Myths & Facts about LGBT People

It’s important to remember that most of the negative stereotypes of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are based on erroneous or inadequate information. Here are some myths and facts to help you flesh out what’s what:

It’s a "Choice"
Sexual orientation and gender identity are not choices, any more than being left-handed or having brown eyes or being straight are choices. The choice is in deciding whether or not to live your life openly and honestly with yourself and others.

It’s a "Lifestyle"
It’s sometimes said that LGBT people live a gay "lifestyle." The problem with that word is that it can trivialize LGBT people and minimize the struggles they face. Being LGBT is no more a lifestyle than being straight — it’s a life, just like anyone else’s.

People who are lesbian, gay, and transgender can usually be identified by certain mannerisms or physical characteristics.
LGBT people come in as many different shapes, colors, and sizes as do heterosexuals. Only a very small percentage has stereotypic mannerisms and characteristics. In fact, many heterosexuals exhibit a variety of the so-called gay stereotypic characteristics. Some members of different subcultures may tend to mimic or imitate specific behaviors in an effort to "fit in."

In a LGBT relationship, one partner usually plays the "husband" or "butch" role and the other plays the "wife" or "femme" role.
This is an old pattern that was evident in some gay or lesbian relationships when gay and lesbian people had only the traditional heterosexual relationships as a model. Today, most gay and lesbian people work to develop relationships based on principles of equality and mutuality where there are loved for who they are and not for the roles they play. There is no right or wrong way that prescribes how to divide roles between partners.

Same-Sex Relationships Don’t Last
Same-sex couples can, and do, form lasting, lifelong, committed relationships — just like any other couple. And just like any other couple, sometimes same-sex relationships end. The primary difference is that same-sex couples have few opportunities to marry or enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships.

LGBT People Can’t Have Families
According to the 2000 Census, more than 1 million children — probably many more — are being raised by same-sex couples nationwide. The American Psychological Association and other major medical and scientific researchers have stated that children of gay and lesbian parents are as mentally healthy as children raised by straight parents.

The majority of child molesters are gay or lesbian.
Statistics regarding child molestation prepared by the Boston Advocates for Human Rights reveal that, "the vast majority of child molestation - over 90% - is performed by heterosexual males. The man who is sexually interested in children is rarely gay."

People who are LGBT should not be teachers because they will try to convert their students to their lifestyle.
It is impossible to convert heterosexuals to being gay, just as it is impossible to convert gay people to being heterosexuals. Based on what is known about sexual attraction, this is simply not possible.

Same-sex attraction is not "natural," that is, it does not exist in nature; therefore this proves it is dysfunctional.
Each culture defines what is "natural" to fit its own context. Historians tell us that same-sex attraction has existed since the earliest of human societies. Anthropologists report that lesbians and gay men have been part of every culture. In one study of non-Western cultures, 64% of the respondents considered same-sex attraction as "normal and socially acceptable." It is also a well known fact that same sex behavior is "natural" between animals.

There are very few "bisexuals;" most people are either completely gay or heterosexual.
The pioneering studies of Dr. Alfred Kinsey and his associates are most frequently cited on this question. This data suggested that, in fact, few people are predominantly heterosexual or gay. Most people fall somewhere along the continuum between these two end of the scale, and thus, have the capacity to experience both affection and sexual feelings for members of both sexes.

LGBT People Aren’t Happy
In 1994, the American Medical Association released a statement saying, "Most of the emotional disturbance experienced by gay men and lesbians around their sexual identity is not based on physiological causes but rather is due more to a sense of alienation in an unaccepting environment." What that means is that the discrimination and stress that LGBT people face is the root cause of a great deal of pain for many LGBT people. That pain can be alleviated by knowing that there is a vibrant, growing community of LGBT and straight-supportive Americans who know and care about LGBT people and the issues they face.

LGBT People Can "Change" or be "Cured"
No scientifically valid evidence exists that shows that people can change their sexual orientation, although some people do repress it. The most reputable medical and psychotherapeutic groups say you should not try to change your sexual orientation as the process can actually be damaging.