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Posts for January, 2012

The Outrageous Immorality of the Anti-gay Movement

Rob Tisinai

January 4th, 2012

I’m a dope, a patsy, a dupe. Or at least tragically naive: Somehow, it seems, I’m once again surprised by the unabashed dishonesty of our worst anti-gay opponents.

This time it’s Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons of NARTH, writing a long piece about same-sex adoption. It has a small section titled, “The children do suffer,” with this opening:

There are strong indications that children raised by same sex couples fare less well than children raised in stable homes with a mother and a father.

He brings up two studies to support this, one of them by Seton Hall professor Dr. Theodora Sirota, and then regretfully tells us:

Not surprisingly, there are scholars who oppose this weighty evidence.

I know something that might surprise Fitzgibbons:  One of those opposing scholars is — have you guessed? — Seton Hall professor Dr. Theodora Sirota, the source of his weighty evidence.

Actually, I take that back. Fitzgibbons won’t be surprised at all, because Sirota has already written to him, complaining that he has “mis-reported and misrepresented the results of my 2009 research in this blog.” Not surprisingly, Fitzgibbons has yet to correct his article.

I know this because Dr. Sirota (whom I’ve never met) contacted me herself yesterday, asking for help in exposing what he’s done.

You can read the full text of Sirota’s message here, but let me put it in a nutshell. To support his denunciation of same-sex adoption, Fitzgibbons offers this summary of Sirota’s research:

Researchers interviewed 68 women with gay or bisexual fathers and 68 women with heterosexual fathers. The women (average age 29 in both groups) with gay or bisexual fathers had difficulty with adult attachment issues in three areas: they were less comfortable with closeness and intimacy; they were less able to trust and depend on others; and they experienced more anxiety in relationships compared to the women raised by heterosexual fathers.

The problem is not with what Fitzgibbons said; it’s what he left out: The gay and bisexual fathers in Sirota’s study were married to the mothers.

Dr. Sirota’s article is about the impact of a homosexual father raising a girl in a heterosexual marriage. It has nothing to do with same-sex couples, nothing to do with same-sex adoption at all.

You’d never know that from Fitzgibbon’s piece, and that makes his piece a lie. This kind of sin-by-omission is nothing new; we’ve seen it from far more reputable scholars than this NARTHer. Here, though, we have the original researcher explaining why this is an abuse of her research and asking us for help.

Dr. Sirota’s explanation is crucial. Her data suggest the daughters’ issues were related not so much to their fathers’ sexuality, but to factors like “divorce, maternal anger/bitterness, father absence, etc.” In other words (my words, not Sirota’s), pretty much the results you’d expect when a gay man tries to follow the anti-gay advice of “choosing” to be “straight.”

That’s a provocative finding. In fact, it’s the opposite of what Fitzgibbons is trying to establish. Our opponents claim their concern is all about the kids, but how do they reconcile that with these other things they tell us:

  1. Bans on same-sex marriage don’t discriminate because gays can marry a member of the opposite sex, just like anyone else (recently heard from Michele Bachmann).
  2. The purpose of marriage is procreation.

And yet kids are hurt when gay men live by this philosophy. Given our opponents’ pure and unselfish regard for children, I eagerly await their loud and public reversal of what they’ve pushed on us for long.

So let’s do a quick recap:

  • Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons presents himself as a science-based mental-health professional.
  • He distorts another scholar’s work to advance his agenda.
  • This scholar points out the distortion.
  • Fitzgibbons fails to correct the distortion.

Two points present themselves, one minor and one major.

First (and this is the minor one), every time our opponents unrepentantly twist someone’s research, they admit they have no honest case. Always point this out — always.

More important, though, is the outrageous immorality of Fitzgibbon’s work. And there’s plenty of outrage for plenty of people: For Dr. Sirota, whose research has been abused. For same-sex parents, who’ve been libeled by that abuse. And, most of all, for Fitzgibbons’ own loyal readers, who are counting on him for the truth.

