State Senator Daylin Leach is speaking out against a Wynnewood-based camp for men that, according to Philly.com, uses team sports to help gay men defuse their sexual urges.
Held at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary this weekend, "Sports Camp" is run by a Catholic organization called Courage. The camp has five goals for its attendees, according to Philly.com, one of which is to encourage men "to live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality." It does this with daily prayer, mass, and regular games of softball, football, basketball, and soccer.
The camp, not surprisingly, has drawn criticism from some quarters. State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), in a statement released through his office, said that the camp stigmatizes homosexuality and suggested that programs like Courage only make life more difficult for young people who are gay:
It’s long been known that sexual preference has a genetic link and is not, in fact, attributed to any sort of childhood rejection or trauma, as advocates for this camp have suggested.
In fact, a recent study has discovered that epi-marks – genetic markers that control gene expression – play a large role in determining if one is born homosexual or heterosexual. According to the researchers who conducted the study, 'Different epi-marks protect different sex-specific traits from being masculinized or feminized – some affect the genitals, others sexual identity, and yet others affect sexual partner preference.’
To encourage our youth to deny themselves of who they are and to tell them that their sexual preference and gender identification are wrong is unconscionable. Instead of telling kids that they need to change the very fiber of their beings, we should encourage them to be confident and self-assured. It is hard enough to be a teenager, and we should not make that transitional time of self-discovery any more difficult.
By allowing them to embrace who they are, teenagers have a fighting chance at becoming well-adjusted adults. It is not our place as a society to tell anyone that being gay is a problem that should be ‘cured’ or ‘fixed’. That type of bigoted mentality will only breed cruelty and discrimination for years to come.
Leach isn't the first political leader to speak out against programs like Courage. In August of 2012, the California State Assembly passed a bill banning gay conversion therapy for children and teenagers (though a federal court subsequently blocked the law) and New Jersey is considering similar legislation.
A PDF of the camp's flyer is attached to this article.