Friday, April 13, 2012

Religious right spokesman attacks legitimate study on gay health

Matt Barber
Matt Barber of the anti-gay Liberty Counsel is upset.

Apparently a new study has confirmed what many of us knows when it comes to how homophobia hurts gay health:

A conservative attorney disagrees with the findings of "Private Lives 2," a study of Australian homosexuals that suggests discrimination, not lifestyle, is the reason why homosexuals seek psychological counseling -- a conclusion similar to that reached by the American Psychological Association.

The online study was conducted by Malbourne's La Trobe University with the support of Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, as well as the Victoria state government and the Australian national depression initiative. But Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, tells OneNewsNow other research has repeatedly concluded that it is the lifestyle -- not discrimination or lack of societal "acceptance" -- that results in homosexuals seeking counseling.

He believes groups like the APA have lost credibility over the years by suggesting otherwise.

"The APA has really in large part simply become a political activist organization," Barber decides. "They are no longer objectively a scientific group that views things through an objective prism; but rather, they are pushing a political, sexual, anarchist agenda."

He says the APA is helping "to facilitate" those caught up in the lifestyle to continue a destructive, unhealthy, immoral and biologically wrong way of living and thinking. "So for the APA to help them rationalize these behaviors, it's really irresponsible of the American Psychological Association to do this," the attorney submits.

That's the gist of the article. Barber offers no proof of his claims that the APA is a "political organization." Nor does he offer up any of the "other research" which supposedly concludes that the supposed homosexual lifestyle is the reason for depression in gays.

Basically it comes down to the fact that Barber simply doesn't like the conclusion of the Australian study and that's why he is trashing it. Nor does he like the fact that the APA has done research confirming the same conclusions of the Australian study.

You see the Australian study refutes theories put forth by Barber and other religious right phony experts that homosexuality itself is a dangerous "lifestyle." Usually when folks like Barber push this notion, they cite health statistics, like those from the Centers of Disease Control.

But no legitimate study nor any medical organization has ever said that homosexuality in itself is a "dangerous lifestyle." They usually cite outside factors, such as homophobia.  The following is what the CDC said when it comes to HIV/AIDS amongst gay men:

Stigma and homophobia may have a profound impact on the lives of MSM, especially their mental and sexual health. Internalized homophobia may impact men’s ability to make healthy choices, including decisions around sex and substance use. Stigma and homophobia may limit the willingness of MSM to access HIV prevention and care, isolate them from family and community support, and create cultural barriers that inhibit integration into social networks.

Racism, poverty, and lack of access to health care are barriers to HIV prevention services, particularly for MSM from racial or ethnic minority communities. A recent CDC study found a strong link between socioeconomic status and HIV among MSM: prevalence increased as education and income decreased, and awareness of HIV status was higher among MSM with greater education and income

To put it more succinctly, Matt Barber is  typical of the religious right spokespeople. When researchers come out with something they disagree with, they whine about how gays have "infiltrated" or simply cherry-pick the research to push their bogus conclusions about the gay community.

Barber has no expertise in science, research, or health. The reason why he didn't cite any proof to back up his charges is because he doesn't have any.

And he knows it.

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Anonymous said...

Yes that is I was reading the article I was asking myself if he has every has had classes in research? statistics? human development? I doubt much if any.

PJB863 said...

I don't think he ever had any class.

L. G. Keltner said...

And if you think about it, a lack of societal acceptance and the prevalence of bigotry against gay people is a more logical reason for depression than what the religious right is claiming. This new research Matt Barber is denouncing only confirms what I've believed all along. People who are demonized and demoralized are sad. Duh!

Skooter McGoo said...

If I can't play in the sandbox without feeling guilty, then no one else should get to play & have happiness. Matt Barber, 5yrs old and present day. Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids. Me thinks he needs to revisit the 9th Commandment You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Anonymous said...

Oh sure, like a lawyer knows more about psychology than psychologists! Hmm, let's see, who to believe? The opinion of a bigot with no formal training in human psychology (or any medical training) or logical conclusions based on a study conducted by trained psychiatrists/psychologists. That's a tough one! *Eye rolls*