Thursday, December 04, 2008

Health Profile of Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services has just released a "Health Profile of Massachusetts Adults by Sexual Orientation Identity. Some of the results are below.

Straight Gay
21%..........25%.....Tense or worried more than 14 of the last 30 days
3%............. 4%.....Seriously considered suicide in the last 12 months
21%......... 31%.....Current smokers
21%......... 27%.....Binge drinking in the last 30 days
8% ...........17%.....Illicit drug use in the last 30 days
13%......... 26%.....Ever sexually assaulted
2%............. 3%.....Sexually assaulted in the last 12 months
18%......... 29%.....Ever physically assaulted or threatened by intimate partner
4%............. 8%.....Scared for safety or physically assaulted by intimate partner in last 12 months

Many more gay people have been sexually assaulted as compared to straights. Many more gay people are binge drinkers and illicit drug users than straights. And the violence between gay people and their intimate partners is much higher than among straights.

Unfortunately, my guess is that even to suggest that many in the gay community are in need of psychological help would be viewed as homophobic. That is tragic for the many gay people who need such help.

13 comments:

Steve said...

This is a perfect example of mistaking cause and effect to suit your agenda. Most if not all gays have been subject to discrimination, disapproval and physical and verbal attacks at some point in their lives from society and even from their own families. Of course, they would suffer from more stress and stress related maladies. If you did the same comparison for black people or immigrants or poor people or fat people or others who are subject to the same kinds of stress, you would get similar results.

And you claim you don't have an anti-gay agenda?

Dennis said...

My point was that there are many in the gay community who are apparently hurting and need help. I'm not sure how that observation can be anti-gay, but I'm quite convinced by now that you would take anything I say as anti-gay.

Steve said...

If that really was your point, then why didn't you say, "There are many in the gay community who are apparently hurting and need help"? That was not what you wrote.

What you wrote, and I am not a mind reader so I can only go by that, is "To suggest that many in the gay community are in need of psychological help would be viewed as homophobic." Why would you be worried that saying gays "need psychological help" could be construed as homophobic unless you meant by that phrase that you think homosexuality is a psychological problem or is the cause of their psychological problems?

Instead of being disingenuous, why don't you tell us, do you believe homosexuality is a psychological problem? Do you believe that being homosexual causes psychological problems? Do you disagree that telling people they are "sinners" and saying that their relationaships are illegitimate and that they should not be allowed to marry, etc., could be the cause of stress that would lead them to consider suicide, binge drinking, drug use, etc.?

Dennis said...

Steve asked,

"do you believe homosexuality is a psychological problem?"

Well, I'm not a psychologist but my understanding is that in some cases, yes, it may very well be the result of sexual abuse, some other psychological trauma and/or behavior choices.

A friend of mine who is homosexual once told me that he believed his homosexuality was due to the combination of early abuse followed by choices that he had made.

On the other hand, there may be many cases (maybe even most--I don't know)in which sexual orientation is a result of genetic or hormonal factors rather than psychological factors.

Sexual orientation may be a matter of temptation, but I do not believe it is sin. The sin is a matter of lust and behavior, and that is just as true of heterosexuals as it is for homosexuals.

Steve asked, "Do you believe that being homosexual causes psychological problems?"

It can, at least indirectly. You pretty much admitted as much yourself when you wrote, "Most if not all gays have been subject to discrimination, disapproval and physical and verbal attacks at some point in their lives from society and even from their own families. Of course, they would suffer from more stress and stress related maladies"

Steve asked, "Do you disagree that telling people they are "sinners" and saying that their relationaships are illegitimate and that they should not be allowed to marry, etc., could be the cause of stress that would lead them to consider suicide, binge drinking, drug use, etc.?

No, I don't disagree with that. But I would say that if these criticisms lead gay people to binge drinking, drug use or suicide, they have psychological issues that need to be addressed.

Normal people do not engage in binge drinking, drug use or consider suicide just because other people think their behavior is sin.

