Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton has made a lot of absurd claims in an attempt to condemn homosexuality, such as worrying that the children of same-sex couples are more likely to be open to same-sex encounters themselves. He also uses studies about single moms to draw conclusions about married lesbian moms.
This week, in an interview with conservative radio host Janet Mefferd, he tried to suggest that gay identities don’t even exist, that they’re just a “political statement” advanced by heterosexuals trying to normalize same-sex behavior:
STANTON: First of all, we need to understand that “gay” and “lesbian” really are — to use the language of feminist studies people — a cultural construct… “Gay” and “lesbian” are very new kinds of things. Yes, there’s always been homosexuality in human experience, but it was typically something that heterosexuals… did to another person.
“Gay” and “lesbian” are really sort of sociological or political statements or identifications… It’s the signing on to a political sexual sort of agenda… There are lots of people who have homosexual or same-sex orientations that just don’t identify themselves as “gay” or “lesbian” because again, “gay” or “lesbian” is a social political sort of identity…
Being “gay” or being “lesbian” is a thing that’s only been present in maybe the past 50 years or so.
Listen to it, via Jeremy Hooper:
Stanton seems to be subtly trying to drive a wedge into the gay community, as the National Organization for Marriage is intending to do. His distinction isn’t very meaningful; “gay” and “lesbian” are simply words to help people with same-sex orientations identify themselves. Though it may only have been in the past century that the LGBT community achieved visibility in society, that doesn’t mean that being gay is just a political identity. One need not conform to any cultural or social stereotypes of gay men or lesbians to identity as “gay” or “lesbian.”
If Stanton believes that people who have orientations toward the same-sex are still somehow heterosexual, he doesn’t understand the basic concepts of the issue he’s discussing. It makes perfect sense for gays and lesbians to openly identify so they can relate to each other and find partners for loving relationships. Given how organizations like Focus on the Family encourage bullying against LGBT teens, it’s particularly offensive that he would try to minimize the lived experience of those young people as a “political sexual sort of agenda.”