"Although the book's chief appeal probably will be to professionals dealing with these issues, other interested readers will find it an informative and generally. Gay, Straight and the Reason Why by Simon LeVay (O.U.P. ) is about sexual orien- tation, both gay and straight. It asserts the origin of both is the same: . What causes a child to grow up gay or straight? Neuroscientist Simon LeVay summarizes a wealth of scientific evidence that points to one.
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To read Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation PDF, you should click the web link beneath and download the document or gain . Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation (; second edition .. (PDF). PsycCRITIQUES. Retrieved 27 November Lauritsen, John (). "The Gay Brain and other such nonsense". John Lauritsen's. What causes a child to grow up gay or straight? Neuroscientist Simon LeVay summarizes a wealth of scientific evidence that points to one inescapable.
But they're just not true. Ever since born-again singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant helped kick off the contemporary anti-gay movement some 40 years ago, hard-line elements of the religious right have been searching for ways to demonize gay people — or, at a minimum, to find arguments that will prevent their normalization in society.
For the former Florida beauty queen and her Save Our Children group, it was the alleged plans of gay men and lesbians to "recruit" in schools that provided the fodder for their crusade. But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that sexual orientation is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gay men molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia.
These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at the LGBT community, which is more targeted for such attacks than any other minority group in America. What follows are 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda.
MYTH 1 Gay men molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals. Discredited psychologist Paul Cameron , the most ubiquitous purveyor of anti-gay junk science, has been a major promoter of this myth. Despite having been debunked repeatedly and very publicly , Cameron's work is still widely relied upon by anti-gay organizations, although many no longer quote him by name.
Others have cited a group called the American College of Pediatricians ACPeds to claim, as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council did in November , that "the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a [molestation] danger to children.
Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation's leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.
Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual.
But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because "he often finds adults of either sex repulsive" and often molests children of both sexes.
Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may "regress" to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found, as Herek notes , that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.
Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests. In fact, the so-called college is a tiny breakaway faction of the similarly named, 60,member American Academy of Pediatrics that requires, as a condition of membership, that joiners "hold true to the group's core beliefs Gary Remafedi, a researcher at the University of Minnesota who wrote a letter to ACPeds rebuking the organization for misusing his research.
In spite of all this, the anti-LGBT right continues to peddle this harmful and baseless myth , which is probably the leading defamatory charge leveled against gay people. MYTH 2 Same-sex parents harm children. THE ARGUMENT Most hard-line anti-gay organizations are heavily invested, from both a religious and a political standpoint, in promoting the traditional nuclear family as the sole framework for the healthy upbringing of children.
They maintain a reflexive belief that same-sex parenting must be harmful to children — although the exact nature of that supposed harm varies widely. The American Psychological Association APA noted in that "same-sex couples are remarkably similar to heterosexual couples, and that parenting effectiveness and the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation.
Similarly, the Child Welfare League of America's official position with regard to same-sex parents is that "lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents are as well-suited to raise children as their heterosexual counterparts. In some cases, it found, children in same-sex households may actually be better adjusted than in heterosexual homes. A preliminary study in Australia found that the children of lesbian and gay parents are not only thriving, but may actually have better overall health and higher rates of family cohesion than heterosexual families.
The full study was published in June Despite all this, the Regnerus Study is still used in the U. MYTH 3 People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents. This argument is used to counter the common observation that no one, gay or straight, consciously chooses his or her sexual orientation.
Joseph Nicolosi, a founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality , said in that "if you traumatize a child in a particular way, you will create a homosexual condition.
The American Psychiatric Association noted in a fact sheet available on the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, that dealing with gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, that sexual abuse does not appear to be any more prevalent among children who grow up and identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual than in children who grow up and identify as heterosexual.
Similarly, the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization notes on its website that "experts in the human sexuality field do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in late adolescent or adult sexual orientation" and added that it's unlikely that anyone can make another person gay or heterosexual.
Advocates for Youth, an organization that works in the U. In , Dr. THE ARGUMENT Anti-LGBT organizations, seeking to promote heterosexuality as the healthier "choice," often offer up the purportedly shorter life spans and poorer physical and mental health of gays and lesbians as reasons why they shouldn't be allowed to adopt or foster children. On the basis of the same obituaries, Cameron also claimed that gay men are 18 times more likely to die in car accidents than heterosexuals, 22 times more likely to die of heart attacks than whites, and 11 times more likely than blacks to die of the same cause.
He also concluded that lesbians are times more likely to die of murder, suicide, or accidents than straight women. Remarkably, these claims have become staples of the anti-gay right and have frequently made their way into far more mainstream venues. Even Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has called Cameron's methods "just ridiculous.
The authors of the study became aware that their work was being misrepresented by anti-LGBT groups, and issued a response taking the groups to task.
Lively is the virulently anti-gay founder of Abiding Truth Ministries and Abrams is an organizer of a group called the International Committee for Holocaust Truth, which came together in and included Lively as a member. The primary argument Lively and Abrams make is that gay people were not victimized by the Holocaust. Rather, Hitler deliberately sought gay men for his inner circle because their "unusual brutality" would help him run the party and mastermind the Holocaust.
In fact, "the Nazi party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history," the book claims. The book has also attracted an audience among anti-gay church leaders in Eastern Europe and among Russian-speaking anti-gay activists in America. Christine Mueller, professor of history at Reed College, did a line-by-line refutation of an earlier Abrams article on the topic and of the broader claim that the Nazi Party was "entirely controlled" by gay men.
