Evidence Suggests Oppressive Anti-Gay Texas Laws Keep Gay Men In The Closet

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An economist from Harvard sought out to find what percentage of American men are gay.


Screenshot of Rick Perry's anti-gay presidential campaign ad.

Using surveys, social networks, pornographic searches and dating sites, research data suggests that at least 5 percent of American men are predominantly attracted to other men.

The troubling part of the findings show that even with major advancements of LGBT rights sweeping across the nation, millions of gay men still live in the closet. States that are less tolerant and less accepting of LGBT people have fewer gay men that are out. Repressive conservative states are keeping gay men in the closet.

Texas is one of these repressive states. Despite being ruled unconstitutional over a decade ago by the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas continues to refuse to repeal its sodomy ban. Failure to pass employment non-discrimination laws, equal marriage rights, adoption rights, as well as anti-gay bullying laws in schools, has built an environment where gay men would rather live a lie based on socially acceptable norms than to be out.

Read more below the jump.While one might believe that gay men are simply moving to more tolerant states, numbers suggest there is roughly the same percentage of gay men in the populations of all states, at 5 percent. Since children cannot move as easily as adults, research was done comparing children that are out in High School between less tolerant and more tolerant states. The least tolerant states had significantly less children out compared to the rest of the country. Only when you take into count discrimination that it explains this occurrence of “missing” LGBT children. The rest of the figures, particularly pornographic searches by adults, stayed the same.

All of the less tolerant states are in the south, the least tolerant being Mississippi.

Because of the intolerance of homosexuality in these states, many gay men end up marrying women. Their lives are not anything as fun like this CollegeHumor “Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends” video. The study shows that a much higher percentage of ads on Craiglist of men seeking casual encounters with other men tend to be in the least tolerant states. Also, Google searches by wives questioning whether their husbands are gay are a lot more common in less tolerant states.

(It is important to note here that the study conducted analyzing the percentage of gay men in American seemimgly fails to take into account bisexual men).

According to more research, gay and bisexual people are at higher risk of suffering from depression and anxiety because of the discrimination they experience.

Anti-gay laws in less tolerant states — like those here in Texas — aren't just hurting gay men; they hurt the wives these men end up marrying, the children that result from these marriages, and they built an environment where LGBT children aren't comfortable coming out or feel safe enough to be themselves.

There is a lot of secret suffering occurring across the country directly attributed to the intolerance of LGBT people. And this suffering is especially seen in the least accepting states, such as our own.

Knowing all of this: What can we do?

It is incumbent of all of us to try and build a world where everyone is allowed to love freely and openly. It says a lot about our state when there exist thousands of men that would rather hide who they are than to live honestly, wishing to avoid any possible retaliation from others because of their orientation. It is especially important for us to act because there are just as many LGBT children forced to suffer in silence and fear, not knowing whether coming out is even an option for them.

In order to convince these individuals to come out, we must fight for a state where coming out doesn't just mean another form of suffering, being openly oppressed by anti-gay laws and homophobic views.

Having only recently come out myself, I find it really inspiring to see many children having the courage to come out at much younger ages. I think we owe it to them to create a Texas where they won't ever feel the need to hide who they are so that others may continue to love them.

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About Author

Omar Araiza

Staff writer Omar Araiza covers immigration, Latino voters, the U.S.-Mexico border, and LGBT issues. He is a proud South Texas native, born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Omar tweets from @AraizaTX.

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