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There are a number of problems with the sources and statistics that Dr. Diggs uses for this paper (which is not published in a peer-reviewed journal, as is expected of any credible scientific report).
1) Dr. Diggs makes the centerpiece of his article four apparent facts: 1) gays are more promiscuous than straights, 2) gays have more STD’s than straights, 3) the human body was not physically designed for gay anal sex, and 4) gays have a higher rate of psychiatric disorders than straights.
I’d like to address points 1 and 3 first, since these are simply not supported in the medical literature. First, no accepted study has supported his claim that gays are more promiscuous than straights. Urban legend strongly suggests that gays have many more sexual partners than heterosexuals. However, matched samples between heterosexuals and homosexuals provide evidence that there is no difference in the rates of sexuality between the two groups. A review of that literature can be found here:
Dr. Diggs’ cites the Bell and Weinberg study to show that gays are radically more promiscuous then straights. However, this interpretation of the Bell and Weinberg study has been rejected by the scientific community because of numerous problems found in the study (primarily, they did not use a random sample, they used a faulty control group, they did not disclose parts of their data, and their definitions were too broad). A summary of these issues can be found here:
Second, Dr. Diggs claims that gay sex is contrary to the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Robert Gagnon makes a similar argument in his recent anti-gay book. However, this also is not supported by the scientific community. The studies that have been done show that there is no pathology associated with the musculature or tissue associated with anal sex. Further, the anatomy of the region is actually complementary to this type of sexuality, contrary to what Dr. Diggs proposes. If it weren’t then damage would occur, which it doesn’t. Further, the ano-rectal area of men is innervated with the same nerve that innervates the penis (the pudendal nerve) and stimulation of this region (specifically of the prostate) can, by itself, produce orgasm in the male. I summarize the literature on this topic here–scroll down past the first several paragraphs to get to the summary on this particular topic. It is a numerated list of 5 items.
Dr. Diggs brings up the issue that semen has properties that show anti-immune system properties, and that this should be evidence enough that gays should not engage in anal sex. However, what he doesn’t make clear is why this biological fact does not also preclude vaginal sex. If the anti-immune system properties were significant, then would it not cross gender lines? He tries to make the connection between the "fragility of the anus and rectum" to support this conclusion, however the scientific literature does not support the assumption of the fragility of this region, since it does not take into account the equal fragility and susceptibility to disease of the lining of the uterus.
Diggs makes the claim that gays have a higher rate of STD’s than straights, and that, in and of itself, should be evidence that homosexuality is a sin. However, as I addressed in a post above, this medical fact is not so much an indictment of gays, but of the patriarchal racist culture of western cultures which provide the best medical care to white straight males. To reiterate my argument from above, while African Americans have significantly higher rates of STD’s than whites or gays, I doubt that Diggs would want to use this fact as a tool to initiate the eradication of African Americans. Further, Diggs tries to make the claim that since aids has such a higher rate of infection among gays than straights in the us, he fails to put it into the worldwide epidemiological context, where possibly 80-90% of the cases of aids is transmitted by heterosexuals. Thus the use of this argument seems to fall back onto itself given the larger context of STD epidemiology.
Finally Diggs tries to show that gays have a higher incidence of psychiatric disease than straights, and to use that as evidence that homosexuality is a sin. However, such is simply not the case. While studies are conflicting, more studies than not show little difference in the rates of psychological pathology between gays and straights. Below is a list of over 30 studies from the past 40 years, all in peer-reviewed journals, disputing Diggs’ conclusion.
The one study that Diggs uses to support his claim is a very well-done study from the Netherlands. What the study claims is that 56% of gays have mental disease, whereas only 42% of straights have mental disease. While I do not dispute the methodology of the findings, the issue is replicability–why do so few other studies find similar results while the vast majority of studies on this topic find no difference in results? Further, I question the meaning of the study in terms of the use that Diggs tries to show. If homosexuals are mentally disturbed, as Diggs wants us to believe, then wouldn’t there be a 100% concordance rate with gays and mental pathology. What about the other 44% that show no evidence of mental pathology according to this study? Is a 14% increase, if that statistic is even valid (which no other study supports), how does that make Diggs’ case for him?
Diggs tries to make the association that since the Netherlands is "considerably more accepting of same-sex relationships than other western countries", that this would counter the claim that gays experience more mental disease because of cultural oppression and abuse. Diggs even points to the fact that the Netherlands allows gay marriage to bring home his point. However, what Diggs fails to mention is that the study was conducted well before the legalization of gay marriage. Further, he does not explain the history of the gay-rights movement in the Netherlands and the continuing generalized anti-gay sentiment by many groups in the Netherlands. The study itself does not provide age differentiated statistics to show us if only the older gays have a higher rate of disease and if the younger gays, who have grown up in a more tolerant atmosphere, have lower incidence of mental disease.
Another point that Diggs brings up is the earlier age of death among gay people. Again, this is a distortion of the medical literature and the accepted interpretation of the data. The study to which Diggs points is a study that, as a group, gay people live 20 years younger than straight people. This study is based on a study of people who have died of age. It compares the assumed prevalence of homosexuality (3%) with the death rate of straight people. However, the critical flaw in this study is that it only looks at people who die from age and draws the age projections from that. Granted, if you have AIDS, then your life span is dramatically shortened, and youalso have a higher chance of having aids in the us if you are gay. But if you look at the life-span of gays and straights who do not have aids, then you will find no difference in life-spans, just as you will not find any difference in life-spans between gays and straights who do have aids. If this study were to be done in Africa, then one would find the reverse pattern–you are in grave danger of dying from aids if you are straight.
One major medical mistake this physician made in his article regards the use of a non-existent disease to condemn gays. He brings up the disease known as "gay bowel syndrome" to show that homosexuality is sin. However, the history of this disease is actually used in epidemiological literature as evidence of how cultural bias creeps into the medical literature. It is used to help doctors to view their patients objectively and not jump to conclusions. GBS is actually not a disorder at all, but a conglomeration of symptoms that doctors "assumed" were related to homosexuality. Subsequent studies (the article Diggs cites is from the 70’s) have shown that GBS does not exist.
One of the most common problems among writers to attempt to make the case that Diggs does in this article, is that they provide statistics on gay pathology, but do not provide mirror studies of straights. Diggs uses a similar technique here. For example, he makes the claim that 37% of men have practiced some form of sadism. He cites an ethnographic work by jay and young as support for his claim. However, the data they provide is not from a scientific study, but from an informal survey. Further, a study done on this topic from the journal of personality and social psychology indicates that 33% of women and 50% of men have sexually sadistic fantasies.
This pattern of providing statistics on gay people that seem shocking are frequently not put into the larger cultural context, that shows the statistics are not really that shocking when one compares them to the sexual behavior of the general population. Take public displays of sex and sexuality. The alleged "pro-family" groups harangue endlessly on how pathological gays are for our obsession about sex (which doesn’t exist if one looks at the peer-reviewed, replicated studies on this topic). However, I cannot walk down a grocery store aisle, watch a movie, turn on daytime and evening television, or listen to the radio without seeing pictures of barely dressed women, seeing headlines about "how to drive your man wild", or see shows that depict wonton adultery and explicit displays of sex. Considering how small the gay population is in the us, and how rampant the "problem" of heterosexuality, it seems that if the pro-family groups were truly interested in protecting the family, they would be spending their money and time proportionately–97% being focused on getting your own people under control and advocating for repeals of the divorce laws, since 50% of all heterosexual marriages end in divorce and over 1/3 of the "intact marriages" (the term used by Diggs) have partners engaged in adultery.
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