AMERICAN FORK Stephen Graham of Standard of Liberty addressed same-gender attraction as a serious social problem, and John Gunter of Citizens for Families focused on the dangers of pornography at a parents meeting held at the American Fork Library Monday evening.
The two were originally scheduled to speak at an American Fork High School PTSA meeting but felt they were being silenced by school administrators so they organized Monday's event on their own.
"We said, 'This is essential information and it is being silenced because of misinformation and intimidation,"' Graham said. "So we said, 'Let's just hold the meeting ourselves."'
While Gunter spoke for nearly 20 minutes, the majority of the meeting was dedicated to the issues surrounding what Graham refers to as the "homosexual agenda."
He feels that through special-interest groups and school curriculum, society generally and children specifically are becoming accepting of homosexuality.
"They are smart, they are clever and they are patient," Graham said. "If they can get our children indoctrinated in the schools, into accepting inappropriate sexuality as normal and OK, even celebrated, all they have to do is wait for you and me to die. And in one generation they win. There will be nobody to stand against them."
Graham also focused attention on dangers he associates with homosexuality like suicide, drug use and sexually transmitted diseases. Through a series of videos, which Graham admitted were not very recent, he attempted to show these dangers.
But Yana Walton, director of communications for the Utah Pride Center, who was in attendance at the meeting, said generalizations in the presentation don't represent the truth.
"He is making an assertion that gay people inevitably have diseases that are not around in every other population," said Walton. "I think that by using fear-based tactics of saying gay people have AIDS, he is trying to talk about disease as a way to scare parents."
She said that if the issue is sexually transmitted diseases, then comprehensive sexual education is needed to help teach how diseases are transmitted and prevented, regardless of sexual orientation.
More than 20 people and a swarm of media representatives attended the meeting. PTSA President Belinda Jensen was pleased with how the situation turned out, even after the meeting was canceled last week.
"The truth of it is that there was miscommunication between the board and the principal, and we should have discussed it more," said Jensen. "It is fine that it was canceled, and this is probably a better forum for it anyway, away from the school."
The Utah Pride Center will hold another meeting to offer information on resources for parents and youths at the library at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9.
Even though the meeting wasn't at the school, Utah Pride Center executive director Valerie Larabee expressed concerns that the meeting would still be perceived as connected to parents and teachers.
"There will be people attracted to that conversation because that's what they think they should learn about," Larabee said. "It's important for us to offer resources to people who want more education."
Access to information and resources is critical, Larabee said, to make sure youths aren't isolated by parents, "stifling anything that a child may do or say or think that is validating their fears.""That fear and misinformation, it impacts the kid," she said.