How to Accept That You Are Gay
Edited by Ben Rubenstein
If you feel very attracted to members of the same sex, or both sexes, but need to feel like you have accepted it within yourself, here is a guide to help you. You have found out your sexual orientation, and you are perfectly normal. Accepting who you are - and being proud of who you are - is the next step on the road to coming out of the closet, and eventually to having a successful gay or lesbian relationship. Some people have difficulty in accepting their sexual orientation, either because of personal or societal discomfort or pressure. Most people in the LGBT community know from experience that accepting your sexuality will lead to your becoming a happier, more open person.
In this guide, the term gay has been used to include all forms of homosexuality and bisexuality, whether that be people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or pansexual.
1. Know if you are Gay. Sometimes people question their sexuality. There are many degrees of sexual orientation, and if you find you don’t fit easily into one category, perhaps you are bisexual. Don’t allow yourself to be labeled until, or unless, you are ready and willing to be. If you feel that you don’t fit, or you can’t understand why you aren’t like other people in your life because you are different, remember that you are you, and not anyone else; and that being yourself and accepting yourself for the person that you are is something to be immensely proud of.
2. Remember that you didn’t choose to be attracted to members of the same sex, and that attempts to change your orientation are usually painful and pointless in the end. When talking with heterosexual friends or family members, it’s sometimes tough to help them understand this, because they have no frame of reference for your experience. Try to encourage others to see your sexual orientation in the same way as they see your eye colour - it is something you were born with and did not choose. It is something that is simply a part of your being, and not something you can change. There isn’t any need to - being gay is just another way of being, and there is nothing wrong with it at all, neither is there anything wrong with you for being gay.
Some people in the world believe that your sexual orientation is a choice. If this is true for you, especially if you feel attracted to both genders, you might want to evaluate your choices. Leading a gay lifestyle can be a challenging choice in many societies throughout the globe. If you feel that you made a choice, you should feel comfortable with that choice. Everyone has their own battles and choices to make, and the norms of societies may not necessarily be normal for you. If you do feel that you want to make the choice to accept your sexuality, it would be best to find friends and loved ones to support you, but do not feel - or let yourself be - pressured into believing that you should “change your ways”. If anyone tries to force an opinion on you that you do not agree with, such that your desires themselves are unnatural, sinful or symptoms of a mental disorder, look elsewhere for support. There is no evidence that “helping homosexuals to become heterosexual” is possible, and treatments to “change” sexual orientation that were common in the 1960s and 1970s were very damaging to those patients who underwent them and affected no change in their sexual orientation.
3. Develop and express your individuality - if your preferred way of doing something strays from the mainstream, whatever it may be, then be proud of it - you are the one and only you. Understand that a person who is gay is no different from any other person. Like everyone else, gay people have dreams and goals, and want companionship and love just like anyone else you know. Strive every day to be the best person you can be, and remind yourself of the positive qualities and attributes that make you uniquely who you are.
4. Tell yourself that for people to accept you, first you must accept yourself. If you can’t accept your sexual orientation and feel comfortable and confident in your own skin, then other people find it harder to accept you fully. It’s your right to love; no one has the right to tell you otherwise. Tell yourself: “I am a person with feelings and intellect and a life, just like everyone else. I am unique and individual, and no one has the right to choose my life for me. The fact that I am gay is just another facet of who I am, just as being creative, or optimistic, or having brown eyes is. I may not be like many of my friends, but I choose to live my life authentically and happily. It’s my life, and I choose to be happy”.
5. Remember that you are not alone. There are many, many gay people in all sorts of communities, and there are many people there for you when you need support. There may be agencies, groups, advisers, family members and friends that you can turn to, even if it is just someone to inform of your feelings. Find a group or a hangout where you feel comfortable, and where there will be other gay people to talk with. Make some new friends, and by doing so, you will establish a new network of supportive and encouraging people around yourself.