Historian Jon David Wynecken at Grove City College also refuted the book , pointing out that Lively and Abrams did no primary research of their own, instead using out-of-context citations of some legitimate sources while ignoring information from those same sources that ran counter to their thesis.
The myth that the Nazis condoned homosexuality sprang up in the s, started by socialist opponents of the Nazis as a slander against Nazi leaders.
The Nazis considered homosexuality one aspect of the "degeneracy" they were trying to eradicate. Gay men were being kicked out of their own families, their love lives were illegal. Of course they had alarming rates of suicide and depression. This might be the case in the U. We struggle to assert ourselves.
We replay our social failures on a loop. Since he looked into the data, Salway has started interviewing gay men who attempted suicide and survived.
If you stand up to your boss, or fail to, are you playing into stereotypes of women in the workplace? For gay people, the effect is magnified by the fact that our minority status is hidden. For more stories that stay with you, subscribe to our newsletter. SIGN UP John Pachankis, a stress researcher at Yale, says the real damage gets done in the five or so years between realizing your sexuality and starting to tell other people. James, now a mostly-out year-old, tells me that in seventh grade, when he was a closeted year-old, a female classmate asked him what he thought about another girl.
Did they tell anyone else I said it that way? Once, at a water park, one of my middle-school friends caught me staring at him as we waited for a slide. But he never brought it up. All the bullying took place in my head.
But if you experience years and years of small stressors—little things where you think, Was that because of my sexuality? So I thought those were my two options. And then the stress of dealing with it every day begins to build up in your body. Growing up gay, it seems, is bad for you in many of the same ways as growing up in extreme poverty. A study found that gay people produce less cortisol, the hormone that regulates stress. In , researchers compared straight and gay teenagers on cardiovascular risk.
Annesa Flentje, a stress researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, specializes in the effect of minority stress on gene expression. Because while the first round of damage happens before we come out of the closet, the second, and maybe more severe, comes afterward. It's like the fucking jungle. But he, like me, like most of us, learned it somehow.
My parents thought it was cute, so they took a video and showed it to my grandparents. When they all watched the tape, I hid behind the couch because I was so ashamed. I must have been six or seven. I had to operate in the world as a lone agent. That ended up being a crutch. He would come home exhausted, smoke a little weed, pour a glass of red wine, then start scanning the hookup apps for someone to invite over.
Sometimes it would be two or three guys in a row.
Last Thanksgiving, he was back home to visit his parents and felt a compulsive need to have sex because he was so stressed out. Before this, the longest he had ever gone was three or four days. It was a way of not dealing with my own life. But over the last 10 years, what researchers have discovered is that the struggle to fit in only grows more intense. A study published in found that rates of anxiety and depression were higher in men who had recently come out than in men who were still closeted.
But it was really horrifying. But I just felt like a piece of meat. It got so bad that I used to go to the grocery store that was 40 minutes away instead of the one that was 10 minutes away just because I was so afraid to walk down the gay street. And then you realize that everyone else here has baggage, too. But that meanness is almost pathological. All of us were deeply confused or lying to ourselves for a good chunk of our adolescence.
So we show other people what the world shows us, which is nastiness. I arrived to a date once and the guy immediately stood up, said I was shorter than I looked in my pictures and left. It helps to be close to people who instinctively understand you.
But for us, the effect is the opposite. Several studies have found that living in gay neighborhoods predicts higher rates of risky sex and meth use and less time spent on other community activities like volunteering or playing sports.
A study suggested that gay men who were more linked to the gay community were less satisfied with their own romantic relationships. Rejection from other gay people, though, feels like losing your only way of making friends and finding love. Being pushed away from your own people hurts more because you need them more. We're not kidding. You should subscribe.
It has to be constantly enacted or defended or collected. We see this in studies: You can threaten masculinity among men and then look at the dumb things they do. They show more aggressive posturing, they start taking financial risks, they want to punch things. According to Dane Whicker, a clinical psychologist and researcher at Duke, most gay men report that they want to date someone masculine, and that they wished they acted more masculine themselves. A two-year longitudinal study found that the longer gay men were out of the closet, the more likely they were to become versatile or tops.
When he first came out, he was convinced that he was too skinny, too effeminate, that bottoms would think he was one of them. My boyfriend noticed recently that I still lower my voice an octave whenever I order drinks.
So, his sophomore year, he started watching his male teachers for their default positions, deliberately standing with his feet wide, his arms at his sides. These masculinity norms exert a toll on everyone, even their perpetrators. Feminine gay men are at higher risk of suicide, loneliness and mental illness.
Masculine gay men, for their part, are more anxious, have more risky sex and use drugs and tobacco with greater frequency. One study investigating why living in the gay community increases depression found that the effect only showed up in masculine gay guys. The second reason the gay community acts as a unique stressor on its members is not about why we reject each other, but how. In the last 10 years, traditional gay spaces—bars, nightclubs, bathhouses—have begun to disappear, and have been replaced by social media.
At least 70 percent of gay men now use hookup apps like Grindr and Scruff to meet each other.
In , around 20 percent of gay couples met online. By , that was up to 70 percent. Meanwhile, the share of gay couples who met through friends dropped from 30 percent to 12 percent.
And yes, those are problems. But the real effect of the apps is quieter, less remarked-upon and, in a way, more profound: For many of us, they have become the primary way we interact with other gay people.