IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND

JOSEPH ACANFORA, III)
Plaintiff)
)
V.)
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF) Case No. 72-11364
MONTGOMERY COUNTY) Civil Action
MONTGOMERY COUNTY)
PUBLIC SCHOOLS, et al)
Defendants)

Federal Building
Baltimore, Maryland
April 14, 1973

Testimony of
Dr. William K. Stayton

BEFORE:

Honorable Joseph H. Young

APPEARANCES:

For the Plaintiff:
Michael H. Gottesman
Darryl J. Anderson
Rob Ross Hendrickson

For the Defendant:
Robert S. Bourbon
Alan I. Baron

PROCEEDINGS

THE CLERK: State your full name, please.

THE WITNESS: William K. Stayton.

THE GOTTESMAN: Your Honor, with respect to Dr Stayton, counsel, for the defendant raised some question about qualifications. I don’t think they are necessarily going to challenge them, but they want to hear a little more elaborately about Dr. Stayton’s qualifications.

MR. BARON: If there is a curriculum vitae I could look over –

THE GOTTESMAN: It will just take a couple of minutes.

DIRECT EXAMINATION

BY MR. GOTTESMAN:

Q: Can you tell us the degrees you acquired and the years in which you acquired them?

A: I have a BA degree, 1956; a Master of Divinity degree, 1960; a Doctor of Theology in the field of psychology and counseling from Boston University in 1967.

Q: Can you tell us at the present time what positions you hold and what functions you perform?

A: I am at the present time an instructor in family psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Family Studies. I am assistant chief this year of Family Life and Sex Education, and as of June 1 will be chief of that component of our division. I am also director of the Center for the Study of Human Sexuality in Religion, which is a component of that division. I am a supervisor and teacher at the Marriage Council of Philadelphia, which is also a component of that division. My responsibilities are teaching courses in human sexuality at the undergraduate level at the University of Pennsylvania, and in the Medical School to medical students and residents. I also teach a course in sex counseling and sex therapy to our post-graduate trainees at the Marriage Council of Philadelphia.

Q: Do you have or do you engage in any counseling yourself?

A: Yes, a third of my time is spent in private practice.

Q: Have you counseled either the parents of homosexual children or children in doubt that we have talked about, or such children themselves, in the course of your practice?

A: Yes, over the past thirteen years, I have been involved in community sex education programs in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, basically, but other states also, and have come in contact both on an educational level and in a counseling relationship with a couple of thousand, probably, adolescents of junior high and high school age.

Q: Have at least some of them brought to you problems of homosexuality and vulnerability, if you want to call it that?

A: Right. I also should mention that we have a sex counseling center the University of Pennsylvania for our undergraduate students. I do a great deal of counseling there, and homosexuality is often a question that is brought up.

I, would say that in terms of educational questions, questions that come at a point where there in an educational process going on, that 25 percent of the questions that are asked by adolescents have to do with homosexuality. In terms of my counseling practice, I would guess that 10 to 20 percent of the adolescents that I have counseled have had basic questions regarding homosexuality.

I find it also a question that comes up in marriage counseling many times in working with adults.

THE GOTTESMAN: May we have a stipulation as to Dr. Stayton’s qualifications?

THE COURT: Any questions?

MR. BARON: Just a couple of questions.

THE COURT: Sure.

VOIR DIRE EXAMINATION

BY MR. BARON:

Q: Doctor, I couldn’t tell from the degrees that you have received whether the net result was to give you a certain professional title. I take it you are not a psychiatrist?

A: That is correct. I am a psychologist, a member of the American Psychological Association, the Massachusetts Psychological Association and New England Psychological Association.

Q: You are also a Doctor of Theology?

A: That is correct.

Q: And are you associated with any particular denomination?

A: Yes, I am ordained as an American Baptist clergyman.

Q: Is the counseling that you do related to your denominational situation or position?

A: No.

Q: When you are talking about counseling, you are talking about counseling as a psychologist?

A: That is correct.

Q: And your theology has nothing to do with that?

A: That is correct.

MR. BARON: Under those circumstances, we have no objection to his qualifications to testify. I just wanted to make it clear.

MR. GOTTESTMAN: Thank you.

