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Marc Ramsay’s ignorance: Example of the usual anti-gay scientific misuse.


Here at AGFC we do not apologise for debunking the scientifically-challenged anti-gay lobby, even if we have to go back in history. In November, 2011 a Christian lawyer by the name of Mark Ramsay decided to try and offer an “intelligent” defence of the buggery law.

Ignorance is truly bliss.

Apparently, he decided to take 15 minutes of his time googling about what he calls the “grave health impact” of gay sex he found on the Catholic Education Resource Center’s website and flipping through the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality’s (NARTH) website in hope of finding some “science” to support his political agenda. We’ve been in the business of studying the anti-gay movement for quite some time so without even asking him we know he did this. We have more respect for anti-gay activists Dr. Wayne West and Shirley Richards as they wouldn’t have been this lazy and their research wouldn’t lack this much credibility.

His article was published in the Gleaner here :http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20111112/cleisure/cleisure5.html

1)

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments threatening to withhold aid from developing Commonwealth countries which do not repeal laws criminalising homosexuality caught the attention of many.

Regardless of your moral position on homosexuality, withholding aid from a developing country to force them to change their legislation because of external contrary moral positions has the potential to be harmful.

My choice of words is very deliberate – the PM has put forward a moral position on homosexuality, which he is seeking to impose on certain Commonwealth states. He cannot say that no country has the right to impose its morals on others through legislation to defend that position. He is using aid, of all options, to impose his moral position – unequivocally his moral position is that homosexual acts should not be illegal, criminalised, or subjected to legislative sanction. 

So firmly does he hold to this position that he is willing to impose sanctions on developing countries. As we debate this issue, let us bear in mind that moral neutrality is a myth, and thus weigh each side on its merits.

Just as how Mr. Ramsay wants to use his moral position to impose anti-gay laws on gay Jamaicans, so it is that David Cameron has taken a moral position in regards to buggery laws left over from the British empire. We are glad that he establishes that moral neutrality is a myth so we can weigh each side on its merits. The morality of a buggery law must be wonderful since the HIV prevalence rate for Men who have sex with men (MSM) in Jamaica is higher than every other country without a buggery law at 32%.

2)

Ordinarily such comments would give rise to arguments as to whether morality should be legislated. However, since PM Cameron has made it clear that certain moral positions can be the subject of sanctions in international policy, the question is, rather, whether his threat is right on a balance of outcomes. I use the word ‘right’ in the secular sense of the word, questioning whether the urgency and moral duty expressed by the British prime minister are well founded based on an assessment of the consequences.

Certainly, foreign governments have not been as outspoken about garrison politics; the virtual dictatorship between the JLPNP in Jamaica; the imbalance between rich and poor; the lack of disclosure on campaign financing, and so on. Is this threat worth it?

Mr. Ramsay is seeming to imply that the outcome of the repeal of the buggery law is going to be detrimental to the nation’s health. Of course, with every country without a buggery law having a lower HIV prevalence among MSMs than Jamaica this cannot be true. Britain cannot be said to be mostly responsible for campaign financing, garrison politics or poverty in Jamaica unlike the buggery law. These anti-gay laws are in the majority of commonwealth states and as such Britain has the duty to clean up what it  left after independence.

3)

The first question is what is the negative outcome of withholding legal homosexual sex from citizens in countries such as Jamaica. The right to choose one’s lifestyle is as applicable to homosexuality as it is to the use of narcotics such as marijuana, or tobacco or alcohol. All three are restricted in the United Kingdom to varying degrees. While the basis is the negative outcomes, based on medical, psychological and sociological study, authorities in the UK have been more open to data on the effects of marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol than they have been on data on the negative outcomes of the homosexual lifestyle.

