Top 10 Misconceptions About Gay People
It’s Gay & Lesbian Pride Month, so, what better excuse to examine some of the myths that continue to negatively label same-sex unions? The next time you hear somebody claim truth to any of these prevalent falsehoods, be sure to speak up and educate others on the real deal!
Myth #1: Gays are promiscuous, even when seriously involved with another.
The truth: While it’s generally thought that homosexuals just can’t help themselves in having numerous partners, homosexual individuals are no likelier to be promiscuous than heterosexual people. Promiscuity has nothing to do with sexual orientation, and is not limited to only one group of people.
Want proof? One longitudinal study involving gay couples found that at the end of 12 years, these unions had a slightly lower break-up rate than the divorce rate for heterosexual couples. Other survey efforts have found that both gay and straight men and women have had a similar number of partners.
Myth #2: Children raised by same-sex couples will end up gay themselves.
The truth: Research shows that children raised by same-sex couples are no more likely to be gay than those raised by heterosexual couples. Case closed.
Myth #3: Most child molesters are gay males.
The truth: Most pedophiles are not gay men; in fact, approximately 90% of child molesters end up being heterosexual males. Even those who molest boys identify as heterosexual in their adult relationships.
Myth #4. Gays are attracted to everybody of the same sex.
The truth: Fueled by homophobia, this myth doesn’t make any sense when considered as a norm for heterosexuals: Straight people aren’t attracted to every member of the opposite sex. So why would homosexuals get all hot ‘n’ bothered by anybody who shares the same set of genitals?
Myth #5: Gays live a certain lifestyle, one reminiscent of the wild and crazy days of Studio 54.
The truth: There is no “gay lifestyle”. Gay individuals vary immensely when it comes to race, age, religion, nationality, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, values, etc. There is no set standard by which all gay people live their lives. For many people, sexual orientation is just one part of their identity and is not the overriding factor that defines their entire identity.
Myth #6: Children raised by same-sex unions are affected negatively by their experience.
The truth: The National Lesbian Longitudinal Family Study (NLLFS) found that children raised by homosexual unions are no different from kids raised by heterosexual couples, in terms of their development, self-esteem, gender roles, sexual orientation, and gender-related problems. In fact, The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, involving over 12,000 adolescents, has found no significant differences between teens living with same-sex parents and other-sex parents regarding: self-reported assessments of psychological well-being (e.g., self-esteem and anxiety), measures of school outcomes (e.g., GPA), measures of family relationships (e.g., care from adults), substance use, delinquency, or peer victimization.
Myth #7: Lesbians seek out same-sex relationships only after having bad experiences with men.
The truth: Both lesbians and gay men report having had positive and enjoyable past sexual encounters or relationships with members of the other gender. Most, however, find that their same-gender relationships are much more fulfilling, and are a true reflection of their sexual orientation and attractions.
Myth #8: Gay/Lesbian parents differ from heterosexuals in their parenting skills.
The truth: As stated by the American Psychological Association, empirical research consistently shows that homosexual parents do not differ from heterosexuals in their parenting skills. Their children do not show any deficits when compared with children raised by heterosexual parents. In fact, gay/lesbian parental relationships are often more cooperative and egalitarian, with their childrearing typically more nurturant. Consequently, their children are often more affectionate, as well.
Myth #9: Same-sex unions are vastly different from straight unions.
Myth #10: Heterosexual unions are better than same-sex unions.
The truth: Factors that constitute “quality” in a relationship are very individual, but some qualities that are often favored in a union are more prevalent in same-sex unions. Gay male couples report having more autonomy, while lesbian couples report more intimacy, autonomy, and equality than straight couples.