuals - anything less might be considered "recruitment" - and yet, again, the literature suggests that such change is extremely unlikely.
Such ignorance and disregard of the knowledge available to us through modern research in human behavior is inexcusable, especially in someone who aspires to be our governor.