concerning gender, sex, and sexual orientation.
Debunking the myths listed below may
help people understand that LGBT people are
just like anyone else, and we
deserve the same respect you would
give to anyone else.
Myth: You can spot a gay or lesbian person by the way they act and dress.
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 June
Cleaver types representative of all straight people. LGBT people generally look
and act like everyone else. Most people never suspect the sexual orientation of
an LGBT individual.
Myth: I’ve never met a
person who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Most people know a number of LGBT persons, but are
unaware of it because these persons are “in the closet”. Because of intense
prejudice and hatred directed toward LGBTs in our society, many are quite
reluctant to reveal their sexual orientation. As noted above, most LGBT people
look and act just like everyone else. They come from all walks of life, all
races, all economic levels, and 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 not straight.
Myth: LGBT people want to come into our schools and recruit the students to
There have been
attempts to bring LGBT 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 LGBT classmates, who are often subjects of
harassment and physical attacks. Talking openly about homosexuality is also
crucial to students who are LGBT. Feeling alone, frightened and confused, these
young people are much more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.
A recent study indicates that 30% of gay and lesbian students attempt suicide
around the age of 15.
Myth: 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: You can always tell homosexuals by the way
they look or act. Men who act in a feminine manner must be gay. Masculine women
with short haircuts and deeper voices must be lesbians.
These stereotypes only apply to about 15% of gays and 5% of
lesbians. These stereotypes confuse the concept of sexual orientation (whether
you prefer the same or the other sex as sexual partners) with gender roles
(exhibiting masculine or feminine behavior). Just as the vast majority of gays
and lesbians do not fit these stereotypes, only a portion of heterosexuals match
them. Except for their actual sexual activity or admitting their sexual
preferences, there is no accurate way to judge someone’s sexual orientation.
Many adolescents and some adults are not secure in their masculinity or
femininity. For them, it is important to be as different form an LGBT person as
possible. They may even have homophobia—an unreasonable fear
and/or hatred of homosexuals. With their insecurity, they maintain stereotypes
of effeminate male gays and masculine lesbians. When they follow the stereotyped
gender roles, they feel more sexually adjusted. They use the stereotypes to
distinguish between out-group and in-group members. When these individuals meet
homosexuals who do not fit the homosexual stereotypes, they feel very upset and
threatened. They are extremely upset by any activity with people of the same sex
that even hints at being sexual.
Christians are united in their opposition to homosexual people and
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.
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