Janice Daniels, the mayor of Troy, Michigan, has landed in hot water over alleged comments directed to LGBT students. Mayor Daniels said she would address anti-gay bullying and teen suicide by inviting students to “a panel of psychologists who would testify that homosexuality is a mental disease.”
It would be interesting to see Daniels’ roster of supposed experts. Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in the 1970s. A majority of individuals who still champion this out-dated view, such as infamous “ex-gay” Richard Cohen, aren’t licensed therapists.
Skye Curtis, 17, attended the Monday city council meeting where the mayor spoke. She quoted Daniels’ statements to the Detroit Free Press. Curtis is co-president of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Troy High School. Curtis and another student, Zach Kilgore, were invited by Daniels and hoped to recruit the mayor for a school forum on bullying and suicide prevention.
Unsurprisingly, the two students are no longer interested in the mayor’s participation. “We decided it would be dangerous to have her around kids who are already upset and worried about who they are,” Kilgore told the Free Press.
Added Curtis, “We brought up the fact that, if we’re trying to have an event about suicide prevention, we shouldn’t really be telling kids they have a mental disease. I don’t want my freshmen hearing that.”
Daniels denies making the remarks. She said the meeting was recorded and she’s reviewed her statements on tape. “What I said was, there’s a higher incidence of (overall) disease in the homosexual community,” she told the Free Press. “I believe in full disclosure.”
However, the mayor declined to play the tape for the Free Press.
Last month, Mayor Daniels stirred controversy with an anti-gay Facebook post. “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there,” she wrote. Many Troy residents have called for her resignation over the incident.
“While I do believe marriage should be between one man and one woman,” Daniels told radio station WXYT-AM, shortly after the offensive post surfaced in the media. “It was meant to be a joke, silly, a funny thing.”
Photo credit: Caitlin Childs (Creative Commons)