From time to time, religious right groups will publish “studies” or “resource guides” which they claim give the true picture of homosexuality. These guides are meant to be referred to by individuals who want reasons to oppose lgbt progress, be it in schools or society in general.
A perfect example of one of these “research guides” is an interesting piece of work on webpage of the Family Research Council entitled The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.
According to its author Peter Sprigg:
The homosexual movement is built, not on facts or research, but on mythology. Unfortunately, these myths have come to be widely accepted in society–particularly in schools, universities and the media. It is our hope that by understanding what these key myths are–and then reading a brief summary of the evidence against them–the reader will be empowered to challenge these myths when he or she encounters them.
According to Sprigg, these “myths” include the following:
- People are born gay.
- Sexual orientation can never change.
- Homosexuals do not experience a higher level of psychological disorders than heterosexuals.
- Homosexuals are no more likely to molest children than heterosexuals.
Sprigg isn’t necessarily unbiased when it comes to the lgbt community. At one time he said that “homosexual behavior” should be declared illegal. Another time before that, he publicly said that lgbts should be exported out of the United States.
However, even excluding Sprigg’s dubious comments, there is enough problems with Ten Myths to question its credibility.
At first glance, Ten Myths looks legitimate. However, a more intensive look reveals it to be a mishmash of inaccurate theories, cherry-picked work, and studies taken out of context created to justify homophobia
The following are just a few of the problems with Ten Myths:
1. Ten Myths repeats the lie that the Robert Spitzer study proves that homosexuality is changeable, excluding the fact that Spitzer has said on more than one occasion that his research was being distorted.
2. Ten Myths utilizes the work of the organization National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The website Truth Wins Out calls NARTH a discredited “ex-gay” fringe organization that peddles fraudulent “cures” for homosexuality.
According to Truth Wins Out, several NARTH members have been embroiled in controversies including:
Gerald Schoenwolf, PhD, a member of NARTH’ “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a piece on the group’s website that seemed to justify slavery
NARTH psychiatrist Joseph Berger, MD, another member of its “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a paper encouraging students to “ridicule” gender variant children.
Also, according to Truth Wins Out:
NARTH’ co-founder, Joesph Nicolosi encourages male clients to become more masculine by drinking Gatorade and referring to friends as “dude”. NARTH therapists have been known to practice rubber band therapy, where a gay client is made to wear a rubber band and snap it on his wrist when sexually stimulated. It is a mild form of aversion therapy meant to “snap” the client out of the moment of attraction. NARTH members have also been known to practice “touch therapy”, where a client sits in the therapist’ lap for up to an hour, while the therapist caresses him.
Earlier this year, another member of NARTH, George Rekers, resigned from the organization after caught coming from a vacation overseas with a “rentboy.”
3. Ten Myths cites Ex-gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation by Stanton L. Jones and Mark A Yarhouse as proof that people can change their sexual orientation. However in 2009, the American Psychological Association repudiated this study for bad methodology. Furthermore, Ten Myths does not address the conclusion by the APA last year that programs created to change a person’s several orientation does not work.
4. Ten Myths pushes the inaccuracy that a man who molests a boy is automatically gay even though the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America, all say that the homosexuality and pedophilia are not linked
5. But the most egregious inaccuracy in Ten Myths – and also something that says a lot about the mindset of its author, Peter Sprigg – is the following passage:
Even the pro-homosexual Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) acknowledges:
â¢ “Gay men use substances at a higher rate than the general population . . .”
â¢ “Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate . . . .”
â¢ ” . . . [G]ay men have higher rates of alcohol dependence and abuse . . . .”
â¢ ” . . . [G]ay men use tobacco at much higher rates than straight men . . . .”
â¢ “Problems with body image are more common among gay men . . . and gay men are much more likely to experience an eating disorder . . . .”
The GLMA also confirms that:
â¢ ” . . . [L]esbians may use tobacco and smoking products more often than heterosexual women use them.”
â¢ “Alcohol use and abuse may be higher among lesbians.”
â¢ ” . . . [L]esbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women.”
Homosexual activists generally attempt to explain these problems as results of “homophobic discrimination.” However, there is a serious problem with that theory–there is no empirical evidence that such psychological problems are greater in areas where disapproval of homosexuality is more intense.
So Sprigg’s point is that the lgbt orientation itself is indicative of negative behaviors (i.e. drug and alcohol abuse) and not the homophobia that lgbts face.
But strange enough, the source which he cites – the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association – says that homophobia is the reason for many of these health problems. Sprigg deliberately omits information pointing this out:
“Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate . . . .”
Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate than in the general population. The likelihood of depression or anxiety may be greater, and the problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports. Adolescents and young adults may be at particularly high risk of suicide because of these concerns.
” . . . [L]esbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women.
Research indicates that lesbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women. This may be due to added stressors in lesbian lives from discrimination. Lesbians need support from each other and from health care providers to find healthy releases, quality recreation, stress reduction, and coping techniques.
So basically The Top Ten Myths of Homosexuality is a fraud. And the mythology that Sprigg spoke of has nothing to do with lgbts but with the mindset of anyone who takes his paper seriously and sees it for more than what it is – blatant homophobia wrapped up in phony science.
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