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Gays and Lesbians Trying to Convert Others to Homosexual Behavior:

I've seen lots of assertions that it's a "myth" that gays and lesbians try to recruit others into homosexuality. (See, among many other examples, here and here.) Yet it seems to me that this assertion of "myth" is likely itself something of a myth, or at least quite incomplete.

I rather doubt that many gays and lesbians harbor hopes that many heterosexuals will "become homosexual." That just isn't likely to happen, and I doubt that gays or lesbians make plans around it. Moreover, it may well be that you can't really change a person's sexual orientation, in the sense of whom the person is attracted to. (I'm not sure whether that's right, but I'm willing to assume it for purposes of this post.)

But sexual orientation is not the same as sexual behavior. In particular, people who are at least in some measure attracted to both sexes may be seen as having a bisexual sexual orientation, but they may choose to behave heterosexually, homosexually, or bisexually. And in fact, it appears that the majority of men — and nearly all women — who are at least in some measure attracted to the same sex are also at least in some measure attracted to the opposite sex:

Sexual attractionAmong menAmong women
Only opposite gender93.8%95.6%
Mostly opposite gender2.6%2.7%
Both genders0.6%0.8%
Mostly same gender0.7%0.6%
Only same gender2.4%0.3%
(Source: Laumann et al., The Social Organization of Sexuality 311 (1994), which I also noted — with the suitable warnings about the limits of even well-conducted random studies of small sexual minorities — here.) Here is the data from Laumann et al. about reported sexual practices (not just attraction) of people who have had some same-sex partners in particular time frames (numbers rounded):
Time frame in which the person has had some same-sex partnersFraction of male respondents (the ones who had some same-sex partners) who had partners of both sexesFraction of female respondents (the ones who had some same-sex partners) who had partners of both sexes
In the last year25%25%
In the last 5 years50%60%
Since age 1880%90%
(As best I can tell, the time frame in the numerator is the same as in the denominator — the 50% number, for instance, means that 50% of the men who have had a same-sex partner in the last 5 years have also had an opposite-sex partner in the last 5 years.) I did read a recent news report of a study that claimed that ostensibly bisexual men actually had the same physical arousal patterns, when shown potentially stimulating pictures of men and women, as either homosexuals or heterosexuals: "[I]n men there's no hint that true bisexual arousal exists." But as others pointed out in that news story, "the technique used in the study to measure genital arousal is too crude to capture the richness — erotic sensations, affection, admiration — that constitutes sexual attraction," especially given the consistent self-reports of men who claim to be bisexual. And the story reports that true bisexual physical arousal in women has indeed been documented.

The gay rights movement has aimed — in my view, on balance quite laudably — to make homosexuals feel more comfortable with their homosexuality, and to help people who are attracted to the same sex be more willing to act on that attraction. But it follows that the movement also necessarily, and I suspect intentionally, also helps people who are attracted to both sexes be more willing to explore the homosexual facet of that attraction. It thus increases the likelihood that the bisexually-attracted people who would otherwise engage in purely heterosexual relationships (because of fear of social stigma, or because of their own disapproval of their homosexual attraction) will instead be also willing to engage in some homosexual relationships.

If I'm right, the movement thus is trying to convert those who have a bisexual orientation but act purely heterosexually — or would act purely heterosexually, if we're talking about people who haven't started having sex yet — into also experimenting with homosexuality. This doesn't mean that most gays and lesbians are trying to do this to particular people up close and personal; there are obvious costs to that, such as the risk of rebuff if you get the other person's interest wrong, or the risk of quick abandonment if the other person is interested in experimenting but then concludes the experiment has been a failure from his or her point of view, so many gays and lesbians might well prefer partners who have a more definite homosexual preference. But there are many actions that might go into this sort of "conversion" (if only a conversion into a mix of homosexual/heterosexual behavior, and a conversion that in many cases will end up proving to be only temporary): Providing oneself for the actual sexual behavior is one, but so is public action to destigmatize homosexual behavior, or to provide positive homosexual or bisexual role models, something that for perfectly understandable reasons many gays and lesbians are indeed trying to do.

To further illustrate this, ask yourself: How would most gays or lesbians who believe that homosexuality is perfectly proper respond to these questions?

(1) A person who has had only heterosexual experiences is feeling some homosexual attraction. Should he or she experiment with homosexual relations to see if he or she finds them more rewarding, or at least a valuable facet of his or her future sex life (assuming this wouldn't constitute infidelity, that it's done with the proper protection against disease, that it's done with the right person, and so on)?

