Monday, March 23, 2009

They lie in Canada too : ‘Ex-gay’ Christian singer misrepresents statistics

Today comes a reminder that religious right lies about the lgbt community don't take place solely in America.

Over a week ago, Canadian "ex-gay" and Christian recording artist David MacDonald published a piece entitled Gay Sex is Downright Dangerous and Abstinence Won't Kill You: I Should Know

Be forewarned, however. The piece does not contain any salacious details on his past sexual history. MacDonald chooses to repeat the inaccurate mantra that "homosexuality is a deadly lifestyle."

And he has statistics to "prove" this assertion. An added feature of these "statistics" is that they come from gay advocates in five Canadian cities.

The statistics are as follows:

Life expectancy of gay/bisexual men in Canada is 20 years less than the average; that is 55 years.

GLB people commit suicide at rates from 2 to 13.9 times more often than average.

GLB people have smoking rates 1.3 to 3 times higher than average.


GLB people have rates of alcoholism 1.4 to 7 times higher than average.

GLB people have rates of illicit drug use 1.6 to 19 times higher than average.

GLB people show rates of depression 1.8 to 3 times higher than average.


Gay and bisexual men (MSM) comprise 76.1% of AIDS cases.

Gay and bisexual men (MSM) comprise 54% of new HIV infections each year.

GLB people are at a higher risk for anal cancers.

I emailed MacDonald and he generously supplied me with where he received the statistics.

They came from a complaint by Canadian gay rights groups who were demanding that the government do more for lgbt health issues.

MacDonald seems to be under the mindset that since pro-gay groups are saying these things, then it proves his point.

Wrong.

While MacDonald was somewhat accurate with his citations, he still misrepresented them.

In his piece, MacDonald claimed that the lgbt orientation is a dangerous lifestyle and the statistics he cited proves this. But that’s not what the complaint said.

From page two of the complaint:

The health status of GLB Canadians is among the poorest of any population in Canada. These health and wellness issues have been linked through research to the experience of living in a homophobic and heterosexist culture that undermines the dignity of GLB people and impinges on their ability to strive for success and happiness. We assume that Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will tend to reflect the homophobic and heterosexist culture from which their personnel are drawn. On that basis, we insist that they have a responsibility to rise above that tendency in order to achieve their Mission and Vision as they apply to GLB Canadians. Research into the causes and nature of health and wellness of GLB people is limited and needs to be supported at levels that will allow the appropriate catch-up relative to similar research aimed at the general population. What research exists to date clearly demonstrates that GLB people are significantly impacted by homophobia and heterosexism.

In other words, while the complaint by the pro-gay groups acknowledges unhealthy behaviors in the gay community (although it may be inaccurate about the lifespan claim - that sounds like the 1997 Canadian study that has consistently been distorted by the religious right), it places the blame solely on lgbts having to live in a homophobic society as well as inaction by the Canadian government on lgbt health issues.

And this point is made time and time again throughout the entire complaint.

However, MacDonald doesn't say a word about this point in his piece.

This is a tactic we have seen so many times with members of the religious right - i.e. use statistics to claim that the lgbt orientation is dangerous while omitting the explanation behind the statistics that clearly lay the blame on a third factor (i.e. homophobia, lack of research in the health and well-being of the lgbt community).

In this case, some may say what’s the big deal? It’s just some wannabe Christian singer in Canada?

I say it’s perfect look into the mindset of someone so wrapped up in proving what he thinks the Bible says about homosexuality that he is willing to ignore what it says about truth.

24 comments:

David MacDonald said...

In the article I cite the title of the original article -
"A group of six Canadian queers is taking on homophobia in Canada's healthcare system by filing a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission."

I hardly consider that hiding the homophopbia complaint.

BlackTsunami said...

But you still should have let folks know the context of why they were citing the statistics. You gave an inaccurate impression that the negative behaviors they cited were indicative of the lgbt orientation rather than the homophobia lgbts face.

