Monday, October 01, 2012

Response to "The Truth About Homosexuality" Part 1


Response to "The Truth About Homosexuality", "Unhealthy Practices  #1-27".
http://thisismarriage.wordpress.com/homosexuality/

This is part 1 of a response to a critique of homosexuality posted on "ThisIsMarriage", which is entitled "The Truth About Homosexuality" and which TIM has copied from "United Families International".


Acronym Key:

TIM = ThisIsMarriage
MSM = men who have sex with men
WSW = women who have sex with women
LGB = Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual
SS = Same sex
(p240) = page 240


How is this response structured?

All quotations below, unless otherwise indicated are from TIM's own cited studies. This response is in numbered sections that correspond to the numbers given to TIM's references/claims. Studies cited where only the abstracts are available online may unfortunately receive only limited responses.

At the end of each major section (E.G. Unhealthy Practices  #1-27), there will be a general response to the points raised in that section. Key counters to TIM's rationale will be detailed there but not in response to each specific study, in order to avoid duplication.


Claims based upon newspaper articles/magazines/websites/books are largely dismissed. Why is this?

They are only fit to provide anecdotal evidence. This is particularly the case because any information presented by the media that has a sound scientific basis should be in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Given this fact, it is far more sensible and persuasive for the author of TIM to quote or at least cite the study, which will detail its own methodology. Newspapers etc are also presented by journalists or laymen, not experts and typically provide almost no detail of the methodology used.


Why are Paul Cameron studies largely dismissed?

Paul Cameron is the founder of the Family Research Institute, a recognised hate group. He was repudiated by the American Psychological Association, the Nebraska Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association, and the Canadian Psychological Association due to misrepresentation of other's research. His work has also been frequently demonstrated to be methodologically flawed and appears to be motivated by a hatred of homosexuality, likely derived from his self-confessed childhood molestation by a man.
http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/paul-cameron

Researcher Dr. Gregory Herek details why Cameron's work lacks any scientific merit:
http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_cameron.html

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1) Sandfort et al. 2001, Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(1), 85-91:
http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/58/1/85

TIM's insinuation: Homosexual behaviour increases mental disorders.

TIM's pre-emptive attempt to counter responses to this point is as follows:
"This research comes from the Netherlands where homosexuality has been accepted and mainstreamed for years, negating the mindset that a lack of tolerance of homosexual behavior and lifestyle produces these psychoses."

This statement is simply incorrect. That the Netherlands has a lower crime rate than the U.S. does not for instance mean that no crimes are ever committed in the Netherlands. Likewise, the Netherlands is not devoid of heterosexism, it is simply less abundant. Furthermore, multiple studies identify that the relationship between heterosexist abuse and homosexual mental disorder prevalence is apparent in the Netherlands.

Kuyper et al. 2011, Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(2), 222-33, DOI: 10.1037/a0022688:
"Results showed that minority stress is also related to mental health of Dutch LGBs. Participants with a higher level of internalized homonegativity and those who more often encountered negative reactions from other people on their same-sex sexual attraction reported more mental health problems."

Gevonden et al. 2014, Psychological Medicine, 44(2), 421-33, DOI: 10.1017/S0033291713000718:
"The finding that LGB orientation is associated with psychotic symptoms adds to the growing body of literature linking minority status with psychosis and other mental health problems, and suggests that exposure to minority stress represents an important mechanism."

The study cited by TIM itself acknowledges the detrimental effects of social stigma on LGBT people's mental health:
"The effects of social factors on the mental health status of homosexual men and women have been well documented in studies, which found a relationship between experiences of stigma, prejudice, and discrimination and mental health status.52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61".

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2) Herrell et al. 1999, Archives of General Psychiatry, 56(10), 867-874:
http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=205355

TIM's insinuation: Homosexual behaviour increases suicidality.

