December 3rd, 2008
If you’ve been experiencing post-election psychological distress in the wake of the recent antigay ballot campaigns – whether in the form of anger, sadness, irritability, feelings of betrayal, revenge fantasies, sleep difficulties, or something else – research suggests you’re not alone. What you’re feeling these days is a natural and normal response to the attacks you endured during the months leading up to November 4, and to the trauma of election night.
In my latest post at Beyond Homophobia, I describe the results of two studies on the psychological impact of antigay ballot measures.
One study was conducted by psychologist Glenda Russell and her colleagues in the wake of Colorado’s 1992 Amendment 2 campaign. Examining personal accounts by sexual minority Colorado citizens, the researchers observed themes that are all too familiar today to many sexual minority residents of California, Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas.
Respondents reported feeling overwhelmed or devastated by the vote. Some were shocked that the measure passed. Many experienced anger, fear, sadness, or depression. Some felt a sense of loss, saying they would never again feel the same about living in Colorado. Some expressed regret at not having done more to prevent the measure’s passage.
Dr. Russell’s team also found that a substantial segment of the sample reported many symptoms commonly associated with depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and perceived that these symptoms were a direct result of having lived through the months of antigay campaigning.
The second study, which will soon be published in the prestigious Journal of Counseling Psychology, supports and extends Dr. Russell’s findings. The researchers — led by Dr. Sharon Rostosky at the University of Kentucky — assessed the psychological well-being of sexual minority adults across the United States before and after the 2006 elections. They found that, as a group, participants residing in states with a marriage amendment on the ballot reported experiencing significantly more psychological distress than did the residents of other states. Moreover, their levels of stress, negative emotions, and symptoms of depression were significantly higher after the election compared to six months earlier.
Taken together, the studies’ findings are consistent with the conclusion that antigay campaigns not only take away individuals’ rights, but are also harmful to the mental health of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who live through them.
You can read more about the studies and the implications of their findings at Beyond Homophobia.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.