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Myths and Facts Sheets

Gender Minority Identity Myths & Facts

We use the term Sexual Orientation Minority Individuals as an umbrella term to describe those whose sexual feelings/attractions are not exclusively directed toward the opposite sex. This may include those who experience no sexual feelings/attractions at all.

Gender Minority Individuals should use change-rooms/bathrooms of their assigned sex

No matter which change-room/bathroom Gender Minority Individuals enter, 70% are denied entry, harassed or assaulted. Despite some people's fears, Gender Minority Individuals pose little threat to others in these shared spaces. (see myth 2)


Gender Minority Individuals are sexual predators

Gender minority individuals experience sexual violence at shockingly high levels. 50% or more are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives. This violence is often coupled with physical assault or abuse.

E. Lombardi, R. Wilchins, D. Priesing, and D. Malouf, 2001, "Gender Violence: Transgender Experiences With Violence and Discrimination," Journal of Homosexuality 42(1):89–101 http://www.ovc.gov

Gender Minority Individuals are unemployable, don't make good role models, and shouldn't be teachers.

Although some Gender Minority Individuals do struggle to find employment due to societal discrimination, many lead successful and productive professional lives. Research shows that 78% of those who transitioned to their true gender had an improvement in their job performance.


Sexual Orientation is the same as Gender Identity

An individual's sexual orientation consists of whom they are attracted to. Gender identity refers to one's internal sense of being a man, woman, or something else; and how one wants to be seen by others.

Report of the APA Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/policy/gender-identity-report.pdf

Cross-dressing is an expression of Gender Identity

Cross-dressing is the act of wearing clothes that are typically characteristic of a gender that is not your own. Clothing is not necessarily a means of expressing gender and thus the clothing an individual wears does not necessarily indicate their gender identity.

Encyclopaedia on Gender and Sex

Gender Minority Individuals are social misfits who are condemned by religion.

Innumerable gender minority individuals have made significant contributions in all aspects of society from the arts to the sciences to politics. There are many cultures worldwide that embrace gender minority individuals and consider them full and valued members of the community.

Including educational materials on gender identity in school curricula may be harmful to children and family

The right of all members of the school community to learn and work in an environment free of discrimination, prejudice, and harassment is guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Alberta Human Rights Act, and the Alberta School Act. While there is no evidence that learning about gender minorities has any negative impact on children, by educating the entire school community on gender identity issues, educators and administrators can help to reduce the level of discrimination, stigmatization, and marginalization experienced by gender variant youth that underpin their exceptionally high rates of depression and suicide.

Grossman, A.H, & D’augelli, A.R. (2006). Transgender Youth.Journal of Homosexuality, 51(1),111-128. As cited in: Public Health Agency of Canada Report: Questions and Answers: Gender Identity. http://librarypdf.catie.ca/pdf/ATI-20000s/26289E.pdf

Your gender identity is a choice and can be changed.

Regardless of an individual's biological sex, studies show that gender identity, even in children, is deeply held and is not the result of confusion. In sum, there is no scientific evidence that people can change their internal gender identity even if they are highly motivated to do so.

Heidi M. Levitt, Sharon G. Horne, Julia Puckett, Kristin Kay Sweeney & Martavius L. Hampton, (2014) Gay Families: Challenging Racial and Sexual/Gender Minority Stressors through Social Support. Journal of GLBT Family Studies. Link to article

There is no discrimination towards Gender Minority Individuals

Numerous studies show that gender minority individuals experience high levels of discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, education, legal systems and families. For those from racial, ethnic or religious minority backgrounds, such discrimination is even more severe.


Gender Minority Individuals won't make good parents

Gender identity does not affect a person's ability to parent.

Tye, M. C. (2003). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents: Special consideration for the custody and adoption evaluator. Family Court Review, 41. doi: 10.1111/j.174-1617.2003.tb00871.x.

For additional Readings

Bogaert, A. F. (2012). Understanding Asexuality. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Inc. See: http://www.amazon.ca/Understanding-Asexuality-Anthony-F-Bogaert/dp/14422....

LeVay, S. (2011). Gay, Straight, and the Reasons Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. See: http://www.amazon.ca/Gay-Straight-Reason-Why-Orientation/dp/0199931585.

Sexual Orientation Minority Individuals Myths & Facts

We use the term Sexual Orientation Minority Individuals as an umbrella term to describe those whose sexual feelings/attractions are not exclusively directed toward the opposite sex. This may include those who experience no sexual feelings/attractions at all.

Myth 1: Your sexual orientation is a choice and you can be changed.

People can choose their sexual orientation identities and they can choose to act on those sexual orientation identities, but they do not choose their sexual attractions/feelings. In sum, there is no scientific evidence that people can change their sexual orientation even if they are highly motivated to do so.

Cramer, R. J., Golom, F. D., LoPresto, C. T., & Kirkley, S. M. (2008). Weighing the evidence: Empirical assessment and ethical implications of conversion therapy. Ethics & Behavior, 18, 93-114. Retrieved from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10508420701713014#.VNTtZVqfJUQ.
Spitzer, R.L. (2012). Spitzer reassesses his 2003 study of reparative therapy of homosexual. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 757. Retrieved from:

Myth 2: All gay men are feminine and all lesbians are masculine.

