Ten Myths About Homosexuality
Ten Myths About Homosexuality
Myth #1: Homosexual men molest children.
This has been repeatedly shown not to be true by scientific studies. The
conclusion of experts in the field of sexual abuse, based on a number of
studies, is that molesting of children occurs among heterosexual and homosexual
men to the same degree. The vast majority of those who molest children are
heterosexual. The average offender is a white heterosexual male whom the
Myth #2: You can spot a gay or lesbian person by the way they act and
Some people believe all gay men are effeminate, and all lesbians are tomboys.
While there are some gay and lesbian persons who fit these stereotypes,
they are no more representative of all homosexual people than are the Marlboro
man and Scarlett O'Hara types representative of all heterosexuals. Homosexual
people generally look and act like everyone else. Most people never suspect
the sexual orientation of a homosexual individual.
Myth #3: I've never met a homosexual person.
Most people know a number of homosexual persons, but are unaware of it because
these persons are "in the closet". Because of intense prejudice
and hatred directed toward lesbian, gay and bisexual people in our society,
many are quite reluctant to reveal their sexual orientation. As noted above,
most homosexual people look and act just like everyone else. They come from
all walks of life, all races, all economic levels, all political perspectives.
So heterosexual people can assume that they probably have homosexual neighbors,
friends, relatives and fellow worshipers - although those persons may be
afraid to reveal that they are gay or lesbian.
Myth #4: To be bisexual implies that a person has multiple partners.
Bisexual individuals have affection and sexual feelings towards persons
of the other sex, as well as the same sex. This does not imply involvement
with more than one partner any more than a heterosexual person's ability
to be attracted to more than one person implies multiple partners.
Myth #5: Homosexuality is a mental illness.
While once classified as a mental illness, both the American Psychiatric
Association and the American Psychological Association have removed homosexuality
from their list of mental disorders. Numerous studies have shown that homosexuality
is not linked with psychological disturbance and is in no sense a "mental
Myth #6: Christians are united in their opposition to homosexual people
There are a wide variety of opinions about homosexual persons among the
various Christian denominations, and among individuals as well. Some religious
groups interpret certain Biblical passages as injunctions against homosexuality,
while others view these passages in the light of historical context, pointing
out other passages Christians no longer take literally, such as those advocating
slavery, dietary laws and ritual purity laws. In addition many Christian
denominations have issued statements condemning discrimination and prejudice
against homosexual people, as have a number of Jewish and other religious
groups. There are numerous congregations who welcome and affirm homosexual
Christians as fully- participating members of the body of Christ, with unique
gifts to offer.
Myth #7: Homosexual persons have many sexual partners and do not develop
Certainly, there are individuals within the gay, lesbian and bisexual community
who have many sexual partners. Studies indicate, however, that most homosexual
persons value and want long-term relationships and that a large proportion
are involved in stable, close relationships. In studies which involved older
lesbian and gay individuals, it was not unusual to find couples who had
been together for over twenty years. In addition, many gay and lesbian people,
like many heterosexual people, are celibate either for periods of time or
for their entire lives.
Homosexual couples do face particular challenges, however. Our society does
not provide any of the supports for these relationships that it provides
for heterosexual couples - none of the social, legal, economic or religious
supports - and often no family support. In a culture where even marriages,
which are legally and socially sanctioned, have a high rate of failure,
it's impressive that so many same-sex couples do stay together.
Myth #8: Homosexual people want special rights, and that's not fair.
Basic human rights are not special rights. The right to get and keep a job
based on merit is not a special right. The right to be served food in a
restaurant is not a special right. The right to have housing is not a special
right. The right to walk down a street and not be attacked because of who
you are and whom you love is not a special right. Homosexual and bisexual
people want the same rights that are guaranteed to all Americans. In recent
years, ballot initiatives have been put forward in a number of states and
cities, accompanied by much misinformation about "preventing homosexuals
from getting special rights." In effect, what these initiatives do
is interfere with legitimate efforts to end discrimination in areas such
as jobs, housing and public accommodations.
Myth #9: Homosexual people are bad parents.
Some people believe that children of lesbian or gay parents are more likely
to grow up to be homosexual. Others are concerned that these children will
grow up without appropriate ethical values. With respect to the first belief,
there is no evidence that children of same-sex couples are more likely to
grow up gay. Most homosexual persons were conceived and raised by heterosexual
parents. There is increasing evidence that sexual orientation is fixed early
in life by biology.
Regarding the second concern, a homosexual orientation does not make a person
unethical. In fact, being the victims of so much hatred and prejudice often
makes same-sex parents even more committed to teaching their children the
values of kindness and charity. Dr. Judd Marmor, past president of the American
Psychiatric Association says, "There is no evidence that heterosexual
parents are more loving, stable, or supportive in their parental roles than
homosexual men and women."
Many gay and lesbian people live in committed long-term relationships with
their partner, living a domestic life similar to that of heterosexual marriage.
Many same-sex couples raise children together. In addition, a high number
of homosexual individuals are accepted and welcomed by their parents, siblings
and other family members. Many lesbian and gay people report that the decision
to come out to their families brought new support and closeness.
Myth #10: Homosexual people want to come into our schools and recruit
our children to their lifestyle.
There have been attempts to bring "gay" issues into schools, but
certainly not to convert anyone. There is no evidence that people could
be "recruited" to a homosexual orientation, even if someone wanted
to do this. The intent is to teach adolescents not to mistreat gay and lesbian
classmates, who are often subjects of harassment and physical attacks. Talking
openly about homosexuality is also crucial to students who are lesbian or
gay. Feeling alone, frightened and confused, these young people are much
more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. A recent study
indicates that 30% of gay and lesbian students attempt suicide around the
age of fifteen-a sobering finding.
Note: Resources from the Church Council of Greater Seattle, P-FLAG
NH Seacoast, People of Faith Against Bigotry of Portland, OR, the National
Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the books; A Certain Terror and Homosexuality:
Research Implications for Public Policy have been used in this article and
are gratefully acknowledged.
Jan Wright or Dawn Richberg, AFSC, 1414 Hill St., Ann Arbor, MI
48104 ; Phone: 313.761.8283 (voice/TDD); Fax: 313.761.6022; E-mail at AFSCJan@aol.com
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