Debunking Misconceptions About the LGBTQ Community
Mar 24 · 5 min read

by Judy Bokao

Misconceptions have a way of tearing the truth apart and planting little lies in people’s minds that affect how they see and relate to people and things. The LGBTQ community has had its fair share of harmful misconceptions which have often led to them feeling unsafe and un-welcomed. In most cases these myths and misconceptions are being baselessly propagated by anti-gay activists who are set on discriminating the LGBTQ community . The worst part is that these misconceptions have contributed greatly to hate crimes directed towards queer people. This spread of misinformation has even led to serious injuries and death in some cases. Here are some of the misconceptions.

Homosexuality is a mental disorder caused by psychological and sexual trauma or aberration.

According to many anti-gay activists, homosexuality is a mental illness which crops up after one suffers a sexual or psychological trauma. They argue that no one consciously chooses to be gay but if a child is traumatized in a certain way then a homosexual condition can be created. This argument in turn not only affects the LGBTQ community who people assume have obviously undergone sexual trauma when young but also demonizes their parents who are assumed to have failed to protect their child. They end up being blamed for the sexual orientation of their kids.

The truth is there is no scientific proof of this; sexual trauma doesn’t change the sexual identity of a person. According the American Psychiatric Association, in dealing with gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues, sexual abuse doesn’t seem prevalent among children who grow up and identify as queer. Experts on human sexuality have also made it clear that premature sexual experiences do not play a vital role in adult sexual orientation and it is highly unlikely that one can make someone straight or gay.

The notion that homosexuality is a mental disorder is outrageous. Queer people are not crazy and cannot be treated with medication and religious exorcisms.

Gay men molest children at a higher rate than heterosexuals.

Portraying gay men as a huge threat to children and the society is a potent weapon for creating public fear and hatred for the LGBTQ community. This is a seriously defamatory myth which is hugely propagated by the anti-gays to make people — especially parents — feel unsafe and threatened when gay men are around their kids. It also interferes with the career choices of the gay men because this myth seems to try and indirectly state that gay men can’t be teachers or perform jobs where they are being entrusted with children.

According to the leading researchers at the University of California who did a study on prejudice against sexual minorities, there is no evidence that gay men are more likely to molest children. The Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute also noted that a majority of child molesters are men married to women and they target children in their network of family and friends. Therefore it is untrue that gay people are just sitting around waiting to snatch and molest children.This information is extremely misleading and incorrect.

Same-sex couples are bad parents.

There have been misconceptions that same-sex couples are harmful to children’s growth. The argument is that they slow the emotional growth and development especially in their relationship with their peers and adults. This affects same-sex couples who are seeking full adoption and foster care rights because it bluntly discriminates against them. The fact is same-sex couples are not likely to hinder the development of their kids or give them behavioral problems. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, scientists have proven that children who are raised with same-sex parents fare well in emotional, cognitive, social and sexual functioning, as do children whose parents are heterosexual. The notion that queer couples are unfit parents is just a common negative stereotype. In the end it all depends on how well-adjusted a household is and not on the sexual orientation of the parents.

Gay people should not be allowed to openly serve the armed forces as this will destroy the military.

Most anti-gays are adamantly against queer people serving in the armed forces because they claim it undermines combat readiness and will also affect the pure meritocracy in America. They fail to acknowledge that lesbians and gays have long been serving the army but under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which governed the US military from 1993–2011. There is no negative impact on letting openly gay people serve, it in no way affects the morale, retention or overall combat readiness and effectiveness. This is just another way to try and discriminate further against the LGBTQ community.

No one is born gay.

Anti-gay activists are quick to oppose granting ‘special’ civil rights protection to gay people afforded to minorities such as Black Americans because it would make it harder to openly discriminate against the LGBTQ community. This would mean that people have no choice on being born gay or straight in the same way they don’t have a choice in being born black or white. This makes it hard for anti-gay activists who claim that being gay is a behavior that can be changed or a mental illness that can be cured. There is no scientific explanation on what exactly causes sexual orientation. According to most studies, homosexuality just like heterosexuality is influenced by biological and environmental factors. Scientists have concluded that most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.

The list is endless but these misconceptions create more reasons to discriminate against the LGBTQ community . They cause baseless public hatred ,fear and misunderstandings . It would be better for people to understand and educate themselves on LGBTQ matters instead of jumping into conclusions based on baseless myths and misconceptions.

About the Author:

Judy Bokao is 20 years old and was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.

Written by is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email

Matthew’s Place is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit for our publication? Email

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