USU research examines same-sex attraction

Recent Utah State University research about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in society and media poses questions about homosexuality in the Latter-day Saint religion, the evolution of homosexuality in literature and the quality of sex education programs. Displays about USU research projects, as well as seven others, were presented at the LGBT Research Fair on Tuesday. Renee Galliher, a psychology professor, said it was noteworthy to see how each discipline brought a new way to look at LGBT issues. Undergraduate and graduate students from sociology to English departments participated in sharing their findings. “I’m fascinated by the different research methodologies and ways students have gone about researching the broad topic of LGBT issues,” Galliher said. “In psychology, we use qualitative and quantitative research methods that are more grounded on traditional research methods psychologists are trained in. I’ve noticed that students coming from other departments are doing critical analyses with literature and policy.” Galliher worked with graduate student John Dehlin on his graduate research project, “Exploration of Experiences and Psychological Health of Same-sex Attracted Latter-day Saints.” Dehlin spoke with inquisitive passers-by about his research and its implications, including how many LDS church members are gay and how many decide to stay in heterosexual relationships despite their same-sex attraction. He surveyed 1,635 Mormons who classify themselves as gay and said the study found the average age gay women and men reported feeling different from their peers was at age 10. On average, by the age of 22 those people have come out, saying they are gay or lesbian. Also, 31 percent reported being at some point in their lives in a heterosexual marriage, and 16 percent reported staying in a heterosexual marriage. About 65 percent of LDS respondents reported trying to change their sexual orientations.

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