The negative outcome of withholding legal homosexual sex from citizens drives gay men underground away from HIV prevention and treatment information. It leads gay men to marry and have sex with women thus spreading HIV into the heterosexual population. Don’t take our word for it. The previous minister of health laid it out here :http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Jamaicans-making-it-difficult-for-gays-to-stay-with-one-partner-_8567822

It also allows police to use the laws to harass and extort gay men and Jamaicans to see homosexuals as criminals and thus worthy of  violent punishment. The laws have no use.

4)

They have also considered the sociological implications, which do not necessarily harm the person in a conclusive medical sense, but could have harmful effects on the fabric of society. Thus, they banned smoking indoors in England in 2007, restricted alcohol intoxication levels in certain spheres, and banned marijuana despite the human right to choose one’s lifestyle. They will raid a private dwelling home in London to seize marijuana on those same grounds, violating various human rights on grounds they will argue are legitimate. So there is no blanket ban on restricting the right to choose, provided there are legitimate grounds.

Mr. Ramsay wants to make the connection between homosexual sex(he doesn’t realise that female homosexuality is not illegal in Jamaica) and drug use by saying that banning homosexual sex is just like banning or limiting alcohol or marijuana. Stupidly, he doesnt realise that countries that have decriminalised drugs have less usage rates. For example, Portugal decriminalised all drugs in 2001 and ten years later, the number of drug addicts decreased to now among the lowest in the EU(See here: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html). Compare that to the United States which not only has the highest prison population per capita because of the “War on Drugs” but has some of the highest marijuana and cocaine usage rates in the world. Alcohol was criminalised in the United States by an amendment to the constitution and not only did people continue drinking alcohol but the policy was a disaster as people fought over smuggled alcohol and criminality increased. If anti-marijuana laws worked then we would have seen results.

5)

Thus the only negative outcome of maintaining the anti-homosexual laws is restricting the individual’s right to choose, a right which is not without legal restriction on legitimate grounds such as medical, psychological or sociological harm to the individual or society. Several studies, including those conducted by Professors Jones and Yarhouse, research published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy in 2011, and Dr N. Whitehead in the Journal of Human Sexuality in 2011, show that like the choice to possess or smoke marijuana, an individual can not only choose whether or not to have homosexual sex, but also change their homosexual orientation without psychological distress.

Thus the right to choose homosexual sex is not a sacred genetic right, but is open to restriction, provided there are legitimate grounds.

What he calls “anti-homosexual laws” do not violate the right to choose, they violate the right to privacy. Their is no “right to choose” anywhere in human rights treaties Jamaica has signed to and neither is it in our constitution. In the Toonen v. Australia case, buggery laws were found to violate Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Whether or not homosexual sex is chosen doesn’t matter as religion is chosen and freedom to practice one’s religion is a right.

As Mr. Ramsay read the website of NARTH he obviously didn’t read what the studies he quoted said and neither did he take time to research on them. The study by Jones and Yarhouse was rejected by the American Psychological Association for methodological flaws. The authors themselves even  said on their website (http://www.exgaystudy.org/ex-gays/responses-to-criticism) in regards to what “conversion” means “Most of the individuals who reported that they were heterosexual at Time 3 did not report themselves to be without experience of homosexual arousal, and did not report heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated.” In other words, the people who claimed they “changed” still experienced homosexual attractions and were thus bisexual. The study did not indicate as to whether or not they were bisexual before the study however. This study was clearly not a study to prove that homosexuals can “change” into heterosexuals but that some subjects experienced attractions to the opposite sex after “therapy”. Without knowing whether or not they were attracted to the opposite sex before the study is a methodological flaw. The authors single sentence summary says: “In short, the results do not prove that categorical change in sexual orientation is possible for everyone or anyone, but rather that meaningful shifts along a continuum that constitute real changes appear possible for some.”

The second study by Dr. N Whitehead was published in the Journal of Human Sexuality which is a journal created by NARTH, run by NARTH and published by NARTH. Dr. N Whitehead works for NARTH so in other words NARTH took the study, peer-reviewed it themselves and published it in their own journal. This is equivalent to a child marking his own test paper and giving himself an “A”. Of course, we have to watch out for the journals these anti-gay activists quote from.