TIM's study itself indicates that a hostile social environment likely explains the trend:
"The most comprehensive study of gay youth to date found they are not confused about their sexuality but often are confused how to express it in a hostile social environment.18 The fact that an independent effect remains after controlling for factors typically comorbid with suicidality (alcohol, other drugs, and depression) and for the factors controlled by the co-twin method suggests the importance of social factors."

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3.1) Garofalo et al. 1998, Pediatrics, 101(5), 895-902:
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/101/5/895.abstract

TIM's insinuation: Being homosexual increases LGB youth's risky behaviours.

TIM's study notes the increased incidence of LGB peoples' victimisation and the odds ratios for victimisation parallel those for the "risky behaviours":
"GLB youth were more likely than their peers to have been victimized and threatened".
"Frequency of Behaviors at School, showed having one's property stolen or deliberately damaged (1.23; 1.08–1.40) and using marijuana (1.29; 1.05–1.59) and smokeless tobacco (1.53; 1.30–1.81) were associated with GLB orientation."

A study published in the same journal, by one of the authors of TIM's Ref. 23, provides a comparison of LGBT people with other LGBT people. It found the following (Ryan et al. 2009, Pediatrics, 123(1), 346-352):
"Higher rates of family rejection were significantly associated with poorer health outcomes. On the basis of odds ratios, lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 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."
tinyurl.com/LGBTstudy


This section of TIM's essay uses a second study to support its point, which is detailed below.
3.2) Garofalo et al. 1999, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 153(5), 487-493:
http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=346930

TIM's insinuation: LGB youth are more suicidal due to their homosexuality.

Ironically, TIM's own study finds that being female presented a higher risk of suicide attempt than being LGB, while Hispanic ethnicity presented approximately the same risk as LGB orientation:
"Gender, age, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and all 20 health-risk behaviors were associated with suicide attempt... Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure youth were 3.41 times more likely to report a suicide attempt. Based on hierarchical logistic regression, female gender (odds ratio [OR], 4.43), GLBN orientation (OR, 2.28), Hispanic ethnicity (OR, 2.21), higher levels of violence/victimization (OR, 2.06), and more drug use (OR, 1.31) were independent predictors of suicide attempt."

TIM's study did not find an independent association between lesbianism and suicidality in their study and suggest that the association found for male homosexuals is explainable in terms of familial/societal rejection:
"The increased suicide risk among GLBN females does not reflect an independent association with sexual orientation... Issues such as gender nonconformity and other factors directly related to self-identified homosexual or bisexual orientation, such as isolation, social rejection, or parental aspects of acceptance, may disproportionately affect GLBN adolescent males in comparison with females, thus contributing to the independent association found in our study".

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4.1) Goldman, E, 1994, Clinical Psychiatry News.

TIM's insinuation: 30% of all 20 year old MSM will be HIV+ or dead by 30.

Clinical Psychiatry News is a news distributor, not a peer reviewed scientific journal. Its archives do not date back to 1994 and E. Goldman does not appear to be a noteworthy epidemiologist, if one at all. It is unfortunately not possible to asses the validity of TIM's claim because their reference cannot be accessed. Their 18 year old claim appears absurd and is totally unsubstantiated by any other source. See the end of section for further details and note that TIM's 30% claim appears to be contradicted by it's claim using reference 4.2, which indicates a 10% HIV prevalence among MSM.


4.2) Los Angeles Times, Feb. 17, 2001.

TIM's insinuation: 10% of young MSM have HIV.

Another news article. The relevance of the claim is not established and if it is a valid scientific claim then a study or large scientific institution should be used as a source.


4.3) Associated Press, Feb. 6, 2001.

TIM's insinuation: 33% of black MSM have HIV.

Yet another news article. Incidentally, the rate of HIV is much higher among African-Americans in general than among white Americans, which lends as much support to racism as TIM's claim does to heterosexism... none at all.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

5) Paul Cameron, Kirk Cameron, and William L. Playfair.

TIM's insinuation: Homosexuals have a median lifespan of less than 50.

This poorly referenced statistic by TIM is Paul Cameron's lifespan study.