David MacDonald said...

Some of the studies cited in the HRC complaint examine purely sexual activity (i.e., Health Canada) which indicate higher risk to gay sex. I think the fact that the Rainbow Coalition has accepted and used these stats is significant. Beyond the previous links to the HRC complaint, in addition to quoting "Homophobia" in the title of the original article I had, as per your earlier request, made crystal clear the reasons for the HRC. It is here

BlackTsunami said...

David,

I'm not going to even BEGIN to tell you the errors in the link you sent me. My original post was about a piece you published entitled "Gay Sex is Downright Dangerous and Abstinence Won't Kill You: I Should Know."

In that piece, you cited statistics from a complaint by Canadian gay groups to give an inference that negative behaviors (i.e. depression, etc) is indicative of the lgbt orientation. The connotation you were giving seemed to be "see, even gay groups are saying that the homosexual lifestyle is dangerous."

But you neglected to mention that the gay groups lodging the complaint attributed those negative behaviors not to the lgbt orientation but homophobia and inaction on lgbt health issues.

If you want to correct this, then maybe you should write another piece indicating what you omitted in the first one.

Scott said...

Alvin, I believe the guy is pathological and crazier than hell (like a few American "ex-gays" I won't mention - like Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas).

Just recently he said: "The culture of pushing sex down people's throats is not working".

I'm not sorry, but no "culture" shoves sex down your throat more than so-called "christians". It's an obsession, and people will eventually get sick of hearing about it all the time (as they continue to flee from the church).

It's just like when a "recovered alcoholic" talks about drinking all the time: they stand from a distance, obsessing about the booze. And they condemn others for having a beer; obviously it's "not fair" to them if others can enjoy a drink.

And after all that obsessing, you KNOW they're going to snap and go on a binge.

If you don't want the sex or booze, fine. Shut the fuck up, and move on with your life. Nobody wants to hear your crybaby testimonies, and it's likely you're a hypocrite, currently engaging in whatever you're obsessed over.

David MacDonald said...

I suggest there is a difference between orientation, and sex. You are accusing me of saying orientation is a problem. That is a misrepresentation of my article. I did not say that. The Health Canada report was about sex.
It does not mention Homophobia once as the cause of the statistics. Surely it is imaginable that we can make a distinction between orientation and sex. I have, and so far it's it's worked out ok. www.GayTestimony.com The weird thing is that despite me not mentioning "orientation" as the cause, the Rainbow Coalition did. Page 5 of the HRC report says: "Gay men, lesbians and bisexual men and women are
at higher risk for some cancers as a result of their
sexual orientation"
So even if I was doing what you are accusing me of, I would not be misrepresenting the Rainbow Coalition.

BlackTsunami said...

David,

your piece gave the impression that the lgbt orientation is indicative of negative behaviors. You do try to skin the cat by saying that "gay sex" is the problem but to do so is dishonest because you tie in the gay rights movement to sexual behavior as if to infer that gays are fightng for the right to have wild sex. That simply is not true.

Now on your second point, I don't know what report you read, but the one you sent me did list homophobia as a reason for the health problems regarding lgbts. Remember, I even posted a portion of the report/complaint:

"These health and wellness issues have been linked through research to the experience of living in a homophobic and heterosexist culture that undermines the dignity of GLB people and impinges on their ability to strive for success and happiness. We assume that Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will tend to reflect the homophobic and heterosexist culture from which their personnel are drawn. On that basis, we insist that they have a responsibility to rise above that tendency in order to achieve their Mission and Vision as they apply to GLB Canadians. Research into the causes and nature of health and wellness of GLB people is limited and needs to be supported at levels that will allow the appropriate catch-up relative to similar research aimed at the general population. What research exists to date clearly demonstrates that GLB people are significantly impacted by homophobia and heterosexism."

Lastly, please stop posting links to your site. While I generally wouldn't disapprove of it, I feel that you are trying to sneak them through.