(2) Should gay rights groups try to change society so that such experimentation is less stigmatized?

(3) Should gay and lesbian friends of this person urge the person (of course, sensitively and without browbeating) to experiment, and to see if — given that he or she feels at least some same-sex attraction — he or she might indeed find same-sex relationships more rewarding?

(4) If this were a friend of yours to whom you were attracted, you knew that he or she felt at least some same-sex attraction, and you weren't worried about the emotional risk to yourself, would you consider having you be the person with whom the friend experiments? (Again, assume that neither of you is otherwise committed, the approach would be suitably sensitive, and so on; naturally, even sexual behavior that's perfectly proper in the abstract can be made wrong if done under the wrong circumstances.)

(5) Do you think that older teenagers (say, 16 and above) should have out-of-the-closet gay, lesbian, and bisexual role models so that those of the teenagers who feel some same-sex attraction would feel more open to experimenting to see if same-sex relationships will be more rewarding to them than opposite-sex relationships? (I'm not asking about sexual experimentation with the role models, but rather about the role models' presence making the teenagers more comfortable with their same-sex attractions.)

I suspect that most gays and lesbians who think homosexuality is proper would say "yes" to most or all of these questions. I know that if I were a heterosexual in some hypothetical future overwhelmingly homosexual society, and I were asked similar questions about "converting" people who were open to heterosexuality but had so far had only engaged in homosexual behavior into practicing bisexuals or heterosexuals, I'd say "yes." If you think some behavior can be proper and, for some group, very rewarding, you would naturally want people who aren't sure whether they fall into that group to try it out.

And if that's true, then gays and lesbians (though not necessarily each gay and lesbian) are trying to get others who have been behaviorally heterosexual, but who might be open to homosexual behavior, to try homosexual behavior. They almost certainly don't see all heterosexuals as likely converts. But they probably do think (with good reason) that some fraction — a substantial fraction compared to the number of pure homosexuals — might well be willing to change behaviors, especially if they are made to feel right and welcome in doing so. And, yes, that would include teenagers as well as fully grown adults. If most people think the age of sexual consent should be around 16 (the legal norm in the country), then I doubt that most gays and lesbians would think that it's wrong to encourage 16-year-old boys and girls who have some same-sex attraction to experiment with that attraction.

Now, as I've suggested, I don't think there's anything inherently immoral about such attempt to convert people away from purely heterosexual behavior, if they are interested in homosexual behavior, and of course if the "conversion" is done without force, imposition on those who are genuinely too young to decide, and so on. If it weren't for the disproportionate and grave health danger from male homosexual activity, I'd think such encouragement to explore which relationships give people the most happiness would be positively quite good. (Yes, I realize that the danger can be reduced by not engaging in anal sex, always using a condom, not having sex with a partner unless he's been tested and had not had sex for some months before the test, and so on. But most people are not nearly this cautious, and the reality thus remains that, given the vastly disproportionate prevalence of HIV among gays in America today, the greater risk from anal sex, a practice that for understandable reasons many male homosexuals do not want to forego, and the notorious difficulty with getting people to actually practice safe practices — whether aimed at preventing disease or conception — the fact remains that experimenting with male homosexuality is dangerous activity.) Given this danger, I'd prefer that men with bisexual orientations who can be happy with women not experiment with men; but that's a judgment about medical risk, not about the inherent morality of "conversion" attempts, and in any event it doesn't apply to lesbianism.

Nonetheless, if I'm right, then I don't think we should deny that the gay and lesbian movement does aim in part at "converting" people who have a wholly or partly bisexual orientation from a purely heterosexual behavior pattern to one that involves at least some (initially experimental) homosexual behavior.

UPDATE: A bunch of commenters think I shouldn't use the word "convert," for various reasons. The reason I'm using it is that I'm responding to an alleged "myth": People claim that it's a "myth" that gays and lesbians try to convert or recruit others, and I am arguing that this "myth" claim is "likely itself something of a myth, or at least quite incomplete." If you prefer to describe this not as "converting," but as something else (e.g., "influencing the person to change his practices"), that's fine. But if my analysis above is right, then one still shouldn't deride claims of conversion as "myth," even if one thinks that the word is slightly imprecise or has a bad connotation.

But in any event, it seems to me that the term is fine. It is hardly inherently pejorative: Changes in religious beliefs and practices are called conversions, and if people view them negatively, they do so because they disapprove of the new belief or practice, not because they disapprove of "conversion."

