MYTH #1:Lesbian and gay adults recruit children to homosexuality.
FACT: Research shows that sexual orientation is determined either before birth or very early in life and that no one can after another person's sexual orientation,
- In a study of 161 homosexual males with twin or adoptive brothers, 52% of the subjects' identical twin brothers, 22% of their fraternal twin brothers, and 11% of their adoptive brothers were homosexual, which supports the theory of a biological link. -Bailey JM and Pillard R, `a Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation` Arch Gen Psych 1991.
Examples of Homophobia
- A study of lesbian twin sisters found similar result: the identical "twins of lesbians were three times as likely to be lesbian or bisexual than their fraternal twins. -Bailey JM et al `Heritable Factors Influence Sexual Orientation in Women` Arch Gen Psych 1993.
- In a study comparing the brain tissue of 19 homosexual and 16 heterosexual men there was a significant size difference between the two groups in a cluster of cells in the hypothalamus (a region involved in sexual response)--LEVay S. Science 1991.
- In a study of 979 homosexual and 477 heterosexual men, most said that their sexual orientation was established before adolescence, regardless of whether they, had been sexually active at that time. Bell AP, Weinberg MS, Hammersmith SK, Sexual Preference: It's Development in Men and Women, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 1981.
MYTH #2:Lesbian and gay adults are a danger to children.
FACT: Sexual abuse of children occurs primarily within the family. Most sexual abuse of children outside the family is committed by pedophiles (people who engage sexually with children). Adult lesbians and gays are no more likely to be pedophile than heterosexuals.
- Pedophiles frequently do not differentiate between male and female victims; they are motivated more by power, control, and hostility than by sexual desire -- and victimize girls twice as often as boys. -Freud K et al., "Erotic gender differentiation in Pedophilia," Archives of Sexual Behavior 1991.
- A study of 930 women in San Francisco showed that of those who had been incestuously abused, 95% of the abuse had been perpetrated by a male relative -- usually the father or uncle. -Russell D. The Secret Trauma, Basic Books, 1986.
- A study of sexual-abuse offenders concluded that a heterosexual adult is more likely to be a threat to children than a homosexual adult. Groth AN, Men Who Rape, Plenum Press NY. 1979.
MYTH # 3:Lesbian and gay teachers have a negative impact on children.
FACT: In most parts of the United States, lesbian and gay teachers are not able to reveal their sexual orientation because doing so can jeopardize their jobs. Therefore, there have been few studies on lesbian and gay teachers. The aforementioned statistics, however, invalidate the myth that they could influence their student's sexual orientation or endanger them; and, there is no evidence that their effectiveness in the classroom differs from that of heterosexual teachers.
- In 1974 the National Education Association (the nation's largest organization of public school employees) added "sexual orientation" to its resolution on non-discriminatory personnel policies and practices that it urges its members' employers to follow.
- In a psychological test that predicts the success of teachers in the classroom, administered to 74 gay and lesbian and 66 heterosexual teachers, there were no differences in scores among the two groups. - Martin M "Gay lesbian and heterosexual teachers: Acceptance of Self, Acceptance of Others," unpublished report 1990.
- In a significant case, the Supreme Court of California ruled that the state could not revoke the teaching license of a homosexual teacher unless it could demonstrate "unfitness to teach" with factual evidence rather than with a presumption of "immorality" (Morrison v. State Board of Education, 1969). -Hunter ND. Michaelson SE, Stoddard TB The Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men, Southern Illinois University Press 1992.
MYTH: #4:Lesbians and gays are causing the breakdown of the family.
FACT: Fewer than half of all American households are traditional nuclear families. Despite numerous legal and social obstacles, many lesbians and gays fight to retain ties with their families and for the right to raise their own children or to adopt them.
- Only 26% of U.S. households fit the traditional definition of family -- a married couple with at least one child. This figure represents a 14% decrease from 1970. Half of all recent marriages are expected to end in divorce, and, since 1970, the number of families without an adult male parent has increased by139%. -U.S. Census Bureau 1991 Current Population Survey
- At least 6 million children in the United States are estimated to have lesbian or gay parents. The greatest difficulty facing these children is ridicule from other children who have been taught intolerance or simply do not understand homosexuality. - Schulenberg. Gay Parenting, Anchor Press, New York. 1985.
- A review of more than 30 studies comparing the children of lesbian or gay parents with those of heterosexual parents showed no significant differences in terms of gender identity or sexual orientation. -Patterson CJ, Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents: Child Development 1989.
- A study of the daughters of lesbian mothers and heterosexual mothers showed no difference in leadership ability, interpersonal flexibility or self-confidence. Gottman JS,'Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents: Marriage and Family Review 1989.
- In 1989 the New York State Court of Appeals held that 'The term family ... should not be rigidly restricted to those people who have formalized their relationship by obtaining, for instance, a marriage certificate or an adoption order.... A more realistic and certainly equally valid, view of family includes two adult lifetime partners whose relationship is long-term and characterized by an emotional and financial commitment and interdependence.' Braschi Stahl Assoc. NY 1989.
Compiled by the HETRICK-MARTIN INSTITUTE 401 West Street New York, New York
For more information, please contact the Women's Center at (203) 392-6946.