crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
(this is a piggyback on a post published yesterday by Pam)
According to People for the American Way, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told NPR that gay teens are suicidal because they “know that they are abnormal:
“There's no correlation between inacceptance of homosexuality and depression and suicide,” he says.
Rather, Perkins says, there is another factor that leads kids to kill themselves.
“These young people who identify as gay or lesbian, we know from the social science that they have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict.”
Homosexuality is “abnormal,” he says, and kids know it, which leads them to despair. That's why he wants to confront gay activism in public schools. For example, his group supports the Day of Truth, when Christian high schoolers make their case that homosexuality is a sin.
But Perkins is wrong and the strangest thing is that his own words prove him to be a liar.
Remember that piece he wrote which was published in the Washington Post on National Coming Out Day? A portion of it said the following:
There is an abundance of evidence that homosexuals experience higher rates of mental health problems in general, including depression.
Media Matters said the following:
Perkins links to a February 2002 American Psychologist article, which reported on the “results of several breakthrough studies are offering new insights on gay men, lesbians and bisexuals.” While Perkins is right, “Several studies suggest that gay men, lesbians and bisexuals appear to have higher rates of some mental disorders compared with heterosexuals,” he's totally wrong that these rates have nothing to do with discrimination. In fact, the article immediately goes on to report that “[d]iscrimination may help fuel these higher rates.” The article reported: “In a study that examines possible root causes of mental disorders in LGB people, [Susan] Cochran [PhD] and psychologist Vickie M. Mays, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, explored whether ongoing discrimination fuels anxiety, depression and other stress-related mental health problems among LGB people. The authors found strong evidence of a relationship between the two.” Several other studies back up this finding.
So while Perkins claims that there is no correlation between unacceptance of homosexuality and depression, he has no problem with distorting research that says just the opposite.
And it's not the first time he has done this.
According to Gay and Lesbian Medical Association's Ten Things Gay Men Should discuss with Their Healthcare Provider:
Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate than in the general population. The likelihood of depression or anxiety may be greater, and the problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports. Adolescents and young adults may be at particularly high risk of suicide because of these concerns. Culturally sensitive mental health services targeted specifically at gay men may be more effective in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of these conditions.
Me citing this piece is important because Perkins actually used it in 2009 as a part of his testimony in front of Congress in opposition to ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act). Endnote five of the printed testimony clearly says:
Evidence for the negative health consequences of homosexual conduct is available even from pro-homosexual sources such as the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. See their “Top Ten Issues to Discuss with Your Healthcare Provider” online at: http://www.glma.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=586&parentID=533&nodeID=1
He used the GLMA piece to talk about the so-called negative behaviors associated with homosexuality, omitting of course how homophobia plays a part in these negative behaviors, particularly depression – which was something the piece made abundantly clear.
Tony, allow to paraphrase something for you:
It's better to be thought of as a lying homophobic bigot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.