6)

On the other hand, there are scientific arguments which show conclusive medical, psychological and sociological grounds for negative outcomes of homosexual sex. The negative outcomes of homosexual sex and the homosexual lifestyle are not myths of religious fanatics or ignorant homophobes.

An article by Dr John R. Diggs titled ‘The Health Risks of Gay Sex’ provides a good starting point, referencing several studies conducted by the scientific community. Diggs concluded: “Sexual relationships between members of the same sex expose gays, lesbians and bisexuals to extreme risks of sexually transmitted infections, physical injuries, mental disorders and even a shortened lifespan.”

The article cites 129 scientific studies, not conducted by Christians, or homophobes, or narrow-minded developing countries. But there is more. In 2004, WebMD reported a CDC study that showed homosexual sex forms a bridge for HIV to pass to women. This is due to the high levels of promiscuity, high levels of HIV infection, and the high percentage of homosexual males who also have sex with women.

Mr. Ramsay’s mention of Dr John R. Diggs who is the co-chair of the Massachusetts Physician Resource Council, which is a part of the Massachusetts Family Institute, a so-called “traditional values organization” is proof that the “negative outcomes of homosexual sex” are not myths of religious fanatics? Mr. Ramsay doesn’t understand that the studies are not the problem but the people who interpret them as how they feel like in order to suit their political agenda. Mr. Ramsay cannot quote one study for himself so he relies on what another person tells him about them because that’s what people with political agendas do. They look for those “experts” who agree with them and try to give them credibility.

Of course, because he doesn’t care about the truth and only his own agenda, Mr. Ramsay doesn’t tell you what the whole CDC report says about those gay men who have sex with women. They said :

The findings in this report are consistent with previous research suggesting that among MSM, nondisclosure of sexual orientation is associated with being a member of a racial/ethnic minority group, identifying as bisexual or heterosexual, having greater perceived community and internalized homophobia, and being less integrated socially within homosexual communities (1—3,6). Although this study did not find that nondisclosing MSM were at higher risk for HIV infection than MSM who are more open about their sexuality (1—3), the data suggest that a substantial proportion of nondisclosers are infected with HIV and other STDs and are at high risk for transmitting these infections to their male and female sex partners.

The finding that more than one in three nondisclosers reported having recent female sex partners suggests that nondisclosing MSM might have an important role in HIV/STD transmission to women. This might be particularly true for black nondisclosing MSM, of whom approximately one in five was infected with HBV and one in seven was infected with HIV.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5205a2.htm

In other words, gay men who are afraid to disclose their sexual orientation are more likely to have sex with women. We at AGFC know for a fact that anti-homosexual laws make exacerbate the problem of men who refuse to disclose their sexual orientation because they fear these laws and the anti-homosexual attitudes that come along with them.

7)

In fact, homosexual practitioners have a significantly higher incidence of anal cancer, chlamydia trachomatis, cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, herpes simplex virus, HIV, HPV, Isospora belli, microsporidia, gonorrhoea, viral hepatitis types B & C, syphilis, according to research published by the Medical Clinics of North America and even the LGBTHealthChannel.

Other studies show that homosexual practitioners also have a higher incidence of haemorrhoids, anal fissures, anorectal trauma, hepatitis A, Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, Epstein-Barr virus, Neisseria meningitides, shigellosis, salmonellosis, pediculosis, scabies and campylobacter, retained foreign bodies, and exclusive diseases such as herpes Type 8.

Aside from the fact that Mr. Ramsay is ignoring the fact that a study published in The Lancet in July 2012 says that countries that criminalise homosexuality have high rates of HIV among MSM (See here: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)60722-3/abstract) and that the CDC quoted a study which says that gays who are rejected by their family are  3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection, he doesn’t realise that homosexual sex doesn’t cause diseases but unsafe sex of any kind do. Heterosexuals have all the same diseases but homosexuals have some at a higher rate. Do higher rates of HIV in black sub-Saharan Africans mean that black people should be banned from having sex with other races?  Is it the lack of use of protection that causes these diseases or is it the sex act itself? Do punitive laws against homosexuality prevalent these diseases even though Jamaica has an HIV prevalence rate among MSMs that is 32% which is higher than every other nation without a buggery law?