6. Show people who you are. Coming out of the closet is the boldest step in accepting your sexual orientation, but now that you are able to live “out”, it does not mean that you have to change who you are or what you like. Don’t go trying to change yourself or wishing that you were like the other people in your life to cater to the comfort levels of others - there are over 6.7 billion people in the world, and you can’t please everyone - and those who care about you will still love you for who you are. If someone can’t accept the one small fact of who you are that is your sexuality, and can’t still respect you for the person that you are, then they aren’t worth your time or letting it bother you, because it’s not your fault that the person can’t accept it.
Be selective. The entire world does not need to know about your sexual orientation. It is not necessary to broadcast who you are, and no one should make you, if you find that telling everyone makes you uncomfortable. Know that, while you want and deserve to live an authentic life, it may not be a good idea to expose yourself to narrow-minded people who may offend you.
Don’t come out to a particular person if it doesn’t feel right to you. This is a good rule to follow in general - there could be many reasons why, but if it doesn’t “feel right” then it is probably not the right time to come out to that person. The time to tell them may be later, or never. What is most important is that you come out to yourself. Once you are at ease with your own sexual orientation and have a healthy self-image, the when and how of coming out often fall into place naturally.
Don’t worry about what others think; what is important is that you are true to yourself and considerate of others - that doesn’t mean you need to cater to the sensibilities of others. If a friend or a member of your family is having trouble coming to terms with your orientation, you may have to give them time and be patient, or in the long term face the end of that friendship.
If you are in a relationship, refrain from using the word “room-mate” or words to that effect to describe your partner. And don’t let your loved ones get away with that, either - if you allow them to pretend by introducing your partner as your “friend” or “room-mate,” then you’re allowing them to put a mask on you and your partner, both. Don’t get nasty about it, just correct them gently, for example:
“Well, yes we do live together. Auntie Joan, David is my partner” or “Auntie Joan, I noticed that Jo was introducing you to my girlfriend, Andrea. We dated for a couple of months before moving in together, and we’ve been together about a year now. I’m so glad you finally get to meet her… Andi, come here, sweetie, and meet my Aunt Joan”.
Once your family get the idea that you aren’t about to sit back and let them believe that you and David are “just room-mates”, or that you and Andi are “just really good friends”, they will stop attempting to put a mask on your relationship and be more open, too.
Remember that being gay does not require you to conform to typical gay stereotypes. Most people who are gay are indistinguishable from those that aren’t, share the same interests, goals and dreams for their lives. Being a homosexual person does not necessarily make you any less masculine or feminine, and there is no need or pressure to conform to stereotypes that don’t feel right to you - because you are who you are.
Transsexuals can also be gay. There are plenty of FTMs who are gay, who are into other guys and same goes for MTFs, MTFs who are into other girls. Gender and sexuality are not the same thing. It shows that being gay does not make one “less of a wo/man”
Use good judgement. Sadly, not everyone in the world is a modern, accepting person. Don’t broadcast this information to your entire community if you live in a small town or an area where LGBT persons are less likely to be accepted and where you are likely to be harmed physically or emotionally.
If it is very likely that your coming out will have a bad outcome, then don’t. As long as you know who you are, that’s plenty for the short term. In the end, your sexual orientation is your business. Eventually, people may figure it out, and you will need to decide whether to stay in that situation or move on to a place that is more accepting.
If you are still being supported by parents whom you are quite sure would disown you for being gay, it may be prudent to wait to tell them until you are independent. It may be vital for your survival to hold off on coming out until, for example, you have graduated high school or college, or you have moved into a place of your own.
You may regret the acceptance of your orientation in the future, especially if you’re in a part of the world where the homosexual, bisexual and transgender communities are prosecuted by a specific culture. You may have a choice in changing your lifestyle; that is, perhaps you feel you need to live under the guise of being heterosexual for your own safety, and perhaps even your own personal happiness. It is not always easy to remain accepting of your orientation depending on where you live, and the views of the people who are most important to you. There are non-profit organizations that exists to both support you in your acceptance, and also in case you would want to try and lead a heterosexual lifestyle, although you can never change your orientation. Although, it is important to note that the American Psychological Association has declared that groups claiming to cure homosexuality are dangerous and unhealthy. It is very mentally and physically unhealthy to suppress your feelings and your true self. It is up to you to decide what’s best for your life.
