Thursday, July 29, 2010

How the Family Research Council manipulates legitimate data to hurt the lgbt community

Once religious right groups find an item which can be used to demonize the lgbt community, they repeat this item ad naseum, even if they have to omit some crucial facts which could change the flow of what they are trying to push.

For example this quote by AIDS researcher Ronald Stall:

One of the nation’s leading AIDS researchers, Ronald Stall, has declared, “It may be a fallacy to say that HIV is the dominant, most dangerous and most damaging epidemic among gay men in the United States today. There are at least four other epidemics occurring among gay men that are intertwining and making each other worse. This is called a syndemic.” The “four other epidemics” are “substance abuse, partner violence, depression and childhood sexual abuse.”

That is how the Family Research Council spun the quote while using it to make the case against a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

FRC also manipulated it to use against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) (item 7 with Peter Sprigg).

But like so many other things they use, the Family Research Council distorts the meaning of Stall's words.

The organization is omitting the rest of his quote:

“It may be a fallacy to say that HIV is the dominant, most dangerous and most damaging epidemic among gay men in the United States today,” Stall said. “There are at least four other epidemics occurring among gay men that are intertwining and making each other worse. This is called a syndemic.”

Stall cited the population-based Urban Men’s Health Study, which demonstrated that at least four other epidemics – substance abuse, partner violence, depression and childhood sexual abuse – may be affecting this patient population.

“What do these other factors have to do with HIV infection?” Stall said. “The analysis further demonstrated that men who were most affected by this syndemic were also more likely to have recently engaged in high-risk sex and/or be HIV positive. Therefore, we now have these co-occurring psychosocial conditions that are intertwined and are making each other worse driving an infectious disease epidemic.”

Stall added that other marginalized populations – including ethnic minorities and the urban poor – may also be suffering from a similar syndemic; this may be further exacerbating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in these patient populations as well.

In other words, Stall isn't implying that it is the lgbt orientation causing these problems but the marginalization of lgbts.

How FRC manipulates Stall's words is similar to how the organization manipulated medical information in its  pamphlet The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.

In the pamphlet, FRC cited information that listed the medical problems facing the lgbt community (i.e. depression, drug abuse) but omitted the part of the data calling homophobia the cause of these problems.

 It's a cagey thing to do. Not very Christian or moral, but highly cagey.

And one more thing, Box Turtle Bulletin says the following which throws another monkey wrench in FRC's claims:

According to our estimates, the prevalence of HIV is probably below 10% of the total LGBT population. (Those estimates however are fought with unknowable variables, so caution is advised whenever anyone attempts to estimate HIV prevelance in the LGBT population.) All people entering the military are tested for HIV, and all military personnel are retested at periodic intervals. 

Related posts:

Family Research Council using fraudulent pamphlet in anti-gay ad


Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality' Is a Huge Homophobic Fraud




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