For example, millions of Americans live (and sleep) together with someone of the opposite sex. The Bible (and most genuine Christians) view that as sin. But the fact that so many Christians believe that behavior is sin is not generally lead such people to consider suicide or binge drink!

Many Ameicans probably think of Christians like me as hypocritical, hateful, bigoted, judgmental, sexual prudes; but that doesn't lead us into binge drinking, drug use or suicide.

If people can't learn to deal with the fact that other people are going to condemn their behavior, they have psychological issues they need to deal with.

Steve said...

"Well, I'm not a psychologist but my understanding is that in some cases, yes, it may very well be the result of sexual abuse, some other psychological trauma and/or behavior choices."

The American Psychological Association and the vast majority of psychologists do not believe it is a psychological disorder. There is no connection that any reputable study has ever shown between being sexually abused as a child and adult sexual orientation.

You are misrepresenting what I said when you claim that I claim that homosexuality can cause psychological problems "indirectly." Homosexuality itself does not cause psychological problems. It is the reaction of society toward gays that can cause problems. If gays were accepted by society they would not suffer from any more problems than heterosexuals do. Do you agree with that?

"Many Ameicans probably think of Christians like me as hypocritical, hateful, bigoted, judgmental, sexual prudes; but that doesn't lead us into binge drinking, drug use or suicide. If people can't learn to deal with the fact that other people are going to condemn their behavior, they have psychological issues they need to deal with."

That's a ridiculous comparison. Growing up gay in this country is nothing like growing up Christian. The majority of people in this country consider themselves Christians. Christians are not usually disowned by their families. They are free to marry their partners. They can join the military. They cannot be fired from their jobs or be thrown out of their homes because they are Christians. Their rights are not subject to majority vote. "Christian" is not a playground epithet the way "gay" or "fag" is. Most Christians have not been subject to violence the way many gay people have.
You have no idea what it is like for most gay people growing up in this country.

Things have certainly changed in the last few decades. But many gays grew up during a time when things were a lot different so it is no surprise that they still bear some emotional scars from what they went through. It has only been in the last few decades that there were many public gay role models, that gays were featured on television or films as something other than the butt of jokes, that gays could be out to their co-workers without losing their jobs, that gay gathering places were not subject to police raids. The film Milk for example details events that happened only 30 years ago.

I know you would like to see yourself as a victim, but I'm afraid what you have suffered for being a Christian in a Christian-majority country does not even begin to compare to what gays have suffered.

Dennis said...

Steve,

You wrote, "The American Psychological Association and the vast majority of psychologists do not believe it is a psychological disorder."

The APA once considered homosexuality a psychological disorder. Many argue that the change had nothing to do with psychology but everything to do with political correctness.

So educate me. What was the basis for the APA change? Why did they suddenly decide that homosexuality was not a psychological disorder after all?

I'm not saying that all homosexuals have a psychological disorder, but I don't know how any unbiased person could possibly see the pictures from the Folsom Street Fair and conclude that all of those people are without psychological issues.

Steve wrote, "Christian" is not a playground epithet the way "gay" or "fag" is."

That's certainly true but the public school system is hell for millions of kids who get teased, harrassed and endlessly tormented (often physically abused) not only for being serious about their faith, but for everything from the color of their skin, the size of their noze, ears or feet, for being too tall or too short, for being too fat or too skinny,the sound of their name, the way the talk, they way the look, where they are from, the size of their breasts, whether they are athletic enough, whether they are considered or "nerds" or ugly or stupid.

We live in a very sinful and cruel world and gays are not the only ones who suffer nor is it everyone elses' fault when they do. As the statistics in the Massachusetts report show, gays often suffer violence at the hands of other gays! And all of it is tragic!

You wrote, that Christians "cannot be fired from their jobs or be thrown out of their homes because they are Christians."

Any non-religious employer that fired someone because they were gay would likely get sued. And while Christians can't be legally fired either, many who are serious about their faith have been endlessly mocked and riduculed

I've experienced this myself in a previous job. In fact, I experienced a good deal of hell in the public school system.

