I will try to answer this complex question in four parts. America
still seems to have a lot of problems with homosexuals. IŽm not saying
that Germany (where I live) is really much better.
I was really concerned to have to read that:
It is still okay to hate a queer. While the majority of American
citizens believe we deserve equal protection, the majority are still
not comfortable with gays and lesbians, or what they perceive to be
the gay and lesbian lifestyle. The mainstream public is still full of
exploitable fears, false stereotypes, and even hatred creating a
strategic point of entry through which the right wing hopes to
penetrate the mainstream.
FTR Action Kit
( http://www.qrd.org/qrd/www/FTR/religion.html )
Now the four parts
General Remarks on stereotypes of homosexuality
Stereotypes about homosexuality
Like most groups, gay men tend to resent the history and continued
application of stereotypes. Such stereotypes assume that all gay men
are camp or sex-obsessed or that homosexuality is itself some sort of
pathology. The persistence of these concerns is not surprising when we
consider how homosexual behavior is still criminalized in certain
states, and that it wasn't removed as a medical condition from
registers of mental illness until 1974.
( http://www.gaywellness.com/provider/overview.html )
I found a good article about the myths and stereotypes of
homosexuality. I was astonished how much nonsense seems to be around:
Myths about Homosexuality David A. Gershaw, Ph.D.
When any group is perceived as an outgroup, stereotypes and myths
develop about that group. Myths (1) cause anxiety for for those who
think the myths are true and (2) lead to falsely labeling others as
outgroup members. Like myths about any outgroup, myths about
homosexuals are not true, or they only apply to a small segment of
Myth. You can always tell homosexuals by the way they look or act. Men
who act in a feminine manner must be gay. Masculine women with short
haircuts and deeper voices must be lesbians.
Facts. These stereotypes only apply to about 15% of male homosexuals
and 5% of lesbians. These stereotypes confuse the concept of sexual
orientation (whether you prefer the same or other sex as sexual
partners) with gender roles (exhibiting masculine or feminine
behavior). Just as the vast majority of gays and lesbians do not fit
these stereotypes, a portion of heterosexuals match them. Except for
their actual sexual activity or admitting their sexual preferences,
there is no accurate way to judge someone's sexual orientation.
Many adolescents and some adults are not secure in their masculinity
or femininity. For them, it is important to be as different from a
homosexual person as possible. They may even have homophobia an
unreasonable fear and/or hatred of homosexuals. With their insecurity,
they maintain stereotypes of effeminate male homosexuals and masculine
lesbians. When they follow the stereotyped gender roles, they feel
more sexually adjusted. They use the stereotypes to distinguish
between outgroup and ingroup members. When these individuals meet
homosexuals who do not fit the homosexual stereotypes, they feel very
upset and threatened. They are extremely upset by any activity with
people of the same sex that even hints at being sexual.
Myth. Homosexuals never marry. Therefore, people who never marry are
homosexual. Likewise, people who marry and have children can be
presumed to be heterosexual.
Facts. Many homosexual people do marry and have children. Likewise,
many people who never marry are strictly heterosexual. About one in
five gay men and one in three lesbians enter into a heterosexual
marriage at some time in their lives.
Myth. Homosexuals are all undersexed; homosexuals are all oversexed.
(It's heard both ways.)
Facts. Whether people are heterosexual or homosexual, they exhibit a
great range of sexual desire and activity. Before the advent of AIDS,
there was a small segment of homosexual males who were extremely
active exceeding the capacities of almost all straight men. However,
they are the exception rather than the rule. Outside of this small
group, homosexuals and heterosexuals are similar in their levels of
Myth. Recently the number of homosexuals has increased tremendously.
Facts. From Alfred Kinsey's studies (1948, 1953) to others in the
1980s, the incidence of homosexuality has remained fairly constant.
However, homosexuals are more visible now. With the gay liberation
movement, more homosexuals stopped keeping their preferences secret.
Many more have "come out of the closet."