The methodology of his lifespan study is so poor that it has been used as an example of a flawed study for educational purposes. In a list entitled "The Seven Deadly Statistical Sins", The University of Columbia uses Paul Cameron's lifespan study as an archetype of "Non-response bias, or the non-representative sample", stating that "This is the biggest sin of all".
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/21stC/issue-3.3/ross.html

Researcher Dr. Gregory Herek elucidates the methodological flaws in Cameron's lifespan study:
http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_cameron_obit.html

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6) Centers for Disease Control, Media Center, 2002.

TIM's insinuation: MSM HIV transmission rate is 9 times that of heterosexuals.

Another exceptionally poorly referenced statistic by TIM. The rate of new HIV infection for heterosexuals is literally infinitely greater than the risk for lesbians, making TIM's statistic laughable.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005:
"To date, there are no confirmed cases of female-to-female sexual transmission of HIV in the United States database."
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/women/resources/factsheets/wsw.htm

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7.1) Tom Smith, 1991, Family Planning Perspectives, 23(3), 102-107:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1860475

7.2) A Paul Cameron study.

TIM's insinuation: HIV contraction risk from unprotected "homosexual sex" = 1/165. Heterosexual contraction risk = 1/715,000.

The study cited by TIM, above (7.1), does not mention or indicate the statistics described by TIM anywhere, though a range of more comprehensive and up to date studies find the risks of HIV transmission to be completely different from TIM's claims. HIV transmission risk is affected by many factors. Note that the quotes below assume that the partner is HIV positive unless stated otherwise.

Estimated HIV transmission risk per exposure for specific activities:
"Vaginal sex, male-to-female, studies in high-income countries.......... 0.08% (1:1234)"
"Vaginal sex, male-to-female, studies in low-income countries........... 0.38% (1:263)"
"Receptive anal sex amongst gay men, partner HIV positive............... 0.82% (1:123)
"Insertive anal sex, gay men, partner unknown status.......................... 0.06% (1:1666)"
"Mother-to-child, mother takes at least two weeks antiretroviral therapy 0.80% (1:125)"
http://www.aidsmap.com/Estimated-risk-per-exposure/page/1324038/

The risk of HIV transmission from mother to child enlightens us about the morality and healthiness of procreation as much as the risk of transmission from HIV+ man to receptive male partner does about homosexuality... not at all. The second study cited by TIM is simply Paul Cameron's lifespan study (see TIM reference 5).

TIM's statistic is seemingly from Paul Cameron alone, with the other study (7.1) merely cited to disguise this fact.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

8) CDC Press Release 2002:
http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/r020710.htm

TIM's insinuation: Drug use, partner violence, history of childhood sexual abuse, and depression increase risky sexual behaviour among MSM.

All of the points made by TIM are explained as consequences of heterosexism at the end-of-section summary. It's worth noting that there is no sound evidence of increased incidence of domestic abuse or childhood sexual abuse among LGBT people.

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9) TIM's source here is a book that references a sex/pornography magazine for gay men. This anecdotal evidence is as representative of LGBT people as quotes from a heterosexual pornography magazine would be of heterosexuals.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

10) A conference held by the CDC is not a source that can be checked. TIM should cite written resources, rather than allege conferences.

TIM's insinuation: 90% of HIV+ black MSM, aged 15-29 didn't know they were HIV+, 60% of HIV+ white MSM didn't know they were HIV+.

TIM's point here is self-refuting, given that based upon their own statistics, if we use awareness of personal HIV contraction as a gage of healthiness or morality, we must conclude that black people are less healthy/moral than white people. When placed in context however, the entire point becomes irrelevant anyway, considering that overall, "over 90% of people living with HIV/AIDS do not know they are infected" (Linda Morison, 2001, British Medical Bulletin,58(1), 7-18).
http://bmb.oxfordjournals.org/content/58/1/7.long

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11) A newspaper article (not a peer-reviewed study) that discusses the HIV epidemiology of a single county contributes nothing noteworthy enough to even try to look the article up.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

This section consists of 3 studies.

