Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am NOT a "threat to the youth"!


"Kung mag-uwan, bayot pasanginlan.
Kung mag-bagyo, bayot pasanginlan.
Kung mag-linog, bayot pasanginlan.
Bayot, bayot, bayot...
Unsay tan-aw ninyo namo...
Gamhanan?"

I am stunned, hurt, and angry at the Commission of Elections’ (COMELEC) decision to disqualify Ang Ladlad - a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organization for party - list accreditation for the 2010 national elections on the grounds of "sexual immorality that offends religious beliefs" and “not compromising the well-being of the greater number of the Filipino people, especially the youth” because "older practicing homosexuals are a threat to the youth."

A lot of articles and positions have been written about the breach of the secular-religious divide. But only few, if none, argued about the “painfully obsolete ideas” – borrowing Danton Remoto’s words – that homosexuals are a threat to the youth.

As a psychologist and as an LGBT researcher and counselor, this part crushed my heart the most. I am gay. I knew and accepted my gayness since I was 10 years old. If that was the birth of my homosexual identity, then I am already a 20 year old “practicing homosexual”. Now, I feel accused of being a threat to the youth.

But what does it mean to be a threat to the youth?

COMELEC added in a footnote, "The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being."

Almost more than 35 years ago, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 1980), a decision that has been strongly supported by the American Psychological Association or APA (2004).

Homosexuality is NOT a mental illness and is NOT an abnormal aspect of human sexuality. There have been no reliable researches on homosexual orientation impairing psychological functioning. In fact, what researches have shown is exposure to prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation may cause a homosexual person acute distress (Mays & Cochran, 2001; Meyer, 2003).

I quote APA’s stand on lesbians, gays, and bisexual people:
Research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology. Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Both have been documented in many different cultures and historical eras. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding. Therefore, these mainstream organizations long ago abandoned classifications of homosexuality as a mental disorder. (APA, 2008)
Nakakahawa ba ako? Nakakahawa ba ang pagka-bading, like an AH1N1 virus? Do I turn someone’s sexual orientation to homosexual by just being or interacting with me?

I grew up with heterosexual parents and three heterosexual brothers. How come their sexuality did not turn me heterosexual? Unfortunately, (or more fortunately for me because I can not imagine myself having a heterosexual life), heterosexuality is NOT contagious. And since heterosexuality and homosexuality are in the same continuum, homosexuality is ALSO NOT contagious.

Studies on same sex parenting and their children have shown that sexual identities (including gender identity, gender-role behavior, and sexual orientation) develop in much the same way among children of same sex parents as they do among children of opposite sex parents (Patterson, 2000, 2004a; Perrin, 2002; Tasker, 1999).

In terms of gender identity (Ano ba ako, babae, lalake, o di tiyak?), children of same sex parents reported that they were happy with their gender and that they had no wish to be a member of the opposite sex (Golombok, Spencer, & Rutter, 1983; Green, Mandel, Hotvedt, Gray, & Smith, 1986).

In terms of gender-role behaviors (Babae ako, gusto ko na ng Barbie o Cars?), there was no difference between children of same sex parents versus opposite sex parents in toy preferences, activities, interests, or occupational choices (Brewaeys et al., 1997).

In terms of sexual orientation (Bading ang tatay ko, maging bading din kaya ako?), studies show that a great majority of offspring of both lesbian mothers and gay fathers described themselves as heterosexual. Ninety percent (90%) of adult sons of gay fathers reported to be heterosexual (Bailey et al, 1995). In another study, no children of lesbian mothers identified themselves as lesbian or gay, but one child of a heterosexual mother did (Huggins,1989).

Sa madaling salita, ang pagka-bading ay di nakakahawa!

But the COMELEC is not only talking about sexual identity but also other aspects of personal development.

Again studies on same sex parenting and their children have shown that there are no major differences in self-concept, personality, moral judgments, intelligence and social relationships (Golombok, Tasker, & Murray, 1997; Gottman, 1990; Reese, 1979; Green et al., 1986; Patterson, 1994a; Tasker, 1999; Stacey & Biblarz, 2001; Perrin, 2002).

I have been teaching psychology for a total of eight years to college students in top universities of Manila and Cebu. I have been doing counseling to heterosexual children and adults for two years now.

