LGBT people are becoming more visible lately, but the level of homophobia in Russian society is still off scale: a recent Levada poll showed that 56% of Russians have a negative attitude towards LGBT people (while 46% are sure that sexual orientation can be changed under the influence of "gay propaganda" or some other external factors). We decided to select the most popular homophobic comments and questions about LGBT people that activists and allies of the movement constantly face - and give clear reasoned answers to them. We hope they will help you clarify something for yourself and feel more confident in online disputes and conversations with relatives.
Why in general somehow single out people by orientation? Everyone has equal rights, and with whom you sleep is your own business!
If society truly perceived homosexuals as positively as heterosexuals, then the LGBT movement would not be needed. But this is still a long way off: in most countries (and even more so in Russia), heterosexuality and cisgender are considered the "norm". This is enshrined at the legislative level: in Russia only heterosexual marriages are legal and there is a law on "the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors." Heterosexual people have many privileges that they themselves do not notice: this is the ability to openly express their feelings for a partner, marry, adopt children, associate themselves with characters in books and films, as well as understanding and acceptance by others, no risk of being fired, beaten or killed because of orientation and much, much more. Even if you don’t experience these privileges, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist - and that LGBT people don’t suffer from their absence. Romantic preferences and sex life are indeed everyone's personal business, but in the case of LGBT people, “personal is political,” so reminding the community of your existence is vital.
Homosexuality is against nature!
Firstly, not everything "natural" is good: if we did everything the way nature intended, people would still live in caves and die before they reach thirty. But even if we dress up in skins and switch to a dubious paleo diet, there will be no evidence of the unnaturalness of homosexuality in nature. Among animals, bisexual and homosexual behavior is observed all the time: one-time sex or a long-term romance with an individual of the same sex can happen in an elephant, penguin, black swan, dolphin, bat and hundreds of other species, including a close human relative - the pygmy chimpanzee. Scientists note that homosexual behavior is more common in social species of animals that live in complexly organized groups (like us humans!), And their sex is often not for reproduction (the biologist tells about this in detail Bruce Badgemeal in Biological Abundance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity). Although homosexuality occurs in many species, homophobia is observed in only one - homo sapiens.
This is a disease, it needs to be treated
Modern medicine does not regard homosexuality as a deviation from the “norm”: in 1990, the World Health Organization excluded homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. Recently, transgenderness was also removed from the ICD - now this feature is not officially considered a mental disorder.
In conservative societies, attempts are still being made to “cure” homosexuality: they try to “correct” their orientation with the help of prayer, hypnosis, magic rituals, conversion therapy, and even with the help of “corrective rape”.All these are anti-scientific and simply cruel practices, fraught with serious mental trauma and doomed to failure: you cannot cure something that is not a disease. There is no evidence that orientation can be changed by force or by “working on oneself”: sexuality is plastic, but changes occur naturally. Recent research has shown that orientation is completely fluid for at least thirty years.
The famous scale for measuring sexuality, created by Alfred Kinsey, suggests that most people are not at one of two points ("100 percent homosexuality" or "100 percent heterosexuality"), but somewhere in between, the position on the spectrum can change in the course of life. Modern sexology speaks not so much about heterosexuality or homosexuality, but about the concept of "sexuality" in general - and considers any of its manifestations comfortable for all participants in the process to be the norm.
These are all new trends from the West
There are two objections here: 1) not new; 2) not from the West. Science knows a lot of evidence for the existence of LGBT people in ancient times, from prehistoric rock paintings in South Africa to Sappho's poetry. According to various sources, from 5 to 10% of any population are LGBT people (it is difficult to know the exact number of people in a particular country, since many LGBT people do not openly declare themselves or doubt their identity due to social stigma). In Russia, homophobia was not always the norm: until the 18th century, homosexuals were treated much more tolerantly than in Germany or Great Britain of those times. For the first time, anti-homosexual legislation was introduced by Peter I, inspired by European experience. Nevertheless, there have always been LGBT people - both in the times of Peter the Great and in the USSR, where since 1934 there was criminal responsibility for "sodomy".
It is noteworthy that many laws discriminating against LGBT people came from the West - in the era of colonialism, in the former colonies the laws of a century ago still operate. Thus, in 9 out of 36 countries of the Commonwealth of Nations, homosexual relations are still punishable by life imprisonment.
I understand everything, but why hold gay pride parades and push your sexuality?
All pop culture and the whole world in general is one big heterosexual parade. A family from an advertisement for curdled milk, the heroes of the TV series on the channel "Russia", couples holding hands on the street - heterosexuals, actively "sticking out" their orientation, are found literally at every step! Nevertheless, the idea of holding a pride parade for LGBT people once a year is viewed with hostility by the authorities and the majority of Russians. This only speaks of the level of intolerance in society: other groups fighting for their rights (for example, people with disabilities or defrauded equity holders) do not cause such a violent negative reaction. In countries where they are allowed, pride parades are not a provocation, but fun mass events open to people of any gender identity and orientation: they glorify the freedom to be themselves and honor heroes who fought for equal rights for all. If LGBT people (and any other minorities) were unconditionally accepted as they are, there would be no need for parades.