DIRECT EXAMINATION (Resumed)

BY MR. GOTTESMAN:

Q: Dr. Stayton, were you present in the courtroom this morning when I laid out the facts for the hypothetical question to Dr. Friedman?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you recall the hypothetical facts so I needn’t do it again?

A: Yes.

THE GOTTESMAN: Can we stipulate that those facts have just been incorporated into the next question?

MR. BARON: So stipulated.

Q: Given that set of hypothetical facts, Dr. Stayton, do you have an opinion as to whether that hypothetical teacher poses risks for the students or some of the students in his classroom which are greater than those which would be posed by a heterosexual male teacher or a male teacher whose sexual preferences and behavior were unknown?

A: Yes, I have an opinion.

Q: Can you tell us what that opinion is?

A: I know of no studies that would in any way show that there is any risk to any student who is in the class room of a teacher who is known as a homosexual.

My own opinion, based upon my own studies into the field, is that if anything there would be a beneficial result of having such a teacher.

Q: I would like to have you address yourself to that “if anything a beneficial result” as it applies to the several categories of emotional state of students that presumably are entering the 8th grade.

First of all we have -- apparently everybody’s agreement, and I will ask if you agree -- the largest body of those male students who are clearly predetermined and predisposed to be heterosexual and nobody, not even our hypothetical teacher, is going to deter them from that course.

Would you agree that there is such a body of students who enter the 8th grade with that predisposition?

A: Yes.

Q: Now, what impact, if any, will the presence of a known homosexual who is a good teacher, an impressive teacher, have upon those students?

A: Homosexuality, as heterosexuality, is I think a complex phenomenon. There are many theories. There are biological theories of the ideology of homosexuality. There are theories that are based upon genetic causation. Freud was one who himself believed that homosexuality is a genetically based phenomenon. There are many good researchers in the area who still believe this and who are trying to show proof of their theory. However, up to this time there really is no solid evidence that this is the single causation.

There are some chromosomal studies that are going on at the present time around a syndrome known as Kleinfelter’s Syndrome where there are male and female chromosomes in an individual, where there may be more female than male or more male than female, and its relationship to sexuality, sexual behavior.

There are no clear-cut results from these studies, although more and more evidence seems to be gathering in this direction.

Masters and Johnson are doing a study now which will be out in another few years on this specific aspect, and I think John Money can speak to this much better than I can on Monday.

There are also psychological theories. Bieber did a study; Gebhardt of the Institute of Sex Research has done studies in this area, and it must I think be admitted that most of the studies done on psychological causation are done with patients who are in therapy or among members of the prison population, and therefore the results are based entirely upon, for the most part, those two populations.

There are also cultural theories that society or conditioning or learning has an influence, and it seems to me that speaks to maybe this case, that there is a notion that students who have either painful or pleasurable experiences along the way will be conditioned to react behaviorally according to that, and that these can be continually stimulated or conditioned throughout life.

There are studies that show that this, although it may seem logical, is unfounded in fact. The weight of the evidence is the other way, that especially as one gets up into adolescence this will not condition them one way or the other.

It seems to me that, in my opinion, based upon the reading, the causes are complex, but that one of the things that we are beginning to see more and more is that sexual orientation -- that is, the choice of a sex object -- is determined early, that probably by the age of five or six a person’s basic sexual orientation will have been established, and that later experiences, including experiences in adolescence, will only help to confirm a person in that in terms of his self image and self worth, or will help him to feel more rejected and of less self worth.

That brings me, then, to the question of a teacher who is homosexual. It seems to me, in my opinion, that the adolescent who is clearly heterosexual or has made that his predominant orientation will be benefited in a classroom because his stereotypes of homosexuality will be broken.

There are studies that show significant correlation between masculine and feminine traits and homosexuality or heterosexuality. This is a basic myth, however, that we go on in our society, that homosexuals have certain characteristics that distinguish them from other members of the population, and it has clearly been shown that this is false.

It seems to me that a man like our hypothetical teacher, who is a good masculine role model, will have the benefit of helping those who are hung up or stereotypes to have a better image of the portion of our population who are homosexual.

For those who are clearly homosexual and have a homosexual orientation, it seems to me that such a teacher would be a benefit in the classroom in terms of affirming that (1) homosexuals can have responsible known positions in society and thus help to give them more specifically confidence in declaring and acting upon their own sexual beliefs and orientation.

