Homosexuality & Heterosexuality

So I was reading a religious apologia which doesn’t footnote/endnote many assertions, but it makes some very bedazzling claims. I’ve found some claims in other parts of this book which are untrue or misleading, but he uncovers some interesting facts that I wouldn’t have known about other things as well.

But I was reviewing the chapter on homosexuality, and as I know quite little about the subject, I was wondering if the claims in that chapter are true or false. I know this is a very personal subject for some people, but I really am just interested in whether the below assertions are true or not. Whichever ones you can answer, I’d be interested:

  1. The Gay Liberation Movement successfully pressured the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the DSM guide.
  2. The Gay Liberation Movement claims that people living homosexual lives are just as happy as heterosexuals and that the former is one of a plethora of acceptable lifestyles. However, studies show that depression and death by suicide, anus cancer, venereal diseases, and AIDS “far exceeds the heterosexual population.”
  3. There are those who make “the argument that same-sex marriages will reduce promiscuity,” but statistics give the lie to this assertion; one study showed that 95% of couples studied were not faithful to each other. Another found that with time close to 100% were not faithful and homosexuals considered “marital fidelity (not infidelity) to be a threat to their ability to stay together.”
  4. “Many eminent psychiatrists believe that homosexuality is the result of an ill-developed sexual identity due to childhood stress. Their view is that to the extent that other emotional problems can be healed, homosexuals can be healed as well. To bolster this view there are countless case histories of homosexuals who have converted to heterosexuality.” Robert Spitzer in a landmark APA paper provided evidence regarding the possibility to convert and found that those who had converted “reported that they had a greater degree of happiness and well-being.” The NARTH organization, itself “headed by an eminent psychologist…has helped thousands of individuals convert.”
  5. OTOH, “the gay community…[makes] scientifically unbased claims that homosexuality in innate and cannot be changed. They have even been successful in passing legislation prohibiting professionals from encouraging their patients to convert.” Yet people have converted and the “fact that there is no member of the animal kingdom that is naturally attracted to the same sex” gives the lie to their position.

There are gay dolphins.

Edit: And apparently a fair number of others too. That wikipedia page is…interesting. Listen to this one:

What kind of citations do they use to back up their claims?

The short answer is that every bit of that is crap, especially the NARTH claims., the long answer will require the ability to examine their specific data, but i can say that everuy bit of it is well outside the mainstream of all medical evidence and research. Number 4, in particular, is utter hogwash.

Some of the claims may be superficially true, but actually misconstrue correllation with causation. Minorities, especially stigmatized minorities, are populations under stress. The fact that they are under stress affects general mental health and behaviour patterns. In other words, points two and possibly three may contain valid observations but the causes are probably not because of homosexuality, as he states.

There aren’t citations, except for the Spitzer claim; it says “(see Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2003).”

Do you have some links I could look at?

True (sort of). First of all, like many broad social movements, there is not one spearheading group with specific goals and ‘agendas’. It was actually the gay members in the APA who were the big movers and pushers in delisting homosexuality from the DSM. See a wonderful This American Life episode for a great short history.

Like the previous statement, there seems to be some subtle implication that homosexuals are not well adjusted and happy. All these points are true (although we should be careful to identify which SPECIFIC venereal disease we are talking about). Currently, MSM (men who have sex with men) remain the group with the highest incidence of HIV, but it is actually heterosexual women who make up the fastest growing group of new infections.

The only people you see making this claim are religious people who run ‘ex-gay ministries’. No respectable psychiatrist still holds the view that homosexuality can and should be ‘cured’. Search the internet for ‘ex-gay’ and you might find how traumatizing these ‘conversions’ and camps actually are.

AFAIK, the only people who have claimed to have been ‘cured’ of homosexuality are very religiously deluded. There are many examples of homosexuality in animals, including penguins and dolphins.

Homosexuality is also found in virtually all mammals.

And isn’t anal cancer exceedingly rare?
As far as “depression” goes, ever stop and think it might stem from the prejudice and homosexuals have deal with? Look at the way our society treats those who are gay – I’d be depressed too.
(As for “successful conversions”, maybe some of them were bisexual to begin with?)
Bpelta, YOU made these arguments, thus it is up to YOU to back them up. It is not up to use to prove you wrong.

And many birds, which form pair-bonds for many years. There was a front page article about this in the Sunday NYT Magazine a few months ago. Probably still available on their website.

Did you read the OP? She specifically said that she found these claims somewhere else, didn’t know whether or not they were true, and wanted us to debunk or verify them. She is not making these arguments.

