A. The Charge. The allegation of recruitment was forcefully sustained by Anita Bryant in her heroic 1977 campaign to repeal a noxious ordinance in Miami-Dade County that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Unfortunately, her insights have been somewhat neglected in recent years.
Central to Bryant’s effort was her exposure of the role of homosexual recruitment. Bryant said "[a]s a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children.” This imperative stems from the inability of same-sex couples to reproduce offspring.
Subsequently, these fundamental points were reinforced by Judith Reisman, together with some religious groups. Ins 1994 Reisman asserted that homosexual "recruitment is loud; it is clear; it is everywhere." She estimated the gay and lesbian population at the time to be 1-2% but predicted at least 20% (and possibly over 30%) "of the young population will be moving into homosexual activity" as a result of "recruitment" The concept of recruitment also underlies pedophilia, in which young boys are first groomed, then violated and turned into homosexuals.
B. Background. The idea is akin to the notion of religious proselytizing, as seen in the contemporary phenomenon of Mormon and other missionaries going from door to door in search of converts. Although sodomy was sometimes compared with heresy in the middle ages, there is no evidence of sodomites proselytizing then or after.
Sex education programs have taken some flack for this. However, there is no evidence that they attempt to steer young people towards an embrace of the “homosexual lifestyle.” If anything, these educational efforts tend to assume that heterosexuality is the norm. Some traditionalists oppose anti-bullying campaigns on the grounds that they coddle sissies - sometimes a codeword for fairies.
These concerns have not been limited to the United States. In the United Kingdom, Section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988) generated significant public controversy relating to the public presentation of homosexuality. This provision stipulated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship." No prosecution was ever brought under this legislation, and following intense debate the section was repealed in 2003. Yet its enactment caused some schools in the UK to limit or self-censor, suppressing discussion (or “promotion”) of homosexual and bisexual relationships (and by extension transgender and sexual-diversity issues as well) within classes, sex education, and student activities - for fear of breaching the law.
While the situation in Britain has changed, Russia is seeing indications of a similar tendency to prohibition of "homosexual promotion" (as of 2013).
Arguably, the allegation of homosexual recruitment finds a scintilla of truth in Harry Hay’s launch of the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles in 1950. Basing himself on his experience in the political campaign in favor of Henry Wallace, Hay did energetically seek members for his new group. Yet the purpose of this and other GLBT tights organizations was never to form a “sex club” - far from it - but to work constructively together in order to improve the lives of all gay people.
C. Response. The demographic argument fails because gay men and lesbians can and do have children. Moreover, most young people who develop a homosexual orientation do so in a heterosexual household. Most report that their journey began with a lonely, gradually dawning understanding that they were irreversibly attracted to their own sex. If any recruiting took place, they recruited themselves. The gay orientation set in despite the intense heterosexual conditioning that surrounded them. Only after their own authentic being had become unmistakably clear to them, did these individuals begin to seek out peers who shared their sensibility.
BIBLOGRAPHY. John D’Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983, John Loughery, The Other Side of SilenceL Men’s Lives and Gay Identities: A Twentieth-Century History, New York: Henry Holt, 1998.