And it's also quite sensibly applied to changes in behavior (especially behavior that many people find important to their felt identity) and not just changes in some supposed inherent nature. If you persuade someone to become a vegetarian, you can be said to have converted him to vegetarianism. He's still biologically an omnivore, but his practices are now different. Likewise, changing someone from (a) being an orientational bisexual who engages solely in heterosexual relationships to (b) someone who is an orientational bisexual who engages solely in homosexual relationships, or to (c) someone who is bisexual both by orientation and practice strikes me as quite rightly called a "conversion."

180 Comments
Response to Eugene's Post on Gay "Conversion": I have a number of difficulties with Eugene's post on whether gays and lesbians are trying to "convert" people to homosexual behavior, but let me press on just one: If the question is what a person or group of persons is subjectively trying to do, then I don't see the relevance of what the person or group should want to do, might want to do, or what the likely effect of the group's action might be. If I understand Eugene's post correctly, his claim is the former but the arguments are about the latter.

   Specifically, if the claim is that "gays and lesbians are trying to convert others to homosexual behavior," then we need some kind of evidence of individual people or groups subjectively trying to bring about a sexual "conversion." It may be true that destigmatizing homosexuality has the effect of making someone on the fence more likely to engage in homosexual conduct. But even if that is right, I don't see how it is relevant to the question of whether gays and lesbians are "trying" to do something, much less specifically trying to "convert" someone to homosexuality .

  If I read his post correctly, Eugene tries to work around this problem by speculating about motive. If there is a clear link between stigma and conduct, he reasons, then it's likely that some of the activists who claim to be focused on the former are really trying to influence the latter. But this is mere speculation of intent, not proof of it. Plus, it seems rather far-fetched to me. Most people who encounter social disapproval for their conduct are probably more concerned about ending that stigma than about getting other people to be more like them.

  Anyway, that's my sense of things. As always, civil and respectful comments only.
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Why Wouldn't Gays and Lesbians Want the Bisexually Oriented to Experiment with Homosexual Behavior?

I appreciate Orin's response to my post, and I agree that my post is based in some measure on speculation, as claims about people's motives often are. Yet it strikes me as sound speculation.

Recall that one premise of my post (for which I have considerable data) is that there are many people who have bisexual orientation, in the sense that they are attracted at least in some measure to both sexes. Of these, some may engage in purely heterosexual sexual behavior, others in bisexual sexual behavior, and others in purely homosexual sexual behavior. Social pressure, as well as internalized feelings of shame or guilt about homosexuality, may push many of the bisexually oriented into the purely heterosexual sexual behavior category.

Why wouldn't gays and lesbians who think that homosexual behavior is just fine want these people to experiment with homosexual behavior? After all, once some of these people overcome social and personal inhibitions, they may find that they're much happier in same-sex relationships than in opposite-sex relationships. Others may find that they're happier engaging in a mix of such relationships.

If the bisexually oriented person hasn't tried his homosexual side, I would think that many gays and lesbians would think that this is a shame: There must be something that keeps the person from looking into something that might give him or her great happiness. Working to convert a bisexually oriented person from a purely heterosexual behavior pattern that completely ignores the person's heterosexual side to one that is more open to the person's homosexual side -- even if only as an experiment to see how strong that side is -- would, it seems to me, be thought of as a good deed. (It would be seen as an especially unselfish good deed if the work involved destigmatizing homosexuality and making the bisexually oriented feel better about their homosexual side, rather than just having sex with the person directly.)

This is what I was trying to get at by posing the five questions in my original post. My sense of human psychology, based on which I'm speculating about people's intentions, would be that many gays and lesbians do think such conversions (or persuasion or influencing or whatever one may want to call it) are good; and I think the five questions help explain why that might be so.

Orin suggests otherwise: "Most people who encounter social disapproval for their conduct are probably more concerned about ending that stigma than about getting other people to be more like them." But I'm not sure that it quite works that way. Many people who encounter social disapproval for their conduct become especially aware of such disapproval, and especially empathetic of those who are in the same boat. I think to myself (to borrow an example I gave in my earlier post): What if I were a heterosexual in a hypothetical future overwhelming homosexual society, and I had overcome my original shame and fear at experimenting with heterosexuality? I'd think that I'd then want to make sure that other people like me -- including those who are bisexually oriented, but may end up happier in a heterosexual relationship than in a homosexual relationship -- felt comfortable experimenting, too. I'd even urge people who fit that profile to experiment (again, not necessarily with me), just so they can avoid the possible unhappiness of being stuck in relationships that aren't satisfying for them as they could be.