I've mentioned before that I have a brother who is in prison who told me that prison life is not nearly as bad as the middle school we attended! And he was dead serious! And neither one of us is gay.

So I just don't buy the idea that the abuse that comes from being gay by itself explains the binge drinking, drug use or suicidal tendancies.

You wrote, "Things have certainly changed in the last few decades"

You sure got that right! I'd invite you to engage in an experiment. Sit in on a large state college classroom...any class. At some point in the class, stand up and say, "Christians are disgusting." See what the response is.

Then have a friend in the same class later stand up and say, "homosexuals are disgusting" and see what the response is.

If I were a betting man I'd bet my next paycheck that the one who says "Christians are disgusting" might get some moderate negative reaction (and maybe even some applause), but the person who says, "Gays are disgusting" had better bring some bodyguards!

On second thought, don't try this experiment because I honestly think it would put you in physical danger and I do not want that.

You wrote, "I know you would like to see yourself as a victim, but I'm afraid what you have suffered for being a Christian in a Christian-majority country does not even begin to compare to what gays have suffered."

Most genuine Christians just try to blend in at school. They rarely take a stand for their faith. I was just talking to a Christian student this morning, however, who took a stand for his faith at a public school and was mocked, ridiculed, called before the principal, and threatened.

Beside, you have no idea how much hell I went through in the public school system.

But aside from all this, you really missed the main point of my last response which was that "If people can't learn to deal with the fact that other people are going to condemn their behavior, they have psychological issues they need to deal with."

Steve said...

"Many argue that the change had nothing to do with psychology but everything to do with political correctness."

No one argues this other than those with an anti-gay agenda. The process of getting the APA to delete homosexuality from the official list of mental disorders took many decades of research and study and was made because as they said, in part, "Homosexuality in and of itself implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability or vocational abilities."

"Any non-religious employer that fired someone because they were gay would likely get sued."

That is not true in every state and municipality, only in those places that have passed laws outlawing discrimination against sexual orientation and doesn't apply to the military. Do you favor such laws?

Again, I am astounded that you actually seem to believe that Christians suffer as much discrimination and disapprobation as gays do in this society. You must be excessively paranoid and ignorant of what it is like to be gay in this country to make such an absurd statement. And certainly FBI statistics on the number of hate crimes aimed at gays versus Christians does not bear this out. Why is it so important for you to see yourself as a victim and to justify, belittle and rationalize the victimization of gays?

Steve said...

And one more thing, your attempt to blame gay students for their victimization is particularly reprehensible. Nine out of ten gay young people report being harassed in their schools and often have to deal with disapprobation from their families, not to mention dealing with those in the media who call them "sick" and "sinners" on top of all the things kids usually have to deal with.

One might think that your perception that you have been harassed as a Christian might give you some compassion and understanding for those who have dealt with much more than you have.

Dennis said...

Steve wrote, "No one argues this other than those with an anti-gay agenda."

I see. So everyone who argues this way MUST have an anti-gay agenda and can safely be dismissed without checking to see whether the argument is true or not.

Steve wrote, "The process of getting the APA to delete homosexuality from the official list of mental disorders took many decades of research and study and was made because as they said, in part, "Homosexuality in and of itself implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability or vocational abilities."

Please cite your source because, qute frankly, you have zero credibility. You have not only twisted or lied about virtually everything I've written but you even twisted what Professor Ed and Lori have written in other posts. You seem completely incapable of honestly assessing an argument and logically responding to it. So, please,cite your source.

As just one more in a LONG line of examples, you just wrote, "your attempt to blame gay students for their victimization"

Look and see. I have NEVER blamed "gay students for their victimization."

And my point wasn't that Christian students get harrassed more. My point was that harrassment of kids in public shools is very, very widespread and that gay students are not the only victims.

You twist everything, Steve. Your anger, bitterness and hatred have so clouded your vision that you can't seem to respond logically to an argument.

