The right wing has launched a multi-million dollar culture war. Their goals include ending the separation of church and state and persecuting groups who do not share their puritanical beliefs. The gay and lesbian community is their number one target. There is no limit to what the right will say or do in its effort to deny GLBT people their birthright of full-citizenship.
Traditionally, the three pillars of American society are family, patriotism and religion. Our opponents’ mission is to marginalize gay people by systematically separating them from these sacred spheres of life. This is why they have fought vociferously to keep GLBT relationships from receiving legal recognition, to bar homosexuals from honorably serving our nation and from holding leadership positions in houses of worship. If they can prohibit GLBT Americans from mainstream institutions, it is easier to portray them as anti-family, unpatriotic and anti-religious.
Since there is no rational basis to continue such exclusion from the American dream, the right wing has created false, reckless and mean-spirited propaganda campaigns to mislead the general public about GLBT people. There are several organizations whose primary task is to demean, distort and dehumanize homosexuals. The strategy is to dump massive amounts of misinformation on the public to persuade Americans that gay people are a threat to society. Once a fearful majority is achieved, the right wing can organize and galvanize these people to vote against equal rights.
At the core of these anti-gay efforts is a central truth: Polls show that people who believe homosexuality is a choice are significantly more likely to vote against gay rights. For example, a November 2004 Lake, Snell, Perry and Associates poll shows that 79 percent of people who think homosexuality is inborn support civil unions or marriage equality. Among those who believe sexual orientation is a choice, only 22 percent support civil unions or marriage rights.
The right wing has realized that the key to winning the culture war is convincing Americans that homosexuality is a frivolous and malleable lifestyle choice. Our opponents insist that there is no such thing as “homosexuals,” just heterosexuals with a homosexual problem. Therefore, gay people do not need rights, but instead, need to be cured of their sinful mental illnesses.
Armed with knowledge gleaned from polls, the right wing has skillfully unveiled expensive and slick PR campaigns designed to fool Americans into believing that people can pray away the gay. The “ex-gay” myth has become the ubiquitous and undeniable centerpiece of the anti-gay movement. Ads touting sexual conversion can now be seen across America and “former homosexuals” are lobbying legislative bodies and testifying at legal proceedings.
For enlightened individuals, particularly in major metropolitan areas, it is difficult to believe that people are gullible enough to believe such nonsense. However, nearly one out of every two Americans agrees that gay people can be transformed into heterosexuals. A December 2003 CBS/New York Times poll shows that America is split with 44% saying it is a “Choice” and 44% saying gay people “Cannot Change.”
An America that wrongly believes homosexuality is a deviant behavior, instead of a deeply personal identity will not support gay rights. As long as the polls are split on this issue, the GLBT movement will not reach its full potential.
How Did This Happen?
Today, biology, psychology and empirical wisdom strongly suggest that sexual orientation is an intrinsic part of one’ nature. In recent years, the coming out of notables such as Ellen DeGeneres, Mary Cheney, Elton John, Rosie O’Donnell and former New Jersey governor James McGreevey has reinforced this point.
With such new information, why haven’t old prejudices withered? Why does misinformation about GLBT people persist and endure?
It is because the right wing’ investments, in both manpower and money, have been remarkably effective. They have had an impact on our culture and confused fiction with fact. The “ex-gay” group Exodus International, for example, has twelve full-time staffers who get up each morning with the goal of twisting the truth and convincing Americans that gay people can change. Focus on the Family has a well-financed “Homosexuality and Gender” department with 13 full-time employees dedicated to a similar mission.
TruthWinsOut.org seeks to change this imbalance, level the playing field and help usher in a more effective GLBT movement. With your kind and generous support, our vision will become a reality.