Throughout history, gay people have been subjected to many forms of discrimination, based on homophobia that often is founded on myths, lies, and stereotypes. Here are seven of them.
By Mike Daemon
Seven myths, lies, and stereotypes about gay people:
- It’s a phase
Being gay is not temporal and it’s not something that anyone can outgrow; neither is it a choice. True, people can choose to stay celibate, that is, decide not to engage in sexual activities with persons of the same sex, but sexuality isn’t all about sex, but about how one feels, emotionally, physically and sexually and this is nothing that can be changed or altered.
- They are demonic
Gay people are like everyone else. There’s nothing absolutely wrong with who they are. True, there may be some evil or bad gay people. But this has nothing to do with their sexual orientation, the same way there are bad heterosexual people who do bad things too. People are just people.
- It’s all about lust, not love
Many ignorant people believe gay people are obsessed with sex and not capable of giving and receiving love. But this is not true. The real problem is homophobia. LGBTQ+ people mostly grow up in homophobic and heteronormative environments where their feelings and emotions are largely invalidated. Often they are told that those feelings are wrong. Internalizing those falsehoods can lead to a long-lasting nurturing of self-hatred and questioning. Also, there’s the issue of a lack of positive role models.
However, given LGBTQ+ people’s increasing positive visibility around the world both in the media and in countries where same-sex marriage is allowed, LGBTQ+ people are starting to feel liberated as they see others who are living their authentic lives and thus have come to realize that it’s possible to fall in love and maintain healthy relationships.
- They can’t be religious or spiritual
This is very controversial. However, if we understand that homosexuality is not evil or unnatural, then it makes a lot of sense to agree that a person’s sexual orientation does not invalidate their strong convictions and belief in a deity, or erase their ability to be good Christians, Muslims, etc. Also, various research studies have shown that certain religious texts usually referenced by many as anti-gay are widely misunderstood and misinterpreted.
Evidently, there are many closeted religious leaders out there, as well as out gay bishops, pastors, and what have you.
Bottom line is that gay people can be anything. Their sexual orientation is not and never should have been a barrier to what they can achieve or do. In fact, it has no bearing whatsoever on their abilities and the pursuit of their dreams.
- They all have HIV
Yes, inasmuch as LGBTQ+ people are more susceptible to contract HIV. It is not true that they are all living with HIV. It is important to note that anyone can get HIV if they do not protect themselves whilst engaging in sexual activities with others. Besides, HIV can be contracted through means other than through sex. Also, discriminatory laws and stigma, which limit the availability of health care and health information, are the major cause of increased HIV infections within the LGBTQ+ community.
In many countries, gay people are restricted or denied access to healthcare and are often ridiculed and stigmatized based on their sexual orientation. Limited or no access to HIV testing and treatment options increases infection rates.
- They are all pedophiles
Pedophilia is the desire for sexual activities with a minor. This absolutely does not have anything to do with a person’s sexuality. Homosexuality and pedophilia are completely unrelated.
Yet gay people have been tagged pedophiles mostly by homophobes. True, there are gay people who are into the habit of engaging in sex acts with underage persons, likewise some heterosexuals. In fact, we have seen that this is even more common within the heterosexual community.
We have witnessed many cases where heterosexual men marry and rape underage women, yet gay people get all the blame.
- All gay people behave like women
It’s still very surprising that many people still believe that all gay people act ‘girly’. This is not true at all as a person’s physical appearance does not determine their sexual orientation. Yes, many gay men have an effeminate style, but many gay men are masculine-presenting.