Myth. Homosexuals are constantly trying to convert straight people to
Facts. Just as a few heterosexuals try to seduce homosexuals, a few
homosexuals may try to seduce straights. However, the great majority
of homosexuals do not attempt such seduction. Homosexuals are not
likely to "make a play" for someone who does not seem attracted to
them. As with most of us, at times homosexuals may confuse friendship
with sexual attraction. They may act on their erroneous assumption.
Unfortunately, this seems to greatly bother those who believe the
first myth we mentioned. They may wonder, "Why did they think I might
be homosexual?" Any efforts to convert straights to homosexuality or
vice versa are very unlikely to succeed.
Myth. If you are not heterosexual, you are homosexual.
Facts. Kinsey's studies found that many people have both heterosexual
and homosexual feelings. Rather than viewing people as either
heterosexual or homosexual, he saw sexual orientation on a continuum.
In a 1978 study, psychologists Bell and Weinberg found that 25% of gay
men considered themselves ambisexual both homosexual and
heterosexual in behavior, but 58% indicated they were ambisexual in
terms of their feelings. In contrast, lesbians are more ambisexual in
both feelings and behavior than gay men.
Especially in preadolescence, there is a normal and typically
temporary inclination toward same-sex relationships before
heterosexual attractions develop. Kinsey found that 50% of men and 28%
of women had same-sex sexual experiences. Almost all of these people
developed a heterosexual orientation.
Myth. Homosexuals are more likely to molest children.
Facts. Homophobic people are unnecessarily concerned about homosexuals
molesting young children. One often-stated argument is, "Would you
like your son taught in school by a homosexual man?" My answer is, "As
much as I would want my daughter taught in school by a heterosexual
man." The question assumes that homosexuals are more likely to molest
children. However, 97% of the child sexual abuse is done by
heterosexuals. Even if corrected for the proportion of homosexuals in
the population, homosexuals are not more likely to sexually molest
LOL Myths about Homosexuality
( http://www.awc.cc.az.us/psy/dgershaw/lol/Homosexual.htm )
What does religion say about it ?
Not astonishing that religion is certainly a major source for
stereotypes and prejudice.
Religion and Your Journey
You may find yourself concerned about reconciling your religion with
your loved ones sexual orientation. In today's world of mixed message
about homosexuality and religion, viewing homosexuality through the
lens of religion can be complex.
Many mainstream religious denominations consider homosexuality
behavior to be incongruous with religious teachings. The Bible is
often used, out of context, to justify anti-gay feelings and actions.
"Love the sinner, but hate the sin," is what many religions teach
about homosexuality. Feeling rejected by their religion's leaders,
some gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their families
and friends have explored new ways of expressing their faith. Many
family members and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
people have been faced with the dilemma of reconciling their
religion's teachings and their deep feelings about their loved ones.
While this section is not designed to thoroughly cover this subject,
we can share some insights that have helped others.
Speaking with someone from your religious tradition about reconciling
your love for you gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender family member
or friend with your religion's teachings may open new avenues of
support. During this discussion, you may want to keep a few questions
in mind to help clarify your feelings: What is my religious advisor
saying about my religion's teachings about homosexuality? Is my
religious advisor able to provide support and comfort as I go through
this process of discovery?
When you feel more comfortable with your feelings and have a clearer
idea about your religion's teachings on homosexuality you may want to
consider a few more questions: What do I feel about homosexuality and
my religion? Can I reconcile my personal beliefs, my religious beliefs
and my religious teachings with my love for my gay, lesbian, bisexual
or transgender family member or friend?
The answer to these questions may lead you to another phase of your
journey. Some gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their
families and friends have found their current religion provided them
with support and acceptance. Others decided to enlighten members
within their faith community about the issues facing them and their
gay lesbian, bisexual or transgender family members or friends.
Working for change, through education and outreach, from within their
religion, was viewed as an opportunity to be embraced. Some people
discovered the need to investigate a more accepting congregation
within their religion; there are wide interpretations of teachings,
even within a particular religion.
