Relevant Abstracts
Herek, G.M. (1990). Gay people and government security clearances: A social science perspective. American Psychologist, 45 (9), 1035-1042.
  Lesbian and gay male applicants routinely are denied government security clearances or are subjected to unusually lengthy and intensive investigation. This article reviews social science data relevant to the principal justifications that have been offered for this policy and presents the following conclusions: (a) Lesbians and gay men are no more likely than heterosexuals to suffer from a personality disorder or emotional stress, or to be psychologically unstable; (b) lesbians and gay men are no more likely than heterosexuals to be unduly sensitive to coercion, blackmail, or duress; and (c) lesbians and gay men are no more likely than heterosexuals to be unwilling to respect or uphold laws or regulations, or to be unreliable or untrustworthy. Three major flaws are discussed that underlie current government policies toward gay applicants for security clearances: (a) Groups rather than individuals are screened for undesirable characteristics; (b) applicants are rejected on the basis of problems created by government policies themselves; and (c) homosexual applicants are scrutinized according to criteria that are not applied similarly to heterosexual applicants. An alternative hypothesis, that experience with stigma actually may increase a gay applicant's ability to maintain secrecy, is discussed. Some consequences of current policies are noted. [Return to declaration]
Herek, G.M. (1991). Myths about sexual orientation: A lawyer's guide to social science research. Law and Sexuality, 1, 133-172.
  This article provides an overview of social science theory and empirical research concerning sexual orientation. The paper begins with a brief discussion of terminology, basic concepts of internal validity and generalizability, the application of data to individuals and groups, and the burden of proof in scientific research on homosexuality. The bulk of the article is devoted to a discussion of current data relevant to eight common, inaccurate characterizations of lesbians, gay men, and homosexuality. These myths concern: (1) the relationship of homosexuality to mental illness; (2) the psychological effects of stigma on gay men and women; (3) the origins of sexual orientation and possibilities for changing it; (4) homosexuality and child molestation; (5) the effects of gay parents and role models on children; (6) gay male and lesbian intimate relationships; (7) gay people as a minority group; and (8) the effects of gay people on organizational efficiency and morale. The social science research reviewed here consistently indicates that lesbians and gay men, as a group, do not differ in significant ways from heterosexuals except in terms of their sexual orientation. [Return to declaration]
Herek, G.M. (1993). Sexual orientation and military service: A social science perspective. American Psychologist, 48 (5), 538-547.
  Since 1982, the policy of the U.S. Department of Defense has been that homosexuality is incompatible with military service. In January of 1993, however, President Clinton announced his intention to reverse the military's ban and called for discussion about how best to implement a new, nondiscriminatory policy. This article reviews the social science literature relevant to such a discussion. Empirical data suggest that lesbians and gay men are not inherently less capable of military service than are heterosexual women and men; that prejudice in the military can be overcome; that heterosexual personnel can adapt to living and working in close quarters with lesbian and gay male personnel; and that public opinion will be influenced by the way this issue is framed. Any change in policy should be accompanied by strong measures to prevent harassment and violence against lesbians and gay men, educate heterosexual personnel, and enforce uniform policies regarding all forms of sexual harassment. Considerations relevant to a new policy that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation are discussed. [Return to declaration]



Dr. Herek's complete bibliography

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