Published November 08, 2007 FoxNews.com
It is now 2016, and the Supreme Court has passed gay and lesbian marriage or marriage equality. It is worth looking back to see how far we have come – but then to realize that the Bill O’Reilly thinking exists today in many people.
Back to November 2007 and Bill’s inability to grasp that students voted two lesbians as the Cutest Couple for their school year book.
BILL O’REILLY, HOST: Illinois student at Waukegan High School voted seniors Brandy Johnson and Lupe Silva the cutest couple. So the self-proclaimed lesbians get their picture in the yearbook under the cute banner. At first, school officials tried to ban the category, but finally relented despite a parental objection.
Joining us now from Chicago with reaction, Dr. Laura Berman, who teaches psychiatry at Northwestern University.
Now, I’m saying this with all due respect to these two 17-year old girls. I don’t want to sound mean, condescending, or all that. I want to give you the thing.
I believe, based upon our investigation of this Waukegan High School deal, and the picture, and put up the picture again of these students, that the kids voted the — this couple the cutest couple to tweak the adults, doctor, to cause trouble, to make an issue of the yearbook.
Now this happens. As a former high school teacher, I can tell you, every school, every semester. That’s what’s in play here, in my opinion. What do you say?
LAURA BERMAN, PH.D., SEX EDUCATOR & THERAPIST: You know, yes, kids like to tweak the adults and like to be provocative. And all of that is true. I don’t think that this is necessarily completely about them trying to tweak the adults and trying to be provocative. I think this is about — and we’ve seen this in other high schools, as well, it’s starting to become at least a small trend, if not a large one, that homosexuality is becoming, thankfully, more normalized, because this is the time in adolescence that kids are exploring their sexuality and in fact starting to identify what their sexual orientation is.
O’REILLY: Now you realize that you said, thankfully, that, I don’t know, 50, 60 percent of the country is going to be angry with you for saying that. And here’s why. Don’t laugh. You got respect their point of view.
BERMAN: I know, I do.
O’REILLY: Look, as a medical doctor and psychiatrist…
BERMAN: I’m laughing and I’m going to be in trouble.
O’REILLY: …you have to respect their point of view because it is a valid point of view. And let me tell you what the point of view is.
BERMAN: What is the point of view?
O’REILLY: All right.
BERMAN: I’ll tell you if it’s valid.
O’REILLY: High school kids experiment. They experiment all over the place.
O’REILLY: High school kids – a lot of them are rebellious. They have a chip on their shoulder. They’ll do things, as I said, I think this is one of the examples, just to get a reaction, just to rebel.
A lot of parents – listen…
O’REILLY: …we don’t want to normalize homosexuality in a public way in an academic setting, high school, among minors. We don’t think that reflects…
O’REILLY: …how we feel about it. Well, for a number of reasons. One, social. It’s much more difficult to be homosexual than a heterosexual in America. Two, religious. There are people who believe that that kind of a life style…
O’REILLY: …is against their religion. And they passed it on to their children.
O’REILLY: Three, an exposition of sexuality in a minor – and that’s very important – in a minor situation is inappropriate in an academic setting. All of those things are valid, doctor…
O’REILLY: …and they shouldn’t be condescended to.
BERMAN: But we’re not talking — your — all of those things may be valid in certain populations, but we’re not — where you’re getting stuck is assuming that validating or acknowledging homosexuality as a reality is somehow going to make homosexuality more likely to happen.
And what we do know is that homosexual teens are four times more likely to be seriously bullied, two times more likely than heterosexual kids to be significantly involved in drugs and alcohol and abuse drugs and alcohol, and six times more likely than heterosexual teens to have suicidal attempts.
And so, it’s a huge at risk population. Yes, there is experimentation. Absolutely, but it’s also very true that many teens are becoming very clear that they are seriously attracted to the same sex, not the opposite sex. And they have nowhere to turn.
O’REILLY: Well, I think.
BERMAN: They have no support systems.
O’REILLY: Look, I’ve been very consistent on this since my first book was written. I think private behavior belongs in private settings.
O’REILLY: I don’t think it belongs in the high school yearbook.
BERMAN: But you’d be OK with the cutest couple, heterosexual couple, though.
O’REILLY: I would be, because that is the norm of society. See, it’s the same gay marriage thing. You have a six percent option here. Homosexuals, according to research, are 6 percent of the population.
BERMAN: But since.
BERMAN: But since African-Americans are a minority, would you have a problem with an African- American heterosexual couple?
O’REILLY: No, because African – because race is no conduct. There is a difference between who you are and what you do. And that is another.
BERMAN: So you’re judging homosexuality as.
O’REILLY: Not judging – I’m not judging anybody and anything. I’m telling you that there’s a legitimate point of view that, number one, you don’t allow sexuality to intrude in your high school yearbook, because they are minors.
BERMAN: Right. This isn’t about sexuality.
O’REILLY: Sure it is.
BERMAN: Just a couple.
O’REILLY: This is a lesbian couple that was voted in there…
BERMAN: But they’re not.
O’REILLY: …because they’re a lesbian couple.
BERMAN: But they’re not flaunting their sexuality.
O’REILLY: How do you know?
BERMAN: They’re just in love.
O’REILLY: Wait a minute.
BERMAN: In the picture.
O’REILLY: How do you know they’re not? You don’t know that.
BERMAN: They’re not flaunting their sexuality any more or any less than a heterosexual couple might.
O’REILLY: Look, doctor, there’s no reason why Brandy and Lupe had to declare themselves anything other than friends. They didn’t have to do that. They chose to do that.
BERMAN: If they’re in love, but they’re due — they have the same right to do that as any heterosexual.
O’REILLY: It’s not about – it’s a matter of appropriateness. That’s what it’s a matter of. And see, look.
BERMAN: But you’re passing — (INAUDIBLE) is you’re passing judgment.
O’REILLY: You’re dismissing all – look, I’m not – look, I don’t want any kid to be bullied. I wrote “Kids are Americans, Too” for gay kids who are getting bullied. They should read the boo, know their rights. I don’t want anything like that to happen.
O’REILLY: But you’re dismissing a very legitimate point. This is inappropriate. You do not define yourself in a high school yearbook.
BERMAN: Only if you judge sexuality.
O’REILLY: .in a sexual way. Period. You don’t do it.
BERMAN: These kids — these kids need support. And they need to know that it’s OK to be who they are.
O’REILLY: Well, let them go to a support group run by you. It doesn’t need to be.
BERMAN: Here I am.
O’REILLY: You know, you don’t have to take out posters and put them on your front lawn.
BERMAN: Because they’re supporting all the other kids that are stuck in hiding and now will feel safer.
O’REILLY: That is your extrapolation. Somebody else would say you’re encouraging that kind of experimentation…
BERMAN: You can’t encourage it.
O’REILLY: …when you don’t have to do it.
BERMAN: It happens anyway.
O’REILLY: All right, doctor, that’s the old argument. Let’s legalize drugs because it happens anyway. There’s got to be boundaries.
BERMAN: Drugs are not the same. Homosexuality is not illegal.
O’REILLY: But it — you know what I’m talking about.
BERMAN: And it shouldn’t be illegal.
O’REILLY: All right, always great to talk to you, by the way. A very good debate.
BERMAN: You, too.
O’REILLY: Thank you.