On average, many gay men are more feminine than straight men and many lesbian are more masculine than straight women. However, there is an enormous amount of variation in gender role expression among gays and lesbians; therefore, some gay men are masculine and some lesbian are feminine.

Bailey, J. M., & Zucker, K. J. (1995). Childhood sex-typed behavior and sexual orientation: A conceptual analysis and quantitative review. Developmental Psychology, 31, 43-55. Retrieved from: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/dev/31/1/43/
Lippa R. A. (2010). Sex differences in personality traits and gender-related occupational preferences across 53 nations: Testing evolutionary and social-environmental theories. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 619-636. Retrieved from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-008-9380-7

Myth 3: Gay and lesbian individuals are obsessed with sex

Gay men and straight men have similar sex drives. Lesbian and straight women also have similar sex drives. Therefore, sexual orientation minority individuals do not differ from heterosexual individuals in this regard.

Bailey, J. M., Gaulin, S., Agyei, Y., & Gladue, B. A. (1994). Effects of gender and sexual orientation on evolutionarily relevant aspects of human mating psychology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 1081-1093. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8046578.

Myth 4: There is no discrimination towards Sexual Orientation Minority Individuals

Discrimination toward sexual orientation minority individuals still occurs and can happen anywhere. The various forms of discrimination include verbal, physical and sexual harassment. Approximately 33% of sexual orientation minority students, within Canada, have experienced some form of discrimination as a result of their sexual orientation. Any amount of discrimination is unacceptable.

Taylor, C. & Peter, T. (2011). 'We are not aliens, we're people, and we have rights.' Canadian human rights discourse and high school climate for LGBTQ students. Canadian Review Of Sociology, 48, 275-312. Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1755-618X.2011.01266.x/abst....

Myth 5: Sexual Orientation Minority Individuals destroy families

Multiple studies indicate that the children of sexual orientation minority parents grow up to be as happy and healthy as the children of heterosexuals. The vast majority of children with sexual orientation minority parents grow up to be heterosexual.

Patterson, C. J. (2006). Children of lesbian and gay parents. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(5), 241-244. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131517?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.
Tasker, F. (2005). Lesbian mothers, gay fathers, and their children: A review. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 26(3), 224-240. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15956875.

Myth 6: Sexual Orientation Minority Individuals are social misfits that are condemned by religion.

Innumerable sexual orientation minority individuals have made significant contributions in all aspects of society from the arts to the sciences to politics. There are many religious communities worldwide that embrace sexual minority individuals and consider them full and valued members of the community.

Stern, K. (2009). Queers in history: The comprehensive encyclopedia of historical gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Dallas, Texas: BenBella Books. Retrieved from: http://www.amazon.ca/Queers-History-Comprehensive-Encyclopedia-Historica....
Swidler, A. (2002). Homosexuality and World Religions. New York, NY: Morehouse. See: http://www.amazon.ca/Homosexuality-World-Religions-Arlene-Swidler/dp/156....

Myth 7: There is a “gay agenda” to recruit heterosexuals into their ranks

See Myth 1

Myth 8: Gay men are pedophiles

Gay men are sexually attracted and aroused to adult men. Individuals with pedophilic interests are sexually attracted and aroused to children. Research demonstrates that gay men are not sexually attracted or aroused to children.

Blanchard, R., Kuban, M. E., Blak, T., Klassen, P. E., Dickey, R., & Cantor, J. M. (2012). Sexual attraction to others: A comparison of two models of alloerotic responding in men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41(1), 13-29. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20848175.

Myth 9: Sexual Orientation Minority Individuals spread sexually transmitted infections

Sexually transmitted infections are spread by unsafe sexual practices not on the basis of sexual orientation. Thus, it is important for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, to adhere to safe sexual practices.

Public Health Agency of Canada (2013, October 23). The Chief Public Health Officer’s report on the state of public health in Canada 2013: Infectious disease-the never-ending threat. Retrieved from: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cphorsphc-respcacsp/2013/sti-its-eng.php.

Myth 10: There is a “man” and a “woman” in every relationships

While there are always exceptions to the rule, in Canada, most Sexual Orientation Minority Individuals form loving relationships in which the partners are not strongly differentiated on the basis of stereotypical gender roles.

Bailey, J.M., Kim, P.Y., Hills, A. & Linsenmeier, J.A.W. (1997). Butch, femme, or straight acting? Partner preferences of gay men and lesbians. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 960-973. Retrieved from: http://faculty.wcas.northwestern.edu/JMichael-Bailey/Publications/Bailey...

Myth 11: Bisexual and asexual individuals don't exist.

A substantial number of men and women identify as bisexual and report having sexual feelings for both genders. A growing number of people identify as asexual and report that they have no sexual interests toward other individuals, although they may experience romantic attractions toward others.

Brotto, LA., Knudson, G., Inskip, J., Rhodes, K. & Erkine, Y. (2010). Asexuality: A mixed-methods approach. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 599-618. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19082703
Rosenthal A. M., Sylva D., Safron A., & Bailey J. M. (2012). Sexual arousal patterns of bisexual men revisited: Some bisexual men have bisexual arousal patterns. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 135-147. Retrieved from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-011-9881-7