Anonymous said...

The twisting of statistics on depression and suicide amongst LGBT people by the anti-gay extremist lobby is particularly deplorable, and degrades the suffering of any person, regardless of sexual orientation, who has suffered emotional distress. I am pleased to say that thoughful Christians have looked at the stormy relationship between religion and mental health and ackowledged the role that social ostracisation (on any grounds) can have on well-being.

Mental health organisations who have studied the experiences of minority groups reveal the terrible toll taken by bigotry and systemic disadvantage. It affects many groups of people and contributes to the higher levels of mental illness affecting people of colour, the economically disadvantaged, linguistic minorities and many other groups. For LGBT people, the cruelty meted out by professional anti-gay organisations is self-fulfilling. By undermining gay people from childhood, and fuelling naked aggression, the anti-gay extremists wilfully foster negative mental health, depression and suicide. They they callously cite the victims as evidence for the crusade against the next generation of non-heterosexual youngsters.

The good news is that in countries where homophobia is on the wane (most of Europe for example), mental health indicators for LGBT populations are more closely approximate to heterosexual ones.

http://www.jeramyt.org/gay/gayhealth.html

http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2007/10/in-brief-new-study-of-gay-and-lesbian-mental-health/

http://www.suicide.org/gay-and-lesbian-suicide.html

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/home1.aspx

David MacDonald said...

The HRC complaint reference 6 is:

HIV and AIDS in Canada—Surveillance Report to December 31,
2007. (2007) Public Health Agency of Canada. Ottawa.
URL:
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/aids-sida/publication/survreport/pdf/
survrep1207.pdf


There is no mention of Homophobia as the cause in that Health Canda report.

The HRC complaint does blame Homophobia, it also clearly says that gay sex has a higher risk by its very nature, an they even take it farther than my article and say "orientation" is a cause. (page 5)

My experience in the community is that there is more abuse from within the community on itself than from exterior abuse. I witnessed horrific treatment of people within the community to brothers and sisters in the same community. It really disturbed me. The shunning of anyone who has a few extra pounds, the back biting and gossip and relationship abuse. etc...

Anyway, I feel that I've experienced that on the blogs this week. I find being called a liar publicly is extremely abusive. Page five of the HRC report clearly says gay sex is more dangerous. There is no lie in my article and I mention Homophobia in the first paragraph. It is an article that you don't agree with. And that's OK. But painting Christians as 2 dimensional paper dolls is a form of dehumanization, in my opinion is just as bad as Bible belt fundamentalism, or perhaps worse.

BlackTsunami said...

David, you have not been unfairly called out here.

Again - you wrote a column misrepresenting a complaint by Canadian gay rights groups to claim that the lgbt orientation is dangerous because we have dangerous sex.

You DID NOT say that the gay rights groups placed the blame of the statistics they cited on homophobia and government inaction when it comes to lgbt health.

Now you are admitting this when you say clearly - "The HRC complaint does blame Homophobia."

The complaint, which you cited, is what you sent me. It is where you received your statistics (at least that is what you told me) - not the Health Canada report that you are trying to steer the conversation to now.

The complaint is what you used in the column therefore it is what I am talking about.

You mentioned the word "homophobia" in your first paragraph - "I hate to quote statistics, but Canada's largest gay paper XTRA recently reported that, "A group of six Canadian queers is taking on homophobia in Canada's healthcare system by filing a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission."

But it is a superficial mention.

Also, could you be more clear about what exactly the group said about "orientation." I noticed that you did not go into detail about that.

It's sad that you want to play the persecution card here when you are at fault.

BlackTsunami said...

David,

I found what you said about orientation and you DID not give the complete sentence or context. It says:

"Gay men, lesbians and bisexual men and women areat higher risk for some cancers as a result of their sexual orientation and because preventative messaging is not targeted at GLB communities."

So at first glance, it may seem that you have a point but the bigger question would be why did you omit the last part of the sentence.

