Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More remarks about homosexuality embroil Troy mayor

By Bill Laitner/Detroit Free Press

Troy Mayor Janice Daniels, lambasted at a City Council meeting last month for calling gay people "queers" on her Facebook page, is embroiled in another controversy about gay people -- this time involving students from Troy High School.
While discussing plans for a forum on bullying and suicide, Daniels told students she wanted to invite "a panel of psychologists who would testify that homosexuality is a mental disease," said Skye Curtis, 17, a senior and co-president of the Gay-Straight Alliance at the school.

Daniels denied making the comment.

"What I said was, there's a higher incidence of (overall) disease in the homosexual community," Daniels said. She said she taped the meeting and had reviewed her statements after the meeting. She declined to play the tape for the Free Press.

"I believe in full disclosure," Daniels said, adding that: "I would like to reach out to this girl and her parents about how this can be resolved."

Curtis and fellow senior Zach Kilgore, also 17, attended Monday's meeting at the mayor's invitation, Kilgore said. The teens said they had hoped to invite the mayor to a student forum on bullying prevention and teen suicide.

After the mayor's comment, Curtis said, "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."

Curtis and Kilgore said they decided that they would hold the event without Daniels' participation.

"We decided it would be dangerous to have her around kids who are already upset and worried about who they are," Kilgore said.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder, and the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975, according to the organizations' websites.

Monday's meeting between Daniels and the students, held at the Troy Community Center, was the second of the mayor's open meetings for residents. Daniels was elected Nov. 8.

After the hubbub about the mayor's gay slur on her Facebook page, "We thought we could resolve things with her outside of the public eye," Curtis said.

At the Troy City Council meeting Dec. 5, which ran well past midnight, scores of visitors excoriated Daniels for the Facebook slur. Many at the meeting urged her to resign.

Daniels also has been under fire for opposing a bus-rail transit center that was to be paid for with federal funding and that Gov. Rick Snyder supports.
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