I have received letters, notes, and praises from my students and clients telling me how they have learned so much from me. They thanked me of the positive impact I had on their self concept & esteem, personality, and their well-being. My sexuality was never an issue to them and their development. Some of them even admired my openness and genuineness.

If I am a threat to the youth, I must have turned more than 3,000 students gay and dysfunctional!

I, as a teacher, understand the vital role of the youth in nation building and the responsibility to promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being.

But let me ask this question back to you, Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucineto Tagle, and Elias Yusoph: what message are you telling the youth now about equality, diversity, and love?

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Unlike the COMELEC who used only two websites as references, I use scientific journals and books. Who do you think is more reliable and valid?
American Psychiatric Association. (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (2004). Policy statements on sexual orientation, parents, and children.. Retrieved November 23, 2009, from http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/policy/parents.html

American Psychological Association. (2008). Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality. Retrieved November 23, 2009 from http://www.apa.org/topics/sorientation.pdf.

Bailey, J. M., Bobrow, D.,Wolfe, M., & Mikach, S. (1995). Sexual orientation of adult sons of gay fathers. Developmental Psychology, 31, 124–129.

Brewaeys, A., & Van Hall, E. V. (1997). Lesbian motherhood: The impact on child development and family functioning. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 18, 1–16.

Green, R., Mandel, J. B., Hotvedt, M. E., Gray, J., & Smith, L. (1986). Lesbian mothers and their children: A comparison with solo parent heterosexual mothers and their children. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 7, 175–181.

Golombok, S., Tasker, F. L., & Murray, C. (1997). Children raised in fatherless families from infancy: Family relationships and the socioemotional development of children of lesbian and single heterosexual mothers. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 783–791.

Gottman, J. S. (1990). Children of gay and lesbian parents. In F. W. Bozett & M. B. Sussman (Eds.), Homosexuality and family relations (pp. 177–196). New York: Harrington Park Press.

Huggins, S. L. (1989). A comparative study of self esteem of adolescent children of divorced lesbian mothers and divorced heterosexual mothers. In F.W. Bozett (Ed.), Homosexuality and the family (pp. 123–135). New York: Harrington Park Press.

Mays, V. M., & Cochran, S. D. (2001). Mental health correlates of perceived discrimination among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 1869-1876.

Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 674-697.

Patterson, C.J. (2004a). Lesbian and gay parents and their children: Summary of research findings. In Lesbian and gay parenting: A resource for psychologists. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Perrin, E. C., and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health (2002). Technical Report: Coparent or second-parent adoption by same-sex parents. Pediatrics, 109, 341 - 344.

Reese, R. L. (1979). A comparison of children of lesbian and single heterosexual mothers on three measures of socialization. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, California School of Professional Psychology, Berkeley, CA.

Stacey, J. & Biblarz, T.J. (2001). (How) Does sexual orientation of parents matter? American Sociological Review, 65, 159-183.

Tasker, F. (1999). Children in lesbian-led families - A review. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 4, 153 - 166.

7 comments:

Tristan Tan said...

OMG, research paper to! :)

Dhon said...

Thesis ba ito?! but i love what you are doing..Fighting and i will also be doing the same in my own little way.. I am not angry with them (Comelec) i am just sad that they were raised to be narrow minded people and stuck in the Spanish Era..

Teban said...

haha. tumpak! eh kasi, it has to be academic in approach (but with a personal touch) kasi the comelec should have done their research too.

Mr. Scheez said...

how would you feel na inapprove ng COMELEC ang party list application ng mga mananabong? LOL!

Teban said...

hala bisaya ako, di ko na-gets. ano ang mananabong?

tw33napay said...

According to Patterson & Hastings (2007):

"Children who lived with 2 parents of the same sex were better off in terms of developmental outcomes than children living with a single mother, and they were no different than children living with 2 heterosexual parents. This study and others suggests that gay and lesbian adults who raise children are as likely as heterosexual parents to produce competent and well-adjusted children."

source: Sigelman and Rider (2009). Life-Span Human Development, 6th Ed.

just goes to show that hetero and homosexuals are no different even in carrying out critical and crucial tasks such as parenting. :)

Teban said...

tw33napay:

this is perfect. i can actually add your comment into my article! cool. =) thank you for this.