Monday, October 15, 2007

Sorry Peter and Conservapedia, but 'gay bowel syndrome' still does not exist

Our friend Peter LaBarbera is practically falling over himself over in his latest post:

Conservapedia, a new online encyclopedia seeking to become a conservative alternative to the very liberal-biased Wikipedia takes a politically incorrect look at the medical phenomenon known as ‘Gay Bowel Syndrome’ — a term that homosexual activists are trying to purge from scientific and popular usage. Gay Bowel Syndrome describes a “clinical pattern of anorectal and colon diseases which occur with unusual frequency in homosexual patients,” according to Conservapedia, which cites mainstream medical sources such as Johns Hopkins’ ‘HIV Guide’ in its article with 93 footnotes.

I talk about "gay bowel syndrome" in my book. I say the following:

According to the “Free Online Dictionary and Thesaurus,” http://encyclopedia.

“Gay bowel syndrome was a term fi rst used in 1976 prior to the discovery of AIDS, to describe a series of parasitic disorders caused by oral/anal contact and allegedly related to gay male sexual activity. The term was abandoned by the medical community in the 1980s because the problems that attributed to it were not specific to homosexuals, not confined to just the bowels, nor did it meet the medical definition of a syndrome.”

First of all, Conservapedia is not necessarily an accurate or objective source of information. It was founded by Andrew Schlafly, son of well-known conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly stated that he founded the project because he felt Wikipedia had a liberal, anti-Christian, and anti-American bias.

In other words, Conservapedia is another case of a someone attempting to manufacture his version of the truth when reality does not suit him.

In this particular case, Conservapedia claims the following:

Gay bowel syndrome is a clinical pattern of anorectal and colon diseases which occur with unusual frequency in homosexual patients . . .

Conservapedia uses three sources for this claim and all of them are over 10 years old; two of them are from the 1970s.

Let's break this down some more.

Peter makes a huge point to note that the Conservapedia article contains 93 footnotes that, according to him, proves that "gay bowel syndrome" is a legitimate term.

Let's look at those footnotes:

Footnotes 1, 5, 15, 25, 31, 40, 47, 58 are the same - an article published in 1976 entitled The gay bowel syndrome: clinico-pathologic correlation in 260 cases.

And that is not the only case in which the article uses duplicate footnotes, including the following examples:

Footnotes 2, 7, and 11- Clinical features and diagnosis - Inflammatory Bowel Disease, part 1 American Family Physician, Feb 15, 1993 by Glen E. Hastings, Richard J. Weber

Footnotes 10 and 12 - Dr. Michael Heller, The gay bowel syndrome: a common problem of homosexual patients in the emergency department. Annals of Emergency Medicine 1980

Conservapedia also says:

in 2004 Medscape stated that gay bowel syndrome is a significant issue in regards HIV infection (The Johns Hopkins HIV Guide website also features an article which is essentially a duplicate of the aforementioned article at Medscape).

The Medscape piece and the John Hopkins article says the following:

This is a retrospective review of clinical proctitis in gay men seen at a STD clinic in San Francisco. The review included men with rectal symptoms of pain, itching, tenesmus, rectal bleeding or discharge who underwent clinical evaluation including anoscopy with diagnostic tests for C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae, HSV and syphilis. The results show relatively high rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HSV. No pathogen was found in 46 of the 101 patients studied.

Yes, I bolded that first sentence to make a point. Examples of gay men seen at STD clinics (especially in one city) are not necessarily indicative of the lgbt community at large. It is the same as using examples of African-American men in prison to gauge the habits of African-American men not incarcerated.

The articles also say the studies of those men in STD clinics took place in the years 2000-2001. That is six to seven years ago.

Now the articles do use the phrase "gay bowel syndrome," but they are vague as to the legitimacy of the term. And that does give Peter and Conservapedia a little raft to stake their lies.

But other than those two articles, does Conservapedia have any recent information?

Not necessarily. Conservapedia mentions 2007 articles regarding STDs, but only as an attempt to link those STDs together as an example of "gay bowel syndrome."

As a matter of fact, a good portion of the information Conservapedia has regarding the term "gay bowel syndrome" itself is from the 1970s and 80s; the years that the term was thought to be legitimate.

And Conservapedia even contradicts itself by saying the following:

Gay bowel syndrome is a clinical pattern of anorectal and colon diseases which occur with unusual frequency in homosexual patients (the diseases are not exclusive to male homosexuals).

Doesn't that last statement contradict the entire tone of the Conservapedia article?