Other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their families
and friends came to the realization they just could not reconcile
their beliefs with those of their religion. After much thought and
reflection, they discovered that they needed to consider a new way of
expressing their faith. Some found this a painful decision, but their
resolution has ultimately provided them with the spiritual sustenance
they were searching for.
Each of these avenues may require careful thought and deep spiritual
exploration. It may help if you keep in mind that there are many gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their family members and
friends who have gone through this process. Speaking with others,
reading some of the suggested books on this subject, and spending time
in quiet reflection are the ways
An interesting and very long article of Dr. Nelson who is professor of
Christian ethics at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities,
New Brighton, Minnesota.
The article was published in the Christianity and Crisis April 4,
Just some excerpts:
1. Homosexual Christians are sisters and brothers of all other
Christians, earnestly seeking the church's full acceptance without
prejudgment on the basis of a sexual orientation regarding which they
had no basic choice.
2. While antihomosexual bias has existed in Western culture generally,
the church must take responsibility for its share in shaping,
supporting, and transmitting negative attitudes toward homosexuality.
3. The Christian mandate for social justice will not let us forget
that discrimination continues today against millions of gay persons in
employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and in the
enjoyment of fundamental civil liberties.
4. The church is called to do its ongoing theological and ethical work
as responsibly as possible. Fresh insights from feminist theologians,
gay Christians, and those secular scholars who frequently manifest
God's "common grace" in the world remind us of the numerous ways in
which our particular sexual conditions color our perceptions of God's
nature and presence among us. If the Protestant Principle turns us
against absolutizing historically relative theological judgments, so
also our openness to continuing revelation should convince us, with
some of our ancestors-in-faith, that "the Lord has yet more light and
truth to break forth."
5. The heterosexually oriented majority in the church has much to gain
from a deeper grappling with this issue: an enriched capacity to love
other human beings more fully and with less fear.
Homosexuality and the Church
What does Science say
There is a comprehensive website about the works by Dr. Gregory Herek,
who is an internationally recognized expert on sexual prejudice.
YouŽll find factual information there:
Sexual prejudice also called heterosexism or homophobia hurts
everyone. Research findings shed light on the nature of sexual
prejudice and how it can be eliminated.
Sexual Education: Science, Education and Policy
( http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/ )
The American Psychiatric Association APA states:
Is homosexuality a mental illness or emotional problem?
No. Psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals
agree that homosexuality is not an illness, mental disorder or
emotional problem. Much objective scientific research over the past 35
years shows us that homosexual orientation, in and of itself, is not
associated with emotional of social problems.
Homosexuality was thought to be a mental illness in the past because
mental health professionals and society had biased information about
homosexuality since most studies only involved lesbians and gay men in
therapy. when researchers examined data about gay people who were not
in therapy, the idea that homosexuality was a mental illness was found
to be untrue.
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association confirmed the importance
of the new research by removing the term 'homosexuality' from the
official manual that list all mental and emotional disorders. In 1975
the American Psychological Association passed a resolution supporting
this action. Both associations urge all mental health professionals to
help dispel the stigma of mental illness that some people still
associate with homosexual orientation. Since original declassification
of homosexuality as a mental disorder, this decision has subsequently
been reaffirmed by additional research findings and both
Answers to your questions
( http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/orient.html )
Biological facts on the origin of homosexuality are pointed out here:
Rejecting the Gay Brain
(and choosing homosexuality)
Bad Subjects, Issue # 14, May 1994
A succinct summary of what might be called "popular gay essentialism"
was recently provided by Molly Ivins, the leftist commentator whose
collection of essays was a national best-seller. "Homosexuality is not
a choice," she wrote in a column from this past December. "It is not a
lifestyle. It is a human condition, fixed before one becomes sexually
active. It cannot be changed by will. No one chooses to be homosexual
any more than people choose to be heterosexual or brown-eyed or
left-handed. Homosexuality is not contagious." In recent years a
consensus has been emerging both in the American popular media and
among people who consider themselves leftist or progressive that
homosexuality is the result of constitutional biological differences
between homosexuals and heterosexuals, most likely genetic or at least
biochemical in nature. The biological account is being accepted more
and more as a kind of common sense, something which most people take
for granted. The prevailing wisdom is increasingly that it is no
longer a question of whether homosexuality is caused by biological
differences, but only a matter of when the full proof of such
differences will be available.
