Surgeon General Nominee Wrote Anti-Gay Tract

Jim Burroway

June 6th, 2007

Dr. James HolsingerPresident Bush’s nomination of Dr. James Holsinger to be the next Surgeon General has raised red flags across the LGBT community. Dr. Holsinger, a Kentucky cardiologist and professor, was nominated on May 24, but his past writings and activities seem to indicate an egregious anti-gay bias, which would be a very troubling background for one who is to become the advocate-in-chief on all health matters.

Concerns were first raised when we learned that Dr. Holsinger and his wife were founders of Hope Springs Community Church in Lexington, Kentucky. According to the pastor, Hope Springs operates an ex-gay ministry. It’s unclear to me how involved Dr. Holsinger is in this ministry, if he’s involved at all. But he appears to be very active in the church overall, and so his views on the ex-gay movement are certainly worth examining.

But there is another fact that has surfaced which I find far more troubling. Holsinger is one of nine members of the United Methodist Church Judicial Council. As a member of the council he opposed a decision to allow a lesbian to be an associate pastor, and supported a pastor who would not permit an openly gay man to join the church.

But he did not arrive at that opinion on theological concerns alone, and this is where his nomination as Surgeon General takes on an especially sinister turn. The Human Rights Campaign has revealed that Holsinger wrote a white paper for the United Methodist Church titled, “Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality.” In that paper, he gives his purportedly scientific opinion of the inherent inequality of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgenders.

I find this especially troubling. There is an active genre of anti-gay literature which purports to offer scientific evidence that the gay “lifestyle” is inherently unhealthy. The problem with this genre is that it is easy to go to the medical literature to prove that any population poses a health threat to society. I did it when I wrote my parody of this literary genre, “The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing the Myths. Several anti-gay extremists have discovered how easy it is to do this, even though the methods behind this genre are demonstrably worthless from a scientific standpoint.

We look to the Surgeon General to set aside personal biases to be an effective advocate for the health of all Americans. One of the best examples of this in recent history is Dr. C Everett Koop, an evangelical Christian who bravely battled strong anti-gay forces in the Reagan Administration in his attempts to give rational, scientifically sound information about the nascent AIDS crisis. While Dr. Koop may have had strong personal opinions on the morality of homosexuality, he took seriously his position as health advocate for all Americans.

At this point, I am not confident that Dr. Holsinger will be able to do this.

However, without seeing the paper myself, I cannot know exactly what he wrote. If someone can forward me a copy of the paper or tell me where I can find it, I’d be extremely grateful. I have access to a great medical library and would love the opportunity to give this paper a good vetting. If you have javascript enabled in your browser, you’ll find my e-mail address at the top of the sidebar at left.

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who wrote in to provide links. You can find a PDF version of the article at the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader web site under his photo. And the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Religion Editor Frank Lockwood posted an HTML browser-friendly version on his blog.

UPDATE: For more information on Holsinger’s paper, see A Closer Look at Dr. James Holsinger’s “Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality”.


June 6th, 2007

Looks like it’s up Jim. I immediately thought of you when I looked through the footnotes. :)

The file is under his picture.

Timothy Kincaid

June 6th, 2007

Ah, shades of Cameron.

Shocker: a study of sexually transmitted diseases showed that gay men had sexually transmitted diseases. In equally startling new, a study of visitors to the local SPCA showed that gay men like puppies.

And I love the claim that heteros who have anal sex are fine, but those nasty gays are different. They participate in fisting.

This is not a scientific article, it’s a hate tract not much different than you’d find from Paul Cameron.


June 6th, 2007

Since you asked, Pam Spaulding seems to have posted the paper:


June 6th, 2007

Holsinger is obsessed with rectums (takes one to know one sorta thing?). Alright, so the butt is for elimination and shouldn’t be used for sex. Isn’t it interesting that men urinate through their penis. Therefore, it should not be used for sex either. See, I can play “scientist” too!


June 8th, 2007

If you put references on anything, it looks scientific and thus impartial! Whee!


June 10th, 2007

The penis obviously has a dual function, Mr. Homer, while the anus does not. The fact that the anus is so frequently damaged when foreign objects are placed in it and that fecal material is so full of bacteria that can be damaging if communicated to other people through orifices (the mouth or the opening of the penis) should stand as fairly obvious and objective facts that use of the anus as a sexual organ will entail very significant health risk to anyone but the most ideologically confused.


June 10th, 2007

Mr. Kincaid, if you actually bother to read the paper at issue, you will see it does not contain the silly claim you make about distinguishing homosexual and heterosexual anal intercourse regarding their health risks. The paper simply notes the objective fact that people who insist on using the anus as a sexual organ will suffer higher risks of disease and health disorder.

Jim Burroway

June 11th, 2007

ATR, if you actually bothered to look into the paper, you’d discover that it’s chock-full of deliberately distorted scientific literature. The details on that are

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