This is a moral issue, and it’s becoming clear we can better advance our cause on the grounds of morality rather than tolerance. When Ted Olson and David Boies made their case against Prop 8, they did so on a moral basis: Same-sex relationships have the same potential for moral value as opposite-sex pairings, and it is a moral wrong to deny us full citizenship and equality. In this effort, Fitzgibbons becomes our ally, a case study in the moral bankruptcy of our extreme opposition.

Dr. Sirota has asked us to help expose this corruption of her work, and it’s the easiest exposure possible, requiring nothing but a simple declaration of truth. Please help her, either by sharing this, or (even better) by using her words to craft a message of your own.

Bogus “American College of Pediatricians” distributes deliberately fraudulent anti-gay propaganda to schools

Timothy Kincaid

April 5th, 2010

In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics, an association of 60,000 pediatricians, voted to adopt a position in support of gay parents. Six pediatricians who opposed this policy on religious grounds rallied like-minded friends and, on October 19th, about 15 people founded the American College of Pediatricians. It would be accurate to describe this organization as a vehicle through which a small minority of anti-gay doctors advocate in opposition to gay rights, abortion rights, and euthanasia.

According to Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink, at the end of March, the ACP sent out a letter to school superintendents. They don’t say how many schools received the letter, but even one is too many.

Despite the name, ACP is not a institute of higher learning. Nor is it a professional organization for pediatricians. This is an advocacy group dedicated to political goals which is using an authoritative sounding name to fool the unaware.

Yes, their officers and their board are all pediatricians (usually older gentlemen in the South), but their “Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee” reads like a members roster of the virulently anti-gay National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

The connections don’t stop at the committee level. One ACP board member, Quentin Van Meter, was a featured speaker at the 2009 NARTH Convention. And Michelle Cretella, a real nasty piece of work, sits on both boards. She is also listed as the “chair of the Sexuality Committee, American College of Pediatricians”.

With connections this deep to an organization whose primary function is to generate anti-gay propaganda masquerading as scientific research, it should not be too surprising that the American College of Pediatrics uses the same tactics. Their letter to the schools is rife with lies, misrepresentations, distortions and outright fraud. In fact, there is little there that has any distant relationship to truth.

The letter – and the website it directs the reader – makes a number of claims. And the ACP has adopted Paul Cameron’s tactic of lengthy footnotes. But, as with Cameron, the supporting documents do not support the claims. Let’s take a look at the first three.

Homosexuality is not a genetically-determined, unchangeable trait.

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the Genome Project, has stated that while homosexuality may be genetically influenced, it is “… not hardwired by DNA, and (that) whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predetermination[s].” He also states that “…the prominent role of individual free will choices have a profound effect on us.”

Well that’s not the first time that Byrd has twisted Collins’ work to support his own agenda. And Collins has refuted this misinterpretation. Twice.

The evidence we have at present strongly supports the proposition that there are hereditary factors in male homosexuality — the observation that an identical twin of a male homosexual has approximately a 20% likelihood of also being gay points to this conclusion, since that is 10 times the population incidence. But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.

Misquoting once is perhaps an error in judgment. Repeating the process after you have been refuted is fraud.

Next:

Homosexual attraction is determined by a combination of familial, environmental, social and biological influences. Inheritance of predisposing personality traits may play a role for some. Consequently, homosexual attraction is changeable.

Consequently? Oh please dear God don’t let our nation have school superintendents so stupid that they don’t immediately burst out laughing.

First, while we know that genetics plays a role for at least some gay men (there’s less study performed on women), we do not know whether the other contributing factors include family, environment (in utero, social, chemical, or other), or social. Interestingly, other than a book by a NARTH member, all other footnoted sources were support for the role that genetics plays.

But as for “changeable”, the evidence suggests quite the opposite. And to find that orientation has a number of contributing factors does not “consequently” support that claim.

