November 21, 2007
Howard Univ's gay 'experiment'
Posted by: Chris
While combing the Net for content for Gay News Watch, I came across a "news" article on gay issues in the Howard University student newspaper The Hilltop that reads more like it's from the Christian Broadcasting Network than one of the nation's most respected historic black colleges.
Under the headline "College Students More Likely to Experiment Sexually," the article by Kailyn Hart starts by setting up the classic paranoia about the percentage of "Howard men" who are turning gay, then quotes bogus and completely discredited psychological theories to explain the phenomenon of "experimental" homosexuality.
Here are the highlights, beginning with the set-up:
For many students college life may be a safe haven to experience homosexual desires. Within the confines of Howard University, students are concerned with the high number of bisexual and/or gay men and women.
Due to mixed feelings and fast spreading rumors, students are paranoid about the notion of homosexual relations taking place at Howard University.
J.D. Brown, a 21-year-old student in the College of Arts and Sciences, said, "There are a great number of men on campus who are involved in the gay, bisexual or 'downlow' lifestyle. I feel as though walking up to any Howard man, there's at least a 50/50 chance that he has or does engage in homosexual activity, but many of my gay friends feel that the percentage is much higher."
Then, as expert sources, Hart quotes a psych major, J. Garrison (why don't these students have full first names?), who advances the theory that homosexuality is "normal" but a form of sex addiction:
"People become aroused by images because they mentally connect certain body parts to sex," he said.
Garrison also believes that homosexuality is a preference or choice, and that a person can choose not to be gay.
"Most who claim to be gay are addicted to the feelings of belonging or interpersonal interaction they get when they indulge in same-sex relationships," Garrison said.
Hart also cites thoroughly discredited psychologist Paul Cameron, who was expelled by the American Pschological Association back in 1983 and now works for the Family Research Institute, which The Hilltop article fails to identify as an anti-gay lobby group:
"According to [psychoanalysis], homosexuality is a mental illness, symptomatic of arrested development," Cameron said. "People believe that homosexual desires are a consequence of poor familial relations in childhood or some other trauma."
He also said that homosexual desire may stem from family abnormality, cultural influences and unusual experiences as a child.
Of course, Cameron's data is about three decades old, since homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses in 1973. The article, however, fails to note that or even quote a balancing source.
The article concludes with observations by a bisexual male student and an Internet advice columnist, who at least do not pawn off their views as science.
I was the editor of my college newspaper and student magazine, as well as my law school newspaper, so I cut no slack to student journalists who ought to know better when it comes to following basic rules of journalism: balance, weighing the credibility of sources, and giving readers complete information.
I hope the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation will take a hard look at The Hilltop story and press the newspaper for a follow-up that corrects the errors of the first article and offers a balance of viewpoints about the issue of homosexuality on campus.
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