Members of the ex-gay community are still pretty peeved about the recent banning of ex-gay—or “reparative”— therapy in states like New Jersey and California. Even after their brethren have come forth to admit the process of “reversing” their sexuality is essentially a sham, two right-wing groups have come together in an attempt to explain their hack “science” in a half-hour documentary called Understanding Same-Sex Attraction.
Funded by Family Watch International and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), the documentary interviews a number of bigoted folks (some faces are blurred) who provide zero sources or studies that allegedly “prove” homosexuality is “caused by” a number of anti-gay myths including absent fathers and sexual abuse.
They’re also pretty annoyed by all the “intolerant” and “angry” gay rights activists who oppose this baseless science. “The easiest way to understand homosexual feelings,” says NARTH board member Floyd Godfrey, “would be by the definition that it’s the sexualization of emotional needs and wounds.”
The definition? Uh…who defined that?
As a cherry on top of this awful cake, FWI warns all two fans of this film that intolerant homosexuals (folks like me) will attempt to “jam” their logic by “harassing and discrediting anyone who claims they have changed [their sexual orientation].” Guess that’s just another convenient theory they pulled out of thin air?
So excuse me in advance, Family Watch International. I’m about to “jam” you with five more things that absolutely do not “turn” or “make” people gay.
The topic of Nature vs. Nurture is a hot one…if you’re still living in the 1960s. With the advancement of scientific technology comes a general understanding among the scientific community that homosexuality may be genetic, meaning a child’s sexual orientation has been predetermined long before mothers have a chance to become overbearing. Scientists funded by extremist right-wing Christians can’t even definitively link parenting styles (or lack thereof) with homosexuality, opting instead to loosely peg older siblings as the “cause of homosexuality” by observing trends in small sample groups.
For me, the most eloquent example of debunking this myth was given by Michael C. LaSala, Ph.D. in his 2011 book Coming Out, Coming Home:
“My research, clinical and personal experiences suggest that there is indeed a causal link between male homosexuality and a close maternal relationship but flows in the opposite direction than what was previously thought. In other words, having a close relationship with your mother doesn’t make you gay — being gay makes you closer to your mother.”
Hey, Family Watch International, did you know that not all gay men were molested as children? Did you also know that not all people who were molested as children grow up to be gay?
The molestation myth was most likely birthed in the dark ages (before the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973), when psychiatrists reported links between child molestation and homosexual feelings. They conveniently overlook the fact that much of the early data suggesting a link between the two was gathered from men who reportedly lost their virginity before the age of 16.
Absence of a father
The “absence of a father” discussion most often assumes that children become gay because their masculinity is not asserted at a young age, and that young men may develop homosexual feelings in an attempt to replace and eroticize the masculinity they don’t have. Lulz!
That’s funny, because the author of the longest-running study of lesbian families finds that two lesbian women can raise a heterosexual man that is both “academically successful” and happy with life. Ahem. According to Psych Central, children of gay parents are not only psychologically healthy, but often appear to exhibit better social and academic adjustment and a significantly lower incidence of social problems than their peers.
Modern science has essentially flipped this myth on its head. It seems that the absence of a heterosexual family structure is more closely linked with a child’s future success than their potential homosexuality.
Kids that watch gay youth tackle tough issues on shows like Glee actually do become gay. Every child who watched the first lunar landing in 1969 also grew up to become an astronaut, and kids who enjoy watching sports always become professional athletes.
The notion that a television show can alter the course of one’s life is one of the most preposterous talking points the anti-gay movement loves. Some claim that homosexual teens on Teen Wolf and transgender students on Glee desensitize children to “alternative lifestyles” and push an agenda. The nerve! Shame on television for also desensitizing children to racial inequality and women’s rights.
I can debunk this myth pretty quickly with some personal experience. I’ve never met a gay man or woman who was inspired by heterosexual friends to “become” heterosexual. Furthermore, my personal attempts to convert straight men have only worked about 20% of the time.
Have other ridiculous gay myths to debunk? Share with us in the comments below!