You see that speaks more to my point about the intentional omission of facts on your part to give false impressions.

David MacDonald said...

I guess that makes every newspaper in the country liars too. Perhaps we should wander around this web site see if you provide relevant quotes to your position. Ergo, the quotes from the Pope last week ignored the point of what he said regarding HIV.

The second clause of the sentence you are pointing to follows the word "AND" and therefore each clause stands on its own. That's grammar 101. He is proposing two reasons for the increased risk of some cancers. One of them is orientation, the other is education. I think it is very significant that he says orientation is a cause. There is no "lie" in bringing that to your attention.

I would never blame my health on my orientation. My actions are not determined by my orientation. I think Rainbow Health is doing the rights movement a great disservice.

BlackTsunami said...

Every newspaper in the country didn't misrepresent like you did.

Also, don't you think that point about grammar is a petty defense? You knew you were omitting a crucial part of that statement.

Lastly, health problems are about more than orientation. African-Americans have problems with high blood pressure because of the foods some of us eat. That can be traced back to slavery when African-Americans were given the worst part of the pig to eat and we made the best out of it. Subsequently that diet staple has gone down through the years as a part of "soul food" and has given my people health problems.

Or try reading Native Son. Richard Wright posed a theory that the racism in the United States at the time was creating more black criminals by denying black men educational and social opportunities.

These two examples can be compared to how homophobia breeds depression, which leads to other bad behaviors and mistrust of the medical community by lgbts, which leads to a lack of care.

It's not a matter of blaming, it's a matter of finding out the reason why things happen the way they do.

Greg said...

You know, this is all sounding very familiar. Let me elaborate. In a previous life I was an alcoholic. I began attending A.A. meetings and learned that alcoholism is just a symptom of the real problem. The real problem was me. I met so many people who used to blame all their problems and their alcoholism on everyone else. We would say: “if I could just get a better job, move to a different city, or meet the right girl. Then I could stop drinking.” But no matter how many jobs I went through, girlfriends I had, or places I lived, my drinking didn’t stop. Because alcoholism is a self-destructive habit, guilt and shame followed and only perpetuated the problem.

Now if I’m reading this thread right, it sounds like the homosexuals are blaming society and it’s lack of acceptance for all the problems that homosexuals face. This is a clear cut case of denial! Coupled with this is the propaganda that “Gay is ok!” You’ll remember what I said in a previous thread? “You are what you read”. The homosexual propaganda machine has gays convinced that homosexuality is a perfectly benevolent lifestyle and therefore there is no need to stop being gay. I fully realise this makes me a “homophobe”, but I’ve been called worse. When gays accept that substance abuse, depression, suicide and violence are synonymous with homosexuality, then, and only then will the problems be dealt with. But this will mean placing the issues squarely on the shoulders of homosexuality itself. This is what gays don’t like, because it means they have to “own” the problem.

In my experience gays don’t like having the finger pointed at them. Which is why they lobbied to have G.R.I.D. changed to Aids, and why they tear pages out of Bibles. These actions are shear denial of truth. There are many lifestyle choices that go directly against the laws of God. Guilt and shame naturally follow. With that comes substance abuse in order to mask the guilt. This only escalates the matter. Depression sets in and a propensity toward suicide. A homosexual life choice puts all these other issues into motion.

There are many gays who don’t seem to suffer from guilt and shame. This is because they have ignored Gods call to them to change for so long that he stopped calling. The Bible says, “They have been handed over to a reprobate mind”. They no longer see the truth, even if they wanted to.

Homosexuals don’t do themselves any favours either. Many of us weren’t raised in this twisted “Sex worshiping” culture. Our parents taught us morals and values and self respect. So when we see the pride parade on TV or the Internet, our jaws hit the floor.
That’s the most disgusting, perverted thing I’ve ever seen. Then we hear that gays are lobbing to get married and adopt children. Our thoughts go back to what we saw at the parade. Naturally our response is a resounding “Hell No”!

