I usually think of Wendy Gooditis as my delegate, because I like her and helped her get elected. But I actually live in VA House District 33, which has been represented by Dave LaRock for the past 5 years. I first spoke to him in Richmond, when I protested outside the capitol for Medicaid expansion and he walked briskly past everyone with signs until I shouted out, “I’m your constituent” and he came right over, presumably, to win over one more voter. Tonight, he sat behind me at the Clarke County school board meeting.
Tonight the school board voted to approve the Family Life Education curriculum. Apparently, it is controversial to teach sex education in the schools, but three citizens spoke in favor of it (me included), while one old guy urged the board not to make a grave mistake and approve it. The board approved it, gingerly, and it was a project a year in the making. I asked Dave if he approved of the curriculum. He had borrowed my 45-page print out of the guidelines, and read through it while sitting behind me.
“It is used in many jurisdictions in Virginia,” he said. “It depends on how they implement it.” Fairfax county public schools has gone overboard in pushing a liberal agenda and “normalizing homosexuality,” Dave said. “A parent there told me they graphically described anal sex in the 8th grade. They mentioned it 20 times. We’re talking about hours of talking about it.” Dave is convinced that being LGBT is a choice, an “aberrant behavior.” He thinks that anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender can take a class and change their behavior to recover their heterosexuality.
“You mean like be deprogrammed,” I said. Dave smiled.
“I could show you some videos on YouTube of these men who went through the program and, it’s beautiful…”
“No thanks,” I cut him off. I told him I know many, many gays and lesbians, and even some transgender and that it’s not a behavior, it’s who they are.
“Interesting that you didn’t mention bisexual,” Dave said. “That’s a behavior.”
He worries about about transgender people being teachers because they are promoting aberrant behavior to impressionable children. Teachers are role models.
“So are politicians,” I said. He wasn’t tracking with me. “Delegates like Danica Roem are role models.”
“I told Danica how I felt,” Dave said.
“And what did SHE say?”
He smiled, acknowledging my pronoun trap. “Danica said Danica was offended.”
We talked around and around about gays and lesbians, and he tried to persuade me that heterosexuals were threatened by all of that. I suggested it isn’t a zero sum game. Their rights don’t take away from his rights as a heterosexual. I suggested everything he said about gays and lesbians he should replace with race. This confused him. “It was once illegal for a black man to marry a white woman in some states,” I said. “That was wrong. And society came around. It’s a civil rights issue.” He wasn’t buying the analogy.
“We’re on opposite sides of the fence,” I told him, “polar opposites.” We weren’t going to persuade each other.
Before we parted I told him to tone down his rhetoric. “You call progressives or liberals, ‘lefties’ like we’re ‘commies.’ This made him smile again. Dave LaRock smiles like you’re in on his secret. “You got a problem with being called a leftie?”
Dave’s letter in Loudoun County Times.
LGBT Virginians dealt major setback as bills die in House (Winchester Star)