So it seems to me contrary to what I know of human psychology for gays and lesbians not to want the orientationally bisexual / behaviorally purely heterosexual people to convert to a more bisexual or homosexual behavior pattern. It's speculation, but it seems to me likely correct.

46 Comments
One Last Thought on Conversion and Sexual Orientation: If I understand Eugene's response, his argument boils down to the belief that people will try to convert others to do whatever they themselves really enjoy doing. For example, if I get a great deal of pleasure from golf, then I will encourage others to try it. If I meet someone who mentions that he is thinking of picking up golf, then I will try to "convert" him to be a golfer. (It's human psychology, the argument would run: if golfing makes me happy, then why wouldn't I attempt to get others to try it?)

  If my understanding of Eugene's argument is right, then whether gays and lesbians are trying to convert others seems like a somewhat odd question to consider. If the claim is true, then at most it's just a recognition that gays and lesbians enjoy same-sex conduct and are human beings. They're trying to convert people just like golfers are trying to convert people, bloggers are trying to convert people, and Harry Potter fans are trying to convert people. This may be what Eugene had in mind, but it seems like a signifcantly narrower claim than what I understood from his initial post.
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Gays and Lesbians and Golf:

I was glad to read Orin's post below, and had a few thoughts about it.

A. I don't think that the golf analogy quite captures things. To make it closer, you'd have to posit the following:

  1. Some fraction of people doesn't just "get a great deal of pleasure from golf," but feels that playing golf is very important to their happiness and personal fulfillment (in the way that people feel that love, romance, or even an erotic relationship to the right person is very important to their happiness and personal fulfillment), and that not playing golf would cause them deep misery.

  2. Those people encounter lots of social pressure not to play golf, though many of them overcome that pressure, start playing golf, and feel their lives are far better as a result.

  3. Those people suspect that there are others like them who are still being victimized by this social pressure, and who are likely to be miserable (if they're mostly homosexual in orientation) -- or at least not as likely to find the right person for them (if they're roughly evenly bisexual in orientation -- as a result.

The closest sports analogy, I suspect, is to women who found sports to be a very important part of their lives, who found sports despite having been pushed away from it because they were girls, and who suspect that other girls who could be very happy playing sports are likewise being pushed away from it. Even this doesn't capture the importance of love and sex to people's lives, and the degree to which society discourages homosexuality; and the one other difference is that many people think all girls should be interested in sports, at least in some measure, while I suspect that most gays and lesbians recognize that only a small fraction of the population is likely to be at all interested in same-sex relationships. Still, it seems like a closer analogy. And in this situation, many feminist groups do try to influence society so that girls who might be interested in sports are encouraged to experiment with it.

2. But more broadly, I do agree with one aspect of Orin's post: The phenomenon that I was describing was not supposed to be shocking or unusual. It's just human nature, which is why I think it's such a plausible hypothesis. What strikes me as being implausible is the claim -- against which I was arguing -- that it's somehow a "myth" that gay and lesbians (not every such person, but many) are interested in converting some people to gay or lesbian behavior. As I pointed out, it's highly unlikely that they're trying to convert heterosexuals generally. But, as I argued, it does seem likely that they're trying to convert the orientationally bisexual but behaviorally heterosexual into at least exploring their homosexual sides: "[T]he [gay rights] movement . . . necessarily, and I suspect intentionally, also helps people who are attracted to both sexes be more willing to explore the homosexual facets of that attraction."

That is exactly the claim I was making in my original post. It is not a claim of unusual human behavior; rather, it is a claim of quite normal human behavior. And whether or not it's "a somewhat odd question to consider" if one is coming to it from a blank slate, I'm considering this question simply because it's a question that others have raised.