TIM's insinuation: 50% of MSM will become HIV+ eventually.

12.1) Hessol et al. 1989, American Journal of Epidemiology, 130(6), 1167-1175:
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/130/6/1167

TIM's study is not simply on MSM, it is on MSM recruited from an STI clinic, who are therefore unsurprisingly likely to have much higher rates of STIs than the average person. The study does not show that 50% of MSM will become HIV infected. It shows that at the peak of the HIV epidemic, 50% of a cohort of MSM from an STI clinic had become infected.

According to TIM's own study:
"(The) homosexual and bisexual men were recruited from the San Francisco municipal sexually transmitted disease clinic... The annual incidence of human immunodeficiency virus infection showed that seroconversion peaked in 1980-1982, dropped significantly in 1983, and has remained low."


12.2) Hoover et al. 1991, American Journal of Epidemiology, 134(10), 1190-1205:
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/134/10/1190.abstract

TIM's second study again covers the height of the HIV epidemic, over two decades ago. It similarly shows a significant decline in new HIV infections over its course:
"Overall, the annual seroconversion hazard rose progressively from 0.4% in 1978 to 13.8% in 1983, dropped to 4.6% in 1985, and remained relatively stable at 1.1–2.2% from 1986 to 1990."


12.3) Morris & Dean, 1994, American Journal of Epidemiology, 140(3), 217-232:
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/140/3/217

This study is again on "surveillance data on AIDS incidence from 1981 to 1991" and shows the following:
"Substantial changes in human immunodeficiency virus (HlV)-related sexual behavior have been reported by virtually every survey of homosexual/bisexual men in the last decade."
"If this behavior were maintained, HIV prevalence would slowly decline in the population".


Other studies similarly note that the HIV epidemic peaked in the 1980s, around the time that it was first discovered; R Brookmeyer, 1991, Science, 253(5015), 37-42, DOI: 10.1126/science.2063206:
"Analyses suggest the HIV infection rate in the United States grew rapidly in the early 1980s, peaked in the mid-1980s, and subsequently declined markedly."
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/253/5015/37.abstract

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13) TIM's insinuation: Anal sex transmits some bacteria.

The source for TIM's claim here is a website, not a study or even the website of a reputable scientific organisation. The bacteria TIM describe here are likely more infectious via wiping one's own anus post-defecation than via protected anal sex. The quality of TIM's source is made especially apparent in their claim about "the bacteria that cause hepatitis A... and hepatitis B".  Hepatitis A and B are caused by viruses, not bacteria.

HIV has already been discussed and anal sex is not homosexuality.

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14) TIM's insinuation: MSM develop anal cancer more due to HPV, which is found in almost all HIV+ MSM.

This is another reference that is not obtainable and therefore not critically analysable. TIM correctly identifies that HPV causes cervical cancer in women. In gay men it usually affects the anus while in heterosexual women it usually affects the cervix instead. The type of sex involved merely modifies the infection site.

HPV is also very common and so it would be unsurprising if a group of people who were sufficiently sexually active to be HIV infected were also largely HPV infected; CDC:
"HPV is so common that at least 50% of sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives."
http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm

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15) Myers et al. 1992, Canadian Journal of Public Health, 83(1), 47-52:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1571882

TIM's insinuation: WSW are more likely to be HIV+ than heterosexual women.

TIM uses this study to make a claim about lesbians... yet the study was on "a cohort of 612 homosexual and bisexual men", not lesbians.

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16) Newspaper Article.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

17 & 18) TIM appears to be opposed to expenditure on medical care. The U.S. military bill, which is over $600 billion a year and accounts for ~41% of the world's total military expenditure makes an interesting comparison to the $10.8 billion spent on HIV care in 2000.

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19) Newspaper Article.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

20) TIM's insinuation: ~30% of MSM/WSW abuse alcohol compared to ~7% of heterosexuals.

