TROY, MICHIGAN – While discussing plans for a suicide prevention forum, Mayor Janice Daniels told a diversity-promoting group this month that she would recruit experts to speak about the “dangerous” homosexual lifestyle.
But a newly released audio recording of the meeting reveals Daniels did not call homosexuality a mental illness, as first suggested by one attendee.
The recording of the Jan. 9 exchange occurred during Daniels’ office hours at the Troy Community Center. The tape, obtained by The Detroit News through the Freedom of Information Act, includes a heated debate over plans for a suicide and bullying prevention event suggested by members of Troy High School’s gay-straight alliance.
The group had been urging Daniels to get involved after she gained national media attention for her use of the word “queer” in a Facebook posting in June 2011.
Skye Curtis, 17, a leader of the student group, initially claimed she heard the mayor say she would recruit a psychiatrist for the event who would explain that homosexuality is a “mental disease.” Curtis later said in an online blog that she misheard the mayor’s comment. Curtis could not be immediately reached Monday.
In the recording, Daniels told Curtis and Amy Weber, a youth mentor supporting the group, that she was planning to recommend a separate, city-sponsored suicide prevention seminar.
Daniels said she wanted to bring together the city, schools, advocacy organizations and family counselors to “make sure people of all ages never consider suicide as an option.”
Weber and the students had shown up for Daniels’ office hours to urge her to participate in the youth project after they claimed her use of the gay slur upset some students.
The mayor responded by saying: “If I do, I’m not sure any of you will be satisfied… I will bring in psychiatrists who will tell you that the homosexual lifestyle is dangerous.”
Daniels could not be reached Monday.
Weber said Monday that since the meeting, the student alliance and representatives from the group C.A.R.E.: the Troy Diversity Coalition (Celebrate, Accept, Respect and Empathize), have been organizing a Peace Day. The celebration, planned for March, will focus on diversity and unity and is expected to include motivational speakers, religious leaders, video presentations and comedy, she said.
Weber says Daniels is welcome to be a part of the event.
“The door will be open to all people who come with their hearts open,” she said.
In terms of Daniels’ “dangerous” comment, Weber said she would have liked the mayor to clarify what she meant, but added that she’s moving forward and wants to “make something positive of all of this.”
“This has always been about trying to put our differences aside for the greater good,” she said.
The controversy erupted in December after it was discovered that the mayor made the Facebook comment, “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.” Daniels has said the remark was meant to be a joke and was made before she decided to run for mayor.
Daniels has said she’s been threatened and bullied over the incident.
from The Detroit News
|Mayor’s Facebook Slam On Gay Marriage Draws Widespread Criticism|