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Myth Busting: LGTB Myths & Facts

  1. It’s Unnatural to Be LGBT

    For lesbians, gay men and bisexual people, it is natural to have sexual attractions and relations with members of one ’ s own gender. Bisexuals can also be attracted to members of the opposite gender. Some transgendered people consider themselves homosexual or bisexual and others consider themselves heterosexual. To act on these feelings is natural. Not to act on these feelings would be unnatural, forcing people to hide who they are and causing them great pain. It is the quality of the relationship one is in that is significant, not the gender of one ’ s partner.

    This myth also comes from the belief that sexual relationships are formed for the procreation of children only. In all relationships the decision to have children is complex and needs great consideration. Although many heterosexuals decide to have children, many do not make the same decision or are unable to have children. On the other hand, many LGBT people choose to have children or raise children with their partner. Children raised in these families comment that what is most important in a family is being loved and cared for.

  2. LGBT Teachers are Harmful Role Models for Children

    Dr. John P. Spiegel, past president of the American Psychiatric Association, says, “Some have feared that homosexual teachers might affect the sexual orientation of their students. There is no evidence to support this thesis.” One does not learn to be LGBT one is LGBT. Most students who are LGBT were raised by heterosexual parents and live in a predominantly heterosexual society.

    LGBT people need to provide positive role models and are often unable to do so. According to the Human Rights Code in each province, Canadian teachers cannot be fired from their positions for being LGB. However, many teachers do not feel that they can reveal their sexual orientation because doing so may cause them to suffer consequences such as disciplinary action, lack of support from administrators, or lack of awareness and/or support from parent groups. Transgendered persons are not yet protected by law in any jurisdiction in Canada, although there is pressure to change this in BC.

    Positive role models are important for all youth. LGBT role models enable LGBT youth to see that they can be productive members of our society, living healthy, safe lives, realizing their potential. Heterosexual youth also need LGBT role modes so that they can learn about differences, about being inclusive, and helping to prevent discrimination and bigotry.

  3. Only Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals are Attracted to People of Their Own Sex

    Most adults have deep feelings, attractions and/or fantasies about both sexes. Over time, studies have consistently confirmed that both homosexual and heterosexual people have had a variety of sexual experiences with same gender and opposite gender people.

    In addition, a great deal of preadolescent sex play is with others of the same sex, as a part of natural exploration of one’s body and sexuality. Homosexuality is not learned. If it were, the percentage of LGB people in the population would be far greater. It is impossible to “make someone homosexual.” Homosexual or heterosexual experiences as an adolescent do not determine a person’s sexual orientation later in life.

  4. People Choose to Be Homosexual

    Most LGB people feel that they did not choose to be LGB. Rather, they were aware of having same-sex feelings at an early age or else these feelings evolved and solidified in their adolescent or adult years. The choice seems to be whether to live a full and well-balanced life with a same-sex partner, or to suppress their feelings.    

  5. There is a Distinct LGB Lifestyle

    There is as much variety in LGB lifestyles as there is in heterosexual lifestyles. LGB people can be single, dating or involved in long-term relationships or married. They can be promiscuous, monogamous or celibate. The can have children. They live alone, with their lovers, with their parents and siblings or with friends. They live in cities, suburbs and in the country. They can be rich, middle-class or poor. They can have a variety of occupations. Some are doctors, priests, prostitutes, truck drivers, writers, football players, loggers, politicians, teachers or unemployed. Some are drag queens and some are jocks. There is no such thing as a distinct homosexual lifestyle, just as there is no such thing as a heterosexual lifestyle. Within all communities, individuals create their own lifestyles.

  6. LGBTs are Promiscuous or Somehow More Sexual Than the “Straight” population

    This is a stereotype propagated by the fact that those individuals who are promiscuous are the most visible. As more and more gays and lesbians “come out”, the promiscuous stereotype diminishes. LGBT people are just as capable of stable, monogamous, committed relationships as anyone else. Queer couples often disappear from the urban LGBT communities to live and raise their families in the suburbs or the country where they may be less visible.

    Another issue around this myth is that being LGBT is only about sex. LGBT people live full lives, which includes shopping for groceries, doing the laundry, raising children, planting a garden and going to work everyday. Being LGBT is about who you love emotionally, intellectually and sexually and how you identify yourself.

  7. LGBT People Can Be Identified by Certain Mannerisms, Clothing or Physical Characteristics

    LGBT people come in as many different shapes, sizes and colours as do heterosexuals. Some LGBT people can be identified by stereotypical mannerisms and characteristics. However, many heterosexuals also display these same mannerisms and characteristics, such as that of the “tomboy” or the “effeminate” male. Today, fewer LGBT people feel they must dress to pass in the mainstream community and some LGBT people choose to make a political statement through their appearance.

    Some members of different gay and lesbian subcultures or peer groups may mimic and exaggerate specific behaviours. Because of the lack of open LGBT role models, queer youth sometimes do not know how to “fit in” to the gay community and therefore adopt stereotypical mannerisms thinking that this is the only way to express themselves. Without a wide general knowledge, queer youth can be powerfully influenced by negative stereotypes.

