Myth: Parents cause their children to become gay, lesbian or bisexual.

The reasoning behind having a particular sexual orientation is currently unknown. The matter
is very complex, involving both biological and environmental influences. We cannot explain what makes an individual heterosexual, just as we cannot explain what makes other people gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Myth: LGBTQIA+ people are mentally ill.

Homosexuality is considered normal in most cultures of the world. It can be observed throughout history and across the animal kingdom! While it is still unfortunately a taboo subject for some, homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders in 1973 and was declared as healthy as heterosexuality. Anyone can experience mental health challenges regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.

Myth: Gay men and lesbian women are unfit to be parents.

Research has shown that children raised by gay or lesbian parents are no more likely to be gay or lesbian themselves. It was also shown that they were no more likely to experience problems in development or relationships with friends than a child brought up with one male and one female parent.

Myth: It is fashionable to be LGBTQIA+.

As more people start to come out as LGBTQIA+, some people may think that it is just a ‘trend’. This attitude can prevent people who do identify as LGBTQIA+ from being taken seriously. It compounds the idea that sexual orientation is a choice or a ‘lifestyle’ that can be changed. This is simply untrue and is damaging to the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ people.

Myth: If a friend tells you they are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, then that friend is coming on to you.

If a friend discloses their sexuality to you, they are doing so because they trust you enough to share that part of their identity, NOT because they want to engage in a relationship with you. If a friend comes to you and tells you that they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, or something else, you should feel pretty chuffed – coming out can be pretty scary, and that person has identified you as a safe person to talk to.

Myth: LGBTQIA+ people don’t need protection during sexual activity.

Sexually transmitted diseases and infections
can be passed between anybody engaging in sexual activity without appropriate protection, regardless of the genders and sexual orientation of those involved.

Myth: It’s just a phase.

Maybe it is just a phase, but that doesn’t matter. Everyone goes through a journey of self‐discovery when they are young. Why should that mean their feelings aren’t valid? Even if people don’t feel this way in ten years from now, doesn’t mean that we should ignore their feelings now.

Myth: All LGBTQIA+ people act the same way.

Everyone is their own person, whether they identify as gay, straight, bisexual, male or female, etc. Your personality is not dependent on your sexuality or gender. Yes, gay men, for example, can present as more feminine, but they can also present as masculine or somewhere in‐between.

*written by the headspace Berri 2018 hERO Group