Thursday, January 02, 2014

Anti-gay activist attack researchers for daring to correct how he distorts their work

 Peter LaBarbera is again posting a ludicrous attack on lgbts on his webpage, complete with pictures of dildos. The post which accompanied LaBarbera's photo was a rambling piece of nonsense, PUTTING THE “SEX” BACK IN HOMOSEXUALITY, by Eric Holmberg. The piece is the usual claptrap about homosexuality being a "health risk" which actually tries to defend Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty's rather graphic homophobic comments regarding anal and vaginal sex. LaBarbera added some of his personal nonsense to the piece, particularly this part:

According to one peer-reviewed [1997] study done towards the end of the 20th century, the life expectancy for the average 20-year-old gay or bisexual man [assessing "vital statistics data ... obtained for a large Canadian urban centre from 1987 to 1992"] was 8 to 21 years less than his heterosexual counterpart. (See the International Journal of Epidemiology.) Here [in 2001] the authors actually condemn as “homophobic” anyone who dares to point to their research as evidence that homosexuality carries with it certain inherent health risks. And yet they in no way deny the statistical evidence their research has uncovered. (This is one of the best examples of “professing to be wise and remaining fools” I have ever stumbled upon.) [Editor's Note: Life expectancy for homosexual men is now much longer compared to when the original IJE study was done in 1997 -- due mainly to AIDS antiretroviral drugs. Nevertheless, "men who have sex with men" (MSM) remain at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic," said a CDC specialist describing a Fact Sheet assessing 2010 infections and published by the CDC earlier this year. Read the original 1997 Canadian study on "gay" and bisexual men's lifespan HERE and the authors' short 2001 response (referenced by Holmberg above) to conservatives who used their data to criticize pro-homosexual activism HERE.]

Allow me to explain. Anti-gay groups generally distort a 1997 Canadian study to claim that gays have a shorter lifespan than heterosexuals. In 2001, the authors of the study complained that their work was being distorted. LaBarbera continues to not only distort their work but also attack them for correcting the lies, claiming that their correction did nothing to disprove his negative point about lgbts. That's not true. In the 2001 letter, they said:

In our paper, we demonstrated that in a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 21 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality continued, we estimated that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years would not reach their 65th birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre were experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by men in Canada in the year 1871. In contrast, if we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men would be greatly improved. Deaths from HIV infection have declined dramatically in this population since 1996. As we have previously reported there has been a threefold decrease in mortality in Vancouver as well as in other parts of British Columbia. It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive measure. Death is a product of the way a person lives and what physical and environmental hazards he or she faces everyday. It cannot be attributed solely to their sexual orientation or any other ethnic or social factor. If estimates of an individual gay and bisexual man's risk of death is truly needed for legal or other purposes, then people making these estimates should use the same actuarial tables that are used for all other males in that population. Gay and bisexual men are included in the construction of official population-based tables and therefore these tables for all males are the appropriate ones to be used. In summary, the aim of our work was to assist health planners with the means of estimating the impact of HIV infection on groups, like gay and bisexual men, not necessarily captured by vital statistics data and not to hinder the rights of these groups worldwide. Overall, we do not condone the use of our research in a manner that restricts the political or human rights of gay and bisexual men or any other group.

And the grand irony of LaBarbera's explanation? The CDC fact sheet  he used to make another point about the supposed health risk of homosexuality is also another distortion. Here, LaBarbera commits the sin of omission by not including another fact sheet which calls out the socioeconomic factors which heightens HIV risk, including poverty, discrimination, stigma, and homophobia. At no point does this fact sheet back up LaBarbera's idea that the lgbt orientation is a "health risk."

LaBarbera is beyond sad here. He not only distorts legitimate research but attacks the authors of the research for daring to complain about the misuse of their work  He is like one of those birthers who cling  so strongly to the notion that President Obama is not an American citizen that every bit of proof contradicting their belief is merely a piece of the "conspiracy."

To put it another way, LaBarbera is what I like to call a "true believer," the most pathetic of anti-gay activists. Unlike some folks like Brian Brown of NOM or Tony Perkins of FRC, LaBarbera isn't doing what he does for a paycheck. He seems to have a deep, personal animus against gays which he covers up with Scripture and platitudes of love.  Rip away that phony cover and you find someone with not a hatred of gays, but a fear of gays. It's a fear which is so intense, he won't hum a show tune because he thinks  it would "turn" him gay.

Sometimes LaBarbera acts so much like a homophobic clown that he should be laughed at. Now, however, he should be pitied.


dancandan said...

his only approach has been, and continues to be, taking every study and if not completely misquoting then quoting out of context to make his false claims. This is the very definition of conspiracy. surely no one on the planet can be fooled by this fool any more?

BJohnM said...

I'd have to take some slight disagreement with part of your thoughts here concerning people like Brian Brown and Tony Perkins.

I agree with your belief that Brian Brown has found a well-paying job in the anti-gay industry. I think he probably just doesn't much like anyone not like him, and has an arrogance that makes him dislike anyone that disagrees with him, on pretty much any subject. But at its core, he just likes the pay check.

I think Perkins' place in all this is a little more complex. Yes, he's found a good income making a lot more than a police officer could every make, and he's clearly an attention whore. But I can't get past the fact that every time I hear him speak, and in the one time we were face-to-face, my gaydar goes pretty much through the roof.

I think Tony comes from a fundamentalist/manly-man/conservative background. Had that all enforced during his time in the Marines and law enforcement, and has a lot of unresolved issues. This leads to the very classic homophobia we see in him. That background is also likely where a lot of his racial bigotry comes from. Never forget who is BFF is, some of the groups he's spoke at, and where the original FRC mailing list came from.