Parents want male teachers for boys
Not sure what to make of this -- here are some possibilities:
First, I look forward to watching Jack, now a valuable and sought-after commodity, whore himself out to the highest bidder like the dirty, dirty slut we always knew he was.
Secondly, I wonder if the fixation on adult male role models doesn't cause us to miss out on other things. Having a mother and a father, and having had plenty of male teachers, I don't feel I was lacking in adult role models -- what I didn't have, though, was sisters. As a teenager I was your typical introverted, don't-know-how-to-talk-to-girls type, and at least some of that had to come from the fact that the concept of familiarity with similarly-aged members of the opposite sex was completely alien to me. So maybe there are other things to consider than just exposure to adult company.
Nextly (as my old principal used to say -- how's that for a grammatical role model?) one wonders why parents are so concerned that little Timmy gets enough exposure (for want of a better word) to examples of manly men. Is talk of psychological development and healthy socialisation simply shorthand for "make sure he doesn't catch The Gay"?
I suppose there are worse things paranoid homophobe parents could do to stop their boy from turning sissy -- beating him to death, for instance -- and hell, maybe I'm reading too sinister a motive into this in the first place. My concerns are triggered, however, by the coincidental fact that I read that Herald article just after the first in Salon.com's four-part investigation into the growing "pray out the gay" movement in the US (a movement where exposure to male role models and "healthy man love" is also deemed crucial).
As with the creationist/ID movement, what we have is a bunch of zealots peddling bad science to make a dodgy ideology sound more respectable -- in this case its subscription to a sort of layman's Freud which says that homosexuality is a mental disorder that comes out of a boy's unfulfilled need for love from a physically or emotionally absent father becoming twisted into sexual desire towards all men. Thoroughly discredited by modern psychology, but that's hardly an obstacle.
In another parallel, proponents of such "reparative therapy" advocate for "equal time"/"telling both sides of the story", this time in sex ed classes, where they want their views on homosexuality taught as an "alternative viewpoint". In some cases, they're winning.
It's all very moderate and nice -- they're compassionate, not hateful; they simply want to heal these poor damaged souls. Of course, the niceness starts to slip a little when we get to why these people need to be "cured" and out come the claims that homosexuality causes "surging AIDS rates, drug abuse, 'gay bowel syndrome,' psychological problems and violence."
And then there's the proof of the pudding -- do their techniques actually work? At this point, it may be worth noting that Exodus, one of the more prominent foundations in this area, is famous for its two ex-gay founding members now being ex-ex-gays, and the current chairman having been found in a gay bar. Incidentally, no website for an organization that tries to put a benign face on sexuality reprogramming should have a "FAQs" link on its home page -- much too easy to misread at a glance...