There is a pervasive myth, advanced throughout conservative Christendom, that most gay people are gay because they were molested as children.

Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment (H.O.M.E) is an anti-LGBT hate group. They have been espousing this nonsense for many years. According to an article on their website:

It is a well-documented fact that many many homosexuals were sexually abused when young. (This paper will conclude with a list of some books which support that statement.)

In other words, there is an abundance of evidence that many many homosexuals were born heterosexual but were disoriented by sexual abuse.

It is not a well documented fact, this is not a paper and books are not peer-reviewed research. H.O.M.E. was founded by Wayne Lela circa 1990. He might be the author of that lore but the post is not attributed to an individual writer.

Thursday. I noticed the following comment at a conservative Christian site.

Actually it was the child abuse experience that was harmful resulting in confusion later in life. Counselors now say that 70 – 85% of those who experience same sex attraction were abused as children. Odd how everyone condemns child abuse but then are expected to celebrate the result.

I do not know who those counselors are but I challenged the person who wrote that stupidity to come up with some evidence.

Michael L. Brown has written:Yes, Childhood Sexual Abuse Often Does Contribute to Homosexuality. Last time I checked, Brown does not have credentials in psychology, sociology or psychiatry. Yet he prattles on:

Not all gay men were molested as boys (since there are multiple causes for homosexuality) and not all boys who are molested turn out gay (probably because they were less predisposed towards homosexuality). Still, it cannot be denied that a disproportionately high number of gay men were abused as boys, and that certainly contributed to their sexual and emotional development.

Yes, it can be denied. It is simply untrue and Brown doesn’t cite any peer-reviewed research in support of his pretense. The best he can do is to link to a post at Americans for Truth courtesy of hate monger Peter LaBarbera. I wonder what those other causes of homosexuality are (excluding fraternal birth order which Brown would likely deny).

Just to round this out, in 2001 there was a piece in Baptist Press titled Homosexuals more likely to molest kids, study reports. The “study” it turns out was authored by anti-gay crusader Judith Reisman and it was not published to an academic journal. Presumably BP does not subject articles to peer review. The piece goes on to quote Mr. LaBarbera and others.

Now you might say that piece is 17 years old. So what? The so what is that once they form an opinion, conservative Christians are unlikely to change their view in spite of evidence contrary to their belief.

There is some evidence that gay men have a slightly elevated rate of having been molested as children. This is attributed to the fact that “Nascent same-sex orientation may increase risk of maltreatment.” What is important to point out is that boys who are molested can be abused by both homosexual and heterosexual men.

There are two parts to this. The first is that gay men are predisposed to be child molesters. The second is that child molestation turns people gay. When California was poised to ban juvenile conversion therapy (ultimately enacted in 2012) Matt Barber and others were writing things like “suppose a child is abused by someone like Jerry Sandusky, shouldn’t they be able to get help?” Barber’s lunacy is premised on the idea that child abuse turns people gay.

Bigotry explains why these myths exist (and persist). Some religious conservatives are determined to denigrate gay people. The smear that gay people are child molesters who in turn create gay people is a favored method of criticising people they disapprove of. It is powerful stuff because it reinforces the idea that gay people pose a danger to children. Not only might a gay person molest your child (if you let your guard down) but in doing so he will turn your son gay. Of course, if you send the hate group some money they will help you defend your family.

While gay people do not turn kids gay, ultra-conservative freligious parents have a considerable likelihood of turning their kids into ignorant bigots. Ironically, those parents pose the real danger to children.

Read more on this subject at the Williams Institute at UC Davis and at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.