Lastly, Conservapedia says the following:

Although the term gay bowel syndrome is not used as frequently as the 1980's, as mentioned previously Medscape has an article on gay bowel syndrome that was published in 2004 that was entitled ''New Look at "Gay Bowel Syndrome". Johns Hopkins HIV Guide website has a duplicate of the aforementioned article by John G. Bartlett, M.D. at Medscape which was entitled New Look at "Gay Bowel Syndrome". In addition, an online medical dictionary has an entry on gay bowel syndrome. Also, the website has an article on gay bowel syndrome.

As I said before, John Hopkins and the Medscape articles was talking about data that is close to seven years old and solely dealt with gay men in an STD clinic in San Francisco. And neither article goes into detail regarding the legitimacy of the term "gay bowel syndrome."

Lastly, both online dictionaries mentioned by Conservapedia (particularly looks like online dictionaries in which anyone can add terms.

Basically, Conservapedia is taking advantage of online technology to pass along distortions and untruths as reality. And Peter is just loving it:

We at Americans For Truth believe that it is long past time for federal and state governments (and academia) to study the serious health risks associated with male homosexual sex and promiscuity, just as federally-sponsored studies helped educate the public on the significant dangers of smoking. Allowing homosexual activists a “protester’s veto” over legitimate medical inquiry and research will only cost more men’s lives, as larger society and especially young men are denied clear information on the additional health risks of “gay” sex viz a viz normal, natural straight sex.

Peter, if there should be any investigations, they should focus on why you and folks like yourself obsess over what you think lgbts do in the bedroom.

And let's not forget Conservapedia.

I guess its next goal will be attempting to give Paul Cameron some degree of credibility.


Anonymous said...

"Peter, if there should be any investigations, they should focus on why you and folks like yourself obsess over what you think lgbts do in the bedroom."

Or more specifically, their obsession with the male anus in LGBT bedrooms.

I don't even think about my anus as much as he does.

Jane Know said...

Great article!

I was just "discussing" the issue of "Gay Bowel Syndrome" over at my blog against some holy bullies. Apparently, they "care" more about our nation's gay men than we do.

BlackTsunami said...

amen to that. i was thinking the exact same thing yesterday as I was writing this.

BlackTsunami said...

i know the modus operandi, jane.

they swear up and down that they say the things they do because they "care" about us lgbts.

If they really cared, they would pay attention to how our lives really are rather than listen to the blatherings of people like Peter and Conservapedia.

Jane Know said...

Right. They only want us to change our lives because they "truly care" about us. They are our loving friends.

BlackTsunami said...

Forgive the cliche, but with friends like those, we don't need enemies.

S. said...

Pee-ter should be the expert on "gay bowel syndrome" - his good "ex gay" friend Michael Glatze indicated that's what he had!

Anonymous said...

what these wack-jobs fail to notice, or rather probably do notice but leave out due to their anti-gay agenda, is that any form of un protected sex (gay/straight/lesbian, what have you) is risky and comes with an increase of the risk and incident of disease. Multiple partners of any sex will increase risk. To attribute the sole characteristic of someone having same sex relations to sexual disease is malicious and disingenuous.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised by this. Religious wingnuts consistently do this exact same thing when discussing evolution. They constantly cite articles, research or quotations from decades ago. That way, they don't have to use up-to-date information to make their point.

This is one of the symptoms of being infected with a religious meme. Since religions depend on fantasy, when reality intrudes, they look for 'authority' from either the past or from internally referenced information.

Anonymous said...

First, I am pro-gay. Second, I don't believe in "gay bowel syndrome." Yet, I think you should drop the argument that studies over 7 years or so old are not legitimate studies. You need to attack the methodology of the studies (as you have done with the STD clinic study) in order to defeat the arguments.

BlackTsunami said...

I think it's a feasible argument to include the fact that a study could be outdated. A perfect example is the Bell and Weinberg study in the early 1970s. The religious right continue to use that study to claim that gays have over 500 partners a year even though the study was published over three decades ago. Pointing out that fact doesn't necessarily hurt.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. Show me a straight vagina syndrome and I'll believe in a gay bowel syndrome

Ash said...

Yeah, in high school we were told about GRIDS -- you know, what it was called way before they really knew what AIDS was. And before you think I went to school in the 70s, I graduated in 2010. Why do people not learn science? Gaah.

VJ said...

When the subject is something that "scientists" have proven to be biased against, I think the age of the study, even 7 years, is something that should be taken into account. While we should hope "good science" would ignore political bias and social ideas and instead focus on methodology and accuracy, we've learned from the Regenerus study to be wary of trusting even new information that comes out of academia. Which, in my opinion, is really sad. If you can't trust "scientists" to use the scientific method and properly conduct studies without political and religious bias, who can you trust? /sigh