What really comes to your mind when I say “homosexual” or “homosexuality”? Like, really? If you are a heterosexual person then, I guess the first thing that bursts out of your lips is a strong proclamation, “I’m not!”. Nothing to worry about. I’m not passing a judgement on you. Being a part of the majority, we do at times make the mistake of rejecting the minority or labelling it as abnormal, queer, unnatural, outlandish et cetera. You can take your pick. But did you not ever feel a surge of curiosity about it? Didn’t you want to know what exactly the term “homosexuality” entails and who all come under its shadow? If not then, may be this article will help you understand it all a bit better. Let’s start at the beginning. Before I delve into the abyss of how homosexuality has been misunderstood and judged, I would like to make the idea of it clear to those of you who have not been enlightened about it yet. In simple laymen’s terms, homosexuality is nothing but sexual and romantic behavior or attraction between members of the same sex or gender (see? It’s no rocket science!). A person then, refers to his sense of identity on the basis of his attraction or sexual orientation. In fact, the term itself was coined in the 19th century by a German psychologist named Karoly Maria Benkert. Beyond homosexuality lies bisexuality and heterosexuality (the other two forms of sexual orientation). It is no secret that heterosexuality is the most accepted form of sexual orientation in our society.
As you all probably know by now, many theories have been flying about homosexuality and homosexuals.These theories in a way pose a lot of problems because most of them propagate incorrect information. Some of these theories may be true but most of them are not. Many myths have been attached to homosexuality and in this post, I’ll be concentrating on busting these myths out.
10. No one is born Gay.
Many people, especially the anti-gay activists, believe that sexual orientation is a form of a behavior and that it can be changed. Many studies have been conducted in this regard and it has come into light that there are many biological and environmental factors that may result in one’s sexual orientation but “personal choice” is certainly not one of them. Even these biological and environmental factors are random and multiple in number. We cannot put a finger on a single gene (read: gay gene) or a single environmental variable that influences sexual orientation. It’s a matter of great complexity. Heterosexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality cannot be chosen by individuals. They are born this way just like heterosexuals are. Period.
9. Homosexuality= Mental Illness.
It’s a common belief among the anti-LGBT activists that homosexuality is both physically and mentally unhealthy. In 1973, APA (American Psychological Association) had determined that homosexuality was not a kind of a mental illness. It in fact, removed it from its official manual that listed all mental and emotional disorders. APA also clarified that being a homosexual is as healthy as being a heterosexual. Homosexuality does not impair or comprise one’s judgement, stability, and reliability, social and vocational capabilities.
Although it is true that because of the stigma that has long been associated with homosexuality, incidents of homosexuals suffering from anxiety, depression and other depression related disorders like alcohol and drug abuse have increased. But it is impediment to know that this is because of the violence and stigma directed at the LGBT community (a minority in itself) rather than homosexuality.
8. All Gay relationships have a distinct division between “male” and “female” roles.
Movies and Television soaps depict gay or lesbian couples in traditional “male” and “female” gender roles. For instance, a typical lesbian couple has a tough-looking (probably tattooed) woman in loose tee’s and tank tops and a delicate and confused damsel all dolled up in lace. One is a representation of masculinity and the other, of femininity. This assumption is merely based on the idea that homosexuals are just confused about their sexual orientation and that they are in actuality attracted to the “opposite” sex. However, it has been long proven through a study that very few homosexual couples settle into traditional “male” and “female” gender roles. Homosexuals on the contrary, equally divide chores between them instead of separating them on the basis of gender. This leads to contentment and tranquility between the couple.
7. More homosexuals are child molesters in comparison to the heterosexuals.
Now that is harsh. Not only is it believed that homosexuals are more prone to being child molesters but it has also been stated that same-sex parents molest their children. Many anti-gay activists use this to gain people’s confidence in their agenda and belief’s. Many studies have been conducted which clearly acquit homosexuals from such insinuations. According to the American Psychological Association, there’s no evidence that children are more likely to be molested by LGBT parents or their LGBT friends or acquaintances in comparison to the heterosexuals. Similarly, it is also not true that all men who sexually abuse male children are homosexuals. The truth be told, studies conducted by the Boston Advocates of Human Rights reveal that majority of the child molestation is performed by heterosexual males and not homosexual males, as assumed.
6. Gays are attracted to everybody of the same sex.
Now, even you can see that this is totally unreasonable. The simple logic remains in the fact that no one heterosexual gets attracted to every individual of the opposite sex. Similarly, no one homosexual gets attracted to every individual of the same sex. Just like the heterosexuals, they too get attracted to people who are their type.
5. Homosexual parents harm their children.
Most of the religious faculties and anti-gay activists use this argument to instil a sense of wrongness when it comes to homosexuality. They firmly believe in the traditional sense of a nuclear family which is actually considered a healthy way of bringing up children. In contrast to the male-female parenting, the same-sex parenting is considered unhealthy and harmful. It has been researched that children who had same-sex parents didn’t show any difference in their emotional development with their peers and adults as compared to those children who have been brought up by heterosexual parents. They are not more likely to develop emotional and behavioural problems. Homosexual parents are similar to their heterosexual counterparts and effectiveness of parenting is unrelated to the parents’ sexual orientation.
4. People become homosexual because of sexual abuse in childhood.
Another popular myth about homosexuality claims that homosexuality is that mental disorder that has its roots in some psychological trauma in childhood. This obviously is used to counter the belief that no one chooses to be a gay or to be straight. It is said that if a child is abused in a certain manner then, the condition of homosexuality gets triggered. No serious study has linked childhood abuse to homosexuality. It has been seen that grown homosexuals were not more abused in their childhoods as compared to the grown heterosexual individuals. It has been scientifically established that sexual abuse does not cause a heterosexual person to turn into a homosexual.
3. There’s a certain “gay” lifestyle.
Seriously, there’s no such thing as a “gay lifestyle”. Just like in cases of heterosexuals, lifestyles of homosexuals too vary in accordance to their race, nationality, ethnicity, socio-economic background, religion, age, values et cetera. Every individual, irrespective of his/her sexual orientation, develops his/her own individual lifestyle. Sexual orientation is just one part of the identity, it does not bear upon the identity as a whole. There is no standard homosexual lifestyle just like there is no standard heterosexual lifestyle.
2. Women turn lesbians only when they go through bad relationships with men.
There have been many men and women who have been in happy relationships with the opposite sex. But they have also admitted that once they realized their sexual orientations and went into a relationship with a person of their own gender, they found it to be more fulfilling. These relationships express their sexuality truly.
1. Any experience with a person of the same gender will greatly determine one’s sexual orientation as a gay, lesbian or straight.
Accept it. People do experiment. There are many gays and lesbians who have had sexual experiences with heterosexuals. That did not change their sexual orientation. Similarly, if a heterosexual experiments with an individual of the same sex, it does not change him into a homosexual. Sexual orientation is not just about sexual acts. It goes beyond it. It’s a sense of belonging to a certain community and culture. It’s a part of one’s identity. It cannot be established solely on the basis of one’s sexual history.
Debates on homosexuality not only involve religious and moral issues but also public policies and legal issues. A kind of polarization marks these debates. As a result, a lot of stereotypes, myths, lies and misconceptions get concocted which need to be battled through if we are to reach the heart of this orientation. As a human being, every individual is entitled to certain fundamental rights. These rights should not be denied to him on the basis of his/her sexual orientation. Unfortunately, homosexuals have been struggling with the most basic rights since a long time. Hopefully, the myths that are thrown over them to obliterate their voices will get usurped by the truth.