Thanks pedescrible. Btw, I’m a he.

Homosexual men are actually more likely to get anal cancer than heterosexual men. Actually, anyone who is the passive partner in anal sex, which is more common among homosexual men than heterosexual men, are more likely to get anal cancer, due to HPV.

I will say “Gay Liberation Movement” is one of those terms you don’t hear much, anymore. It’s very 1970s-early 80s.

I will add that gay men do tend to be more prone to certain sexually transmitted diseases than straight men, because, in large part, gays tend to have riskier sex. Part of that is biological, in that gay men are more likely to have anal sex than straight men, and anal sex is riskier. Part of it is behavioral, in that gay men are still more likely to be promiscuous and have anonymous sex and one night stands than straight men. I don’t think that can be separated, from American attitudes about homosexuality. There are a whole set mores and cultural attitudes that encourage heterosexual men toward monogamy, towards staying in committed relationships, and towards faithfulness. On the other hand, there are a bunch of social pressures (failure to allow gay marriage, negative attitudes and violence towards open homosexuals, employment discrimination, etc.) that discourage gays from the same thing. As attitudes and beliefs are changing, so is gay male behavior.

So, wait. Were all these gay couples checking off “other” on the survey question “what do you consider a threat to your ability to stay together”, and writing in “marital fidelity”? Or did the survey actually have an option for “marital fidelity”? Because if you actually put that as an option on your survey, it’s only natural that some folks are going to misread it and check it off mistakenly.

Exchange I’ve heard before:

Homophobic fundamentalist: “Homosexuality is unnatural! This is proven by the fact that there are no homosexual animals!”
Rational scientist: “Actually, homosexuality is widespread among bonobos, one of our closest relatives.”
Homophobic fundamentalist: “Who brought up bonobos, anyway? We’re humans, not animals, and better than that. We shouldn’t behave like animals! Why is it relevant what animals do?”

I wouldn’t go so far with the animal claim: what indication do we have of actual homosexual relationships (rather than just homosexual sex, which does not make one a homosexual) amongst animals?

My dogs will hump anything that moves, but I wouldn’t say they were pansexual.

It’s hard when you’re dealing with non-human animals to know what they’re thinking or feeling, so obviously, it’s much easier to say “these two same sex animals are having intercourse” than “these animals are homosexual”. But that being said, there are examples of animals that primarily or exclusively seem to be interested in same sex intercourse.

For instance, among cattle, young bulls will occasionally attempt to mount other bulls. This is pretty common,and probably related to dominance issues, and in most bulls, it stops as they age and mature. However, every once in a while, you have a bull that doesn’t do that. That bull will continue to try mounting other bulls and will show no interest in cows at all.

Is the aforementioned bull homosexual? Some people might not want to make that claim. But what we can say is that the bull only shows sexual attraction to members of the same sex and no sexual attraction to members of the opposite sex, and when a person acts like that, we call that person homosexual.

Regarding the depression and suicide claim, this is a classic case of mixing correlation with causation. As others have pointed out, a more plausable cause for this is the prejudice homosexual people encounter.

Higher incidence of anal cancer (very rare anyway) and AIDS may be true, but what exactly is the tract saying? Is AIDS a way God punishes improper behaviour? By extension, are all diseases and disabilities God’s punishments? There are fundamentalists who really believe this kind of thing, and it leads to some very nasty behaviour, such as shunning those who, by no fault of their own, are born with a deformity.

He’s making the case that homosexual couples are not as fulfilled as heterosexual couples. He does not say that diseases and disabilities are God’s punishments.

What does fulfillment have to do with the incidence of AIDS? Praticing safe sex greatly reduces the chance of contracting an STD, regardless of sexual orientation.

Not explicitly, no, but it’s implied that these things (unhappyness, disease) are a consequence of wrong or sinful behaviour. Which doesn’t add up if you look at them from a scientific or medical point of view.

Looking at the original quote again:

Depression and suicide - not proven to be caused by homosexuality itself, prejudice encountered a more plausable explanation. Could possibly be tested by comparing with other groups who meet prejudice.

Anal cancer - weak point, pretty rare. I’m guessing the causal link is with anal sex, not sexual orientation.

Prevalence of STDs - weak, primary cause is failure to follow safe sex practises, not sexual orientation. A homosexual who uses condoms is less at risk than a heterosexual who does not.

What does “fulfilled” mean, exactly.

Does the author mention that lesbian couples tend to be more stable than hetero couples? How does he explain that?