Misconceptions about gay people

In response to Stacy Young’s letter, as well as Caleb Drake’s letter, I would like to point out a few important fallacies in their arguments. First of all, Mr. Drake states “Not only is it [homosexuality] non-productive in the procreation of our species, but it has been largely attributed to the spread of AIDS as well.” I won’t argue the first point, despite the problem of over-population in this world. But the second point shows a popular misconception, particularly among Christian conservatives, that AIDS is a “gay disease,” sent to strike down the immoral. This is a very misinformed and outdated perspective, considering that AIDS is now taking the vast majority of its victims in Africa and in third-world countries. In the United States, it heavily targets not only the gay population, but blacks and Hispanicsin particular, women and members of the lower class. To characterize AIDS as a “gay disease” and to target homosexuals as responsible for its spread is to miss the huge impact the disease has on the American population regardless of sexual preference or race. AIDS, as with many other STDs, does not target based upon the morality of the individual. Such organisms thrive where there is a path of least resistance, namely, the poor and uneducated, and the statistics on HIV infection and AIDS deaths in third world Africa and Latin America, as well as within the lower class of American society, show this clearly.

I would also like to challenge Ms. Young’s assertion that “everyone is capable of homosexuality, sexual immorality, murder, etc.” I for one do not think I am capable of intentional murder, not just because of ethical reasons. I have never felt the desire to kill Ms. Young. Have you? But I also question whether everyone is capable of being homosexual, since from my experience, sexual preference is not an experience of choice, in the same way as being left or right handed is not. Did you choose to be straight? Or were you just always naturally that way? Most gay people, in their youth, strive earnestly to be what society demands they should be and ultimately find that they cannot, because sexual preference, gay or straight, is not something you can just choose one day.

Nor is homosexuality the equivalent of pedophilia: “rape, child pornography and child molestation are all forms of homosexuality or sexual immorality. A male pedophile who lusts after young boys is homosexuality.” No, he’s a pedophile, and in fact, studies show that straight men are “twice as likely to sexually abuse children as homosexual men are,” and that as much as “92% of child abuse cases, including same gender sexual abuse, are perpetrated by heterosexuals” (Blumenfeld & Raymond, 1988). Maybe you should meet some gay people before you decide that they are only out to molest, rape, and exploit.

Ms. Young and Mr. Drake do not realize, when they make such intolerant and misinformed statements, that they are only proving Mr. Hill’s point! Though I would never demand Christians to “change” something about their religion or beliefs, as Hill suggests, I have met very few who have been tolerant of the idea that others might think differently and that that’s okay. Instead, it automatically becomes labeled as “liberal propaganda.” Most gay people do not ask, let alone demand, that Christians change these attitudes, while it is a common experience for me to come across a Christian telling me how I should live my life. This is the reality that gay people confront. While gay bashing may be rare, the truth is that gay people are everywhere, in every community, and many are forced to hide to protect themselves from the very prejudices “The Laramie Project” was about. We really must learn to tolerate each other better, as Mr. Hill suggests. That is what America is about, or at least what it should be about. Christianity didn’t kill Matthew Shepard, prejudice and intolerance did.

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