34 Comments
One More Final Post on Sexual Conversion: I appreciate Eugene's reply, but I wonder if we're just left with a question of definitions. In the past, when I have heard the claim that "gays and lesbians are trying to convert others to homosexuality," I did not understand it to mean the narrow claim that Eugene is making. "Conversion" was depicted as something sinister and unusual, generally associated with the homophobic stereotype of gays as sexual predators. Those who have responded by calling such claims a "myth" were not taking the position directly implicated by the point Eugene makes; rather, I understood them to be arguing that the homophobic stereotypes were a "myth." If I'm right, Eugene's position is that the homophobic stereotypes are in fact a myth, but that it is possible to come up with an alternative meaning of the claim that so-defined might not be a myth. Whether that is true, it seems like a question of definitions more than substantive disagreement.
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Dangerousness of Male Homosexual Activity:

Some readers challenged my claim that there is "disproportionate and grave health danger from male homosexual activity" to men, compared to the danger from male heterosexual activity. I think this danger is tragic, and I very much hope that medical advances will lead to the danger's decreasing. All decent people should agree that it's tragic. (The bunk that we hear from some quarters about AIDS being God's punishment for homosexuality would suggest, as some wit put it, that lesbians must be God's chosen people, since their rates are apparently very low.) But it seems to me quite clear that this danger is very much there.

Reader Brian King, for instance, writes:

The fact is that male homosexuals having a one-night stand are more then twice as likely to practice safe sex then heterosexuals having a one-night stand. Given this, from a health point of view, you should think that it's preferable for a bisexual man to experiment with homosexuality, then to remain heterosexual. If the bisexual man in 2005 has sex with a male, that male has a 66% chance to demand a condom, while a female only has around a 33% chance to demand a condom. Ergo, pairing the bisexual with the male homosexual results in statistically safer sex then pairing the bisexual with the female.

Your reasoning is flawed because current STD rates are a comment on the safe sex practices of men 20 years ago. Gay men, in response to this crisis, have changed their behavior over the years. Now, gay men are the most informed people in the world about safe sex. . . .

[Quoting a study:] "From 1993 alone, nine different studies reported that two thirds of gay men were being primarily safe in locales as disparate as North Carolina, Britan, Australia, Pittsburgh, and San Fransisco. Yet, the national aids behavioral surveys surveyed heterosexual men and found: 'Among respondents with multiple partners, only 28% of men and 32% of women always use them (condoms) with secondary partners...in general, almost half the men and women with multiple partners never use condoms.' Another study compared gay and straight men and found gay condom use "twice as high.'" . . .

If gays are engaging in safe sex, that's wonderful. Nonetheless, even if one focuses on new (post-1993, and even more recent) HIV/AIDS cases among U.S. males, the majority are among gay men (if one uses means of acquisition as an admittedly rough proxy for sexual orientation). Gay men are only roughly 4% of the male population. This means that gay men are still disproportionately much more likely than straight men to get infected, by a factor of 20 or more. Even if gay men are using condoms more often, they may be engaging in riskier sexual behavior (receptive anal sex as opposed to insertive genital sex), and (probably more importantly) they're having sex with people who are much more likely to be infected. The CDC, for instance, reports that of new AIDS diagnoses among males in 2003 (which I suspect are mostly people infected after 1993), nearly 18,000 of the about 32,000 involved "male-to-male sexual contact" as the primary risk factor, and nearly 2,000 more involved "male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use." Only a little over 5000 involved heterosexual contact as the primary risk factor. The Texas data for new HIV diagnoses (see PDF p. 12) among males in 2003 is similar: 1700 of the 3500 involved male/male sex, plus 150 more involved male/male sexual contact plus drugs as risk factors. 270 were from heterosexual contact, though another 1100 were other/risk not reported, so maybe there were more heterosexual acquisitions there.

Another reader suggests that it's a mistake to focus solely on HIV, and it's better to look at estimated lifespans — if gay male lifespans are on average the same as straight male lifespans (presumably controlling for various demographic factors), then that means that homosexual activity as actually practiced is on average less dangerous than heterosexual activity. Dr. Franklin Kameny (a leading gay rights activist of long standing) writes that "Homosexual sexual conduct is not dangerous, and its alleged danger is being MUCH over-stated and exaggerated here. As an 80-year-old gay man, sexually active for some 50 years and less so for well over a decade before that, and in good health for my age, I can certify to such lack of danger. Most of the founding fathers of the gay movement died in their 70s, 80s, and 90s."

A lifespan comparison study would be a great study to see, but I don't think it's ever been done right, and it would be very hard to do right. In the meantime, let's look again at the Texas data for (see PDF p. 12). The data suggests that there were about 50,000 HIV and AIDS cases among male homosexuals in Texas since 1980 (again, if you use method of infection as an admittedly rough proxy for the infected person's sexual orientation). The population of Texas is roughly 20 million; that leaves 10 million males; and if roughly 4% of Texans are homosexual or bisexual (working off the national percentage, that's about 400,000.

