21st Century Media.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
  The internet and spread of non-truths.
Recently there has a been a bit of controversy over a group on Facebook called The Truth About Homosexuality (log-in req), begun by Pepperdine student Joe Grable. The group makes claims about homosexuality that have caused such outrage that the group has been made inactive. Naturally, the "truth" Grable was spouting seemed outrageous, and the citation of sources seemed slightly suspicious. I spent over 2 1/2 hours today researching official websites and came up with a rebuttal which was so time-consuming, I thought my blog readers should view it.

My research follows his original "facts":

1. 75-85% of AIDS cases are homosexuals (this costs America approximately $10 billion and 11,000 lives per year)

FACT: According to the CDC, homosexuals account for only 54% of all AIDS cases. The remaining 46% are intravenous non-homosexual drug users, heterosexuals, and those who attained the disease through transfusions, etc. In 2004 alone, homosexuals accounted for only 46% of all new AIDS cases. There is absolutely no way to calculate "cost." In 2004, AIDS took well more than 11,000 lives - 15,798, in fact.

2. The average life expectancy of homosexuals, male and female, is 42, with only 9% living past age 65.

FACT: This is no truth to this statement. It was "substantiated" by researchers at the Family Research Institute who read obtituaries in gay newspapers/magazines and attempted to calculate an average, as described in an article on Slate. There is no real way to calculate a homosexual life expectancy.

3. The fidelity rate for homosexual couples is 4.5%, compared to 75 to 85% among heterosexual couples.

FACT: Data on this subject is almost impossible to find. I have read in several sources that lesbian couples have the highest fidelity rates of all couples. Do not be skewed by the presentation of the facts - the INFIDELITY rate among heterosexual couples still remains at about 25% percent. The best source of debate on this is a blog called "Dust in the Light."

4. 25-33% of homosexuals are alchoholics.

FACT: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that in 1992, which is the latest that conclusive data for both genders and sexual preferences is available, 7.5% of lesbians and 13.2% of gay men reported frequent heavy use of alcohol. Comparatively, 2.5% of straight women and 11.52% of straight men reported frequent heavy use.

5. 78% of homosexuals are infected with STD's.

FACT: Only 17% of men who have ever had male-male sexual contact have been treated in the past year for a non-HIV sexually transmitted infection. I am aware that this figure does not include those who have not been tested, but this was the only relevant statistic I could conjure up from the National Center for Health Statistics. Interestingly enough, however, is that among males who have had sexual contact with other males, 91% used a condom during their last intercourse. Only 36% of males who have never had sex with men used a condom the last time they had sex.

6. The intimate partner violence rate is 15.4% among homosexual males, and .05% among heterosexual males.

FACT: The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder estimates that 11% of women and 23% of men in homosexual relationships report being raped, assaulted or stalked by an intimate partner. However, 20-30% of American women will be physically abused at least once in their lives, making the heterosexual rate provided virtually impossible.

Joe Grable used the following sources to provide all that misinformation:

marysremnant.org, a ministry out of Wells, Maine.

new-life.net, the New Life Community Church in Stafford, Virginia.

frc.org, the Family Research Council, a Christian conservative non-profit lobbyist organization formed by James Dobson in the early 1980's. The Council's current president, Tony Perkins, has been accused of racism and has been linked to Ku Klux Klan head David Duke.

exodus.to, Exodus International ministry "addressing homosexual issues," which encourages people to "leave" homosexuality and teaches adolescents how to suppress homosexual feelings.

precept.org, Precept Ministries International, based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Not a single source Grable used was official, academic, or non-partisan.

I'm still relatively amazed at the accuracy of information that can be attained with a bit of effort and the resources that are available to journalists, thanks to the world wide web. I'm also appalled at the endless incorrect information that comes up as soon as you enter a phrase and hit "Go" on Google.
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