What if the child sees men kissing and also decides to try?
The fear of accidental and "fatal" homosexual contact, which allegedly can turn a heterosexual into a gay, is a part of homophobic Russian culture, in which prison "concepts" play a significant role. By the way, situational homosexual behavior (it occurs in heterosexual people when contact with the opposite sex is somehow unavailable) often occurs among prisoners (or in the army). But no, even having sex with a person of the same gender will not make a heterosexual gay - and vice versa. Therefore, the so-called "remedial rape" of lesbians does not "correct" their orientation, but only permanently traumatize women.
As for “he sees and wants to try,” that's okay. Under suitable conditions, adolescents, exploring their sexuality, go through a stage of various experiments, including homosexual ones. Above, we have already mentioned a large-scale recent study that claims that orientation is fluid for up to thirty years. In addition, attraction to a person of the same gender and even sexual contact does not mean that you can "diagnose" homosexuality in oneself: painful thoughts "what if I am gay / lesbian?" caused primarily by the stigma surrounding LGBT people. All that is required of responsible parents is to create an atmosphere of trust in which the child will be ready to share important information about his life, and tell him about contraception in time.
The Law on "Promotion of Homosexuality" protects children. We do not allow teenagers under 18 to watch "adult" films!
The laws do protect children from adult content - so “effectively” that teens by the age of 18 have a rich experience of watching porn, but at the same time have a very vague knowledge of contraception (however, this is a topic for a separate conversation). But orientation isn't just about sex. This is an important part of identity, thanks to which young people can not only understand who they like, but also who they are - and what future awaits them.
From infancy, we all see examples of successful and not very heterosexual relationships - from parents hugging on the couch to the romantic adventures of Disney's Cinderella. Is there sex in Cinderella? No. Is this fairy tale an example of a heterosexual relationship that becomes a model for children? Of course yes. Homosexual adolescents, seeing only examples of heterosexual relationships in front of them, begin to perceive themselves as "broken" people with whom something is wrong. The result is depression and suicide attempts (according to American researchers, the risk of suicide among LGBT adolescents is three times higher than among their peers). In Russia, such statistics are not collected at the state level. The difficulties that “invisible” Russian LGBT adolescents have to cope with when they face a lack of understanding of society and family, as well as internal homophobia, can be judged by local studies of human rights defenders and support groups in social networks (for example, Children-404).
I have lesbian friends, and they do not feel infringed at all! They just live
An argument that begins with the phrase "actually I have a gay friend …" (or "I'm not homophobic, but …") usually does not end well - we already talked about this once. The situation is similar here. First, it is wrong to conclude about an entire social group based on one or two of its representatives: if one terrorist is a Muslim, this does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists, if one of your gay friends loves karaoke, this does not mean that all are gay the world will be happy to perform Beyoncé's composition with you. Let's say your friends are lucky to have understanding relatives, live in a big city and exist in a liberal social bubble, but other lesbians and gays are not so lucky: in any region of Russia, homosexuality can cause dismissal, and somewhere even torture and murder. Even in the capital, few can afford to live openly - for this you need to have a high social status, financial security and excellent mental health. Living quietly, not showing your relationship in public, and not being politically active is a respectable personal choice. However, in the LGBT situation, there is really no choice.
Why would gay couples get married? Marriage is generally an outdated social institution
Although many heterosexual couples today are in no hurry to get married, going to the registry office is still a useful event: it gives a lot of social bonuses, and also greatly simplifies the life of a family in matters related to raising children, acquiring and dividing property, as well as emergency situations. Your partner, who is no one by law, will not be allowed to visit you in intensive care - and will not even be given any information about your condition; he will not receive anything in the event of your sudden death, if during your lifetime you did not find the time to write a will; he will not have the right to control the fate of your children.In addition to its practical function, marriage also has a symbolic one: while heterosexual unions can be formalized, but homosexual ones cannot, the latter look in the eyes of society as “frivolous” or “inferior”.
I am against adoption by gay couples. Children are better off in a complete family with mom and dad!
Studies show that children raised with same-sex parents live at least as well as their peers from "traditional" families, and in some respects even better. One study even found that children of gay couples do better in school. The authors of another note that such children are healthier than their peers, and their families are more united. It is not surprising that LGBT couples are responsible for parenting, because they have to make much more effort to have a child in the family. As the hero of one of our previous materials noted, “there are no accidental children in the LGBT community: their appearance is always discussed and spoken out”. While same-sex couples are as good at parenting as heterosexuals, they face more stress from community judgments. In addition to the stereotype of the "abnormality" of same-sex couples, there is still a widespread myth about the connection between homosexuality and pedophilia: in the past, gays (especially men) were often accused of corrupting children - but dozens of studies have shown that this connection is absent. Although gay fathers can face discrimination, heterosexual single fathers are considered almost heroes in society, and same-sex families in which a child is raised by a mother and grandmother are commonplace.