It is unclear what type of source TIM is using here, though it is from 1977... see the end of the section for further discussion of substance abuse. It's worth noting that the title of TIM's own source is "The Price of Alienation, Isolation, and Oppression", not "The Price of Homosexuality".

21) The above also applies to reference 21, which is from 1989 and for which the full text is unfortunately not available online.

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22) William F. Skinner, 1994, American Journal of Public Health, 84(8), 1307-1310:
http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.84.8.1307

_____
TIM's insinuation:

Among MSM aged 18-25;
79.2% have used marijuana,
75.0% have used psychotherapeutics,
65.2% have used stimulants,
62.5% have used inhalants,
50.2% have used hallucinogens.

Among WSW;
82.0% have used marijuana,
58.8% have used psychotherapeutics,
52.9% have used stimulants
41.2% have used inhalants,
41.2% have used hallucinogens.
_____

The study author (Skinner) himself points out that "a low response rate severely limits the interpretation of these data". Given that it involved questions about many types of drug that the average non-drug user is unlikely to know about, the sample population was probably heavily skewed towards prolific (knowledgeable) drug users. The questions about sedative and stimulant use each included approximately 20 different types of drug for example. Skinner used questions from the "National Survey On Drug Abuse, 1988". Respondents to the original (national) survey had an interviewer to help them answer it, while Skinner's respondents do not seem to have.

National Survey On Drug Abuse 1988 questions appear about one third of the length down the following web page:
http://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/sci_data/misc/type_txt/nida88.asp

According to Skinner's study, "Nonmedical use means without a doctor's prescription", though many pharmaceuticals are used for medical reasons without a prescription and many of the drugs listed in the survey do have medical uses.

Aside from the low (50%) response rate, Skinner only gives the following information about his sample population:
"Participants were sampled by means of mailing lists from lesbian and gay organizations".
"Homosexuals of both sexes from two metropolitan areas in a southern state".

There is no indication of what type of organisations these were, which is critical to determining the representativeness of the sample population, especially in the case of a study on an obscure/hidden minority such as the LGBT population.

Perhaps the most abundant type of LGBT organizations are clubs/bars, which are also associated with a heightened prevalence of substance abuse. This is not due to any inherent link between homosexuality and substance abuse but simply because clubs/bars are a sexuality-specific type of organization whereas, if a homosexual wished to join a book club or fishing club for instance, they would simply join the most local (predominantly heterosexual) one. It is therefore highly likely that most of the organizations involved in the survey were clubs/bars, which would further skew the sample population towards elevated levels of substance abuse. It is worth noting that many of the drugs that Skinner's survey enquires about are club drugs.

It is a significant oversight by Skinner to have not included full details of his sample population in the study and it leaves both this author and TIM unable to accurately determine the representativeness of the sample population. There appears to be no data available online about the composition of the "Trilogy Project" cohort which constituted Skinner's data set.

The lifetime history of illicit drug use of the general population may be higher than some expect.  37.2% of respondents in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse 1993 had some lifetime illicit drug use for instance.

There are sizeable discrepancies even between TIM's own studies:
Ref. 22 above is used by TIM to suggest that 80% of lesbians have used marijuana while TIM's Ref. 23, below finds that "53% stated that they never used this drug" (Bradford et al. 1994, p234). TIM Ref. 22 is also used to claim that 52.9% of lesbians have used stimulants, while TIM Ref. 23 indicates that only 8% ever have (92% never have, Bradford et al. 1994, p235, table 6). Such huge variation in findings seriously damages TIM's attempts to claim that it's studies are representative of all lesbians, a claim that is not supported by the study authors and frequently, explicitly rejected by them.

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23) Bradford et al. 1994, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62(2), 228-242:
http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/62/2/228/

_____
TIM's insinuation, Among WSW;
37% are physically abused,
32% are raped or sexually attacked,
19% have incestuous relationships while growing up,
~30% use tobacco on a daily basis,
30% drink alcohol more than once a week,
6% drink daily,
~20% smoke marijuana more than once a month,
21% have thoughts about suicide “sometimes” or “often,”
18% have attempted suicide,
50% were too nervous to accomplish ordinary activities at some time during the past year,
33% have been depressed.
_____

These claims will each be sequentially analysed, explained and placed within context below.