Please, Steve, get some help.

Steve said...

"So everyone who argues this way MUST have an anti-gay agenda and can safely be dismissed without checking to see whether the argument is true or not."

I didn't say that everyone who believes this must have an antgay agenda. I said that I haven't see any impartial, reputable psychologists who are not members of anti-gay groups or who have not already demonstrated they have an anti-gay agenda in other ways, making the claim that homosexuality is a mental disorder.


The quote came from the APA's 1973 statement. Google it if you don't believe me. Some librarian you are.


You wrote, "If people can't learn to deal with the fact that other people are going to condemn their behavior, they have psychological issues they need to deal with." How is that not blaming gay students for their own victimization?

"Please, Steve, get some help."
Apparently, anyone who disagrees with you is in need of psychological help. Heal thyself. You are the one who seems obsessed with portraying yourself as a victim of gays. Gay people don't bother me.

Dennis said...

Steve,

"I didn't say that everyone who believes this must have an antgay agenda. I said that I haven't see any impartial, reputable psychologists who are not members of anti-gay groups or who have not already demonstrated they have an anti-gay agenda in other ways, making the claim that homosexuality is a mental disorder."

No, Steve, you didn't say that--my goodness, you can't even quote yourself accurately!!! (look at your responses and see!).

You said, "No one argues this other than those with an anti-gay agenda."

Steve wrote, "The quote came from the APA's 1973 statement. Google it if you don't believe me. Some librarian you are."

The exact phrase (with quotes) produces no hits in Google. Without quotes it produces over 700hits. Excuse me for not wanting to wade down to find the original context.

In my search, I did, find something facinating, however.

"Dr. Ronald Bayer, a pro-homosexual psychiatrist has described what actually occurred in his book, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis. (1981)"

"In Chapter 4, "Diagnostic Politics: Homosexuality and the American Psychiatric Association," Dr. Bayer says that the first attack by homosexual activists against the APA began in 1970 when this organization held its convention in San Francisco. Homosexual activists decided to disrupt the conference by interrupting speakers and shouting down and ridiculing psychiatrists who viewed homosexuality as a mental disorder"

And another author,"Dr. Charles Socarides has set the record straight on how homosexuals inside and outside of the APA forced this organization to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder. This was done without any valid scientific evidence to prove that homosexuality is not a disordered behavior."

"Dr. Socarides, writing in Sexual Politics and Scientific Logic: The Issue of Homosexuality writes: "To declare a condition a 'non-condition,' a group of practitioners had removed it from our list of serious psychosexual disorders. The action was all the more remarkable when one considers that it involved an out-of-hand and peremptory disregard and dismissal not only of hundreds of psychiatric and psychoanalytic research papers and reports, but also a number of other serious studies by groups of psychiatrists, psychologists, and educators over the past seventy years…"

You can read the whole thing at http://www.traditionalvalues.org/urban/eleven.php

I don't know anything about these authors but if they are right, they pretty much make your little quote irrelevent.

Steve wrote, "Apparently, anyone who disagrees with you is in need of psychological help. Heal thyself. You are the one who seems obsessed with portraying yourself as a victim of gays. Gay people don't bother me.

I dont' mind people who disagree with me, Steve. If I did, I would block all responses. I just want them to be honest about what we disagree on rather than distorting or lying about what I've said.

Steve said...

Exactly my point again. Charles Socarides?!!! He's the most notorious antigay psychologist there is! His entire career was focused on trying to prove that homosexuality can be altered. That's virtually all he did. He helped found the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Virtually every reputable psychologist views him as a quack. American Psychoanalytic Association (which he was a member of) threatened legal action against him for his lies and misrepresentations. Even his own son, who is openly gay, by the way, thinks he's an embarrassment.

Once again, through your ignorance of the issues, you've proven my point. Thank you.

Steve said...

And because you are apparently such a poor researcher (which is especially regrettable in a librarian) here is a link to the quote I cited.