Monday, January 11, 2010

Dispelling Myths of Homosexuality

I got this from someone and thought it was worth sharing. I'm AGAINST discrimination of ANY KIND.

MYTH #1: Lesbians and gay men are always easy to identify.

People often use lesbian and gay stereotypes to identify a person's sexual orientation, such as gay men are effeminate and lesbians are butch. A study conducted to see if people could accurately identify a person's sexual orientation after watching a series of video taped interviews. Close to 80% of the subjects were unable to identify the person's sexual orientation (Berger et al, 1987). Some studies have found that lesbians do rate higher on masculinity scores, which comes largely from their high self-rating as independent. The measures of masculinity and femininity tend to be gender-biased and are not very useful in the study of gay men and lesbians.

The homosexual community is very diverse and its members can not be neatly categorized into stereotypes based on myths and appearance. Only when we dispel these stereotypes, that continue to fuel people's homophobic attitudes, will people realize that there are more similarities than differences between the gay and straight population.

MYTH #2: All lesbians are either butch or femme.

Some gay women are, but many believe they do not have to adopt such restrictive roles in order to express their love of women. This does not mean we should pass judgment on those women who are in butch-femme relationships and who are happy with their roles.

The butch-femme myth stems from the visibility of the butch lesbian. The butch lesbian also reinforces the myth that lesbians can not get a man and the butch- femme relationship is acting out the man-woman relationship which is what all women really want.

Lesbianism is NOT a dislike of men. Lesbianism is an inclination, a positive emotional, physical attraction to other women. Lesbianism (& homosexuality) is not just a sexual activity -- it is something that spans beyond a person's physical behaviour.

MYTH #3: Women become lesbians because they had bad or negative sexual experiences with men.

A 1990 study of lesbian and female students found that there was no significant difference in their traumatic heterosexual experiences. Both lesbians and heterosexual women reported the same number of traumatic experiences (incest, molestation, rape, physical abuse). Most women said they began to question their sexual orientation because they felt strong emotional and/or sexual bonds with women and NOT because they felt an aversion towards men.

MYTH #4: Openly gay teachers, professors, professionals and other role models are dangerous because they will try to recruit people to homosexuality.

Opponents of openly gay teachers and other role models argue that students may wish to be like their teachers and/or professors given their position of authority and prestige. An openly gay teacher or professor can, however, provide a positive role model for those students in the minority, who are gay or know they are going to be gay and who desperately need support and understanding.

Openly gay men or lesbians in positions of authority, such as in education, politics, religious institutions, the medical profession, etc. help to dispel the myth of homosexuals as socially maladjusted and unstable.

It is highly unlikely that one role model could override all the messages that reinforce heterosexuality in society.

MYTH #5: Homosexuals want to lower the age of consent laws for sexual activity so that they can have access to young children and try to convert them.

In Canada, the age of consent for sexual activity for homosexuals is 21. For heterosexuals, it ranges from 14 to 18, depending on the province, sex and marital status of the individual.

Age of consent laws do not deal specifically with adult-child relations. These laws also prevent young people from having sex with each other. There is no justification for the existence of separate age of consent laws according to one's sexual orientation. It is merely another example of homophobia and misconceptions about homosexuality.

MYTH #6: Gay men tend to be pedophiles and molest children.

The perpetrators of child sexual abuse are overwhelmingly men; very few women are offenders. The abuser is usually a member of the child's family or someone known by the family. Pedophiles, men who have a sexual preference for children, constitute less than 1% of the adult male population. Pedophiles are quite distinct from adult gay men who prefer adult sexual partners. Studies have shown no correlation between a man's sexual orientation and a tendency to sexually abuse children

Homosexual pedophiles are considered a perversion of the normal homosexual man in the same way that heterosexual pedophiles are also a perversion. Heterosexual men are twice as likely to sexually abuse children as homosexual men are. There is solid evidence that over 92% of child abuse cases, including same gender sexual abuse, are perpetrated by heterosexuals.

The number of reported child abuse cases have increased over the past five years. It is crucial that we address the issue of child sexual abuse objectively and recognize that this abuse is occurring behind to many closed doors in so-called traditional family homes.

MYTH #7: Gay men and lesbians have limited social support networks.

In a homophobic society, it is certainly important for lesbians and gay men to build their own community to overcome social stigma and alienation. Research has shown that both heterosexuals and homosexuals shared similar beliefs in the value of social support. Both report receiving similar amount of support but their sources differed.

Gay men and lesbians tended to depend more on friends and their partners and less on relatives and family than heterosexuals did. Despite the obstacles to the creation of meaningful support networks, many lesbians and gay men are able to develop circles of significant and supportive people.

No one should be made to feel guilty about loving someone, regardless of sexual orientation. Society should address negative stereotypes and intolerance expressed towards homosexuality, rather than condemn people for expressing their love for another human being.

MYTH #8: Gay, lesbians, and bisexual people cannot and do not want long-term relationships.

The stereotype is of the lonely gay man or woman drifting from one sexual liaison to another, never satisfied and never committed.

Studies have shown that between 40-60% of gay men are in steady relationships. These figures are probably higher because men in long term relationships tend to be older and less likely to go to bars, where these statistics were recorded.

Between 45-80% of lesbians are in steady relationships. In most studies, the proportion of lesbians in an on-going relationship was close to 75%.

It is hard to judge how long these partnerships last given the lack of marriage records. The few studies on older lesbians and gay men have shown that relationships lasting longer than 20 years are common.

Another study compared the rate of break-up between lesbian, gay, and co-habitating and married heterosexual couples over an 18 month period. For all couples who had been together for more than 10 years the rate of break-up was:

•6% for lesbians,
•4% for gay men,
•4% for married couples.

For couples together for less than 2 years, only 1 in 5 relationships ended over the 18-month period. Overall the difference in break-up rates between homosexual and heterosexual couples is almost insignificant.

In general, a pattern of continuity and stability was seen in all the relationships.

MYTH #9: One person always plays the role of husband and the other the wife in homosexual relationships.

Invariably many people ask which partner is the man and which is the woman.

Research has shown that most lesbian and gay men actively reject traditional husband-wife or masculine-feminine roles as a model for homosexual relationships. Clear-cut or obvious husband-wife roles are uncommon.

Differences between the partners may be based on age, with the older partner acting as a mentor or role model.

MYTH #10: Gay men can not be monogamous.

A study of gay male couples indicated that only 20% of relationships were sexually open. Many of the other couples followed a wide variety of patterns -- as diverse as a similar survey of heterosexual couples indicated (Blasband & Peplau, 1985).

MYTH #11: Gay relationships are abnormal and dysfunctional.

A study of heterosexual university students found that the belief that gay relationships are inferior to those of heterosexuals is widely held. The students assumed that somehow the depth of feeling and commitment was not the same (Testa, Kinder, Ironson, 1987).

Studies have shown that, when homosexual and heterosexual couples are compared, they do not differ regarding levels of love and satisfaction.

There are no differences comparing the quality of the relationship and strength of the commitment between homosexual and heterosexual couples (Duff & Rusbult, 1986).

In summary, homosexual partnerships appear no more vulnerable (or more immune) to problems and dissatisfaction than their heterosexual counterparts.


pikey said...

Hmmmm.. very interesting and some of them I didn't know it myself! LOL

Mark said...

Yeah me too! And I think that even gay people stereotype themselves in some of those myths too, don't you think?