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OpEd: Truth

by Alvin McEwen

Gay men account for the largest number of child molestation cases.

Gay men have shorter life spans than heterosexual men.

Lesbians are inflicted with more diseases than heterosexual women because their unhealthy lifestyle.

Gay men have more than 500 sexual partners a year.

We have all heard these false statements; the negative statistics, the lies and distortions that the religious right uses to claim that gays and lesbians should not have equal protection under the law. Many of us have laughed them off for the ridiculous rhetoric that they are.

But why do we laugh them off so easily?
Some of us laugh because we are trying to fight our demons. Inside of us, in dark places that we don’t want to acknowledge are remembrances of when we first heard the lies. For some of us, they were the first thing we heard about being gay. They formed negative beachheads in our young impressionable minds. They made us feel victimized and helpless. Was this the life we had to lead as gays and lesbians? Were we doomed to loneliness, disease, and an early death?

We laugh at religious right lies in order to keep them from reminding us of the frustration and sadness we felt when first coming out of the closet. We don’t want to be reminded of the abject loneliness we felt. You know the certain type of loneliness I am talking about. The one that makes you feel that while you may have many family and friends, you don’t have one person to come out to. None of us want to be reminded of our past vulnerabilities, so we stifle the hurt we feel when we hear the lies under the pretensions of being amused with the manic ramblings of so-called Bible thumpers.

Meanwhile religious right talking heads stand in front of legislative bodies, in front of church congregations, and on television spouting these ramblings virtually unchallenged, turning communities against us and giving those who despise us respectable excuses for their hatred.

It’s time for a public catharsis, an exorcism, if you will. If the gay community is to completely control its image, then it is time to grab hold of our inner demons and kill them.

In our zeal to keep our minds safe from persecution, we seem to think that if we ignore the lies of the religious right, they will go away. But an unanswered lie is a statement with as much power as spoken truth. And a community who wants to control how they are being portrayed must beat back negative images, pushed with as much fervor as it pushes forth positive ones.

How many of the legislators, pastors, people of faith and especially young impressionable innocents seeking to come out of the closet know the religious right distorts news articles, legitimate studies, and books to make a false case against gay equality?

Many church leaders aren’t aware of the fact that the religious right relies on discredited researcher Paul Cameron for their claims that gays molest children at a higher rate and that gays live shorter than heterosexuals.

Many congregations don’t know that the religious right distorted a 2001 Canadian study to claim that gays die earlier than heterosexuals. The original researchers of the study know this because they are the ones who complained about it.

Very few state and national legislators are aware of how the religious right takes statistics from the American Heart Association out of context in order to tell lies about lesbian health.

And finally, does anyone notice how many times the religious right changes the number of sex partners gay men allegedly have in order to suit the prejudices of the audiences they are speaking to?

Not too many people, if any, are aware of these facts. Unfortunately this number includes a high population in the gay community. 
Despite all of their money and connections, the religious right has one flaw: they don’t operate on truth. They lie and liars always leave a paper trail. It is our job, the gay community, to find this paper trail and expose it.

It is our job to not only to call out the religious right for the liars that they are, but to have the proof to back up our charges. We have to conquer our demons and those nagging feelings of helplessness. Every time a religious right talking head cites a study in order to portray our community in a negative light, don’t laugh it away. Get angry and don’t suppress it. Let the anger flow through you. Then get educated. Look up the study. Nine times out of ten, the study has been distorted. Then inform everyone in your circle and your community. Write a letter to the editor. Start a blog. Get motivated to bring attention to the fact that there are lies out there about us, our communities,and our lives. Let as many as possible know that if these lies continue to go unanswered, they will negatively affect our right to protect ourselves, our children, our families and the very future of our existence.

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