Do Say Gay: The Reasons Behind the Anti-Gay Stigma

The proposal of the so-called “Dont Say Gay” bill in several states has sparked controversy and conversations across the globe.

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The proposal of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill in several states has sparked controversy and conversations across the globe.

Olivia Hain, Staff Writer

With many states introducing the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, it has sparked many debates about the way the education of LGBTQ+ issues or the general rights of the LGBTQ+ populace should be handled. The bill, first introduced and passed in Florida, prohibits the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in classes K-3. 

The so-dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” bill has caused an uproar with many proponents and opponents engaging in arguments and debates about various details like the rights of parents to have a say in their child’s education or the vague wording of the bill possibly meaning the extension of the ban to classrooms beyond the K-3 setting.

But why does such a bill need to exist? Why do LGBTQ+ topics cause such commotion? Where does the stigma come from?

“I think the stigma has come from a very long history of anti-LGBTQ+” said Dakota Ridge freshman Ray Meyers, a self proclaimed ‘queer trans man.’ “Hurting people because of who they are is never ok. I don’t know why it is now.”

A very long history, indeed. At least in American history, ideas such as strict gender norms and punishments for homosexual behavior have existed ever since the 1600s with the Puritans. Discrimination reform has been pushed forward for years with pushbacks occurring just as often. 

Reading some of this history was fascinating, to say the least. By today’s standards, President James Buchanan has been thought by modern historians to be gay because of his lifelong bachelor status and having lived with one William Rufus King for an extended period of time. Women like Sarah Emma Edmonds and Jennie Hodgers lived as men to fight in the military. Author Oscar Wilde was jailed for two years for “gross indecency,” or having relationships with other men. Around 100,000 homosexual men in Germany were sent to the Nazi concentration camps along with Jewish people.

LGBTQ+ people have been a part of history for centuries, and rights and freedoms have progressed with history as well. (Pixabay)

LGBTQ+ history even extends from before then. It begs the question, though: If LGBTQ+ people and acts have always been a part of human history, why are there so many people in the modern day perpetuating the anti-gay stigma?

Common threads seem to be religion. 

“A lot of, if not all of the demonization of and hate towards queer folks, and the thought that being queer is bad comes from religious groups, and not just Christians… and the misinterpretation and intentional twisting of an excerpt from the Christian Bible,” said Daisy Fluss, a Dakota Ridge student who identifies as bisexual and non-binary.

Normally the argument seems to be that the Bible condemns same-sex relationships through various passages like Leviticus 18:22, as Daisy mentioned, stating that “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” This seems pretty damning; however, a few different factors seem to attest to the fact that this likely shouldn’t be taken at face value. 

For starters, “homosexuality” is a newer term that wasn’t around during Biblical times. As stated in the blog Queer Bible Hermeneutics, “Charles D. Myers, Jr. confirms that none of the prophets in the Hebrew Bible mention homosexuality. He also contends that in ancient Israel same-sex relations were viewed as an ancient Near East problem. The ancient Near East tradition included pederasty and relations between an older man and a boy, which was the primary form of homosexual sex at the time.” In this context, it’s possible that the Bible is condemning the act of pedophilia and not homosexual behavior specifically. 

Another thing that should be noted is that nearly every version of the Bible is translated and not in the original Hebrew language. Many different translations can be found in the different versions of the Bible and change depending on the translator, the time of translation, and matching phrase usages to the various contexts used. It could very well also be damning acts like bestiality, incest, or some other combinations depending on how the root of the words used are translated. 

So, if we eliminate the religious side of the discrimination due to mistranslations and other factors, perhaps another argument could be that being in a same-sex relationship isn’t “natural.”

Homosexual penguin couples take in abandoned eggs, making them a necessary part of their species’ survival. (Flickr)

This argument just simply isn’t true. In Scientific American, they state that “same-sex sexual behavior… has been observed in over 1,500 animal species, from primates to sea stars, bats to damselflies, snakes to nematode worms.” If such behavior can occur in several hundred species of animals, why is it a problem when human beings do it? As strange as it may be purely from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s far from an “unnatural” act in nature.

Really, several myths about LGBTQ+ people can be easily debunked through simple science and studies. Myths like homosexuality being a result of childhood abuse or homosexuals being more likely to be pedophiles can be disproven through other ideas and tests. History can disprove other myths like homosexuals being involved with the Nazi party. As previously stated, homosexuals were imprisoned in concentration camps along side Jewish people, not the ones orchestrating such atrocities. 

Another common thought is that being gay is a choice, or simply a trend that people follow. While scientists are still not completely sure what causes homosexuality, it’s not a choice. The American Psychological Association stated that “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation,” and that “homosexuality is not a matter of individual choice… homosexual orientation is in place very early in the life cycle, possibly even before birth.”

It’s not just a trend, either. Yes, more people are coming out with their gender identities and sexual orientations nowadays, but that’s just because it’s more acceptable and safe to do so. People are able to be who they are and accept it because it’s no longer a criminal offense or heavily frowned upon, at least in the western world. Yes, some places still condemn homosexuality, but it’s still leagues better than it used to be as far as LGBTQ+ rights and freedoms. 

Removing the ability to learn and understand a vital part of how our world operates is massively damaging both naturally and socially. We now live in a world where it’s okay to say that you’re gay and should be welcomed, not hidden or shunned. Do say gay. In fact, shout it from the rooftops if you so choose. 

That, at least, is your choice to make.