This is simply bait and switch deception.

Third,

Most students (over 85%) with same-sex attractions will ultimately adopt a heterosexual orientation if not otherwise encouraged. Most questioning students are experiencing temporary sexual confusion or are involved in experimentation.

Rigorous studies demonstrate that most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25. In one study, as many as 26% of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation, yet only 2-3% of adults actually identify themselves as homosexual. Therefore, the majority of sexually-questioning youth ultimately adopt a heterosexual identity.

Impressive, right?

Except that the source they use for the “26% of 12-year-olds” doesn’t quite say what they pretend.

From the article:

The percentage of students who were “unsure” about orientation steadily declined with age from 25.9% in 12-year-old persons to 5% in 18-year-old students.

But what does this “uncertainty” mean? Are these same-sex attracted kids?

The percentage of students reporting predominantly homosexual attractions steadily increased with age, while the proportion with bisexual or predominantly heterosexual attractions decreased.

In fact, only 2.2% of 12-year-olds reported predominantly homosexual attractions.

These kids were not “sexually-questioning youth”. And they were not “students with same-sex attractions”. Rather, these 12-year-olds were not yet “sure” about their sexual orientation. Frankly, they probably weren’t exactly sure what it all meant. But they did figure it out over time.

And were they “involved in experimentation”? Not according to this study.

Overall, 1% of respondents reported some homosexual experience; and 52%, some heterosexual experience… For males, but not females, the prevalence of reported homosexual experiences increased with age, from 0.4% at 12 years to a peak of 2.8% at 18.”

Everything that ACP claimed is refuted by going to the source they credit. This isn’t a “perspective” or a “way of reading the data”. This is a lie.

They go on with the usual litany of lies. You know, that homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle wrought with physical and mental illness caused by sexual abuse. But therapy has proven to be effective in curing homosexuality (and behavior is a choice anyway) so you shouldn’t allow support groups on campus (they aren’t good for kids). It’s pretty evil stuff.

No school should rely on this bogus organization for truth. They have none to offer.

But what they have done goes beyond opinion. It goes beyond faith or values or religion. This was a deliberate attempt to deceive. It twisted the work of legitimate researchers and sought to establish positions in educational institutions that are the opposite of what their research found to be best for the kids. If school superintendents rely on this information, it could harm the lives of children.

The board of directors of this organization are licensed medical doctors. They are pediatricians. It is unconscionable what they have done.

Researcher: LifeSite and OneNewsNow Misrepresent Our Review

Jim Burroway

September 24th, 2008

A British researcher has denounced two North American anti-gay web sites for distorting his research. University College London professor Michael King, in a statement to Box Turtle Bulletin, clarified the findings of his research on depression and suicide among LGB people, and emphasized the importance that “all sectors of society welcome them as equal and valuable citizens.”

Professor King spoke out in response to an article that appeared last Wednesday in LifeSite, an unofficial Catholic web site, which claimed that the “homosexual lifestyle [is] strongly linked to depression [and] suicide.” The same article by Kathleen Gilbert appeared again Saturday on the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow. It began:

A new study in the United Kingdom has revealed that homosexuals are about 50% more likely to suffer from depression and engage in substance abuse than the rest of the population, reports Health24.com.

After analyzing 25 earlier studies on sexual orientation and mental health, researchers, in a study published in the medical journal BMC Psychiatry, also found that the risk of suicide jumped over 200% if an individual had engaged in a homosexual lifestyle.

The LifeSite/OneNewsNow article claims that the study proves lesbians, gays and bisexuals experience this risk not because of stigma or discrimination, but because homosexuality itself is a mental disorder:

Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist and member of the Catholic Medical Association, says there is evidence that homosexuality is itself a manifestation of a psychological disorder accompanied by a host of mental health problems, including “major depression, suicidal ideation and attempts, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, conduct disorder, low self-esteem in males and sexual promiscuity with an inability to maintain committed relationships.”