  8. In a Same-Sex Relationship, One Partner Usually Plays the Masculine Role & the Other One Plays the Feminine Role

    Within the heterosexual community, there are all types of relationships and this is true in same-sex relationships. Most same-sex couples work to develop relationships based on the principles of equality and mutuality, where they are loved and appreciated for “who they are”. Roles are usually based on who likes to do a certain thing and/or who has a talent for doing certain things. It is important that each person’s skills are valued. If there is a power imbalance, based on economics, social status, or education, roles may become entrenched.

  9. We Know What Causes Homosexuality & Bisexuality

    It is not known what causes either heterosexuality or homosexuality. Some believe they are predetermined genetically and research seems to indicate that sexual orientation is determined either before birth or very early in life. Others maintain that all humans are predisposed to all variations of sexual and affectional behaviours and that they learn a preference or orientation. LGBT people are found in practically every culture throughout the world and have been a constant part of society throughout history. Anthropologists C.S. Ford and F.A. Beach studied 76 contemporary societies and showed that 64% of their sample societies considered homosexuality normal and socially acceptable in their culture. In a majority of cultures, heterosexuality and homosexuality coexist. Same-sex relations were, in fact, accepted and considered natural in many European societies until the 13 th century, after which same-sex relations were increasingly proscribed by church and state.

    It is not the cause that is important, but that people are treated with dignity and respect regardless of their sexual orientation.

  10. Most LGB People Could Be Cured by Having Really Good Sex With a Person of the Other Gender

    There are no cures. There is no illness. Many LGB people have had heterosexual relationships or experiences. These experiences have not changed their orientation. Bisexuals continue to be attracted to both genders, although they may have had very satisfying relationships with the opposite gender. Some gays and lesbians will enter a heterosexual relationship, due to societal pressure and in complete denial of their actual sexual orientation. This can cause a great deal of pain and misery for both partners and for the children involved in these families.

  11. The Majority of Pedophiles Are Gay

    Sexual abuse of children occurs primarily within the family. Over 95% of abuse that is reported has been perpetrated by a male relative. A child is over 100 times more likely to be sexually molested by a heterosexual relative than by a homosexual (Paediatrics, 1994). Most sexual abuse of children outside the family is committed by pedophiles. Pedophiles do not distinguish between male or female victims; however, girls are victimized twice as often as boys are. The perpetrators are motivated by power and control, not by sexual desire. 90% of all pedophiles self-identify as heterosexuals.

    LGBT people are just as concerned as heterosexuals that children are protected from pedophiles. The pedophile myth is the basis of the most damaging charges leveled against queer teachers, to keep them in the closet and out of the classroom.

  12. Most LGB People Could Be Cured by Psychotherapy or “Orientation Reparative Therapy”

    There are no cures. There is no illness. Psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health professionals agree that mental well being and emotional stability are defined as an individual’s ability to live a fully functioning life. They also agree that homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or emotional problem.

    In 1990, the American Psychological Association stated that scientific evidence does not show that conversion therapy works. Changing one’s orientation does not correspond with changing one’s behaviour. To change one’s orientation would require altering one’s emotional, affectional and sexual feelings and reconstructing one’s self-concept and self-identity. Furthermore, the APA pointed out that therapists who undertake this kind of therapy usually come from organizations with an ideological perspective against homosexuality. The APA has specifically stated that “orientation reparative therapy” (conversion therapy) is not recognized as a valid form of therapy.

  13. LGB People Do Not Make Good Parents

    Research has shown that, except for the fact that the children of a homosexual couple are often concerned about being stigmatized by their peers, they show no higher incidence of emotional disturbance than do children of heterosexual couples. Nor are they confused about their own sexual identity. LGB people come from all kinds of families, as do heterosexuals, and there is no correlation between the sexual orientation of parents and that of their children. The chances of a child being LGB are the same whether they are raised by LGB parents or by heterosexual parents: 7 – 10%.

  14. LGB Teenagers & Children Do Not Exist

    LGB children may not identify themselves, but many LGB adults report having had a sense of difference from other children, from a very early age, as early as 5-12 years old. Both heterosexual and LGB teens are acutely aware of their sexuality during their secondary school years, but LGB teens are more likely to do so in fear and isolation.

  15. “I Don’t Know Anyone Who Is Gay”

    LGB people are everywhere. With as many as 10% of people in the population being LGB, we all know people who are LGB. This myth perpetuates the idea that LGB issues need not concern the heterosexual community, because LGBs are “other” or “somewhere else.” In fact, oppression in any form against any minority group is everyone’s business, because it exacts high social costs.

  16. LGBT People Are Predominantly Young, White, & Non-Religious

    History shows that LGBT people are found at all ages and in all cultures, ethnic groups and religions. What is significant is that an LGBT person belonging to two or more groups that are considered minorities in our culture will suffer from two or more forms of oppression. Sometimes an LGBT person may be forced to choose between their ethnic culture and their sexual orientation, for allegiance and identification, if the two seen incompatible.

    As well, this myth is damaging for those who are outside the described myth. For example, a religious person may feel that they would have to give up their religion to be LGBT. In fact, some religions reject people who are LGBT, but there are many that are very supportive and even celebrate human diversity.