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Western Carolinian Counselor's Corner: "The Facts About Homosexuality:"

  • hl-westerncarolinianclipping-1985-10-31-vol50-no11-12-01.jpg
  • This article in the October 31, 1985 issue of the Western Carolinian provides facts about homosexuality to address the recent comments of the campus community regarding the establishment of Lavender Bridges. Lavender Bridges, an anonymously founded student organization open to all individuals, aimed to promote awareness of lesbian and gay lifestyle, provide lesbian and gay resources, and increase communication with all students and community members. The first organizational meeting took place October 10, 1985 and was officially recognized by the office of Student Development on December 13, 1985. The last mention of the group appeared in the October 10, 1991 issue of the Western Carolinian.
  • Counselor's Corner: THE FACTS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY by Dr. Jan Wheaton Some of the comments I have heard recently concerning "Lavender Bridges" have compelled me to provide some factual information about homosexuality. The issue of homosexuality is a difficult one to deal with in our society. People tend to fear anything which is different or unfamiliar. Hence, our "heterosexist" culture encourages "homophobia" (irrational fear of homosexuality) rather than openminded attitudes. Therefore, it is not surprising that many people are misinformed about homosexuality and believe it is "sick" or "immoral." Let's consider the facts. Fact 1: A sizeable portion of the population is primarily homosexual. Recent studies estimate that 7-12% of all people prefer homosexual expression of their sexuality. Fact 2: Homosexuality is not a disease or sickness. Both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association view homosexuality as an alternative sexual orientation, not a psychiatric or emotional illness. Fact 3: The common stereotypes of effeminate male homosexuals and masculine lesbians do not necessarily apply. There are just as many different ways to be gay as there are to be straight. Gay people come in all personalities, sizes, shapes, and colors. Sexual orientation is only one aspect of a person. Fact 4: Gay people respect others' right to choose to be heterosexual. Homosexual people do not force unwanted attention on members of the same sex any more than heterosexual people force unwanted attention on members of the opposite sex. Heterosexual students don't need to fear that a homosexual resident of their hall will make advances toward them. Fact 5: Usually, one is not exclusively heterosexual or homosexual; most people fall somewhere inbetwefen. Researchers have identified varying degrees of sexual orientation ranging from exclusive heterosexuality to bi-sexuality to exclusive homosexuality. It is not unusual for people who lable themselves as heterosexual to have homosexual thoughts and fantasies and vice versa. Fact 6: There is no generally accepted theory which explains why some people are primarily homosexual while others are not. However, most gay people can remember having homosexual feelings very early in life. In addition, few gay people can remember making a decision to become homosexual; rather, homosexuality just seemed to feel more natural for them. Fact 7: It is a myth that people choose to be homosexual because they are afraid of the opposite sex. While some people erroneously represent themselves as gay because they have negative feelings about the opposite sex, the truly homosexual person often has close friendships with members of the opposite sex. However, the gay person honestly feels more attracted to members of his or her own sex for more intimate relationships. Because of the barriers our culture presents to homosexual people, it is a difficult lifestyle. The major problems that gay people face do not exist because they are homosexual, but because they are homosexual in a "heterosexualist" society. According to the statistics, at least 500 people on this campus are gay. Therefore, it's quite possible that you know someone who is gay who has not yet openly declared his or her homosexuality. This person may be a friend of yours and the fact that he or she is gay does not change all the things that you like about your friend. He or she is still the person that you became friends with, nonetheless. Because homosexualtiy is invisible, gay people are constantly subjected to put-downs by an insensitive society. No one intends to hurt their friends, but ignorance interferes. By becoming more informed about homosexuality and more sensitive to the problems that gay people face, people of all sexual orientations can work together to promote tolerance of individual differences. For more information about homosexuality, read: Loving Someone Gay by D. Clark (Millbrae, CA: Celestial Arts, 1977).