crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
In short, I went ballistic.
Those who know me and my work can probably guess why. There is another religious right web page purporting to give the so-called true facts about the gay community. And these true facts are the same old lies. Even worse, this site is directed to children and adults working in the school system.
According to its web page, Facts About Youth:
is a resource created by health professionals to provide policymakers, parents and youth with the most current medical and psychological facts about sexual development.
Amid debate in the medical and mental health fields concerning the causes and proper approaches to youth with non-heterosexual attractions, Facts is a non-political, non-religious channel presenting the most current facts on the subject. Facts is committed to advancing a school environment in which all students will experience the opportunity to achieve optimal health and safety, even in the midst of differing worldviews. Facts is intended to be a resource to promote the factual and respectful discussion of these potentially divisive issues. This is a web site for and about youth and their needs.
You want to now who these “health professionals” are? Again according to the web site, Facts About Youth:
is a project of the American College of Pediatricians, in coalition with other organizations who share a concern for the well-being of all youth. Unfortunately, some medical organizations, influenced by political correctness, have misrepresented science in order to affirm unhealthy lifestyles as normal behavior. Facts presents science-based information to clarify the medical and psychological discussions concerning this important aspect of a child’s life. Facts will not engage in the polemics of opinion, but will objectively offer the facts for all to see and assimilate. Facts is interested only in the welfare and protection of children and their families.
The College has received support and assistance for this project from the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), the Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee, other like-minded organizations, and parents and individuals with a personal perspective on issues related to gender identification and how they impact children.
*The Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee is an exterior sub-committee of the American College of Pediatricians and consists of the following members, all experts on the sexual development of youth:
Dean Byrd, PhD
Rick Fitzgibbons, MD
Arthur Goldberg, JD, CRS, BCPC
Trayce Hansen, PhD
Joe Nicolosi, PhD
John Raney, MD
George Rekers, PhD
I've talked about the lies of the American College of Pediatricians before. Also, those of us familiar with the inner workings of the industry of phony religious right studies know some of those names of these folks behind Facts About Youth. Joseph Nicolosi is a man who has made it his life's work to peddle the inaccurate notion that homosexuality is a changeable condition. According to the site Truth Wins Out:
Nicolosi is also known for his strange theories, such as encouraging his male clients to drink Gatorade and call friends “dude” to become more masculine. He also believes that “Non-homosexual men who experience defeat and failure may also experience homosexual fantasies or dreams.”
And George Rekers is a former professor at the University of South Carolina and a founder of the Family Research Council who has testified against the lgbt community in adoption cases.
So to say that this web site is nonpolitical is the first lie. And it's certainly not the last Facts About Youth contains the same tired lies and misinformation about the gay community found on almost every religious right web page and repeated by almost every religious right talking head. The following are just a few:
1. Facts About Youth repeats the claim that Dr. Francis Collins stated that homosexuality is not hardwired by DNA. The truth is that Francis Collins never said that. In fact, Dr. Collins said his words were being distorted:
The words . . . all come from the Appendix to my book “The Language of God” (pp. 260-263), but have been juxtaposed in a way that suggests a somewhat different conclusion that I intended. I would urge anyone who is concerned about the meaning to refer back to the original text.
2. Facts About Youth repeats the lie that the Robert Spitzer study proves that homosexuality is changeable, excluding the fact that Spitzer has said on more than one occasion that his research was being distorted.
3. Facts About Youth mentions the term “gay bowel syndrome,” even though it does not exist.
5. Many of the studies cited by Facts About Youth are over 10 years old and some even go back to the seventies.
6. Many studies cited by Facts About Youth are convenience samples not meant to be indicative of the entire gay community in general.
One example of this is the citation of the 1979 book The Gay Report, which was the result of 2500 responses which came from a gay magazine questionnaire. The magazine, Blue Boy, was a softcore porn magazine which is now defunct. However, Facts About Youth cites this book on several occasions when claiming to give accurate details on gay sexual behavior.
Another convenience sample Facts About Youth distorts is the Maria Xiridou study which looked at “access the relative contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the
incidence of HIV infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam and to determine the effect of increasing sexually risky behaviours among both types of partnerships in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy.”
For this study, Dr. Xiridou received her information from the Amsterdam Cohort Study of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and AIDS Among Homosexual Men. To gain this information, researchers studied 1,800 gay men between the years of 1984- 2001. According to Box Turtle Bulletin, the study had several different protocols:
Oct 1984-1985: Gay men aged 18-65 with at least two sexual partners in the previous six months. In other words, monogamous partners were explicitly excluded.
April 1985-Feb 1988: Study enrollment was continued, except HIV-negative men were now excluded. Only HIV-positive men were added.
Feb 1988 – Dec 1988: The study was re-opened to HIV-negative men.
Various additional enrollments continued from through 1998. Especially notable was a special recruitment campaign for men under the age of thirty beginning in 1995. After 1996, all HIV-negative men above the age of thirty were dropped from the study. Their data was excluded from subsequent analyses.
Nobody outside of Amsterdam was accepted into the study except for AIDS patients who attended clinics in Amsterdam for treatment. This makes the study almost exclusively an urban one.
7. The following sentence speaks for itself:
Some gay men sexualize human waste, including the medically dangerous practice of coprophilia, which means sexual contact with highly infectious fecal wastes
8. Facts About Youth makes the claim that the lgbt orientation is indicative of negative health behaviors by cherry picking portions of pro-gay health pieces, such as what it says about lesbians:
Lesbians are also at higher risk for STDs and other health problems than heterosexuals
The web site received this claim from Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Press Release, “Ten Things Lesbians Should Discuss with Their Health Care Providers,” but Facts About Youth omits the following:
Lesbians have been shown to experience chronic stress from homophobic discrimination. This stress is compounded by the need that some still have to hide their orientation from family and colleagues at work, and by the fact that many lesbians have lost the important emotional support most others get from their families due to alienation stemming from their sexual orientation.
I don't know what's worse: the fact these folks have the temerity to continuously repeat this bad information or the fact that this is the second time in two weeks that the religious right groups are making a concerted effort to peddle these lies to young adults. I've learned that 14,800 school district superintendents in the country were sent a letter by the American College of Pediatricians introducing them to the site and encouraging them to peruse it
Why do these so-called medical professionals deem it necessary to lie to children?
Jeremy Hooper from Goodasyou.org (who deserves a huge hat tip for bringing this site to public attention) put the negative possibilities of this site so eloquently that I hope he forgives me for quoting him:
This is one of those things you really have to stop and process. We've grown so accustomed to religious right “culture war” nonsense that stuff like this can be ho-hum. But think about it. Grown adults have decided that they don't like what trained professionals think when working independently of faith motivations, so they've taken it upon themselves to alter scientific reality. A whole organization, created to send information through a predetermined anti-gay sieve, so as to tell impressionable youth (and, even more importantly, their parents) that they can “change” through the power of Jesus. And then Washington D.C. groups like FRC get in on the dangerous game, knowingly pushing a charade under the guise of “fact.” Yet that cold reality doesn't stop major leaders in the Republican party, including every major GOP presidential candidate, to show up at events like the FRC's Values Voters Summit. Because this is all just politics, right? Right/left. Red/blue. Beck/Maddow. Theater, theater, theater.
Well somewhere tonight, there's a fourteen-year-old gay boy who doesn't see it that way. Hopefully when he takes to the Internet to seek scientific facts about the reality he has known his whole life, his Google will take him to this post rather than to some of the unethical machinations of a movement hellbent on “truthing” him out of his reality.