Saturday, April 1, 2017

John Stonestreet Exploits Huffington Post Piece by Gay Writer to Demonize Gay Men

“Conservative Christians oppress gay people, making them unhappy. Then the same Christians claim that gay people are unhappy because they are gay which justifies further oppression of gay people.”
John Stonestreet
John Stonestreet
Let's start with the piece in the Huffington Post written by Michael Hobbes. I do not know much about Hobbes other than the fact that he lives in Berlin and writes a blog called Rotten In Denmark. I don't know if that is a reference to the country, Shakespeare's Hamlet or both.

Hobbes' piece in the Huffington Post is not as depressing as the title suggests: “The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness.” I have lost interest in HP. The piece appears in something called Highline. Hobbes writes:
Still, even as we celebrate the scale and speed of this change [US marriage equality], the rates of depression, loneliness and substance abuse in the gay community remain stuck in the same place they’ve been for decades. Gay people are now, depending on the study, between 2 and 10 times more likely than straight people to take their own lives. We’re twice as likely to have a major depressive episode. And just like the last epidemic we lived through, the trauma appears to be concentrated among men. In a survey of gay men who recently arrived in New York City, three-quarters suffered from anxiety or depression, abused drugs or alcohol or were having risky sex—or some combination of the three. Despite all the talk of our “chosen families,” gay men have fewer close friends than straight people or gay women. In a survey of care-providers at HIV clinics, one respondent told researchers: “It’s not a question of them not knowing how to save their lives. It’s a question of them knowing if their lives are worth saving.”
When it comes to cites to substantiate his contentions, Hobbes is all over the place in locale. They also predate marriage equality in the US.

Hobbes' links in order of appearance:
  1. A cite that he interprets incorrectly is a Canadian study that does not seem to be peer reviewed. It took me 20 minutes of social media connection and answering questions to download the damned PDF.
  2. A UK government study that is not peer reviewed. It was published in 2014 which means that the data is probably four to five years old. 
  3. As described but doesn't mean what Hobbes thinks it means. These were young gay men escaping unhealthy places and families.
  4. A book originally published in 1991. Come on.
  5. Unstated is that this is a 2012 study of elderly gays. They have been conditioned to be marginalized for most of their lives.
  6. A 2009 study of African-American gay men. An under-served minority who are likely to face more intolerance.
Mr. Hobbes might be lonely and depressed in Berlin. What does that say about the gay community? Not much.

I will venture some speculation. Gay men are probably more prone to depression than straight men. The five most important factors are:
  1. Locale: This includes the depth of the gay community and the amount of oppression that gay men face. Most of those young people who fled to New York (third cite) came from discriminatory places.
  2. Family acceptance: If the family integrates a gay man and, perhaps, his spouse or partner into the family that man is probably less likely to be depressed.
  3. Economics: Gay men face workplace discrimination. Most people do not work for the companies in HRC's annual survey. Job frustration and lower income are likely to affect one's mental state.
  4. Quality of health care: Depression is treatable if people have access to quality health care.
  5. Age: Middle-aged gay men and older were marginalized for most of their lives. It is going to require decades for the gay population to realize the benefits of progress.

Enter John Stonestreet, Christian fundamentalist. 

His piece at L. Brent Bozell III's CNSnews.com is titled: “An Unspoken Epidemic: The Silent Suffering of Gay Men.” I am sure that we are all very grateful for Stonestreet's concern for our wellbeing.
Over a year and-a-half after the Obergefell decision, the debate over gay “marriage” and homosexuality has largely fizzled out: partly because of the election, partly because the “T” in the LGBT acronym has been stealing all the headlines, and partly because Obergefell is now viewed by many as settled law. And that’s a shame, because so-called “progress” isn’t bringing about the rosy picture we were promised.
Marriage is settled. Transgender people are now facing the same abuse that gays felt 20 years ago. It has been slightly edited and recycled. Note the petty defensive quotes around the word marriage. Stoneatreet disapproves. Too bad. It is the law of the land and our marriages do not require John Stonestreet's approval — and that's a fact.
In what may be the most candid piece in Huffington Post history, Michael Hobbes, who identifies as gay, writes about what he calls an “epidemic of loneliness.”