We should be suspicious of biological explanations of homosexuality
because they are likely, in the context of a homophobic society deeply
invested in the heterosexual alibi, to function as a reinforcement of
stereotypes -- even among people who are supportive of gay rights. At
the beginning of this article I quoted progressive columnist Molly
Ivins' version of the no-choice position on homosexuality, that it is
a condition fixed at birth. She initially sets up homosexuality as
merely another physical quality like eye-color or left-handedness, but
in the very next paragraph of her column it suddenly becomes
implicitly equated with a specific kind of personality
Rejecting the Gay Brain
( http://eserver.org/bs/14/Sartelle.html )
What famous author Shere Hite thinks about it is reviewed at:
( http://www.dreamwater.com/women/theresles/science.html )
What do the media say ?
Media seem to be quite far away from not supporting the usual
Gay and lesbian stereotypes in the media
Not all gay men behave like Jack or Will, two of the most notable gay
males on television
By HEATHER WADOWSKI
ght us school shootings, a reality TV craze so absurd that the latest
show actually has four men chained to a woman and gay activists
protesting outside the Grammy Awards for Eminem's controversial duet
with Sir Elton John. To quote that old Pepsi catch-phrase, "we've come
a long way, baby" and it shows.
Is my sarcasm too subtle? Well it shouldn't be. The new millennium
promised Americans that we would be stepping away from the past and
moving into the future, but has anyone actually noticed a
differenceespecially when it comes to Hollywood?
Hollywood has praised itself for being "gay- friendly," spotlighting
the sitcom success of "Will & Grace" and making it Hollywood's poster
child for the millennium. Entertainment Weekly even recently released
an issue devoted to high-paid, powerful and famous homosexuals in the
business, with the cover featuring (what else?) "Will & Grace."
Hollywood is practically screaming how it has come out of the closet,
yet if one looks closely they really wouldn't notice a difference.
When various USC students were asked to name recent films that dealt
with homosexuality, most were stumped. Some replied with "My Best
Friend's Wedding," while others went so far back that they mentioned
"The Birdcage." No one remembered last year's Academy Award-winning
"Boys Don't Cry" or a handful of other titles, including "Center
Stage," "Cruel Intentions," "Chasing Amy," "In and Out" and "But I'm a
Television is another story. Numerous students thought of the hit
shows "Will & Grace," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Dawson's Creek,"
while many thought of past shows like "Roseanne" and "Ellen" that
dealt with homosexuality. Some students thought of Showtime's "Queer
as Folk" and the recently canceled "Normal, Ohio."
Still, for the number of shows that have homosexual characters, how
many of them actually deal with homosexual relationships? Sure two of
the main characters on "Will & Grace" are gay, but when was the last
time viewers watched Jack and Will share a passionate kiss with
another man? In fact, despite Jack and Will being public about their
sexuality, network writers have Jack marrying a woman (for greencard
purposes of course) and Will sharing an intense kiss with his female
best friend, Grace.
"The entertainment industry is an industrynot a business of raising
social consciousness but a business of raising quarterly earnings for
shareholders," said USC professor Charles Fleming, who teaches
entertainment reporting. "The broadcast executives who program these
shows, and the standards and practices geniuses who answer to them,
and the writer-producers they employ are all doing nothing more than
reflecting a conservative version of what the audience is telling them
Those who are open about their real life sexuality fall into the same
trap of having networks too conservative to write their stories.
Even among the gay characters that are televised, many are stereotyped
as flamboyantly gay or butch lesbian types. And while not every man
who is gay acts like Jack from "Will and Grace," many films and
television shows tend to focus only these gay stereotypes.
