LGBT Myths…Busted: Gay Myths
The following is the second installment in our series "LGBT Myths... Busted!"
The "G" written by Chris Jarvis
5: Who’s the husband and who’s the wife?
We feel better as people when things are easily explained; putting people in categories makes us more comfortable. Although same sex marriage is becoming legal across the country at a faster and faster pace, this question was posed to gay men long before legal same sex marriage existed anywhere. To this day I still get asked this question. I’m married to a man and I’m a man. He’s my husband and I’m his husband. “Wife” is a female term so it doesn't apply to same sex male relationships. This ridiculous notion stems from the newness of same sex marriages. Traditional terms bleed over into our marriages because people don’t know how to label us. They’re uncomfortable with the concept of two men so they have to make one of us the wife. Silly. It also reinforces the ridiculous notion that gay men are effeminate.
It also expressed the ignorance people have about roles. They automatically try to define gender roles to same sex couples based on traditional couples. Not only do the terms husband and wife no longer define what a man and a woman do in a marriage (what if the man is stay at home?) but it has no relevance to same sex male couples. There’s no relevant link for this, it’s just common sense, so just stop it.
4: Same sex marriage threatens traditional marriage
The loudest argument since the battle for legalized same sex marriage began has been that it will threaten traditional marriage. If you just take it on face value, you might tend to agree. Of course, that’s if you put zero critical thinking into it. If you do, and come out of that, then you start to ask “how?” does it threaten traditional marriage. The answers get pretty hard to come by at that point. Our opposition states that legalizing same sex marriage will de-value traditional marriage. People may be less likely to get married if the scope of marriage steps outside the one man one woman and the breeding aspect of traditional marriage. First off, legalizing same sex marriage doesn’t legally do anything to traditional marriage. Letting us get married legally makes zero changes to the legality of opposite sex marriage. We’ll get married and so can they. Then they say that it weakens marriage. Excuse me, but allowing others into the mix of legalized, dedicated unions would appear to strengthen the union of marriage. It means more and more people are fighting to be a part of it. I could see their fear and rhetoric if the gay community was trying to legalize simpler divorce (which straights have already done) or to offer a “cheaper” version of marriage (which straights have already done), but we’re not. We’re just asking to be able to participate in the same legal civil rights (not religious) that have been afforded to straights for hundreds of years.
There are lots of studies debunking the harm that same sex marriage might cause to opposite sex marriage. Let’s face it, opposite sex marriage has been in trouble for a very long time, long before we’ve been granted equality. Check out some of the science HERE
3: Gays can turn others gay
This is most often brought up as it relates to gay adults around children, such as teachers, parents, etc. Let’s face it, if gays can turn others gay, then it would be logical that straights could turn others straight. I don’t know about you, but I grew up with straight parents and family members, straight friends and straight influences, and the whole world was trying to make me straight. Didn’t work. I sat through Sexual Education and learned about how men and women did it (eww!). I rifled through my brother’s Playboy and Penthouse magazine (very quickly) and I watched men kiss women in movie after movie. Didn’t matter. Still gay. Given that the straight population far outnumbers the gay population (current estimation is that the number of gay Americans falls in the 3-4 percent range) it seems pretty unlikely that 96% of Americans would have such little influence over 3-4 percent of the rest. (The percentage of gay Americans is, of course, a bad estimate at best, for a variety of reasons)
No scientific study of ANY KIND has ever suggested that a person can be “turned” gay.
2: Gay men are pedophiles
Studies have shown no correlation between sexual orientation and pedophilia. In fact, the overwhelming majority of pedophiles are heterosexual men. Women can be pedophiles, but in much smaller numbers (about 3%). About 92% of acts of pedophilia are perpetrated by heterosexuals. 70 percent of reported abuses involve an offender who knows the child, including relatives. The tragedy of this myth is that it hurts children by not addressing the truth of the issue, and it hurts gay men on a daily basis. Gay men feel this myth all the time, when they’re around straight people with children. Maybe it’s that we’ve been burned by this myth for so long that we build it up in our minds too much, I don’t know. I do know it’s very painful to wonder what uneducated people are thinking when we’re around children.
The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained in the attached link, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.
Reference Link: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/HTML/facts_molestation.html
1: Being gay is a choice
There’s A LOT out there on this topic. On the choice side it’s overwhelmingly religious, one sided and badly done studies with an agenda. On the non-choice side it’s overwhelmingly based in science, although there still has not been conclusive evidence on what makes a person gay versus straight, or any of the myriad other orientations in between. While we have for so long thought of sexual orientation as very black and white…you’re either straight or gay or bisexual, the truth is that it’s much more complicated than that.
Is being straight a choice? When people ask me “When did you first know you were gay?” I tend to ask back… “When did you first know you were straight?” Or when asked “How do you know you’re gay if you haven’t been with a woman?”, I reply, “How do you know you’re straight if you haven’t slept with someone of the same sex?”. Science may or may not ever conclusively prove what drives our sexual orientations, but the conclusion we need to arrive at is “What difference does it make?”. Are we saying that if being gay was a choice that it’s okay to strip gay people of civil rights? Aren’t we allowed to make choices? Don’t get me wrong, I stand firmly on the side of “born this way”. If anything were to be true for me, it would be that being straight would be a choice. After all, the entire world wanted me to be straight from the time I was born. I had many, many women that wanted me to be straight (even after knowing I was gay), and life would certainly have been immensely easier if I’d chosen to be straight. But it would have been a choice. Being gay is not a choice for me and I’ve never met anyone that chose to be gay. It simply doesn’t happen (random sexual experiences don’t make you gay or straight).
The vast majority of gay people grew up in a family of straight parents and straight siblings. We grew up in a straight world. We read straight books and watched straight movies. We were told by society every day that being gay was wrong and that gays didn’t deserved equal rights. We were surrounded by a nonstop barrage of anti-gay bigotry that made us fear every day that we might lose our families, friends and even lives by simply being who we were inside. None of it mattered, none of it had any effect on who we turned out as people. We are all who we are, innately.
Witness the death of the Ex-gay movement, and the new laws being written to prevent youth from being subjected to reparative therapy. I’m not even sure that those who still use this idiotic theory believe it; I think it’s more used as a tool to rally the conservative troops or to simply make a dollar. If you could be “turned” to be gay, there would be a lot more gay people in the world right now, because, let’s face it, straight people aren’t nearly as much fun as we are.
We all know that gay people exist, as well as bisexuals, transgender people and a myriad of other various variations on sexual orientation and gender identity. The same way we know that straight people exist. Are gay people less human simply because our numbers are smaller and science hasn’t explained us yet? It’s time to get over it and just accept that there are all kinds of people and gay people are one kind. We’re not imaginary, we’re very much here and just as human and complex as anyone else.
The short answer to any myth is... that whenever we use language like "all" "always" "never" and other absolute language we are depriving part of our vast and varied community.