Letter to the Editor: Peeping “is not reflective of any sexual orientation”

The report, while commendable in interviewing the maintenance staff and police officers who are working to keep everyone in our campus community safe, ended with a quote that is based on faulty assumptions and unrelated to the article’s topic. The concluding sentence of the article, “I don’t agree with homosexual lifestyle (sic). I have a serious problem with a dude looking at me”, does not fit with the rest of the report which is about the campus response to holes drilled into bathroom stalls and possible – though the article does not state whether this has actually happened – “peeping”.

“Peeping” is not reflective of any sexual orientation and the assumptions inherent in that quote are reflective of misinformation on the part of the student who made the statement and the reporter and editor who agreed to include that statement in the article. Granted, the quote came from a student and students are by definition in the process of learning. College may be the first time for many when assumptions are challenged: exposure to varying points of view and learning to seek out, understand, and apply evidence-based conclusions are sometimes first encountered in college. One overt piece of misinformation in the quote is the reference to the “homosexual lifestyle”.

There is no “homosexual lifestyle” just as there is no “heterosexual lifestyle.” Irrespective of orientation, lifestyle may change across the course of a lifetime, e.g., “sowing one’s oats”, “settling down”, and so on. Lifestyle depends on the political, social, economic, and historical contexts in which people live. People of all sexual orientations, however, are found across the globe irrespective of political, social, economic, or historical context. Finally, implied in the article are behaviors associated with what may be, depending on the circumstances, a paraphilic disorder and/or illegal behavior: voyeurism, one type of which is “peeping”, is not an expression of any sexual orientation. Neither is vandalism. Thank you, American River Current, for highlighting the work of our maintenance staff and police officers in their efforts to keep everyone in the community safe. For any student wishing to seek out, understand, and apply evidence-based conclusions about sexuality, I suggest taking one of the very popular psychology courses on human sexuality taught at ARC.

N. Fratello, professor of psychology


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