The few shows that do show homosexuals as everyday people also deal
with same-sex relationships, and ironically tend to get pushed off
network television and onto a more adult-oriented station like
Showtime or HBO. Is this because the general public isn't ready to see
gay relationships yet?
Or is it because the networks aren't ready to show homosexuals as
equal to heterosexuals? Is that why shows like "Normal, Ohio," which
was awarded this year's People's Choice Award for John Goodman's
portrayal of a gay man, got canceled before they begin, even when
there is obviously an audience interested in the show? Shows like
"Party of Five" are renewed for seasons at a time in hopes that their
ratings will go up, but "Normal, Ohio" isn't given a chance.
"Has Hollywood come out of the closet? No," Fleming said. "Does Steve
Martin's Oscar night patterso peppered with coy references to
homosexualitymean the industry's public stance about homosexuality has
changed? I don't think so."
The sad thing about all this is the fact that "Roseanne," still
remains one of the few shows that accurately portrayed homosexual
characters of both sexes in a way few films and television shows have
been able to do today. Sure, "Dawson's Creek" and "Buffy the Vampire
Slayer" have occasional episodes involving gay characters, but so did
"Soap." And while "Will &Grace" made headlines because one of its
title characters is a homosexual, so did "Ellen." "Roseanne" was that
rare TV show that had homosexual recurring charactersboth young and
old, male and femalein relationships, and even aired a lesbian kiss.
"Roseanne' was certainly ahead of its time, or at least was very
different for its time," Fleming said. "I think what it showed is that
most Americans will accept any kind of character that is given to
them, if the character is delivered to them in a sympathetic way and
in a show that is well-crafted. I think the public would absolutely
accept an openly, actively gay character if the character were set up
properly in a show like Frasier' or NYPD Blue.'"
Will the networks finally give us these types of characters in the new
millennium? Will Ellen DeGeneres' new show stay on for longer than her
last one after she came out of the closet? One can only wait and see
if Hollywood will finally treat homosexuals equally in their
Daily Trojan, published in Vol. 142, No. 56 (Wednesday, April 11,
2001), on page 8.
( http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/dt/V142/N56/12-gayles.56d.html )
Due to social and internalized homophobia, positive queer visibility
and diversity is crucial to diffuse stereotypes and forms of
discrimination. The equal and realistic representation of lesbians,
gays and bisexuals in the mainstream should not be the responsibility
of, nor limited to, alternative forms of media.
Stereotypes in Televison
( http://www.bctv.net/telcom/tel13/13ethnic.html )
Homophobic beliefs and images are perpetuated by the media
When lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals are portrayed by the media it is
often done stereotypically, e.g. the effeminate gay man, the
man-hating lesbian, the confused bisexual always on the make. It is
extremely rare to see healthy same-sex couples in the mainstream
media. What we see are derogatory stereotypes which only reinforce
people's prejudices towards lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals.
( http://ssmu.mcgill.ca/queer/info/homophobia.html )
Literature list about media an homosexuality
There seem to be some good books on this subject you might want to
have a look at:
Morrison, T. G., A. V. Parriag, and M. A. Morrison. 1999. The
Psychometric Properties of the Homonegativity Scale. Journal of
Homosexuality vol. 37, pp. 111-126.