It almost makes me want to wish you get the total freedom you’re looking for. Only because these issues won’t get any better. You’ll just blame the problems on something else. Take Amsterdam for example. They thought legalizing drugs and prostitution would bring freedom from these problems. But they only get worse.

One more thing. How much acceptance do you want? You’ve done in 30 years what other “Discriminated” groups haven’t accomplished in over 100. You get damn near everything you ask for. But like a spoiled rotten little kid, it’s not enough, you want more and more. You guys need to just stop and count your blessings.

BlackTsunami said...

Well it's obvious that you didn't read the thread right. Your comments are shortsighted as well as homophobic and let me tell you why:

Lgbts are not the same as alcoholics. The majority of us lead moral, happy lives in spite of the lies thrown at us by folks like yourself.

You have a right to believe what you want about homosexuality but the line should be drawn with making lgbts lead our lives in accordance to your beliefs and bad notions. For example, you infer that we somehow harm children. Are you aware that many children in America are raised in same sex households and do thrive well. Of course you probably don't care because the reality of this fact interferes with your image of lgbts being hedonistic, depressed people.

And as for the thing you talk about regarding "shame" and "depression," it's usually because we are constantly inudated with lies about how we are alcoholics and how God hates us. Studies show that when lgbts have a problem with depression and suicide, particularly lgbt children, it's the effects of a unaccepting society.

And your others comments about disease, substance abuse, etc. sounds like you took a crash course in studying the discredited work of Paul Cameron (look him up, particularly on this blog.)And I might add that what you mentioned regarding disease, substance abuse, and etc. shows that you DIDN'T read this thread at all. Those lies are addressed here.

Basically it comes down to this: your ramblings repeats every lie, every distortion, and every inaccurate talking point pushed by the religious right. Nothing you say is correct and its no different than anti-Semites say about Jews or racists say about African-Americans.

I "appreciate" your concern regarding what lgbts want, but I hardly think that you are in the position to know what we want, so maybe you shouldn't try to make yourself an authority on such matters.

Greg said...

I’m sorry. You missed my point entirely. From your response, it looks like you focussed on smaller things I said that offended you, and completely missed what I was trying to get across. Please know, I’m not trying to be offensive. It’s very easy to take things the wrong way when trying to hold a conversation through the written word. Especially when those talking have opposing views. So I’m not going to worry about that. I could easily write several pages trying to clarify my point. It would be next to impossible to do that without saying something that could be taken the wrong way.

Instead I’d like to ask you a question about something you said in your response. Now you probably saw this one coming, but you said, “the majority of homosexuals lead very moral, happy Lives”. I’d like to ask where you get your sense of morality from?

BlackTsunami said...

I don't think I missed any point, Greg.

Your comments were rude and totally ignorant and especially inaccurate. I think you need to stop worry about my sense of morality and worry about yours. Or your lack thereof.

BlackTsunami said...

Editor's note: Dear Greg,

I know you are probably looking at this space wondering if I published your latest comment. As you can see, I did not.

I have no problem with discussions but I think you mistake being open-minded and discussion oriented for being taken advantage of. We have sparred and sparred, but your posts continue to be mindboggling longer and redundant. Therefore, I felt the need to put a kibosh on you because you are obviously showing no respect for me or this blog. An open and honest debate does not mean continuing the same points which have been refuted in hopes of wearing someone down. That's an ugly tactic and I simply refuse to play that game. End of story.

Bart said...

As a proud gay Canadian man who has also lived in the US (San Diego), I say to Alvin; ignore any & all criticism of your article on right wing religious lies in Canada. They do indeed lie here, with the same lack of integrity & ethics as those uninformed true believers stateside.
My youth is but a distant memory, so I must admit to being fairly new to the Internet & social groups therein. But one thing that strikes me, & is certainly disappointing; is the revelation through comments on virtually any subject, the great percentage of people on this continent who are 2 coupons short of a blender.Or to put it in more conventional terms; it must be difficult for people to accept evolution who are not themselves fully evolved......(lol).