Naturally, we'd need to add to that 400,000 in some measure because of transience — there were people moving in and out of the state, and dying and being born since 1980, and since such people are counted in the AIDS and HIV cases, they should be counted in the population data as well (and unfortunately I don't know of any data that can tell us precisely how many people have lived in Texas in 1980, as opposed to those who live there now). But even if we double that, we still have a huge mortality / HIV infection rate — not at African levels, thankfully, but over 5% of all Texan homosexuals and bisexuals — and one that's likely underestimated, because presumably many people who have HIV haven't yet been tested and therefore aren't included in the HIV statistics.

So male homosexual activity does seem much more dangerous, on average, than male heterosexual activity. As I've said before, this danger is tragic. But it seems to me a grave mistake to deny this danger.

155 Comments
Sssh! We're Not Supposed To Be Talking About

the relative risk of male homosexual sexual conduct: So some commenters to this post seem to think. To recap: My earlier post noted in passing that male homosexual sex is much more dangerous for the men than is heterosexual sex. To my surprise, three people e-mailed me with fairly detailed messages that either denied or minimized these risks. I decided to respond, because this is actually an important point, on which people need to know the facts.

1. But wait! A couple of the commenters decided that this must show some "ulterior motives" and some presumably sinister "agenda," because of course my statement was "so obvious" that there was no legitimate reason for mentioning it. I get three e-mails (which I noted in my original post) denying the accuracy of my claim. None seem to be from cranks — one is from a Ph.D. who's also a founding father of the gay rights movement, and the two others are from people who seem to be quite articulate, thoughtful, and generally well-informed. You'd think there'd be two pretty obvious motives for my responding: (A) I want to rebut what seem to be important and dangerous misconceptions. (B) I want to respond to people's criticism of my assertion. Apparently not.

OK, though, I confess: I am developing an ulterior motive in writing about this stuff. The more people tell me not to write about things that strike me as important and perfectly legitimate to write about, the more I'm tempted to write about them. If people are trying to cow others into not discussing this information, then it's all the more important that we remain uncowed.

2. Several commenters also argued that posting this information was somehow improper because it might be misused (for instance, because it would "play right into the hands of the anti-gay right").

Well, I'm an academic, and my sense of the academic ethos — or at least the best of that ethos — is that we try to publish the facts, even when the facts may be used by bad people in bad arguments as well as by good people in good arguments. (Yes, there are obvious exceptions, perhaps such as publishing information about how anyone can brew up smallpox in his kitchen; but the very extremeness of this example should remind us how narrow these exceptions are.)

Lots of information related to race, sex, sexual orientation, and more can be and has been misused by bad people. Yet reasoned inquiry and debate can't proceed without it. You can't think seriously about criminal justice and crime control without recognizing the racial disparities in crime. You can't think seriously about the causes of disproportionate representation of men and women in certain fields without at least considering whether men and women might on average have important biological differences that might explain some of this disproportion. You can't think seriously about what public health strategies are needed to fight AIDS, about whether various existing strategies are being conducted usefully and honestly, about whether it's proper for sperm banks or blood banks to screen out gay donors, about why AIDS infection patterns are so different in Africa and in the U.S. — or for that matter, about how careful one should be in one's own sex life, or whether (if one is a bisexual) one should experiment with homosexual sexual behavior — without knowing the data about the demographics of HIV.

If people misuse the data I posted, I'm sorry, in the sense that I wish they didn't do that. But I'm not the least bit sorry I posted it. These are tremendously important facts; literally life-or-death facts for some. I'm going to keep posting information like this, because I believe that keeping quiet about it does far more harm than good. And the more I see people trying to stop others from distributing this information, the more important it seems to me that it be distributed.

40 Comments
Those Who Sincerely Wonder Whether My Posts Are Motivated By Anti-Gay Animus

might want to read my earlier posts trying to debunk the myth of the hyper-promiscuous median gay male (also here, here, here, and here), criticizing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", arguing against the "nongenital sex is unnatural" argument, and arguing that even religious people who take Biblical injunctions seriously, but who believe in religious tolerance, should treat tolerance of gays and lesbians as equivalent to tolerance of other religions. I will be the first to say that I don't endorse all the things that many gay rights activists endorse; for instance, while I support same-sex marriage, I think it should be recognized by statute, not by judicial fiat. But if you treat everyone who doesn't completely agree with you, and sometimes even agrees with your adversaries, as an anti-gay bigot, you might want to ask how sound, fair, and effective an attitude like that is.

96 Comments