Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Interracial dating and homosexuality - two health risks?

I've been having a very interesting email exchange with Peter LaBarbera regarding his stigmatization of the lgbt community.

For LaBarbera, every lie he tells is justifiable because of his belief that gay men have "health risks" greater than that of heterosexuals. In fact, it's something he likes to highlight every chance he gets:

“Barack Obama’s homosexual agenda is beginning to take shape – but he has no election mandate to impose GLSEN’s radical vision of celebrating homosexuality, bisexuality and gender confusion (transsexuality) in U.S. schools,” LaBarbera said. “Anti-religious bigots should not be setting policy for schools — and promoting dangerous sex and gender identities to youth is the antithesis of ‘safety.’ (Men who have sex with other men (MSM) suffer from much higher rates of sexual diseases – including anal cancer, HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea — than non-MSMs.)


LaBarbera also argues that many liberal school districts teach false facts about AIDS. He says they imply that everyone is at equal risk for contracting the disease -- even though in 2005 71 percent of U.S. male AIDS cases involved homosexuals. He contends that many American young people are not being informed about other health risks associated with homosexuality either -- such as increased infections of the Hepatitis B or C virus and the herpes virus. "We have all this evidence out there that homosexual behavior is dangerous," the activist point out, "and yet our politically correct elites are promoting gay identity" to teens and children.

And he is not the only one to assert this "gays are dangerous because of their behavior" claim:

If there was ever a clarion call for our entire society to say with one united voice that homosexual behavior is a danger to health and should be discouraged at all costs, this is it. We've found one voice as a society with regard to drug use and drunk driving; it's time we find it with regard to homosexual behavior. - Bryan Fischer

In fact, multiple studies have established that homosexual conduct, especially among males, is considerably more hazardous to one’s health than a lifetime of chain smoking. - Matt Barber

The "homosexuality is a health risk" factoid is a popular talking point in religious right circles. It stems from manipulating legitimate medical information regarding disease and the lgbt community. Rather than go into detail about just how this information is manipulated, I'm going to take another route.

I found this video on youtube. I dare anyone to tell me the difference between it and the nonsense about the supposed "health risks of homosexuality" factoid pushed by the religious right:

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Bill S said...

Ho. Lee. Shit. No difference at all between that video and the stuff the homophobes say.
I'd love to show that to LaBarbara & Co. and hear what they say about it.

BlackTsunami said...

Let me break it down what LaBarbera and company would say (and I speak from experience)- "there is no such thing as ex-black but there is such a thing as ex-gay." Of course that has nothing to do with the comparison but distraction seems to be their best skill.

Bill S said...

Well, that's kinda what I'd expect them to say too. But in the context it'd make no sense. (Not that it would stop them.)

Damian said...

With kindness, I would disagree.
Yes the video is hateful and makes black people seem 'dangerous' to love, and is trying to appeal to racists, but I don't see how it is comparable to the research and statistics of HIV/STD's among homosexual men done without LaBarbera.
I disagree with anyone who goes about any cause in a hateful manner. Lies, half-truths and all the sorts used in 'public education' are inherently wrong. Research and statistics can't be denied, its a shame when it spawns from or is used for hate. Disagreeing on sexuality isn't hate and doesn't have to be.
You can always love someone while disagreeing with their lifestyle.

BlackTsunami said...

Research and statistics can lie if they are distorted, which is clear in both examples.

In both cases, we are talking about using research to stigmatize two communities - black males and gays. The research is pushed without any explanation behind the numbers.

No study has ever said being black or gay is a "condition" which would lead to disease. Howevever there is information which points out that a lack of adequate information via socio-economic status or homophobia can lead to the spread of STDs, be they HIV or whichever.

Neither LaBarbera nor the video shown touches on this factor because both are intent on stigmatizing the prospective subject, i.e. blacks and gays.

Disagreeing on sexuality certainly isn't hate but there is a lot of ignorance surrounding it. For example, your phraseology of "lifestyle" as if to infer that being an lgbt is a lifestyle. Being an lgbt is not a lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with homosexual rights, but the simple reality is that AIDS would not be a widespread disease among male homosexuals if not for the promiscuous and unprotected sex among gays. So that is readily distinguishable from the anti interracial dating vid.

BlackTsunami said...

your comment totally misses the point of the comparison.

promiscuity and unprotected sex are just two factors when it comes to AIDS and gay men. You omitted homophobia and stigmatization, which is the point of the post.

many gay men are not promiscuous and don't have unprotected sex. and gay relationship on the whole are safe and in general a good thing, just like interracial relationships.

The point is how homophobes and racists are similar in stigmatizing an entire population of people via a distortion of information. There is nothing distinguishable about that.

Lauren said...


LESBIANS have lower incidence of many STDs than do straight people. So, do the math; if an increased statistical disposition to acquiring / spreading STDs is sufficient to legally discriminate against a group, than we should have laws that promote lesbian sex and limit straight sex. Right?
Or does this bit of reasoning, like so many other bits, only count as legit when used against GLBT people?

Anonymous said...

I have a gut feeling that a lot of the religious-right groups are partially funded by the white supremacy groups. I mean, their literature doesn't exactly feature a diverse cast, if you get my meaning.
And honestly, it wouldn't shock me at all.

Jinglehopper said...

I'm watching this video wondering... who's supposed to be discouraged from interracial dating, now? Or do they assume that only white people watch their propaganda? Do they not realize that some African-American woman might watch that, even believe it, and go "Damn, I'm clean, and I'd better switch to white men if I want to stay that way!" This particular video seems very... slanted, genderwise. Like a bunch of old white men were sitting around trying to manufacture a way to keep the women (aka breeding cattle, because that's how the far right views women) from defecting.

As a white bisexual woman, I find both of these lies to be particularly frustrating. Yes, rates of HIV are higher in certain demographics. But CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. That's the first rule of rhetoric! Just because a higher percentage of black people have AIDs/HIV more does not mean, imply, prove, or even hint that being black MEANS you will get HIV. That's the question these right wingers keep begging. They leap right over the part where they actually have to explain WHY homosexual males experience higher rates of infection, and jump right to the implication that being gay is, in and of itself, unhealthy and a sickness.

And the worst part is, they're doing it all as a smokescreen, to rile up the overly-religious rednecks who believe in this straight-white-male-supremacy garbage, so they can get votes based on nothing at all, instead of having to explain their economic policies, which are a big ol' game of "More for me, none for you!" And this kind of vitriol is exactly how they make sure that nobody knows their real agenda. If the voters are distracted with who stands where on gay marriage and abortion and immigration, then it won't even become an issue that these are the same people who will happily pass laws to make your house foreclose on you so they can have higher (and less taxed) capital gains.


Joseph Juiliano said...

How about the fact that had the LGBT community been included as true, full fledged members of the American citizenry by conservative politicians and religious leaders during the late 70's and 80's, there could have been some action taken to mitigate the effects of HIV & AIDS. Unfortunately, the government appeared to have actually found it serendipitous that AIDS only seemed to affect gay men, and thought the virus would just go away once all the gays finally died off. Two birds with one stone!

I think the same concept applies here to their spurious claims of automatic health issues for gay couples and your analogy to interracial couples. If society on the whole didn't stigmatize, marginalize, and ignore these communities for decades on end(or centuries as the case may be), up to and including today, these health problems would be reduced in these communities, and all of society would be better off for it. Anything to stabilize the lives of LGBT people, such as allowing same-sex marriage would benefit all of us. And even the right wing leaders would benefit from that inclusion of LGBT folk as full fledged citizens with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with that.

My $.02