Monday, September 03, 2012

Why gays and lesbians should pity Bryan Fischer while denouncing him

Bryan Fischer
Last week, gay activist Michelangelo Signorile conducted an interview with homophobic firebrand Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association.

Fischer is infamous for negative comments about the gay community and anyone else who doesn't fit his idea of normalcy.

One portion of the interview came across as sad to me and I will tell you why after featuring it:

Regarding his frequently railing against gay men and making unsubstantiated connections to pedophilia, Fischer bristled when it was pointed out to him that every major medical and mental health group, such as the American Psychological Association, rejects such a connection.

“I disagree with the assessment that there’s no solid social science research behind the connection between homosexuality and pedophilia,” he countered, without referring to any studies specifically on homosexuality and pedophilia. “I believe the research is strong. I believe it is impeccable.”

Fischer then began to quote from this year's controversial Mark Regnerus study on gay-parenting, which was recently determined to be severely flawed in an audit by the very journal that published it. When that was pointed out him, he scoffed that “political pressure” caused the journal to criticize the study.

“That’s a homosexual act,” he said in describing a male pedophile molesting a male child, though studies have refuted any connection between homosexuality and pedophilia and social scientists note that most pedophiles do not have an adult sexual orientation and will often choose either gender in children they molest. “Because it’s a sexual act with someone of the same gender -- there’s no escaping that.”

Asked why he demonizes male homosexuality as dangerous because gay men are at high risk for HIV but rarely mentions lesbians, who are perhaps the lowest risk group for HIV infection (and thus it would negate his claims that homosexuality is medically risky and dangerous), Fisher claimed "lesbian behavior” is associated with medical risks too.

“Well, if you look at the Gay and Lesbian Medial Association web site,” he said. “This is the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association -- not an arm of the [Family Research Council] or [the American Family Association] or the vast right-wing conspiracy -- they identify ten specific medical risks for women who are engaged in lesbian behavior. And one of them is breast cancer and gynecological cancer. And this is the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association -- that’s not me saying that. That’s the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association saying that.”

But as renowned breast cancer specialist Dr. Susan Love has pointed out, "This has nothing to do with being a lesbian per se. Rather, it stems from the idea that lesbians are more likely to have some of the known risk factors for breast cancer: late first pregnancy or no pregnancy and obesity." When it was explained to Fischer that a possible higher incidence in breast cancer among lesbians may have to do with the fact that some studies suggest a higher incidence of breast cancer among women who do not breast feed, and that many lesbians do not have children (and thus straight women who don’t have children or don't breast feed might have an equally higher incidence of breast cancer), Fischer dismisses the fact that a possible higher incidence would have nothing to do with sexual orientation itself.

“Right, but nevertheless, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association says, ‘Look, here are the risks, medical risks among lesbians that are higher than the general population,'" he repeated. "So I’m willing to take their word for it.”

The irony of Fischer citing the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association to cite anything regarding the gay and lesbian community is enormous.

As it is, he is not the first member of the religious right to cite the GMLA as an inaccurate way to demonize the lgbt orientation.

Two years ago, the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg used the organization's work to attack the gay community even to the point of deliberately omitting parts of that work which placed the blame on homophobia for negative health behavior in the gay community.

While Fischer isn't as egregiously deceptive as Sprigg, he is just as stubborn. He claims that he is willing to take the GMLA's word on lesbian health, but I doubt he would take the following observations from GMLA  about the lesbian population as truth:

Lesbians may experience chronic stress from discrimination. This stress is worse for women who need to hide their orientation as well as for lesbians who have lost important emotional support because of their orientation. Living with this stress can cause depression and anxiety.

Substance Use
Lesbians may use drugs more often than heterosexual women. This can be due to stress from homophobia, sexism, and/or discrimination. Lesbians need support to find healthy ways to cope and reduce stress.

If confronted with these facts, how long would it take for Fischer to denounce the GLMA? Probably within seconds. And that's why we should pity Fischer.

He's not an intelligent person. Bryan Fischer is just a silly old man with a radio show, an extreme bastardization of the Andy Warhol saying that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

Fischer is stubborn even to the point of putting his fingers in his ears and making loud noises when confronted with the the truth about his inaccurate claims. He's a regular Grandpa Simpson on crack.

Of course this isn't to say that we should totally ignore Fischer. It's to say that Fischer doesn't deserve the anger he elicits from the gay community. What he deserves is mockery, pity, and whenever necessary, scapegoating.

Instead of blowing our tops at him, the gay community would be wise to point him out as one of the real faces of the religious right; a face of fear, bigotry, and lies which cannot be covered up by a plastic mask of religious piety.


Jason Dabrowski said...

well, considering that girls are sexually abused 3 times as often as boys, that would make pedophilia mostly a heterosexual problem. When a man molests a little girl, that's a "Heterosexual act"

That's the problem when people ignore legit research and conclusions because they want to believe something that seems like it should be true, and belief in this falsehood allows them to demonize a group, they invariably make huge errors that smack them back in the face.

Anonymous said...

gosh, we all know that this guy is just a super enormous all-time idiotic troll - and everyone who believes what that guy is saying, too

Richard said...

Jason, How dare you think of bringing common sense to a debate with a bigot. The facts alone would probably shatter their world and cause their head to explode. (sorry, could not help it). I guess what I pity the most is that they fake ignorance, the reason why I say fake is because ignorance means you do not know or not able to know. Those that forcefully ignore the truth and disregard it are just plain stupid. It is their doing and no one elses. I want to inform/help the ignorant and pity/overcome the stupid in this world.

Gregory Peterson said...

I've been reading "Science for Segregation : Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education" by John P. Jackson, Jr. 2006.

“I disagree with the assessment that there’s no solid social science research behind the connection between homosexuality and pedophilia,” he countered, without referring to any studies specifically on homosexuality and pedophilia. “I believe the research is strong. I believe it is impeccable.”

Mr. Fischer would have been right at home with his use of science. You can just hear him on the AM radio quoting from "Mankind Quarterly" and Carleton Putnam's "Race and Reason." (MQ is still publishing.)

That the scientific consensus is against Mr. Fischer, as it was against the white supremacists, is somehow proof of a dreadful conspiracy to hide "the truth."

Pac said...

I've been working on a counter to the Christian Right argument that homosexuality is exceptionally unsafe compared with the documented deadly, and largely avoidable, risks to which a subset of Christians expose themselves daily.