Myths and Stereotypes about Gays and Lesbians

Essay by petmydogHigh School, 12th gradeB, February 2009

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Here are a few examples of transgender myths and stereotypes perpetuated in the DSM and medical literature that are unsubstantiated by research or inaccurately describe many transgendered people:•The Overbearing Mother•The Effeminate Childhood•The Organ of Hate and Disgust•The Daredeviling Crossdresser•The Fetishistic Transvestite•The Masochistic Transvestite•The Aging Transvestite•Spontaneous Transsexualism•The Homosexual TranssexualThe first two "mother-blame" theories [Stoller68] are reminiscent of those unsuccessfully applied to gay men in the past [Stoller73, Zucker95]. Most transsexuals do not necessarily hate their genitals [Bornstein94, Bolin88], and reassignment surgery candidates in fact need the tissues to reconstruct new ones. The "daredeviling crossdresser" [Brown95] represents victim bashing in that crossdressers who suffer discrimination or bigotry are blamed for risking "getting caught." The presumption that non-transsexual crossdressing constitutes sexual deviance is implied by the very name, Transvestic Fetishism. This and the common association of sexual masochism with cross-gender expression [Zucker95] exaggerate the significance of sex in gender and trivialize the role of social expression.

Sexual motivation is said to be displaced by gender dysphoria in the Aging Transvestite [Wise80] model, when it is more likely lessened with self-acceptance and increased freedom of expression. Finally, suggestions that favor surgical reassignment candidates with heterosexual outcomes [APA94] deserve scrutiny.

Uncovering Truths from Behind the MythsMYTH: There are very few bisexuals. People are either completely homosexual or heterosexual.

TRUTH: The pioneering studies of Dr. Alfred Kinsey (1948, 1953) are most frequently cited on this question. This data suggested that few people are predominantly heterosexual or homosexual in their actions, feelings, thoughts, or sexual fantasies. Most people fall somewhere on the continuum between these two extremes and have the capacity to experience both affectional and sexual feelings for members of both sexes.

MYTH: Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are only a small percentage of the population.

TRUTH: The Kinsey studies showed that approximately 10% of the population...