February 2nd, 2006

  • asher63

"Gay people are narcissistic."

I recently encountered another mutation of this virus in a corner of the political blogosphere that I frequent. It was expressed by a practicing psychologist in the following words:
I do not have time for a long discussion right now, but
homosexuality, and to an even greater extent, transsexualism,
typically involve higher levels of narcissism (self-cathexis) than
heterosexuality. We all tend to choose significant others ("Objects"
in Psychoanalytic terms, which is very far from what object means in
general discourse) who reflect aspects of ourselves and our
parents. When you choose a same sex object, that object is obviously
more like oneself than the opposite sex; it is a more narcissistic
object choice. It is reflected in a tendency among many homosexuals
to have difficulty making the transition to an other-based emotional
connection. This is fairly complicated and I tried to illuminate
some of it in my post today. Narcissists, because they are so
involved emotionally with themselves, have less emotional energy
(cathexis) to invest in another person, which means that they often
feel lonely; they don't connect too well. Please note this is a
generally true statement that will not apply to many individuals who
are homosexual just as it can apply to many individuals who are heterosexual.

I've heard this story so many times, and in so many forms, that it's getting mighty tiresome. I'm going to post on it, just as soon as I can sit down to write without smoke coming out of my ears.

QUESTION FOR THE COMMUNITY: Can anyone - particularly any mental health professionals reading this - point me toward some resources for rebutting this odious stereotype?

UPDATE: Thanks to all who responded. I know I'm not going to change this person's mind, and as a layperson myself I don't really have the authority to give a "rebuttal" from the standpoint of clinical psychology; besides which, he's no doubt heard all the arguments already and made up his own mind.

I am going to respond, instead, with an informed discussion of gender and sexuality (for the benefit of other readers) and some words on homophobia. I'll point out that this individual may be a competent enough therapist in his own right, but given the attitudes he brings to his practice, he will be of no help to gay clients. I'm also going to note the importance of recognizing human individuality and diversity, and the inherent "narcissism" of the author's inability to understand (or even try to understand) gay people and their relationships.

Again, thanks to all who responded. And I will definitely make use of those resources for my future reference.