Jonathan Justice said...

Thanks for arguing back with these folks who appear to be swimming in some sort of intellectual lubricant. I want to suggest that there is another aspect to their framing, pretty much unstated, but strongly implied, that goes back to Evelyn Hooker's groundbreaking research of 50 years ago. When she demonstrated that psychological testing results for functioning persons of homosexual orientation were indistinguishable from the results obtained when the same testing tools were applied to functioning heterosexual persons. She tested that question because it was widely believed at the time that homosexual persons were, by definition, psychologically sick. While, of course, this very much parallels the assertion that similar impairments apply when one makes comparisons between racial/ethnic groups, it was not then widely thought to be similarly inaccurate.

When ostensibly moral persons make these problematical claims about the statistics for gay populations, they are trying to reassert what Hooker disproved. Otherwise, they would be stuck with the frightful prospect of letting such people, and people in general, make up their own minds (or even work out their own salvation)secure from threats of authority backed coercion.

Patrick8200 said...

"Greg said...
There are many lifestyle choices that go directly against the laws of God. Guilt and shame naturally follow. With that comes substance abuse in order to mask the guilt. This only escalates the matter. Depression sets in and a propensity toward suicide. A homosexual life choice puts all these other issues into motion.

Greg,
I read your reply and was absolutely taken aback. Obviously, you have never had to deal with same sex issues yourself, otherwise you would never have typed such nonsense.
I take particular issue when ANYONE questions my morality, or even worse, tries to speak for God in these matters. I am absolutely sick and tired of straight people telling me that God hates me, God doesn't approve of who I am as a person...blah, blah, blah.
I've been on the brink of suicide over my orientation. What I couldn't take any longer was trying to hide who I was as a person. Trying to live an outright lie to the world. I was raised in the Catholic church and all it's hypocrisy. What I learned from them is that I was going to burn in hell if I didn't change. Well, after 20 some years of trying to pray the gay away, I finally just accepted that God was never going to answer my prayer and make me straight so he must not care. If I'm doomed to hell, the screw it, I might as well off myself because honestly, I couldn't live another day like I was.
As fate would have it, God decided to get involved before things went to far. And from that moment on I can tell you unequivocally that I am who I am because that's the way God wanted it. It's not up to you or anyone else to question that and pass judgement on it. But what I fail to understand is why do people feel it's their place to pass judgement on others based on their flawed moral compass? Perhaps you should worry more about your issues in life and not worry about things that you have obviously no earthly conception of.

BlackTsunami said...

Patrick, you aren't doomed to hell. God loves you just the way you are.

Patrick8200 said...

Tsunami,
You are correct. What I didn't understand at the time was that I was exactly where God wanted me to be and I was the person He created. My problem was that I was saying the wrong prayers, when I changed what I was praying for, that's when He got involved and I felt His touch. You can never go back from that and from that moment on, I know that I'm loved and am not doomed to hell.


What baffles me frankly is the number of people who, instead of focusing on their own lives and spirituality think that they "owe" us non heterosexuals some spiritual advise. I find it incredulous that people can tell me what God hates and where we fit into his plan or that we can't also be Christians and believe in God.
The sad fact is, these people have such a narrow understanding of spirituality to begin with and I really feel sorry for them. They are blind to the real wonders that God has bestowed upon us, but to find them you have to look inside yourself first and know yourself completely. Therein lies the problem. Most people see a reflection in a mirror, but they do not see their true self. It's only when you can look at yourself for who you truly are, all the bad stuff along with the good and not only accept those things about yourself but actually embrace them, for they are just as much "you" as the good. Only then can you find the beginning of the path to true spiritual happiness.

Anonymous said...

Morality. This coming from one who clearly realizes that they are spreading lies. How cute.

Can you point out to me something immoral about what two consenting adults do together in the privacy of their home?