The primary reason the Southern Poverty Law Center describes groups like the Family Research Council as “hate groups” is for the stigmatizing untruths they spread about the LGBT community. At FRC, Peter Sprigg exemplifies this effort, having openly admitted on MSNBC that he believes “gay behavior” should be criminalized. In FRC’s latest publication, “Debating Homosexuality: Understanding Two Views,” Sprigg repackages some of the group’s most harmful rhetoric in an attempt to justify condemnations of gay people by simply disregarding the very identities that inform equality efforts.
Sprigg’s basic premise is that social conservatives see gay people through the paradigm of “homosexual conduct,” with little concern for what attractions a person actually identifies with. Of course, he still argues that people are “not ‘born gay,’” that sexual attractions can be changed through ex-gay therapy, and that anyone with sexual attractions is better off “abstaining from engaging in homosexual conduct,” none of which is true. The document also includes an unnecessary aside trying to draw connections between homosexuality and child sex abuse, a link that carries no scientific merit. This is all standard-fare propagandizing for groups like FRC.
This new publication emphasizes the way anti-gay groups see these issues as only being about gay sex and the diseases it might spread. They don’t see love, they don’t see relationships, they don’t see families — they don’t see real people. Most tellingly, Sprigg claims complete ignorance that both the physical and mental health “consequences” of “homosexual conduct” might be caused by the very stigma FRC spreads:
Those who believe in the “gay identity” paradigm, however, offer a single, simplistic answer for the high rates of mental illness among homosexuals—they claim that societal discrimination is the cause. While this claim has theoretical appeal, it cannot merely be accepted as an article of faith—it must be empirically verified. For example, if mental health problems among homosexuals were caused by discrimination, one would expect that they would be much more severe in places with higher levels of “discrimination,” and much less severe in places where homosexuals are widely accepted.
And this is exactly what study after study has shown. Here are just a few highlights of studies ThinkProgress has reported on over just the past eight months:
- A community’s conservative anti-gay attitudes increase the risk for teenage suicide.
- Family rejection contributes to health consequences and suicide risk.
- Anti-gay bullying and victimization leads to long-term health consequences.
- Anti-gay stigma can contribute to suicidal thoughts that last a lifetime.
- People are happier if they come out and are not judged negatively for being gay.
- Employees who are supported to come out in the workplace flourish in their careers.
- Employees who come out improve the productivity of their coworkers.
- The presence of a Gay-Straight Alliance in a school mitigates gay students’ depression and improves their ability to succeed in higher education.
In this publication, Sprigg goes out of his way to declare that gay people should only be understood by the kind of sex they have. As long as groups like FRC refuse to see the LGBT community for the authentic, loving, family-raising human beings they are, their lies will continue to harm the very lives gay people are trying to lead.