This study is over 30 years old, having used data from the National Lesbian Health Care Survey (1984-1985), making its representativeness of modern lesbians highly dubious. The authors themselves pointed out at the time that "results of the survey... cannot be generalized to represent all lesbians in the United States" (p231). However, many of the study's findings are actually little different from those of the general population of women.


Physical Abuse (37%)
____________________

It is unclear how having a history of being physically abused fits in to TIM's heading of "Unhealthy Practices". This may be an attempt at a SS-couple domestic-abuse based criticism. The majority of the physical abuse however occurred while the women were growing up (24% growing up vs 16% as adults), with 70% of childhood abuse carried out by a male relative and 45% involving a female one (p232).

Of those 16% that had been physically abused as adults, "27% had been abused by their husbands" and only 13% by a female that was known to them (P232). Therefore, only a tiny portion of the physical abuse could have been carried out by a SS partner. The study included bisexual women and there were multiple other categories of physical abuser, none of which could have applied to a lesbian partner (E.G. male stranger 26%).

The statistics that TIM give for lesbian's abuse are tame when compared to those from a study of the general population, surveying college students (U.S. Department of Justice, Violence Against Women: Identifying Risk Factors, 2004, Publication No. NCJ197019):
"By the end of 4 years of college, 88 percent of women had experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual victimization in their lifetimes, and 64 percent had experienced both."
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/197019.pdf

Physical abuse statistics vary based upon how the terms are defined, though a generally accepted statistic is that at least 25% of women experience domestic abuse within their lifetime. This is well above the only statistic in TIM's study that could be indicative of domestic abuse.
http://www.dvrc-or.org/domestic/violence/resources/C61/


Sexual Abuse (32%) and Incest (19%)
___________________________________

It is unclear how being the victim of abuse reflects poorly on the victim. Suggestions that sexual abuse causes lesbianism are contradicted by the majority of lesbians that indicated no history of being sexually abused.

TIM's study itself identifies that the prevalence of lesbian sexual abuse and incest is no different from that of the general population:
"The rate of incest among lesbians (18.7% overall) is quite similar to that among the general female population (16%; Russel, 1984). The percentage of lesbians having been raped or sexually attacked was the same in the current study as it was in Russel's (1984) sample of the general female population" (p240).

Diana Russell, 1983, Child Abuse & Neglect, 7(2), 133-146:
"16% of these women reported at least one experience of intrafamilial sexual abuse before the age of 18 years... 31% reported at least one experience of extrafamilial sexual abuse before the age of 18 years... When both categories of sexual abuse are combined, 38% reported at least one experience before the age of 18 years".
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213483900650

Other studies on the general population of women identify a similar level of sexual abuse (Anderson et al. 1993, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 32(5), 911-919):
"Nearly one woman in three reported having one or more unwanted sexual experiences before age 16 years."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8407763

It is worth noting that the erosion of empathy induced by the dehumanization of lesbians, coupled with the concept of "corrective rape" may well elevate the number of sexual assaults perpetrated against lesbians.


Tobacco, Alcohol and Marijuana
______________________________

A study of the general population of U.S. students in grades 9-12 provides found a prevalence of marijuana use per month that is very similar to TIM's statistic of 20% of lesbians having smoked marijuana more than once a month:

CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2007. Surveillance Summaries, June 6. MMWR 2008; 57(No. SS-4):
"Nationwide, 19.7% of students had used marijuana one or more times during the 30 days before the survey... use was higher among male (22.4%) than female (17.0%) students".
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5704a1.htm

The same study also provides a statistic for alcohol use in the last month, which is comparable to TIM's statistic of 30% of lesbians having drunk alcohol more than once a week:
"Nationwide, 44.7% of students had had at least one drink of alcohol on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey".  This statistic did not vary based upon gender.