The BMC Psychiatry article by professor Michael King and colleagues is available online for free. This means that you don’t have to take anyone’s word for anything; you can read it yourself. And as you do, you’ll notice that the study bears little resemblance to Gilbert’s description of it.

First, the authors make it clear that participating in a “homosexual lifestyle” — and by that I presume Gilbert means sexual activity — is not a necessary risk factor. The studies that the authors analyzed defined homosexuality and bisexuality by many different standards, including sexual attractions and identity apart from behavior.

The authors also make it clear that while lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people appear to be at greater risk than heterosexual people of mental disorders and suicidal behavior:

LGB people are subject to institutionalised prejudice, social stress, social exclusion (even within families) and anti-homosexual hatred and violence and often internalise a sense of shame about their sexuality.

And:

Although our evidence does not specify the nature of such mechanisms, there is no evidence to suggest that homosexuality is itself a disorder that is thereby subject to a higher co-morbidity than is found in heterosexuals.

In fact, even if Gilbert hadn’t seen the study itself — even though it is available online — her “report” doesn’t even bear much resemblance to the Health24.com article that she claims to cite but doesn’t link.

We asked Professor King for his reaction to the LifeSite/OneNewsNow article. This was his reply:

LifeSite News and OneNewsNow have misinterpreted our review.  Evidence from around the world identifies the main stressors leading to mental distress in gay and lesbian people as discrimination, prejudice, bullying in schools and colleges, and the consequent need for many LGB people to keep their homosexual identity secret, even from their families.

Our review did not examine links between mental disorder and homosexual “behaviour” or “lifestyle”.  Our work reviewed studies of the mental health of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and sadly, those studies showed that it is people (not behaviour) that are discriminated against, and not least by religious groups and organisations.

Discrimination on the grounds of sexuality is even more devastating than other forms of discrimination such as racism, as it reaches right into families and leaves no refuge for its victims.

We suggest in our review that the availability of alcohol and drugs at gay social venues may be a factor in the greater risk of drug and alcohol misuse in LGB people.  Reducing this problem is something for which LGB people must take greater responsibility.  However, the fact that discrimination still exists in our societies means that many are forced to use such venues to meet each other rather than through more common ways available to heterosexuals, such as at work, during the pursuit of hobbies and past-times, or at church.

There is now abundant evidence that homosexuality is not itself a mental disorder and that it is compatible with a healthy lifestyle.  We shall only begin to see a reduction in mental distress and deliberate self harm in LGB people when all sectors of society welcome them as equal and valuable citizens.

To throw more confusion into the mix, Gilbert tossed in a discredited 2007 study by Nazi-apologist Paul Cameron which supposedly demonstrated that “that the lifespan of a homosexual is on average 24 years shorter than that of a heterosexual.” She also used Cameron’s study to claim that discrimination hat nothing to do with it, saying that, “Homosexuals in the United States and Denmark – the latter of which is acknowledged to be highly tolerant of homosexuality – both die on average in their early 50′s, or in their 40′s if AIDS is the cause of death.”

We have already examined glaring flaws in Cameron’s study, as has Danish epidemiologist Morton Frisch who described his study as “humorous example of agenda-driven, pseudo-scientific gobbledygook.” Cameron’s false claims of presenting this “study” before the Eastern Psychological Association earned him an official condenmnation from EPA president Phile Hineline in April 2007.

Gilbert’s brief article in LifeSite and OneNewsNow combines the worst misrepresentations of legitimate science coupled with the worst example of phony pseudoscience — all in six short paragraphs. That’s quite a remarkable if dubious achievement. What Gilbert lacks in veracity, she certainly makes up for in ingenuity — and audacity. Maybe someday she’ll decide the truth ought to play a role as well. Somehow I doubt it.

[Thanks to regular reader Stefano A. for his help in gathering material for this post.]