Pictures source: http://www.facebook.com/WHOF1
Text source: http://www.wikihow.com/Accept-That-You-Are-Gay
Five Stages of Coming Out
This is a summary by Paul Beeman of an article, “Developmental Stages of the Coming Out Process,” by Eli Coleman, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Minnesota Medical School, from A Guide to Psychotherapy with Gay and Lesbian Clients, edited by John C. Gonsiorek, Harrington Park Press, New York, 1985.
Parents of gay children may gain deeper insight into their child’s homosexuality by understanding the five developmental stages of coming out.
This is according to Dr. Eli Coleman, psychologist, sex therapist, prolific writer, and professor at the Medical School of the University of Minnesota. He does not assume that all gays and lesbians go through these stages in order, nor that all complete all five stages.
Some may get locked into one stage and never progress. Even at the identity integration stage, coming out is a continuing process.
But there are developmental tasks inherent in each stage which need to be completed some time, in order ultimately to become fully self-actualizing and integrated. Here are the stages.
I. Pre-Coming Out
Some studies have found that core gender and sex-role identities are formed by age 3, thus sexual object choice is part of gender identity. If that is true, then heterosexuality and homosexuality are determined primarily during late infancy and early childhood, and may be identified at a pre-conscious level, or even a conscious level. A child may grow up learning the family’s and society’s prejudices against being gay, while the child feels different, alienated and alone. Since individuals at this stage are not consciously aware of same-sex feelings, they cannot describe what is wrong. They may hide their feelings from themselves and others, suffer low self-esteem and depression, and only communicate their conflict through behavioral problems.
II. Coming Out
Individuals move into this stage when they acknowledge their homosexual feeling, which is the first developmental task of this stage. That may mean simply acknowledging a confusing homosexual thought or fantasy, without fully understanding or labeling what that means. Some studies indicate the median age fr this experience is from 13 to 18. Once the feelings have been identified, the next task is telling someone, a vital function in beginning one’s self-acceptance. The confidant’s reaction has a powerful impact. If negative, it can confirm old prejudices and lower self-esteem. If positive, it can counteract old prejudices and permit individuals to begin accepting their sexual feelings and increase self-esteem. “But no one can develop self-concepts such as accepted, valued or worthwhile all alone.” Acceptance by a parent is an extremely powerful force for self-acceptance.
This stage of experimenting with a new sexual identity is akin to the heterosexual adolescent’s first major experience of sexual activity with others. However, most individuals with same-sex preference do not experience adolescence in their teenage years. There is a developmental lag in their sexual adolescence, which can be confusing or even frightening to persons who have otherwise matured intellectually, vocationally and financially. The developmental tasks are: development of interpersonal skills to meet and socialize with others who have homosexual orientation; development of a sense of personal attractiveness and sexual competence, by becoming involved in sexual relationships; seeing themselves not only in a sexual way, but recognizing other needs, like affection and support. A major stumbling block appears in the use of alcohol and drugs to ease the pain of rejection and the ever-present lack of self-esteem.
IV. First Relationships
After a period of sexual and social experimentation, exploration can lose its intrigue, and needs for intimacy and a stable, committed relationship then become important. The developmental task is learning to function in a same-sex relationship in a predominately heterosexual society. First serious relationships can be characterized by intensity, possessiveness and lack of trust, and therefore they are often temporary, discouraging and can end as a way to relieve the pressure.
This is an open-ended, ongoing process that will last the rest of one’s life. Such an integrated identity usually takes from 10 to 14 years after the first awareness of same-sex feelings. New feelings will emerge; new relationships will be enjoyed. This stage is characterized by non-possessiveness, mutual trust, freedom, and greater success.