“For years,” he begins, “I’ve noticed the divergence between my straight friends and my gay friends. While one half of my social circle has disappeared into relationships, kids and suburbs, the other has struggled through isolation and anxiety, hard drugs and risky (behavior).”
Only a conservative Christian requires the phrase “identifies as.” Hobbes is a gay man. Among normal humans, other humans are neither identified nor defined by their sexual orientation. Living in Berlin, Hobbes is not even close to representative of the gay community. Hobbes speaks for Hobbes and no one else. Mr. Stonestreet is a mindless bigot who has the ability to inflict his prejudices upon some gay men and boys whom he seeks to marginalize and isolate. His influence is in rapid decline.
Through story after story and mountains of statistics, Hobbes then documents a consistent and chilling trend among those who share his lifestyle. “Gay men everywhere, at every age,” he writes, are two-to-ten-times more likely than heterosexual men to commit suicide.
Hobbes has the statistics wrong and Stonestreet lacks the intellectual curiosity to obtain them and ascertain their value. His “mountains of statistics” are also very inconsistent and lacking in attention to detail. Hobbes writes very well but his analytical skills are less well-honed. Stonestreet likes the notion that gay men are lonely and depressed. Stonestreet interprets any gay misery (even if it does not really exist) as validation of his religious BS.

Conservative Christians oppress gay people, making them unhappy. Then the same Christians claim that gay people are unhappy because they are gay which justifies further oppression of gay people.
We often hear these disastrous statistics and stories attributed to homophobia, bullying, and shame. Having been treated horribly since childhood, men like this author—the oft-repeated myth goes—are forced to live a lie. They’re depressed because they’ve been oppressed and repressed.

But here’s the problem with the bullying hypothesis. In countries like the Netherlands and Sweden where same-sex “marriage” has been the law of the land for years, gay men remain three times more susceptible to mood disorders and three- to ten-times more likely to engage in “suicidal self-harm.”
Bullshit. I have had an email colloquy with the author of that Swedish study. She attributes results to the Meyer Minority Stress Model.
Incredibly, after this long and brutal and well-documented description of life in his community, Hobbes then concludes the cause as having minority status, which has taught them to live in fear. At no point does he consider the possibility that it’s the lifestyle itself that may be what’s destroying these men’s lives.
I am a retired CEO. What is my lifestyle. I was with my late partner for over 30 years. He was also an accomplished executive. What was our lifestyle? Sexual orientation is not, and does not dictate, a lifestyle. Stonestreet needs to define us that way. It is a form of straw man.
Could it be that this lifestyle cuts off this community from the natural family, from children, and—according to years of statistics—from monogamous partnerships? Could it be the disparity Hobbes sees between what he wants and what he got is a result of a broken lifestyle? Could it be that this behavior naturally isolates people? Could it be that God didn’t design His image-bearers to live like this, and when we do, it actually destroys us?
Could it be that Christian bigots continue to negatively affect the lives of gay people? That link, by the way (I left it), is to a 2011 “study” on gay promiscuity. It is from … Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. Very authoritative! It's by some guy named Matt Slick who has a divinity degree and who probably doesn't know the difference between the scientific method and my chili recipe.
Unfortunately, those questions are no longer even considered by Hobbes or by social scientists. But we as a society, and especially the Church, must consider these questions. As long as there are real people trying to fill their hearts with lies, caring about them will mean having a more open mind than the Huffington Post.
Stonestreet is the typical religious idiot. Despite mountains of scientific evidence, he insists that sexual orientation is a “lie.” If, indeed, gay men are lonely and depressed Stonestreet's “solution” is: Don't be homosexual. Presumably he has a pray-away-the-gay ministry that he recommends — the ignorant, superstitious fool.

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