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June 11th, 2007

First, Do No Harm…Unless It’s To Homosexuals…(continued)

Jim Burroway, as expected, completely demolishes John Holsinger

The whole point of Holsinger’s paper is to draw a sharp contrast between gay relationships and heterosexual relationships. But to do so, he he culls his evidence largely from papers which describe injuries from nonconsensual intercourse to denigrate consensual relationships, he describes odd sexual practices that are enjoyed by heterosexual couples to denigrate the minority of gay couples who indulge in those same practices, and he misleads his readers by padding his bibliography with more references to papers explicitly describing injuries experienced by heterosexual men and women to imply that they describe gay men instead.

In other words, to describe gay sexual acts, more often than not he turned to papers which describe injuries sustained through heterosexual activity. And then he used this evidence from heterosexual activity to say that “when the complementarity of the sexes is breached, injuries and diseases may occur as noted above.” But what does this evidence suggest about “complementarity” in heterosexual relationships? Holsinger doesn’t answer.

Burroway, as he has done previously with other religious right bigots, most notibly Paul Cameron, illuminates again and again the casual and deliberate deception in Holsinger’s anti-gay tract.  For example, how Holsinger used a study of 365 male patients of a single urban STD clinic in Copenhagan so prove that homosexual sex is more likely to result in disease.  As Burroway dryly notes…

This of course means that if you study people with STDs, whether they are gay or straight, you will find people with STDs. Holsinger uses the behavior of one particular sample of men who expose themselves to the risk of STDs to denigrate all gay men (and lesbians!). This study says nothing of those whose “lifestyle” choices do not lead to contracting STDs. And of course, Holsinger’s arguments don’t address whatever responsibility heterosexuals overall have for the 64% of this particular Copenhagen sample who were exclusively straight and were treated for STDs.

This was what Evelyn Hooker understood back in the 1950s when she did her landmark study of the psychological adjustment of gay men.  If all you study are sick homosexuals, then all you’re going to see in homosexuality is sickness.  But that’s all that some people want to see.  Holsinger uses data on injuries to the rectum gleaned from emergency room treatment of people who had been raped, to smear the sex loving same sex couples have as physically damaging.  Perhaps in his own mind, Holsinger really cannot see the difference between love and rape when it involves homosexuals.  Or perhaps he’s just trying to make sure that nobody else can.  Either way, it speaks volumes about that open sewer he calls a conscience.

And here, Burroway nails it:

But worse, Holsinger made the fatal error of ignoring the bonds of affection and devotion that arise in gay and lesbian couples. He reduced the rich complexity of their relationships to pipe fittings and how they interlock with each other. But the interlocking parts that fit together in relationships are those parts that fit sublimely. They have absolutely nothing to do with pipes or connectors or any other analogies drawn from the local Ace Hardware store.

But the interlocking parts that fit together in relationships are those parts that fit sublimely.  Yes.  Just so.  But that is the part of an intimate romantic relationship, that the right reliably fails to grok.  I think the reason why is obvious.

We have needed a Jim Burroway in this movement for a long, long time.  Someone to actually take the time and effort to rigorously dig below the surface of these religious right anti-gay tracts and show, point by point, how they are looking you in the face and lying through their teeth, confidant that their ostentatious religiosity will keep you from questioning their facts.  Surely men of God wouldn’t deliberately lie to us.  They may be uptight moral prudes and cranks, but at least they believe in and live by their own moral values and we can trust in that.  They are merely zealots, blinded by their prejudices, not conniving con artists.  No.  There is no mistaking this kind of thing for what it is.  You cannot pick and choose your data to suit your purposes, without knowing that you are picking and choosing your data to suit your purposes.  It is calculated, it is deliberate, and it is to virtue and morality as Al Capone was to law and order.

Go read the whole thing

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