8)

There are also serious mental health consequences. There are other alarming facts. A New York Times article by Erica Goode in 2001 revealed that the practice of anal sex increased in the homosexual community, while condom use has declined 20 per cent and multi-partner sex over seven years, despite billions of US dollars spent on HIV-prevention campaigns.

Furthermore, social and legal approval will lead to more sexual activity. This not only has the medical consequences already discussed, but also economic consequences. As a 2002 study by Michael Hamrick for the Corporate Resource Council shows, the health-care costs resulting from homosexual promiscuity are substantial.

In the Jamaican context, already burdened by free health care, the costs borne by the Jamaican taxpayer will be significantly higher.

Anti-gay activists never mention that homophobic discrimination and internalised homophobia are largely responsible for higher rates of mental disorders in the LGBT community as you can see in studies here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20708315.  One also wonders whether homophobia and buggery laws increase condom use among MSM. His naive thinking tells him that if you have more laws then you have less of an activity but what he doesn’t realise is that buggery laws push homosexual sex underground and not because you don’t hear of it doesn’t mean its not happening. Social and legal approval lead to more sexual activity? Our HIV prevalence rate tells another story.

Mr. Ramsay claims that his sources were not from “religious fanatics or ignorant homophobes” but chooses to quote Michael Hamrick who works for the Corporate Resource Council, an organization run by and funded by the Alliance Defense Fund which is a Christian political advocacy group to say the the burden by the Jamaican tax-payer would be higher if the buggery law is repealed. One wonders if Jamaican “homosexual practitioners” are not tax-payers too and why the HIV prevalence rate among MSM in Jamaica higher than every other county without a buggery law.

9)

In light of the brief summary I have provided, a balanced look at Prime Minister Cameron’s threat reveals that there may be a lot more to lose if Jamaica is forced to repeal those ‘anti-homosexual’ laws. Not only could the country face sanctions from the United Kingdom prior to repealing the laws, but there are other consequences to the homosexual individual, women who may come in contact with them, and the wider society that may outweigh the restriction of homosexuals’ right to choose their lifestyle.

These negative consequences may even lead one to conclude that it is necessary and fair to restrict any right to homosexual activity, as necessary and fair as restricting marijuana, alcohol, or tobacco use.

Nevertheless, if PM Cameron has his way, sovereign nations will have no right to choose.

Mr. Ramsay claims to give a “balanced look” to the issue of repealing the buggery law. Now, we at AGFC do not like to laugh at anti-gay activists because we understand that some of them are ignorant. Mr. Ramsay apparently doesn’t realise that Jamaica has a much higher HIV rate than every other country without a buggery law and that recent studies show that countries without them overall have lower prevalence rates especially among the black population. Not only is this fact but homosexual men hide their sexuality in order to avoid being prosecuted by these laws and thus get into relationships with women out of fear.

Mr. Ramsay is no scientist so we will understand his ignorance instead of ridiculing him. However, we noticed that he had originally intended to prove that repealing the buggery law would be detrimental to society but instead ended up just speaking about what he considers the “negative effects of homosexuality”. Nowhere did he compare those countries with and without these laws and what whether or not Jamaica is in a better position because of it. He quotes no studies about Jamaica or the UK and doesn’t seem to understand what human rights laws say about homosexuality. 

We use this as an example of how anti-gay activists can deceive the public with ignorance while trying to appear smart. They tend to focus on the “what” and not the “why” to push their agenda. Homosexuals have HIV, commit suicide more, have higher mental health rates and sleep with women but he doesnt realise or say why. LGBT activists, look out for this approach.

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