Now, for those who are in the center who may come into adolescence with some degree of question or concern, it seems to me that the benefit of having a teacher like our hypothetical teacher in the classroom would serve to help them to deal with those components in their own personality that they are struggling with, but I don’t think a person, a teacher, will have direct influence on how that person will go, but the influence that teacher may have will be to help that young person who has questions to bring those questions up and deal with them.

Many times children, or young people, are fearful of homosexuality or of the questions that they are having or of their fantasies, and if there are role models of good homosexuals and good heterosexuals that they have contact with, it will be much easier for them to bring their own questions up and deal with them, and it seems to me that is the benefit.

Q: In your experience and in your reading, have you ever encountered an adolescent whose behavior in the direction of actual overt homosexual behavior was attributable to a role model of a teacher whom he knew to be a homosexual?

A: No, I haven’t. I have found, however, that those who I have counseled, and in my reading I have substantiated this, that early experiences in terms of attitudes of parents towards one another and towards their own masculinity or femininity and towards members of the opposite sex, peer relationships, pre-pubertal peer relationships, and homosexual or heterosexual experiences and reactions of society, especially parents’ reactions, have had influence on people in terms of their self reporting, but not in adolescents.

Q: In your experience, what is the consequence to our child in the middle of society of attempting to deprive him of all, adequate homosexual role models and portraying homosexuality as something to be upset about, if that is the right word, or at least portraying it in a way which makes him upset about it?

What effect does that have on whether he will ultimately or not engage in homosexual behavior?

A: It is very unlikely. In fact, again the weight of clinical evidence at this point is that a person can’t radically be changed from their basic orientation -- that is, if they are going to be homosexual, it is highly unlikely that they can become heterosexual, or if they are heterosexual that they can likely become homosexual.

For those in the middle, it seems to me that the consequence of repression does not enable them to discover the options that are open to them. By and large, those who are in the mid-range of homosexuality to heterosexuality will continue to have as their sex objects members of both sexes.

By the way, it is very difficult as a sex researcher it is very difficult to put people into categories such as homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual. We talk about homosexual contacts and arousals and the predominance of those in a person’s life rather than pegging them as homosexual persons or heterosexual persons.

Q: In other words, is there some kind of spectrum over which people fall from pure homosexuality to pure heterosexuality?

A: Kinsey developed his homosexual-heterosexual scale -- which has been accepted by all sex researchers that I know of -- that put sexuality on a continuum from homosexuality to heterosexuality, or vice versa, and, that there are no clear-cut categories, but everyone falls somewhere along that spectrum. It is based on a scale of zero to six, a seven point scale.

Q: On that scale is he measuring frequency of actual behavioral things, or is it measuring some inate interests, feelings, desires?

A: It measures both. It measures behavioral outlets as well as psychic arousal.

Q: So that I am correct in assuming that if one actually engages in behavior only with members of one sex over a lifetime, he would be somewhere toward one end or the other of the scale?

A: Yes.

Q: Even though he may in fact have dreams, fantasies, thoughts, occasional attitudes about a member of his own sex, if he be heterosexual, which would put him not at the extreme but somewhere on the continuum?

MR. BARON: Your Honor, may we make it clear who is testifying? I am not sure there has been a question asked.

THE COURT: Do you want him under oath?

THE GOTTESMAN: We are trying to summarize a book that is rather long to read.

THE COURT: The objection is proper, but I will ask the Doctor, who is obviously qualified, to answer the question. Give him the question that he is required to answer.

Q: Could you give us roughly some sense of the way station on the continuum and the kinds of ingredient as it were, of the psychic or behavioral personality that places someone at zero, 1 or 2, or where on the Kinsey scale?

WE COURT: First, can that be done?

THE WITNESS: Uh-huh. A person who is exclusively heterosexual is a zero on the Kinsey scale, and this person -- by the way, this is for adults, this is not adolescents. It is from adult through old age.

THE COURT: Well, to interrupt for a moment, is it really relevant, then? I assume from my knowledge of the Kinsey report this was basically an adult study.

THE WITNESS: Adult, right. The only thing you can do is --

THE COURT: Project?

THE WITNESS: -- project from that back.

