Scientific Heterosexism July 3, 2010Posted by Geekgirl in Science Education, Uncategorized.
An analysis of heterosexist bias in the fields of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
In other words, do you recognize names like Paul Cameron and Focus on the Family?
Oppression by Scientific Method:
The Use of Science to “Other” Sexual Minorities
James M. Mohr
JOURNAL OF HATE STUDIES [Vol. 7:21
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) civil rights have become a major
focus of the legislative agenda of a variety of organizations in support of
and in opposition to those rights. This growing interest in LGB civil rights
can be seen through the increasing news reports and political discussions
concerning marriage equality, the addition of sexual orientation as a protected class
to hate crime laws and workplace nondiscrimination legislation,
the elimination of the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, and the right of LGB people to adopt children.
As these issues move to the forefront, different groups attempt to use scientific reports,
studies, and perspectives as one way to promote their viewpoints.
It is important to research the use of science by anti-LGB organizations
because scientific and medical theories about homosexuality have
been used to create and justify norms and values related to sexual relations
and used to support anti-LGB policies (Terry, 1999). These theories are
often considered objective and a simple reporting of the facts as they exist.
However, science is often political and used to promote specific social
agendas (Harding, 1991, p. 10). For example, scientists have spent more
than two centuries attempting to prove the superiority of upper-class, white
males over all other races and classes (Tucker, 1994).
The use of science to justify prejudice, stereotypes, and hatred has not
been limited to this explication of racial essences. Science also has a history
of reinforcing anti-LGB biases (Rosario, 2002; Terry, 1999).
This paper examines the rooting of science in heterosexist biases, its uses in
anti-LGB discourses, and its role in the Othering process of LGB people.
The growth of science as an important way of understanding the world,
explaining scientific heterosexism, and defining the Othering process is examined in this
It is important to note that this paper does not focus on the accuracy
of the science used by anti-LGB organizations—only on how it is used and
misused within an anti-LGB discourse. Many of the studies referred to
throughout this paper that claim to demonstrate the problems with LGB
people have already been challenged on methodological, ethical, and
interpretive grounds by a number of authors (Bohan, 1996; J.C. Gonsiorek,
1982; John C. Gonsiorek & Weinrich, 1991; Hooker, 1957; LeVay, 1997;
Richardson, 1993; Schuklenk & Ristow, 1996).
In other cases, anti-LGB organizations misuse legitimate studies to Other LGB individuals.
The use of science by anti-LGB organizations in these ways is less
about deepening our understanding of homosexuality and more about
promoting a specific political agenda, as will be seen in this paper.