HRC Blog

MI Mayor Ignites Another Controversy with Anti-Gay Remarks

The following post comes from HRC Digital Media Intern Eric Cameron:

A Michigan mayor is under fire again, this time for her controversial remarks to Troy High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

Mayor Janice Daniels was visiting the school in part to discuss her incendiary Facebook response to the passage of New York marriage equality.

In a recently released recording of the January 9 meeting, Daniels is heard reinforcing her anti-LGBT stance to GSA leaders.  "If I do [discuss the Facebook comment], I'm not sure that any of you will be satisfied," Daniels says. "I will bring in psychiatrists, who will tell you that the homosexual lifestyle is dangerous."

Dr. Jack Drescher, MD  -- a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and member of the DSM-5 Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders -- easily refutes the first insinuation. The APA removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973, with the World Health Organization following suit in 1990. “Not only is homosexuality not a choice,” says Drescher, “but some attempts to change [sexual orientation] can cause harm and damage to an individual’s well-being.”

“We have two parallel culture tracks going on,” Drescher told the Detroit News. “We have a strongly anti-scientific, religiously-based cultural belief that is based on ancient texts that believe homosexuality is immoral. Certain people are entitled to their religious beliefs, but they aren’t scientific beliefs at all. It’s unfortunate when people try to masquerade their religious beliefs in the guise of science.”

In Drescher’s view, Mayor Daniels is entitled to her opinion; it just doesn’t qualify as science. “It’s not really a medical issue. It’s a culture wars issue.”

Mayor Daniels should be spending her time working toward an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance – one that best represents all residents of Troy.

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