Some may choose not to enter long-term relationships, and thus are better prepared if they come to an end. Others make permanent commitments approximating true marriage.
The gay liberation movement has facilitated the process of acquiring a positive homosexual identity by providing more social support. Yet, Dr. Coleman concludes, positive reactions by family and influential individuals may have a greater impact than all the direct and indirect reactions of society.
Answers to Your Questions For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality
Since 1975, the American Psychological Association has called on psychologists to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations. The discipline of psychology is concerned with the well-being of people and groups and therefore with threats to that well-being. The prejudice and discrimination that people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual regularly experience have been shown to have negative psychological effects. This pamphlet is designed to provide accurate information for those who want to better understand sexual orientation and the impact of prejudice and discrimination on those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
What is sexual orientation?
Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, elated behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions. Research over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex. However, sexual orientation is usually discussed in terms of three categories: heterosexual (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to members of the other sex), gay/lesbian (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to members of one’s own sex), and bisexual (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to both men and women). This range of behaviors and attractions has been described in various cultures and nations throughout the world. Many cultures use identity labels to describe people who express these attractions. In the United States the most frequent labels are lesbians (women attracted to women), gay men (men attracted to men), and bisexual people (men or women attracted to both sexes). However, some people may use different labels or none at all.
Sexual orientation is distinct from other components of sex and gender, including biological sex (the anatomical, physiological, and genetic characteristics associated with being male or female), gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female),*and social gender role (the cultural norms that define feminine and masculine behavior).
Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as if it were solely a characteristic of an individual, like biological sex, gender identity, or age. This perspective is incomplete because sexual orientation is defined in terms of relationships with others. People express their sexual orientation through behaviors with others, including such simple actions as holding hands or kissing. Thus, sexual orientation is closely tied to the intimate personal relationships that meet deeply felt needs for love, attachment, and intimacy. In addition to sexual behaviors, these bonds include nonsexual physical affection between partners, shared goals and values, mutual support, and ongoing commitment. Therefore, sexual orientation is not merely a personal characteristic within an individual. Rather, one’s sexual orientation defines the group of people in which one is likely to find the satisfying and fulfilling romantic relationships that are an essential component of personal identity for many people.
How do people know if they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual?
According to current scientific and professional understanding, the core attractions that form the basis for adult sexual orientation typically emerge between middle childhood and early adolescence. These patterns of emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction may arise without any prior sexual experience. People can be celibate and still know their sexual orientation-–be it lesbian, gay, bisexual, or heterosexual.
Different lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have very different experiences regarding their sexual orientation. Some people know that they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual for a long time before they actually pursue relationships with other people. Some people engage in sexual activity (with same-sex and/or othersex partners) before assigning a clear label to their sexual orientation. Prejudice and discrimination make it difficult for many people to come to terms with their sexual orientation identities, so claiming a lesbian, gay, or bisexual identity may be a slow process.
What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation?
There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.
What role do prejudice and discrimination play in the lives of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people?
Sexual orientation discrimination takes many forms. Severe antigay prejudice is reflected in the high rate of harassment and violence directed toward lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals in American society. Numerous surveys indicate that verbal harassment and abuse are nearly universal experiences among lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Also, discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in employment and housing appears to remain widespread. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is another area in which prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have had negative effects. Early in the pandemic, the assumption that HIV/AIDS was a “gay disease” contributed to the delay in addressing the massive social upheaval that AIDS would generate. Gay and bisexual men have been disproportionately affected by this disease. The association of HIV/AIDS with gay and bisexual men and the inaccurate belief that some people held that all gay and bisexual men were infected served to further stigmatize lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
What is the psychological impact of prejudice and discrimination?
