Notes from Mr. Reid


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GAYS AND OTHER VICTIMS OF STIGMA A. Introduction 1. Gays are less stigmatized than before, and fewer Americans see homosexuality as a sin, but a majority oppose same-sex marriages homosexuality is still a social stigma, which is something a person has or does that others see as bad in some way. However, homosexuality is an unjustifiable stigma as are other conditions like the obese and the tattooed, because they do not hurt others. B. Myths About Homosexuality 1. Homosexuality is clouded by a set of myths. (a) Some feel that gays are typically effeminate and lesbians manly, but most gays and lesbians look and behave like their heterosexual counterparts. (b) Another myth is that gay men like to molest or seduce young children, but most child molesters are heterosexual men. (c) Another myth is that gays and lesbians play one specific role, but gays and lesbians engage in lots of variations of roles. (d) Another myth is that same-sex orientation is a symptom of mental illness, but this no longer considered true. (e) Another myth is that lesbians and gays cannot be expected to have a satisfactory sex life because it is abnormal, but no real difference exists in capacity to enjoy sex. (f) Another myth is that gays and lesbians are obsessed with sex, but gay men have about the same amount of sex per week as heterosexual men and lesbian women have sex less often than heterosexual women. (g) A final myth is that people are either exclusively gay or completely straight, but Kinsey pointed out that sexual orientation is a matter of degree: some are more or less heterosexual or homosexual than others. C. Gay and Lesbian Life 1. Exclusively homosexual men and women are called gays and lesbians. 2. A recent representative sample of the U.S. population discovered that 6 percent of men and 4 percent of women had same-sex feelings; 9 percent of men and 4 percent of women have ever engaged in same-sex behavior; and 2.8 percent of men and 1.4 percent of women are persons with gay or lesbian self-identification. These numbers are less than Kinsey’s study, which reported about 10 percent of the American population were predominantly homosexual and 2.5 percent were exclusively so. The real number of gays and lesbians must be higher than 2.5 percent because homophobia discourages persons from identifying themselves as gay or lesbian. 3. Gay men are more promiscuous than heterosexual men because heterosexual society socializes men to be more promiscuous than women. Thus, when two equally promiscuous persons encounter each other, the chance of a sexual encounter dramatically increases. Heterosexual society also prohibits homosexual unions, but does not disapprove of male promiscuity. Straight men consider gay
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men promiscuous and see them as deviant. A formal union is also seen as mocking heterosexual love and marriage. This lack of support leads to more promiscuous behavior. AIDS, though, has promoted more monogamy, less "sex only" relationships, and more participation in other activities. 4. Open homosexuals are exclusively homosexual and seek a long-term relationship
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