Suicidal Ideation (21%) and Attempted Suicide (18%)
___________________________________________________

Regarding thoughts on suicide, "19% had them sometimes and 2% often" (p231), indicating that TIM's 21% statistic is a bit misleading. However, when compared to the CDC study of the general population of students, used above, this statistic is not especially high:

CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2007. Surveillance Summaries, MMWR 2008; 57(No. SS-4):
"The prevalence of having seriously considered attempting suicide was higher among female (18.7%) than male students".
"The prevalence of having attempted suicide was higher among female (9.3%) than male students".
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5704a1.htm

These CDC statistics are only for suicidal ideation/attempts during the past 12 months, unlike TIMs study, which refers to lifetime suicide attempts, which should produce a significantly higher statistic.

TIM's own study (Bradford et al.) itself notes that:
"Research among heterosexual women has found that the rate of reported suicide attempts is very high among professional women such as physicians, perhaps somewhat comparable to the large percentage of lesbians in professional occupations in the current study" (p240).


Nervousness (50%) and Depression (33%)
________________________________________

It is unclear how the 50% statistic from TIM's study is derived, particular given that Table 3 (p232) shows that only 19% had experienced anxiety in the past. It is therefore unfortunately not possible to analyse it further. As TIM's study notes, "Lesbians risk rejection whenever they disclose their sexual orientation ("come out") to heterosexuals. To live a two-world existence requires a great deal of psychic energy and is thereby inherently stressful" (p229).

TIM's claim that over a third of lesbians have been depressed before is not actually a clinical diagnosis of depression. The study worded it as a "long depression or sadness" (p231), which makes it difficult to accurately compare to national rates of lifetime "sadness". It should not be particularly sensational that 37% have had a period of sadness in their lives, given that 37% had been physically abused and 32% sexually abused.

Most importantly however, TIM's own study does not consider the lesbian prevalence of depression to be particularly disparate from that of heterosexual women:
"The high rate of depression among lesbians is similar to heterosexual women" (p240).

One of TIM's study's closing sentences:
"In view of their low socioeconomic status and experiences with discrimination and stigma, the capacity of lesbians in the survey to maintain interpersonal and primary relationships, educate themselves, hold responsible jobs and participate in the social, political and professional activities of their communities should be perceived as adaptive and resilient." (p242)

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SECTION ONE SUMMARY:

Not only are TIM's studies typically misrepresented but the rationale behind their usage is fundamentally flawed. The following link delineates a large number of studies that identify the association between heterosexism/minority stress and increased mental health disorders, substance abuse, sexual risk behaviour and suicide for LGBT people:
http://homoresponse.blogspot.com/2011/06/mental-health-and-substance-abuse.html


Other Minor Points:

Both homosexuals and heterosexuals engage in a variety of sexual interactions. Lesbian forms of sex, which are types of "homosexual intercourse", have effectively zero risk of HIV transmission, making heterosexual sex far "riskier".

CDC's National Survey of Family Growth:
"Percent of males and females 25-44 years of age who have ever had anal sex with an opposite sex partner, 2002: Males: 40.0%, Females: 34.7%"
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/abc_list_s.htm#analsex

D. T. Haplerin 1999, AIDS Patient Care STDS, 13(12), 717-730:
"In terms of absolute numbers, approximately seven times more women than homosexual men engage in unprotected receptive anal intercourse."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10743535

Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, Fact Sheet 1 July 1996, Page 2:
"Heterosexual (male-female) intercourse accounts for more than 70% of all adult HIV infections to date and homosexual (male-male) intercourse for a further 5-10%."
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cohenaids/5571095.0113.011

Further discussion of homosexual sex and HIV can be found at the following URL:
http://homoresponse.blogspot.com/2011/05/countering-heterosexist-arguments.html#08


PART 2
PART 3
PART 4

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