Prejudice and discrimination have social and personal impact. On the social level, prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are reflected in the everyday stereotypes of members of these groups. These stereotypes persist even though they are not supported by evidence, and they are often used to excuse unequal treatment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. For example, limitations on job opportunities, parenting, and relationship recognition are often justified by stereotypic assumptions about lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
On an individual level, such prejudice and discrimination may also have negative consequences, especially if lesbian, gay, and bisexual people attempt to conceal or deny their sexual orientation. Although many lesbians and gay men learn to cope with the social stigma against homosexuality, this pattern of prejudice can have serious negative effects on health and well-being. Individuals and groups may have the impact of stigma reduced or worsened by other characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, religion, or disability. Some lesbian, gay, and bisexual people may face less of a stigma. For others, race, sex, religion, disability, or other characteristics may exacerbate the negative impact of prejudice and discrimination.
The widespread prejudice, discrimination, and violence to which lesbians and gay men are often subjected are significant mental health concerns. Sexual prejudice, sexual orientation discrimination, and antigay violence are major sources of stress for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Although social support is crucial in coping with stress, antigay attitudes and discrimination may make it difficult for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to find such support.
Is homosexuality a mental disorder?
No, lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations are not disorders. Research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology. Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Both have been documented in many different cultures and historical eras. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding. Therefore, these mainstream organizations long ago abandoned classifications of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
What about therapy intended to change sexual orientation from gay to straight?
All major national mental health organizations have officially expressed concerns about therapies promoted to modify sexual orientation. To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective. Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. This appears to be especially likely for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals who grow up in more conservative religious settings.
Helpful responses of a therapist treating an individual who is troubled about her or his same-sex attractions include helping that person actively cope with social prejudices against homosexuality, successfully resolve issues associated with and resulting from internal conflicts, and actively lead a happy and satisfying life. Mental health professional organizations call on their members to respect a person’s (client’s) right to self-determination; be sensitive to the client’s race, culture, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, language, and disability status when working with that client; and eliminate biases based on these factors.
What is “coming out” and why is it important?
The phrase “coming out” is used to refer to several aspects of lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons’ experiences: self-awareness of same-sex attractions; the telling of one or a few people about these attractions; widespread disclosure of same-sex attractions; and identification with the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community. Many people hesitate to come out because of the risks of meeting prejudice and discrimination. Some choose to keep their identity a secret; some choose to come out in limited circumstances; some decide to come out in very public ways.
Coming out is often an important psychological step for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Research has shown that feeling positively about one’s sexual orientation and integrating it into one’s life fosters greater well-being and mental health. This integration often involves disclosing one’s identity to others; it may also entail participating in the gay community. Being able to discuss one’s sexual orientation with others also increases the availability of social support, which is crucial to mental health and psychological well-being. Like heterosexuals, lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people benefit from being able to share their lives with and receive support from family, friends, and acquaintances. Thus, it is not surprising that lesbians and gay men who feel they must conceal their sexual orientation report more frequent mental health concerns than do lesbians and gay men who are more open; they may even have more physical health problems.
What about sexual orientation and coming out during adolescence?
Adolescence is a period when people separate from their parents and families and begin to develop autonomy. Adolescence can be a period of experimentation, and many youths may question their sexual feelings. Becoming aware of sexual feelings is a normal developmental task of adolescence. Sometimes adolescents have same-sex feelings or experiences that cause confusion about their sexual orientation. This confusion appears to decline over time, with different outcomes for different individuals. Some adolescents desire and engage in same-sex behavior but do not identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, sometimes because of the stigma associated with a non-heterosexual orientation.
Some adolescents experience continuing feelings of same-sex attraction but do not engage in any sexual activity or may engage in heterosexual behavior for varying lengths of time. Because of the stigma associated with same-sex attractions, many youths experience same-sex attraction for many years before becoming sexually active with partners of the same sex or disclosing their attractions to others.
