Mission America

Christian Commentary on the Culture

Mission America Student Survey Results

Mission America Student Survey on Homosexuality: More Talk, Less Truth

Shocking lack of needed information revealed

A year-long survey of American middle and high school students by Mission America has yielded in depth information about how the subject of homosexuality is covered in the nation’s schools-- and the news will not be welcomed by most parents.

Homosexuality is a topic in many regular classes, in school events, student activities and in corridor chatter. Yet students remain uninformed about some of the behavior’s most essential health and lifestyle risks.

For Christian parents, this survey will be most unwelcome news, since 87% of the student respondents indicated they had a “strong Christian faith.” The frustration of these students in contending with their school’s promotion of homosexuality came through in survey after survey.

The questionnaire was distributed through our newsletter in fall of 2003 and on our web site at www.missionamerica.com. (For a copy of the actual survey questions, see Student Survey).

Surveys were administered by adults and returned to Mission America over the school year 2003-04, and included twenty-five in-depth questions. We received 139 surveys from around the U.S., with the largest concentration from the Great Lakes and Northeast. Fifty-nine percent were from girls, 41% from boys. Most (81%) were high school students. The survey covered public schools and a few were received from private, non-religious college prep schools. No Christian school students or home schoolers were included (although we did receive a few surveys from such students.)

To the question, “Has the subject of homosexuality been discussed in classes at your school?” 56% replied “Yes.” When asked to name the subject areas, they mentioned sex/health education most often, followed closely by history/social studies. Other classes with frequent mentions were language, political science and science. The good news is that few middle school students have heard much about this topic in their classes.

Eight percent of the schools represented have a “gay” club. Most schools with these clubs had many additional pro-homosexual class and students activities, and virtually no school-sponsored events/speakers conveying a traditional viewpoint. Nine percent of schools allowed non-curricular activities promoting homosexuality. Among the most frequently-mentioned activities were a “diversity day,” observance of the April “Day of Silence,” posters/flyers, pro-homosexual articles in the school paper, and special speakers/assemblies.

The good news is that some schools hosted speakers on abstinence or traditional family values. Overall, 27% of the students reported some type of school program along these lines.

Students were asked whether they had studied “tolerance” or “diversity” in a class where homosexuality was a part of those lessons; 20% answered yes. Of this group, in describing the intended message, many students (44%) felt they were being told, “It’s okay to believe homosexuality is wrong, but people should be nice to one another.” However, 26% of these students indicated the message was, “Homosexuality is something that should be accepted no matter what.”

Among the most startling results was the depth of ignorance among students about the essential health and lifestyle issues surrounding homosexuality. Question #15 asked, “During your years in school, have you ever heard any of the following topics mentioned in a class?” Here are the specific subjects and results:

  • That homosexuality has high health risks: 52% said yes, 48% said no
  • That there is not valid scientific research showing homosexuality to be genetic:24% said yes, 76% said no
  • That anal sex is practiced by most “gay” males: 32% said yes, 68% said no
  • That anal sex is responsible for two- thirds to three fourths of HIV cases in the U.S.: 35% said yes, 65% said no
  • That homosexuals have much higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases than the general population: 51% said yes, 49% said no.
  • That there are much higher rates of child sexual abuse in the past experiences of homosexuals than in the general population: 33% said yes, 67% said no
  • That it is a crime for an adult 18 or older to have heterosexual or homosexual sex with a child or young teenager: 65% said yes, 35% said no
  • That there are thousands of people in the U.S. who are ex-homosexuals: 20% said yes, 80% said no
  • Homosexuals have higher rates of domestic violence than the general population:2% said yes, 98% said no.

Students recognize that there is some mistreatment of “gay” youth by other students. On the subject of bullying, students were asked if they had ever seen students “pick on” others who were, or were perceived to be, homosexual or transgendered, and 66% said they had. When asked more details, 49% said it really doesn’t happen much. Twenty-six percent said that they acknowledged it happens and they felt sad for these kids. Yet 16% said it happens but is exaggerated by some people to draw attention to themselves and to their cause.

Accusations of Christian “hate” by homosexual advocates seems to be misdirected. When asked how they personally feel about students who they know are, or believe to be involved in homosexuality, 84% answered, “I don’t hate anyone, but I disagree with their lifestyle.” Eleven percent selected the answer, “I personally feel quite a bit of hostility toward them, and I know I need to work on this attitude.”

Yet in spite of their overwhelming disagreement, most students (79%) have not tried to speak out in a responsible way about homosexuality. The climate of intolerance seems to be too intimidating.

Students were asked if they’d ever seen someone else speak in objection. “Have you ever experienced or seen anyone who, not in a bullying or rude way, spoke up against homosexuality, and was mocked or treated in an intolerant manner at your school?” Thirty-six percent answered “Yes.” They were asked for details: sometimes this intolerance was exhibited by students (73%) and sometimes it was by both students and teachers/staff (27%).

Of those student respondents who had personally tried to speak out in a responsible way against homosexuality ( 21%), over half (52%) of these said that when they did this, they were treated politely. However, the remainder (48%) were treated intolerantly by either students, teachers or both.

