This comes from the New Bronx LGBTQ Center who are expressing their desire to engage in dialogue with Cardinal Spellman High School regarding its intention to have a speaker from an organization that advocates "treating" LGBTQ individuals to "cure" their "gay addiction" using principles of 12-step programs address the school.
The new Bronx LGBTQ Center is deeply concerned after learning that Cardinal Spellman High School has invited Father Donald Timone to speak at its school about LGBTQ issues.
While we respect freedom of speech, we do not respect bullying and hate speech, especially when it negatively impacts the lives of at-risk teenagers. Fr. Timone's misinformed and unenlightened rhetoric adds to the toxic environment that drives so many LGBTQ youth to despair—and beyond.
"No educational institution should be so irresponsible as to invite someone whose entire approach to LGBTQ individuals is based on bad science. Exodus International, a Christian ministry that formerly advocated attempts to 'pray away the gay' (i.e. conversion therapy), recently disbanded after admitting that a person's sexual orientation cannot be changed and that reparative therapy is in fact harmful," Peter C. Frank, the Center's secretary stated.
Fr. Timone is affiliated with COURAGE, an organization that treats gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people as addicts curable by participation in a 12-step program, instead of accepting and respecting them as the loving individuals they are. Courage's "free speech" promotes self-loathing among LGBTQ individuals and encourages others to hate LGBTQ people simply for being who they are, thus putting them at a greater risk of being bullied.
We strongly condemn the notion that being LGBTQ can be "treated" with 12-step programs or by any other method. Mr. Frank added, "Cardinal Spellman High School should instead, like Pope Francis's recent statements, be sending a message of love, inclusion, and acceptance.”
We join with LGBTQ spiritual leaders in calling for dialogue with Fr. Timone and the Archdiocese of New York, as these types of belief systems lead to violence and homelessness.
|Rev. Carmen Hernandez|
We at the Bronx LGBTQ Center want all youth to know that you are fine just as you are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, whether you're straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. We accept and celebrate you for who you are," Rev. Carmen Hernandez, a board member of the Center, said.
"The Bronx LGBTQ Center is a safe space for all who are struggling with issues of sexual orientation or gender identity. Our Youth Group meets at 4pm every Friday at Union Community Health Center, 260 East 188th Street, 5th Floor, the Bronx," Mr. Frank noted.