For some young people, this process of exploring same-sex attractions leads to a lesbian, gay, or bisexual identity. For some, acknowledging this identity can bring an end to confusion. When these young people receive the support of parents and others, they are often able to live satisfying and healthy lives and move through the usual process of adolescent development. The younger a person is when she or he acknowledges a non-heterosexual identity, the fewer internal and external resources she or he is likely to have. Therefore, youths who come out early are particularly in need of support from parents and others.
Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual may be more likely to face certain problems, including being bullied and having negative experiences in school. These experiences are associated with negative outcomes, such as suicidal thoughts, and high-risk activities, such as unprotected sex and alcohol and drug use. On the other hand, many lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths appear to experience no greater level of health or mental health risks. Where problems occur, they are closely associated with experiences of bias and discrimination in their environments. Support from important people in the teen’s life can provide a very helpful counterpart to bias and discrimination.
Support in the family, at school, and in the broader society helps to reduce risk and encourage healthy development. Youth need caring and support, appropriately high expectations, and the encouragement to participate actively with peers. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth who do well despite stress—like all adolescents who do well despite stress—tend to be those who are socially competent, who have good problem-solving skills, who have a sense of autonomy and purpose, and who look forward to the future.
In a related vein, some young people are presumed to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual because they don’t abide by traditional gender roles (i.e., the cultural beliefs about what is appropriate “masculine” and “feminine” appearance and behavior). Whether these youths identify as heterosexual or as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, they encounter prejudice and discrimination based on the presumption that they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual. The best support for these young people is school and social climates that do not tolerate discriminatory language and behavior.
At what age should lesbian, gay, or bisexual youths come out?
There is no simple or absolute answer to this question. The risks and benefits of coming out are different for youths in different circumstances. Some young people live in families where support for their sexual orientation is clear and stable; these youths may encounter less risk in coming out, even at a young age. Young people who live in less supportive families may face more risks in coming out. All young people who come out may experience bias, discrimination, or even violence in their schools, social groups, work places, and faith communities. Supportive families, friends, and schools are important buffers against the negative impacts of these experiences.
What is the nature of same-sex relationships?
Research indicates that many lesbians and gay men want and have committed relationships. For example, survey data indicate that between 40% and 60% of gay men and between 45% and 80% of lesbians are currently involved in a romantic relationship. Further, data from the 2000 U.S. Census indicate that of the 5.5 million couples who were living together but not married, about 1 in 9 (594,391) had partners of the same sex. Although the census data are almost certainly an underestimate of the actual number of cohabiting same-sex couples, they indicate that there are 301,026 male same-sex households and 293,365 female same-sex households in the United States
Stereotypes about lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have persisted, even though studies have found them to be misleading. For instance, one stereotype is that the relationships of lesbians and gay men are dysfunctional and unhappy. However, studies have found same-sex and heterosexual couples to be equivalent to each other on measures of relationship satisfaction and commitment.
A second stereotype is that the relationships of lesbians, gay men and bisexual people are unstable. However, despite social hostility toward same-sex relationships, research shows that many lesbians and gay men form durable relationships. For example, survey data indicate that between 18% and 28% of gay couples and between 8% and 21% of lesbian couples have lived together 10 or more years. It is also reasonable to suggest that the stability of same-sex couples might be enhanced if partners from same-sex couples enjoyed the same levels of support and recognition for their relationships as heterosexual couples do, i.e., legal rights and responsibilities associated with marriage.
A third common misconception is that the goals and values of lesbian and gay couples are different from those of heterosexual couples. In fact, research has found that the factors that influence relationship satisfaction, commitment, and stability are remarkably similar for both same-sex cohabiting couples and heterosexual married couples.
Far less research is available on the relationship experiences of people who identify as bisexual. If these individuals are in a same-sex relationship, they are likely to face the same prejudice and discrimination that members of lesbian and gay couples face. If they are in a heterosexual relationship, their experiences may be quite similar to those of people who identify as heterosexual unless they choose to come out as bisexual; in that case, they will likely face some of the same prejudice and discrimination that lesbian and gay individuals encounter.
