Home > Awareness, LGBT News, National > SPLC: 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked

SPLC: 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked

December 7, 2010
Southern Poverty Law Center

Image via Wikipedia

Below is an excerpt from the Southern Poverty Legal Center’s recent article which in full outlines myths, the anti-gay argument and mis-information, and the facts.  I’ve abbreviated to the myth and the key fact.  The entire article is available here.

MYTH # 1
Homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

FACT: According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men. … 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.


MYTH # 2
Same-sex parents harm children.

FACT: No legitimate research has demonstrated that same-sex couples are any more or any less harmful to children than heterosexual couples.

The American Academy of Pediatrics in a 2002 policy statement declared: “A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.” That policy statement was reaffirmed in 2009.

MYTH # 3
People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents. 

FACT: No scientifically sound study has linked sexual orientation or identity with parental role-modeling or childhood sexual abuse.

The American Psychiatric Association noted in a 2000 fact sheet on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues that “no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse.” The fact sheet goes on to say that sexual abuse does not appear to be any more prevalent among children who grow up and identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual than in children who grow up and identify as heterosexual.

MYTH # 4
Homosexuals don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals.

FACT: This falsehood can be traced directly to the discredited research of Paul Cameron and his Family Research Institute, specifically a 1994 paper he co-wrote entitled, “The Lifespan of Homosexuals.” …However, like virtually all of his “research,” Cameron’s methodology is egregiously flawed — most obviously because the sample he selected (the data from the obits) was not remotely statistically representative of the homosexual population as a whole. Even Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has called Cameron’s methods “just ridiculous.”
MYTH # 5
Homosexuals controlled the Nazi Party and helped to orchestrate the Holocaust.

FACT: …Historians estimate that between 50,000 and 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality (or suspicion of it) under the Nazi regime. These men were routinely sent to concentration camps and many thousands died there.

In 1942, the Nazis instituted the death penalty for homosexuals. Offenders in the German military were routinely shot. Himmler put it like this: “We must exterminate these people root and branch. … We can’t permit such danger to the country; the homosexual must be completely eliminated.”

MYTH # 6
Hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality and the legalization of practices like bestiality and necrophilia.

FACT: The claim that hate crime laws could result in the imprisonment of those who “oppose the homosexual lifestyle” is false. The Constitution provides robust protections of free speech, and case law makes it clear that even a preacher who suggested that homosexuals should be killed would be protected.

MYTH # 7
Allowing homosexuals to serve openly would damage the armed forces.

FACT: …Gays and lesbians serve openly in the armed forces of 25 countries…Lifting bans against openly gay service personnel in these countries “ha[s] had no negative impact on morale, recruitment, retention, readiness or overall combat effectiveness.”

MYTH # 8
Homosexuals are more prone to be mentally ill and to abuse drugs and alcohol.

FACT: All major professional mental health organizations are on record as stating that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.

Richard J. Wolitski [of the CDC in 2008 stated] “Economic disadvantage, stigma, and discrimination … increase stress and diminish the ability of individuals [in minority groups] to cope with stress, which in turn contribute to poor physical and mental health.”

MYTH # 9
No one is born a homosexual.

FACT: Modern science cannot state conclusively what causes sexual orientation, but a great many studies suggest that it is the result of biological and environmental forces, not a personal “choice.” …And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here — heterosexual behaviour is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.”

MYTH # 10
Gay people can choose to leave homosexuality.

FACT: “Reparative” or sexual reorientation therapy — the pseudo-scientific foundation of the ex-gay movement — has been rejected by all the established and reputable American medical, psychological, psychiatric, and professional counseling organizations. In 2009, for instance, the American Psychological Association adopted a resolution, accompanied by a 138-page report that repudiated ex-gay therapy.

 

Advertisements