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June 18, 2010 Print

Responding to Pro-Gay Social Arguments: ‘Ten Percent of the Population is Gay’

by CitizenLink Team

Pro-gay “social justice” arguments are effective because they sound so good.  They demand an end to homophobia and insensitivity; who wants to say they are against such goals?

Authored by Joe Dallas

But just as the question “When did you stop beating your wife, Mr. Jones?” assumes (without proof) that Mr. Jones has been beating his wife, so the pro-gay social justice arguments assume (without proof) that gays are victims, and that the conservative church is largely responsible for their victimhood.

These arguments are most effective in secular discussions (talk shows, interviews, university debates) where listeners are unlikely to judge them by Biblical standards. Instead of discerning which side is theologically correct, non-Christian audiences tend to side with whomever seems “nicest.” Usually, that means the gay spokesman asking for anti-discrimination laws or support clubs for gay teenagers. The person against these things – usually a conservative Christian – does not seem “nice,” no matter how nice he or she may truly be.

That is not to say pro-gay social justice arguments are unwinnable; answered properly and politely, non-Biblical ideas can be challenged in the secular arena. Paul proved that with the citizens at Mars Hill (Acts 17:22). But the challenger needs to be aware that often, because of his position, he will be seen as the “bad guy.” This is all the more reason to speak with an equal measure of clarity and politeness.

Social justice argument: ’10 percent of the population is gay. Could so many people be wrong?’

This argument has been so overwhelmingly disproved, in secular, clinical and theological sources worldwide, that it may be unnecessary to mention it. But on the chance that the reader may need to confront this claim in future discussions, we will briefly review what is commonly called the “10 percent myth” and how to respond to it.

In 1948, sex researcher Alfred Kinsey published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, which listed his findings after taking the sexual histories of 5,300 American men. The findings, especially on homosexuality, shocked American sensibilities: 37 percent of the subjects admitted at least one homosexual experience since their adolescence, (1)  and 10 percent claimed to have been homosexual for at least three years. (2)

Word was out — 10 percent of the male population was homosexual! Knowing there is power in numbers, pro-gay theorists and spokesmen repeated the statistic relentlessly until it became a given: one out of every 10 males was gay; therefore, homosexuality was much more common than anyone had previously thought. The concept was extremely useful to activists when, decades later, they would ask how anyone could believe ten percent of the population was abnormal, immoral or just plain wrong.

Response #1: The argument is exaggerated; Kinsey did NOT claim 10 percent of the male population was homosexual.

Kinsey’s wording was plain — 10 percent of the males surveyed claimed to have been homosexual for at least three years. They had not necessarily been homosexual all their lives, nor would they necessarily be homosexual in the future. Future studies by the Kinsey Institute, in fact, would confirm that sexual orientation is not necessarily fixed, and may change throughout a person’s lifespan.

The 1990 Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex states: Some people have consistent homosexual orientation for a long period of time, then fall in love with a person of the opposite sex; other individuals who have had only opposite-sex partners later fall in love with someone of the same sex. (3)

Response #2: The ’10 percent’ is misleading for two reasons:

First, Kinsey’s data was not taken from a population accurately representing American men. Dr. Judith Reisman, in her book Kinsey, Sex and Fraud: The Indoctrination of a People has soundly discredited Kinsey’s conclusions and methods. One of her important findings was that 25 percent of the men he surveyed were prisoners, many of whom were sex offenders.(4)  Naturally, a higher incidence of homosexuality would be found among prisoners, especially sex offenders, many of whom may have been in prison for homosexual behavior. (In the 1940s that was quite possible; today, thankfully, people are not incarcerated for homosexuality.)

Second, subsequent studies have disproved the 10 percent claim. USA Today reported on April 15, 1993, a new survey of 3,321 American men indicating 2.3 percent of them had engaged in homosexual behavior within the previous 10 years; only 1.1 percent reported being exclusively homosexual. This was only the latest in a series of studies proving Kinsey wrong. In 1989, a U.S. survey estimated no more than 6 percent of adults had any same-sex contacts and only 1 percent were exclusively homosexual; a similar survey in France found 4 percent of men and 3 percent of women had ever engaged in homosexual contacts, while only 1.4 percent of the men and 0.4 percent of the women had done so within the past five years. The article concluded, not surprisingly, that the 10 percent statistic proposed by Kinsey was “dying under the weight of new studies.”

A candid remark by a lesbian activist explains how the 10 percent figure stayed in the public’s awareness for so long: “The thing about the ‘one in 10’ — I think people probably always did know that it was inflated. But it was a nice number that you could point to, that you could say ‘one in ten,’ and it’s a really good way to get people to visualize that we’re here.” (5)

If what she’s saying is true, gay spokesmen were willing to repeat something they knew to be false, for the sake of furthering their cause. With that in mind, one wonders what other “facts” on homosexuality (“gays are born gay,” “gays cannot change”) may someday be disproved as well — exposed as propaganda that people “always knew was inflated,” but promoted anyway because the end justified the means.

We can accept some parts of these pro-gay arguments. We can agree that, in many cases, the homosexual condition — sexual attractions to the same sex rather than the opposite one — begins very early in life. And while it’s common knowledge that 10 percent of the population is not, nor ever has been, gay, we’ll admit there are probably far more homosexuals in the population than we’re aware of. Their claim of not having asked for their orientation is, in most cases, true; we ought to feel genuine compassion for people struggling with, or mistreated for, something they never chose. Stanton Jones of Wheaton College puts it well: “If you cannot empathize with a homosexual person because of fear of, or revulsion to, them, then you are failing our Lord.” (6)

But where we must part company with promoters of the pro-gay theology is in the conclusions they’ve drawn. We cannot rewrite Scripture, as they have, to accommodate a sin simply because it has been shown to be inborn, unchangeable or common.

Joe Dallas founder of Genesis Counseling, is the author of four books on homosexuality, including Gay Gospel?  How Pro-gay Advocates Misread the Bible

This article was used by permission from Exodus International, North America.

This article was originally published on 15 August 2006.


(1) Kinsey, Pomeroy and Martin, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (Philadelphia: Saunders Press, 1948), p. 625.
(2) Kinsey, Pomeroy and Martin, p. 638.
(3) June Reinisch, The New Kinsey Report (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990), p. 138.
(4) Judith Reisman, Kinsey, Sex and Fraud (Lafayette: Huntington, 1990), p. 9.
(5) Lesbian activist with ACT-UP, interviewed in “Gay Rights-Special Rights” video.
(6) Stanton Jones, “The Loving Opposition,” Christianity Today, July 19, 1993, Vol. 37, No. 8.