Can lesbians and gay men be good parents?
Many lesbians and gay men are parents; others wish to be parents. In the 2000 U.S. Census, 33% of female same-sex couple households and 22% of male same-sex couple households reported at least one child under the age of 18 living in the home. Although comparable data are not available, many single lesbians and gay men are also parents, and many same-sex couples are part-time parents to children whose primary residence is elsewhere.
As the social visibility and legal status of lesbian and gay parents have increased, some people have raised concerns about the well-being of children in these families. Most of these questions are based on negative stereotypes about lesbians and gay men. The majority of research on this topic asks whether children raised by lesbian and gay parents are at a disadvantage when compared to children raised by heterosexual parents. The most common questions and answers to them are these:
1. Do children of lesbian and gay parents have more problems with sexual identity than do children of heterosexual parents? For instance, do these children develop problems in gender identity and/or in gender role behavior? The answer from research is clear: sexual and gender identities (including gender identity, gender-role behavior, and sexual orientation) develop in much the same way among children of lesbian mothers as they do among children of heterosexual parents. Few studies are available regarding children of gay fathers.
2. Do children raised by lesbian or gay parents have problems in personal development in areas other than sexual identity? For example, are the children of lesbian or gay parents more vulnerable to mental breakdown, do they have more behavior problems, or are they less psychologically healthy than other children? Again, studies of personality, self-concept, and behavior problems show few differences between children of lesbian mothers and children of heterosexual parents. Few studies are available regarding children of gay fathers.
3. Are children of lesbian and gay parents likely to have problems with social relationships? For example, will they be teased or otherwise mistreated by their peers? Once more, evidence indicates that children of lesbian and gay parents have normal social relationships with their peers and adults. The picture that emerges from this research shows that children of gay and lesbian parents enjoy a social life that is typical of their age group in terms of involvement with peers, parents, family members, and friends.
4. are these children more likely to be sexually abused by a parent or by a parent’s friends or acquaintances? There is no scientific support for fears about children of lesbian or gay parents being sexually abused by their parents or their parents’ gay, lesbian, or bisexual friends or acquaintances.
What can people do to diminish prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people?
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people who want to help reduce prejudice and discrimination can be open about their sexual orientation, even as they take necessary precautions to be as safe as possible. They can examine their own belief systems for the presence of antigay stereotypes. They can make use of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community—as well as supportive heterosexual people—for support.
Heterosexual people who wish to help reduce prejudice and discrimination can examine their own response to antigay stereotypes and prejudice. They can make a point of coming to know lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, and they can work with lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals and communities to combat prejudice and discrimination. Heterosexual individuals are often in a good position to ask other heterosexual people to consider the prejudicial or discriminatory nature of their beliefs and actions. Heterosexual allies can encourage nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation. They can work to make coming out safe. When lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people feel free to make public their sexual orientation, heterosexuals are given an opportunity to have personal contact with openly gay people and to perceive them as individuals.
Studies of prejudice, including prejudice against gay people, consistently show that prejudice declines when members of the majority group interact with members of a minority group. In keeping with this general pattern, one of the most powerful influences on heterosexuals’ acceptance of gay people is having personal contact with an openly gay person. Antigay attitudes are far less common among members of the population who have a close friend or family member who is lesbian or gay, especially if the gay person has directly come out to the heterosexual person.
American Psychological Association. (2008). Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality. Washington, DC: Author. [Retrieved from www.apa.org/topics/sorientation.pdf.]
Below are my last tweet about Homophobia on @Ekualitas. Still searching for third-party application that can post every tweet on Tumblr, is there any? -_-.
Anyway, there we go, from number one.
- #Homophobia is any fear, prejudice, aversion, antipathy or rejection towards homosexuality, bisexuality or LGBTIQ people. (via FHFW)
- LGBTIQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, and Questioning. Note that LGBTIQ is NOT a label. #Homophobia
- #Homophobia includes all kinds of discrimination, such as laughing, making fun, insulting, or even physical violence.