We also asked the following question: “Have you ever heard of any “straight” students who were harassed in a sexual manner by a homosexual student?” Seven percent of respondents said yes. Some incidents were verbal, like making provocative accusations to “straight” students of homosexual feelings on their part that weren’t there, or “gay” students inviting straight students to their homes, with sexual innuendo. It also became physical at times.

  • “ Girls who are homosexual put their arms around the heterosexual girls, who get scared.”
  • “One girl went up behind the other (straight) girl and groped her.”
  • “In theatre, a homosexual was helping a heterosexual student put on his microphone, and touched him in an inappropriate manner.”

Students were asked if they felt homosexuality as a subject should be discussed in school. Sixty-three percent said “no.” Students were asked if they know other students who are opposed to homosexuality. Ninety-two percent said “Yes.” When asked to characterize these students, 58% said these students were responsible people and not “violent” like the “gays/lesbians” sometimes say. Another 39% said that some students do bully the homosexual students, but most are not bullies.

Overall, 87% of the students surveyed identified themselves as “strong” Christians. The remainder identified themselves as either occasional church-goers, Jewish, Mormon, witchcraft adherents, or having no strong religious faith.

HERE ARE SOME "SNAPSHOTS" of the pro-homosexual environment at four high schools.

Portraits of Propaganda #1
Public high school in Ohio. Male, senior, tells us:

His school has a “gay” club. There have been discussions about homosexuality in history and political science classes.
The school has observed Diversity Day, and has distributed “gay” posters or flyers.
He hasn’t heard of any presentation with an opposing viewpoint at this school. 
On health risks, he was not aware that homosexuality has high health risks, that anal sex is practiced by most homosexual males, and that there are thousands of ex-homosexuals in the U.S.
He says there’s been bullying of “gay” students in his school, but it’s resolved just as any other bullying incident by teachers/staff.
He witnessed someone try to speak up responsibly against homosexuality, who was treated intolerantly by both teachers and students. He spoke up himself and was treated with intolerance by homosexual students.
Portraits of Propaganda #2
Public high school in Pennsylvania. Girl, 11th grade, tells us:

Her school has a “gay” club. There have also been classroom discussions in history, political science, sex /health education, and announcements in homeroom. The school observed the April Day of Silence and has posted flyers and announcements on ”gay” issues. She is not sure if there’s been any speaker or program with a viewpoint opposing homosexuality.
She has seen others “pick on” homosexual students, but feels the extent of it is exaggerated. 
She studied “tolerance” in class where acceptance of homosexuality was part of the message.
She answered “no” on Question 15 to all health/lifestyle issues except the one about child sexual abuse. She had heard this before.
She has heard someone try to speak up against homosexuality who was treated intolerantly by other students. She has not tried to speak up herself.
She says she doesn’t hate anyone, but disagrees with this behavior/lifestyle.
She is a strong Christian.
Portraits of Propaganda #3
Public high School in Michigan. Girl, senior, tells us:

Her school has a “gay” club.
Homosexuality has been a subject in language class.
The school observed Diversity Day, October “Coming Out” Day, April Day of Silence, has posted material on “gay” issues, and held a special assembly. There have been no programs with an opposing view presented.
She studied “tolerance” as a classroom subject, where acceptance of homosexuality was a segment. The message she got was, there’s a lot of violence against homosexuals and people don’t have the right to object to the behavior. She felt it was propaganda .
How much has she learned about the risks/lifestyle of homosexuality? Under #15, she had NOT learned that there exists no accepted research supporting a genetic basis for homosexuality; that anal sex is practiced by most “gay” males; nor had she learned that there are thousands of ex-homosexuals in the U.S.
She has seen people in her school speak responsibly in objection to homosexuality, and been treated intolerantly by both students and teachers/staff. She has not tried to speak out herself.
She feels the school and teachers give more attention and time to the homosexuality issue than it deserves. She doesn’t hate anyone, however; she just objects to the behavior.
She is a strong Christian.
Portraits in Propaganda #4
Private, college prep school in the northeast, Girl, Senior, tell us:

Her school has a “gay” club.
Discussions on homosexuality have been held in history class, music and were the focus of every class on the Day of Silence, when half the teachers remained silent out of “respect” for the issue.
She has not seen any students “pick on” those perceived to be homosexual, but she has heard that this has occurred. She thinks it’s exaggerated. 
The school has allowed observance of October “Coming Out” day, April “Day of Silence,” homosexual-themed films, a special assembly, and the distribution of posters/flyers.
She says that no program or event with a traditional/opposing viewpoint has been presented.
Under the health /lifestyle questions in #15, she had NOT heard any of the risks/lifestyle issues about homosexuality at school, except the information about criminal adult/child sexual activity.
She has heard others speak up against homosexuality, and she has as well. Both were treated rudely by other students. She believes that the school is intolerant and unfair to those who don’t agree with homosexuality.
She feels she doesn’t hate anyone, just disagrees with their behavior. She knew of an incident of verbal sexual harassment of “straight” students.
She is a strong believer of the Jewish faith.