Myths about LGBTQ+ People

Myth #1: The sexualities and identities of LGBTQ+ people exist as a product of abuse.

Fact from Southern Poverty Law Center: "No scientifically sound study has definitively linked sexual orientation or identity with parental role-modeling or childhood sexual abuse."

Proponents of #oncegay theology and conversion therapy often cite long-disproven arguments linking LGBTQ+ people with experiences of childhood abuse. Victims of abuse, some of whom are LGBTQ+ people, must be heard–not used as leverage.

These assertions are themselves abusive.

For more on myths of this nature, check the Southern Poverty Law Center’s explainer from 8 years ago listing myths about LGBTQ+ people and corresponding facts.

Myth #2: The “gay lifestyle” is dangerous.

Fact from American Psychological Association: "Being gay is just as healthy as being straight."

This long-disproven language is used by #oncegay advocates to implicitly assert that living as an LGBTQ+ person is inherently dangerous or destructive. Here's what the Southern Poverty Law Center has to say: "Social stigmatization and prejudice appear to contribute to health disparities in the LGBT population, which include emotional and psychological distress and harmful coping mechanisms."

Proponents of #oncegay theology instead choose to erase the lives of LGBTQ+ people whose experiences bear witness to the inherent goodness and beauty of their sexualities, identities, and forms of expression.

We know #oncegay theology to be empirically dangerous.

Myth #3: Members of the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to sexually abuse children.

Fact from the American Psychological Association: There is no scientific evidence for this.

This heinous scare tactic has been weaponized against the LGBTQ+ community for decades, and it's simply false. Many throughout our community have experienced the outworking of this internalized prejudice. Some have been told by members of their family that they are not allowed to be alone with any of the children simply because of this outdated, problematic idea.

This can happen in churches, too. Upon coming out, volunteers for youth and children's ministries in churches are sometimes removed from their positions while being told that the parking or greeting team is a "better fit".

This belief doesn't just hurt LGBTQ+ adults–it hurts children by instilling a complex of shame, fear, and judgment. Let's do away with this toxic correlation between LGBTQ+ people and abuse.

Myth #4: Conversion therapy, reparative therapy, and ex-gay approaches are successful.

Fact: Conversion and reparative therapies are conclusively ineffective and dangerous, causing significant harm in LGBTQ+ people.

The American Psychiatric Association has concluded that “no credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation.” This isn’t up for debate.

While conversion and reparative therapies have largely fallen by the wayside in mainstream Christian vernacular, the ideological premise remains intact. Churches like Bethel Church propagate #oncegay ideologies using the same ideas with rebranded platforms. Acceptance and affirmation are essential to the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ youth. Conversion and reparative therapies are uniquely destructive.

When faced with familial rejection, Human Rights Campaign reports LGBTQ+ youth are:

  • 8x more likely to have attempted suicide

  • 6x more likely to report high levels of depression

  • 3x more likely to use illicit drugs

  • 3x more likely to be at high risk for HIV and STDs

Any attempt at “changing” LGBTQ+ people is profoundly dangerous, and we believe these practices must be banned. The Holy Spirit calls us toward empathy, equity, and inclusion. These conclusively ineffective forms of abuse exist in opposition to God’s love.