In this brief article, Homosexuality is not a lifestyle and not likely to change in response to ‘conversion therapy,’ study finds, the author provides a brief synopsis of the findings of a research study at Washington State University. He lists a number of findings and, in my opinion, allows the notion that homosexuality is the cause of these things:
♦ about 3% of men and 2.7% of women are not heterosexual.
♦ nearly three out of 10 non-heterosexual men met the criteria for depression, a rate double that of heterosexual men.
♦ non-heterosexual women were much more likely to abuse alcohol.
♦ non-heterosexual men and women were more likely to meet the criteria for anxiety and mood disorders, and were more likely to contemplate suicide.
I can’t find a link to the actual study to see what else was included, but I am fascinated (and annoyed) that it suggests something that may or may not be true: i.e., that a small number of adults are homosexual, AND for homosexuals there is higher depression, alcoholism, anxiety/mood disorders, and risk of suicide.
The problem with this sort of reporting is that it falsely suggests that homosexuality is a cause for these problems, or at least directly related. The author, Mark Johnson, does NOT make that leap, but doesn’t prevent others from doing so. In my years of interacting online with people, it is far too common for people to claim homosexuality itself is the problem. “AIDS is more prevalent among gays; therefore being gay is the problem”. No, it isn’t. Promiscuity, casual/anonymous sex, unprotected sex, etc., is the problem. Two men who are HIV-negative and share a monogamous relationship are NOT going to suddenly ‘create’ HIV/AIDS; they can’t. Further, promiscuity, casual encounters and unprotected sex are not exclusive to the gay community.
Depression, substance abuse, mental health issues ARE a problem, and nobody denies that. And nobody would deny these problems have a higher prevalence in the gay community. But it does not automatically follow that a person’s sexual orientation alone is the reason for the fact that these problems seem to exist in higher proportion among homosexuals. These problems aren’t created in a vacuum, and I don’t believe they are caused by homosexuality.
There are all sorts of studies that explain that a child’s growing-up environment has a role in their self-esteem, social adjustment, and ability to function in society. Until relatively recently, LGBT youth grew up in a society where they were rejected for who they are, forced to live in secret or risk rejection. I firmly believe that society is, at least in part, responsible for creating many of the health issues facing the LGBT community. The prevalence of secret, anonymous, or casual encounters is a result of being unable to form open and healthy relationships with the person you want to be with, to mingle and date openly the way straight people do. Discovering that one is rejected for who they are is a set-up for self-destructive behaviors that lead to the problems cited; i.e., believing “there is something wrong with me, and everyone says so” is a set-up.
Being gay is no more risky for these health issues than being straight, in spite of how people twist the numbers to make it seem as if homosexuality itself is the problem, rather than social views about homosexuality being the problem.
If you want to change the health numbers for the LGBT community, you have to change the society in which LGBT people live. Don’t blame sexual orientation for problems created by the rest of society; blame society.