Abstract: This research details the psychometric properties of an
instrument designed to measure negative attitudes toward gay men and
lesbians (the Homonegativity Scale-HS). Four studies were conducted
using adolescents (N = 1078), university students (N = 343), and
members of the general population (N = 146). Results suggest that the
HS possesses a unidimensional factor structure and a high degree of
internal consistency for both male and female participants. As
predicted, scores on the HS were positively correlated with machismo,
authoritarianism, political conservatism, religiosity, and modern
sexism. In addition, responses on the HS did not appear to be
contaminated by social desirability bias. The usefulness of this
measure in survey research is discussed. [Source: ML]
Maher, Michael Joseph S. Jr. 1997. The Dis-Integration of a Child:
Gay and Lesbian Youth in Catholic Education. Ph.D. Thesis, Saint
Abstract: This dissertation involved four studies: a document analysis
of contemporary Catholic magisterial teaching on the philosophy of
Catholic education as it pertains to the topic of homosexuality, a
survey of incoming freshman at a Midwestern Catholic university on
their level of agreement with 16 points of Catholic teaching on the
topic of homosexuality, a study using in-depth interviews with 25 (13
male and 12 female) gay and lesbian adults who attended Catholic high
schools and graduated in the 1980s and 1990s, a study using in-depth
interviews with 12 counselors currently working in Catholic high
schools. The document analysis yielded the conclusion that Catholic
education must discuss the topic of homosexuality, must reduce
homophobia in its students, parents, and teachers through education,
and must provide support services for gay and lesbian students. The
survey (N = 103) demonstrated that students graduating from Catholic
high schools generally had more positive attitudes toward
homosexuality and gay and lesbian people than those graduating from
non-Catholic high schools. Females generally had more positive
attitudes than males. Among Catholic school graduates, those
graduating from coeducational schools generally had more positive
attitudes than those graduating from unisex schools. Agreement levels
in terms of the Church's responsibilities to gay and lesbian people
and the unacceptability of verbal harassment of gay and lesbian people
were disturbingly low. The study of gay and lesbian alumni of Catholic
high schools demonstrated a theme of "Dis- integration." Subjects were
dis-integrated socially, institutionally, spiritually, and in a terms
of sexual identity. This is particularly important because integration
at all these levels is a goal of Catholic education. The study of
Counselors yielded the conclusion that Catholic schools generally are
not doing enough to help this population. [Source: DA]
Toman, James Anthony. 1997. Dual Identity: Being Catholic and Being
Gay. Ph.D. Thesis, Cleveland State University, Cleveland.
Abstract: The aim of this research was to utilize survey methods to
investigate the relationship between two important personal identity
markers, one's religiosity and one's sexual orientation, and to
examine these variables at two points in the life span,
retrospectively during youth and concurrently in adulthood.
Specifically, the study involved adult males raised in the Catholic
tradition and the process of their homosexual identity formation. This
research sought to determine if significant relationships exist
between: (1) the strength of youthful religious conviction and
difficulty experienced during the adolescent coming-out process; (2)
formative religious conviction and later ability to achieve an adult
gay-affirmative life style; (3) religious conviction in the formative
and adult years; (4) the difficulty of coming-out and subsequent adult
religious conviction; (5) the difficulty of coming-out and adult
capacity to experience a gay-affirmative life style; and (6) adult
religious conviction and capacity for a gay-affirmative life style.
The 70 respondents in the study were voluntary and their survey
responses anonymous. They were recruited either by contact from
professionals who work with individuals in the gay community or
through advertisements in the gay community and in the gay-oriented
media. Analysis of responses utilized quantitative procedures, but
respondents also provided narrative answers which added explanatory
detail and enriched and clarified the findings and conclusions. The
findings from this study suggest that: (a) a significant statistical
relationship exists between adolescent religiosity and difficulties
encountered in the adolescent coming-out process, and also between
adolescent and adult religiosity; and (b) no statistically significant
relationship exists between adolescent religiosity and difficulties
experienced in achieving a affirmative adult gay life style, between
adolescent and adult sexual identity processes, nor between the
adolescent coming-out process and adult religiosity. This study
further suggests that the interplay of religious and sexual identity
factors is a complex one. The data it offers may serve to illuminate
for those who work with the gay population some of the important
issues through which gay clients must navigate, and to suggest to
researchers in the field of religious and sexual orientation identity
formation useful directions which further research might take.
National Study of Youth and Religion
Another huge website dealing with the question in a more general
( http://www.queertheory.com/theories/science/Default.htm )
You could find this video list useful:
I discovered a big amount of sources on the internet about the subject
of your question. So the listed sources are of course only a small
part of what can be found online.