Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Right Freaks Out - and Lies - About Rise of LGBT Millennials

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The 2016 General Social Survey was publicly released back in April, 2017, and it reported on many things, including the growing number of people who admit to being LGBT.  In fact, the data that Gallup shared showed that the LGBT population increased dramatically between 2012 and 2016, from 3.5% to 4.1% of the U.S. population (or an estimated 8.3 to 10.052 million people).  That’s a big change for a short period of time.  And the majority of that change could be accounted for by large increases among young people, women, the college-educated, people of color, and those who are not religious.  The findings showed that a great deal of that increase can be accounted for by Millennials.  Perhaps not surprisingly, given marriage equality (at long last) younger generations have become progressively more likely to identify as LGBT.  But the gap between Millenials and other generations is large and growing much to the horror of the right wingers. Rather than admit to the fact that Millennials have left religion in rapidly accelerating numbers (nearly a third at this point) and correspondingly do not feel the shame and stigma of being LGBT that Christianity seeks to inflict, the right wingers blame the rise of LGBT Millennials on what might be called recruitment.  Anything rather than admit that sexual orientation is fixed at birth or accept modern medical and mental health knowledge.  A piece in American Conservative illustrates the longstanding lie that is being promoted. Here are highlights: 
[F]or those who want to grapple honestly with this issue, these data from Patrick Egan show pretty clearly that the nurturing that culture provides does make a big difference.
Therefore, for communities who wish for their children to remain heterosexual, to form heterosexual marital unions, traditional families, etc., neutrality on the matter of sexuality will result in five to eight times as many people claiming homosexuality or bisexuality as would have otherwise been the case. (There have also been skyrocketing numbers of people claiming to be transgender.)
Sexuality is a lot more fluid than we think. For post-pubescent adolescents, teenagers, and young adults in their twenties, re-setting the boundaries of what is permissible resets the boundaries of what is thinkable, and for a meaningful number of them will change the way they behave.
Here’s what I mean. It must be that there are young people who experience homosexual desires as teenagers, but who do not act on them for reasons of religious belief or social custom. Later in life — in their twenties, say — their sexual desire solidifies as heterosexual, allowing them to form a stable marital bond with someone of the opposite sex, and start a family. Had they had the opportunity to experiment with homosexuality as a teenager, they might have remained confused and unstable well into adulthood.
What we have now says there is virtually no sexual norm outside whatever one feels is right for them, right now. If one thinks that one would like to try out being gay, or bi, or the opposite gender, well, why not? One big problem with this, though, is: what about the kids? Social science has abundantly demonstrated that kids need stable homes in which to thrive. If issues of sexuality and gender identity remain fluid, it will be very difficult to create the kind of environment in which these young people can be formed in a healthy way.

It's pretty much the same lies promoted for decades by anti-hate groups and even the Catholic Church - even as the Vatican turned a blind eye to the rampant raping of children and youths by priests - and which is contrary to findings by legitimate associations of gay parenting.  Andrew Sullivan rightly goes ballistic.  Here are excerpts from his response:
 I’m usually pretty good at staying calm under assault from the religious right. . . . . But this latest post by my friend Rod Dreher deeply upset me. Titled “Born That Way? Really?” it accuses those of us who have long argued that homosexuality is involuntary or innate of being cynical liars: “The ‘truth’ in this matter [0f the origins of homosexuality] has always been ‘what works to advance the cause.’” He then argues that there is such a thing as “latent homosexuality” that can be “made active” by a more tolerant society. Hence the need to reinstate stigmatization of gay people as human beings who have chosen sin — to keep anyone else from experimenting and thereby becoming gay.
His sole evidence for this? A graph from a comprehensive study of the 2016 election that shows much higher identification as bisexual among today’s millennials than among older generations.
It is merely a measurement of who is prepared to identify as such in a survey. That’s a far more malleable and amorphous figure. And it finds, to Rod’s horror, that around 13 percent of 18-year-olds now identify as bi. That drops to around 6 percent for those who are 28; and around 4 percent for those now in their 30s. Another longitudinal survey — from Gallup — also shows a sizable increase among millennials who identify as “LGBT” in the last few years. The change is from 3.5 percent in 2012 to 4.1 percent in 2016.
If Rod’s interpretation is correct, it means that there were far, far fewer gay people as a proportion of the population a few decades ago than there are now. It means that, by the study Rod cites, there were almost no gays or lesbians born in America in 1930. It means that more progressive and secular countries, like the Netherlands, would have much higher numbers of gay people than in the past or elsewhere. There is no solid evidence for any of this.
But the obvious explanation for these numbers is a simple one: it is that millennials simply have much less shame about sexual orientation than older generations. Growing up in a world of legal marriage equality, that should not be surprising. Gallup suggests as much: “It’s likely that millennials are the first generation in the U.S. to grow up in an environment where social acceptance of the LGBT community markedly increased. This may be an important factor in explaining their greater willingness to identify as LGBT.” Maybe destigmatization will mean that more bi people will experiment with same-sex relationships, even though the study actually shows gay identification as stable for the past few decades. They might even — God forbid — have happier, healthier lives as a result. But what distresses me about Rod’s post is his belief that homosexuals should be restigmatized for the sake of others, that one part of the population should be shamed and targeted purely to send a message to otherwise confused kids that being gay is wrong. The only word for this is cruelty, the immiseration of gay kids for the sake of controlling those who may eventually be bi. I cannot see anything remotely Christian about that.

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