- As any other kind of discrimination it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people,deny their humanity, dignity n personhood. #Homophobia
- #Homophobia, if you analyze the word, implies fear. However, they seem to have no fear but only hate on LGBTIQ.
- Psychologically, aggression is a way to rationalize fears. If a dog is afraid of u, it will bark at u and may attack u to protect itself.
- Why is there a fear? LGBTIQ are different from the majority. The 1st to uncertainty is fear and a desire to protect oneself. #Homophobia
- So yes, lack of information, is one of a cause. #Homophobia
- There’s also this confusion & perception among #Homophobes, whether sexual orientation is “contagious”, whether it is an illness or not.
- Misinterpretation of religious verses is considered too as one of the factors of #Homophobia. Does religion teach us peace, not hate?
- But it’s all coming back to you as individual. We’re no talking what is good & bad through religion. As long as u do no harm #Homophobia
- How bad #Homophobia can be? Hmm…
- Students who describe themselves as LGBTIQ are five times more likely to miss school because of feeling unsafe. (NY, 1984) #Homophobia
- Bullying in public school due to sexual orientation is not a myth. Physically & mentally. Those lead the victimized kid commits suicide.
- Few countries still have death penalty to everyone who does homosexuality. Other countries are not that strict, but not supportive also.
- Who says labelling isn’t threatening? “You’re so gay”, “faggot”, “sissy”, or whatever it is. Funny, huh? But it hurts,and DISRESPECTFUL.
- Everyone is equal and unique at the same time. Who are we to judge? If you straight for no reason, why you think gay chose to be gay?
- If bisexual people are not confused, why are you making yourself even more confusing? #Homophobia
- Here are some facts that I want to share to you guys :) #Homophobia
- Sexual orientation is NOT contagious. Ppl were just born that way, and hating doesn’t even make a person’s going straight. #Homophobia
- LGBTIQ is not an illness. Would it be more “equal look-a-like” if I add S (straight) so it comes out like this: LGBTIQS. Any objections?
- So since LGBTIQS is not an illness, it has nothing to be cured. Hypnotherapy & “straight camp” could be considered as rights violation.
- It’s a rights violation if the person in treatment is forced without having chance to make hir own decision / to get professional help.
- Homosexual, bisexual, asexual, and heterosexual are kinds of sexual orientation. No one is normal, it’s just one of them is a majority.
- We should get rid of using “normal” word in the field of sexual orientation. Normal, is 25 centigrade. Normal, is a city in Illinois. :P
- Having a desire in same-sex doesn’t make you get an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease). Just bcoz Minister said so, doesn’t mean it is.
- Having unprotected sex with a person w/ STD (whether you’re hetero / homo) DOES make you get an STD too. Be wise in stating. #Homophobia
- When u judge something bad in front of LGBTIQ, make sure it’s valid for ALL LGBTIQ. If hetero includes, ur statement is legally flawed.
- As simple as that, do not judge. :D #Homophobia
- From now on, let’s prefer to think that sexual orientation has nothing to do with what we’re looking in friends, deal? :) #Homophobia
- Also, there’s no superior sex orientation. Just because you’re a boy who likes girl,doesn’t mean you’re better than a boy who likes boy.
- The good thing from acknowledging LGBTIQ is that you give a respect. You’ll know how lovely it is being respected, by respecting others.
- And if you love yourself, for everything you’ve bringin up since you’re born, you gotta know that LGBTIQ persons are just the same! :D
- So, take off all labels of discrimination. No time for hate. Take responsibility in building a peace among humankind. Erase #Homophobia!
- N keep in mind that there’s a big difference between free speech and hate speech. As WHOF always says, “hate speech KILLS.” #Homophobia
- Now it’s up to you. Who are you gonna be? A freedom one, or a hating one? :P I believe that “being yourself” is a freedom. #Homophobia