THE COURT: Which even makes it more questionable. You have indicated, I think quite candidly, as have the other witnesses, that there is a fair amount of uncertainty in the area, in any event.

THE WITNESS: Right.

THE COURT: It seems to me we are simply adding a new dimension of uncertainty which doesn’t give us the assistance looked for, so how is it relevant? Interesting but relevant?

THE GOTTESMAN: Clearly interesting. I don’t think our case will stand or fall on getting that fact.

THE COURT: I don’t think so. Let’s take a different tack.

THE GOTTESMAN: We have no further questions.

THE COURT: Let’s take a short recess.

[A recess was taken.]

THE COURT: Mr. Baron.

MR. BARON: I have a few brief questions.

CROSS EXAMINATION

BY MR. BARON:

Q: Dr. Stayton, would you agree with the statement that prevention of the development of a homosexual orientation in a child or adolescent is seen as an important goal?

A: No, I would not.

Q: If I told you that that was part of or one of the recommendations in the National Institute of Mental Health Task Force on Homosexuality, are you familiar with that report?

A: Yes, I am.

Q: And were you aware of that recommendation?

A: I am aware of it in the context of the particular society or societal relationship which we find ourselves -in at this point.

Q: I am not sure I understand that.

A: Well, in cross cultural studies of homosexuality done by Forbes and Beech and by Marshall and Suggs, in looking at representative societies throughout culture, the majority of societies do not condemn homsexuality. It is a minority. In fact, Forbes and Beech found 64 percent of societies condone in some way homosexuality, so that I think you have to look at that recommendation in terms of our particular society at this particular time.

Q: Okay. Limiting it to our society at this time in our evolution, again would you agree or disagree with the conclusion of the task force, and again I will read it -- I don’t want to characterize it, let me read word for word the precise recommendation. It is under the caption “Prevention”.

“For most workers in the field, prevention of the development of a homosexual orientation in a child or adolescent is seen as one of the most important goals.”

You then, I take it, agree or disagree with that recommendation?

A: I disagree personally and professionally.

Q: In your testimony, you spoke -- again, correct me if I am characterizing this incorrectly. As I understand your testimony, you felt that there was a positive benefit to strongly heterosexual children, strongly homosexual children, and even to the ambivalent children, shall we say?

A: Right.

Q: -- or children on the fence, as sometimes the word has been used, to have the homosexual model in the classroom, is that correct?

A: That is correct.

Q: Now, can I infer fairly from that that you do acknowledge the role of the teacher as a “model”, that he has some function in that regard for adolescent kids at this age?

A: Yes, in terms of helping them to affirm or reject themselves in that self worth and self image, not in terms of the kinds of behaviors that they themselves will go out an demonstrate.

Q: Is it fair also to say that it is your view, in light of what you testified in response to my first question, that you think that the child who is ambivalent with regard to his sexual identity should be given the option or choice of looking to a homosexual model as one of his options on the spectrum of his sexuality? Is that a fair inference?

A: I would like to say two things in regard to that.

One, my belief is that if there are good homosexual models in the society that he has contact with that are responsible, well respected, capable people, and if there are heterosexual models that he comes in contact with that are responsible, with the same qualifications, it seems to me that this will help the individual to be more comfortable -- which was a word used yesterday -- more comfortable in dealing with his own personality and his own sexual orientation.

Now, there is another thing, and that is in regard to this ambivalent child or young person as I heard yesterday, I do not know of any case that is a pure case of a young person coming into junior high with only a sexual orientation confusion, but along with that are other factors, problems, confusions, in that the person brings in a complex, usually of relationship problems, if he comes in and is under a great deal of stress or discomfort, and I really do not know nor have I ever heard of a pure case where someone comes into the age of 12, 13, 14, whatever it is, with purely a sexual orientation confusion.

Q: I don’t think anyone here has contended one can crystalize and isolate that one issue as being the only issue on which an adolescent is confused.

A: I do feel that is an important distinction.

MR. BARON: I have no further questions.

THE COURT: Anything else, Mr. Gottesman?

THE GOTTESMAN: No, no further questions.

THE COURT: Dr. Stayton, let me just ask one question.

