Many of those spewing anti-gay rhetoric engage in gaslighting, which “is a form of mental abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting their own memory, perception and sanity.” They do this by making light of being "anti-gay," which they say occurs by virtue of “disagreeing with gays about anything.”
In order to better understand how their behavior amounts to gaslighting, people must understand the underlying and unspoken premise, which is the belief that disapproving of homosexuality and homosexual marriage is not spreading hate. Among other things, this comes down to the following belief: "Christians can disapprove of a behavior and still be civil and loving to the ones with whom we disagree."
It is one thing to disapprove of a person’s behavior, but it is quite another to disapprove of a person or an entire group of people for something that is part of their self. While we all know that racism exists, if a person running for elected office in the United States in 2016 stated that they disapproved of the black community because of the color of their skin, such statements would not be well-received by the vast majority of our society, to say the very least. In other words, disapproving of a person or an entire group of people for something that is a part of their self is hateful, judgmental, disrespectful, insulting, offensive and sometimes illegal, among other things.
In October 2015, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a report which "shows conversion therapy not appropriate for minors, offers methods to support LGBTQ and gender non-conforming children."
"SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities."
The Summary and Conclusion from that report is as follows:
SAMHSA is committed to eliminating health disparities facing vulnerable communities, including sexual and gender minority children and youth. To build a healthy and supportive environment for all children and adolescents, families and providers need resources and accurate information to help inform healthy decision making. Two key strategies that can help prevent adverse outcomes and support healthy development for LGBTQ youth are: strong and positive family and community engagement, and appropriate and supportive therapeutic interventions by health and behavioral health care providers.
These strategies are grounded in psychological research. Being a sexual or gender minority, or identifying as LGBTQ, is not a mental disorder. Variations in sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are normal. Sexual and gender minority children have unique health and behavioral health needs, and may experience distress related to their sexual orientation or gender, as well as others’ responses to their current, future, or perceived sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. In addition, gender minority youth may experience distress caused by the incongruence between their gender identity and physical body.
The research, clinical expertise, and expert consensus make it clear that conversion therapy efforts to change a child’s or adolescent’s gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation are not an appropriate therapeutic intervention. No evidence supports the efficacy of such interventions to change sexual orientation or gender identity, and such interventions are potentially harmful. Appropriate therapeutic approaches to working with sexual and gender minority youth include: providing accurate information on the development of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, increasing family and school support, and reducing family, community, and social rejection of sexual and gender minority children and adolescents. Social transition and medical interventions, including pubertal suppression and hormone therapy, are additional therapeutic approaches that are appropriate for some gender minority youth. Careful evaluation, developmentally-appropriate informed consent of youth and their families, and a weighing of potential risks and benefits are vital when considering interventions with gender minority youth.
As Jim Kennedy writes on TeachTheFacts.org:
[I]t needs to be understood that there is no scientific debate about whether homosexuality is a choice. The professional mental health and scientific organizations uniformly reject the idea. Many of them make even stronger statements about these issues.”
This is 2016 and the verdict is out. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not things that can be changed. The world is not binary and it's about time people realize that basic fact.
States are increasingly outlawing conversion therapy - at least for children under the age of 18 years old. People with legal capacity can subject themselves to quackery if they want and the government isn't yet intervening in that regard. However, a jury in New Jersey found against such quacks and imposed damages.
Believing that sexual orientation and gender identity are behavioral is no more accurate than operating under the false belief that gays and lesbians are pedophiles. Pastor Roger Jimenez gave a sermon to the congregants at Verity Baptist Church hours after the massacre in Orlando in which he did just that. In his sermon, he stated the following:
“Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” he said in the sermon. “Um no, I think that’s great! I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight.”
It's easy to discriminate against and hate gay people, when you associate homosexuality with pedophilia. However, "the empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children."
Don’t for one moment believe that denying people equal dignity under the law based upon a false belief that sexual orientation and sexual identity are behavioral is any less hateful, judgmental, disrespectful, insulting and offensive than stating that gays and lesbians are pedophiles.
The so-called “gay agenda” or “LGBT agenda” is merely that they receive equal dignity under the law. Based upon facts rather than false beliefs, it is impossible to be “anti-gay” or anti-LGBT” and not be perceived by members of that community, their friends, family, and supporters as hateful, judgmental, disrespectful, insulting, and offensive.
As Bruce Pagano said in his article titled “A Christian Dad Sounds Off on the Lies About Transgender People and Restrooms,"o “this ‘sin vs. sinner’ mentality openly complicates the situation because it is often difficult to separate the perceived ‘sin’ from the perceived ‘sinner.’ And, because the LGBTQ community [and every professional mental health and scientific organization] views their orientation as an identity and not a behavior, they feel attacked and alienated.”
People who operate from the false premise that being LGBT is behavioral make it appear as though the LGBT community is being unreasonable in its demands for equal rights. After all, according to their beliefs, they are heterosexual people when you remove the behavioral aspect and therefore they needn’t be entitled to any special rights. Such reasoning, in turn, justifies statements such as “anti-gay rhetoric - definition: disagreeing with gays about anything.”
This is a form of blaming the victim, although not appearing so on its face. The "anti-gay" and "anti-LGBT" rhetoric has resulted in a major increase in violence and abuse against members of the LGBT community.
People who hold “anti-gay” or “anti-LGBT” sentiments have some nerve expressing sympathy for something that occurred because of their false beliefs and the way in which our society treats members of the LGBT community. By the way, I use sympathy rather than empathy because sympathy disconnects people, whereas empathy connects them. There is absolutely nothing about being "anti-gay" or "anti-LGBT" that involves anything other than disconnecting people.