CREDIT: AP Photo/Ted Richardson
The second-highest ranking Republican in the North Carolina House of Representatives believes that being gay is the same as pedophilia, prostitution, voyeurism, and other sexual disorders. Speaker Pro Tempore Paul “Skip” Stam made the claim in a hand-out printed on his office’s letterhead, claiming that “no one can define sexual orientation,” according to Rep. Tricia Cotham (D), who relayed the flier to Qnotes.
Stam’s flier asks, “What is a ‘sexual orientation’?” and attempts to conflate a wide variety of terms, most of which are not actually sexual orientations. In particular, it is populated with a variety of concepts that describe arousal, not orientation, such as asphyxophilia (gratification from oxygen deprivation), coprophilia (arousal from feces), urophilia (arousal from urine), and zoophilia/bestiality. Psychiatrists refer to these terms as “paraphilia,” and homosexuality was declassified as a paraphilia back in 1974.
The list also includes gender identity terms, including “gender identity disorder,” “transgenderism,” and “transsexual,” which also do not describe sexual orientation. In fact, “gender identity disorder” no longer describes anything, because the American Psychiatric Association (APA) stopped using that classification in the new fifth edition of its Diagnostics and Statistics Manual (DSM), released last year.
But Stam didn’t use the new edition. He cited the DSM-IV, which was published back in 2000. And though all of the terms he listed do appear in the outdated book, the conflation that they are “sexual orientations” is his own. The APA itself describes sexual orientation as “a person’s romantic, emotional, or sexual attraction to another person.” And in the DSM-V, paraphilias are not even considered disorders unless individuals feel “personal distress about their interest” or have a desire or behavior that violates another person’s legal consent or involves “another person’s psychological distress, injury, or death.”
Stam has previously suggested that allowing same-sex couples to marry would lead to the “legalization of polygamy and adult incest.” He distributed the new flier in objection to a one-sentence amendment that would have prohibited charter schools from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The flier claims that the amendment would “codify into law behaviors that are considered criminal.” See his full list of “orientations.”