In view of the counseling work and so on that you have been involved in, this is one area I think has been referred to but not discussed too much. Let us take the on-the-fence child, taught by a known homosexual -- and we are talking about the anxieties and stresses on that child. What about the parental influence? Let’s assume that parents aren’t always as well guided and well intended -- well intended, but not well guided, perhaps -- what is going to be the effect of the parental opposition to the teacher’s known characteristics which would obviously be expressed or be a matter of discussion? I am talking now of the effect upon the child’s anxiety and stress, assuming they already exist?

Maybe that isn’t a fair question. I don’t know.

THE WITNESS: Well, one of my tasks as I see it in the field of family life education is to help families to deal more creatively with these questions.

THE COURT: They don’t all get to you or to people in your capacity?

THE WITNESS: Right. The only thing that I can say is that on a nationwide survey that was conducted seven out of ten parents were for their children receiving sex education in the schools.

Now, I don’t know what to infer from that in terms of the question of homosexuality, except that parents do lean to be in favor of their children getting sex education and that this would presumably include homosexuality.

THE COURT: Perhaps as a part of the hypothetical question that was referred to earlier, there is sex education course in the Montgomery County School System and it has been testified that reference to homosexuality is forbidden in that course.

THE WITNESS: I don’t know who forbade it.

THE COURT: I don’t know.

THE WITNESS: Let: me just say that in the courses that I have taught, I bring in homosexuals to speak with the young people, and I talk with them beforehand to find out that they are not militant or trying to convert people to homosexuality, but that they are well-respected, highly responsible individuals whom the young people can develop a relationship with to talk about homosexuality.

There have been a number of young people whom I have talked with afterwards who have been able to bring out their own fears, fantasies and problems that they were having in this area and to work them through, and it seems to be a positive procedure to follow.

I think it is the fear of homosexuality that creates a lot of the problems rather than the reality of itself. It is the heterosexual or predominantly heterosexual child who may have a great deal of fear regarding fantasies. Fantasy was brought up, and I think that is an important subject. It is very normal for young people and adults to have fantasies. It is common for people to have fantasies at least occasionally about members of the same sex.

This does not mean, however, that these people are necessarily homosexual, and one of my tasks as an educator and as a therapist is to help people feel comfortable with this particular aspect of their personality.

It is also unlikely, in my opinion, that a young person would fantasize about a teacher who is a known homosexual unless that teacher were particularly attractive to that young person, just as it is more likely that they will fantasize with another teacher, maybe a gym teacher, who just not known as a homosexual, because they feel attracted.

I think fantasies are based on the people that we are attracted to, not on what they are in terms of their either sexual orientation or status. I think that is an important concept to bring out. Do you understand?

THE COURT: Yes, I understand. Is there anything else?

THE GOTTESMAN: I would like to pursue this, I think it is interesting, one aspect of the question.

THE COURT: We are not here to be entertained.

THE GOTTESMAN: But this is relevant, Your Honor and its relevance is established by the fact that the court asked it, and I think it is one aspect of the question which we didn’t address ourselves to.

REDIRECT EXAMINATION

BY MR. GOTTESMAN:

Q: Let’s take our on-the-fence child who was on the fence when he got into the 8th grade and he is still there, and he has been in our hypothetical teacher’s class. He comes home, and let’s assume that he now feels freer to talk about his own anxieties and on-the-fenceness than he was before precisely for the reasons you have indicated, that he now is less uncomfortable about the feeling, and so he voices them to his parents. He says I have this teacher who is a known homosexual, I really respect him and I am now able to tell you some of the things that have been troubling me, folks, because I don’t feel so guilty about them any more, and here is what they are.

I suppose one can posit a total spectrum of total parental responses from sending the kid to private school to saying fine, it’s wonderful, let’s sit down and talk about it and go see Dr. Stayton and talk to him about it with him.

The question is, are there going to be any children harmed by the virtue of the parental response they receive at that time when they go home and announce I have a homosexual teacher or begin to voice their own internal concerns?

A: The harm would be more in the young person’s own self image than in a direct effect upon the way that child is going to behave.

It seems to me that if a parent gets very upset with this, while the child is comfortable, this is going to say more to the child about his own feelings, his own value, his own self-worth, than it is going to either confirm him to move one way or to move the other way.

THE GOTTESMAN: I have nothing further.

THE COURT: Thank you, Dr. Stayton.

 
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