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01/13/2010

'Pffffft'-OX

by Jeremy Hooper

Of all of the anti-LGBT groups out there, PFOX might be the most disingenuous out there. First, you have to consider the way they now add on an PFOX"& Gays" to their group's name, even though their acronym clearly stands for Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (the name they used for years). It's obvious that their recent addition of "&Gays" is only so that they will seem nicer.

Then there's the way they handle certain developments in order to seem anything in the ballpark of credible. This really came to light this past summer, when the organization claimed a "win" in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, even though the only thing they "won" was the no-brainer decision that "ex-gays" cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their identities. The court still determined that their message and agenda could be subject to scrutiny and even barring -- just not their existences. Which is perfectly fair and right. Few to no LGBT people want "ex-gays," "ex-blondes," or "ex-anythings" discriminated against, we just want their political movement accurately and resoundingly repudiated. Plus, we want the right to not accept their medically unsound characterization as a protected class. Because it's not.

And then there was the time this last October when PFOX's Regina Griggs claimed that "71% of men having sex with men are HIV positive." Listen in:

(click to play audio clip)

*Source: Wallbuilders Live, 10/16/09

Regina's insane lie of an AIDS figure came from a bastardization of a 2007 CDC report. In actuality, that report says this:

In the United States, HIV infection and AIDS have had a tremendous effect on men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM accounted for 71% of all HIV infections among male adults and adolescents in 2005 (based on data from 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting),even though only about 5% to 7% of male adults and adolescents in the United States identify themselves as MSM
...
In the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting, an estimated 19,620 MSM (18,296 MSM and 1,324 MSM who inject drugs) received a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, accounting for 71% of male adults and adolescents and 53% of all people receiving an HIV/AIDS diagnosis that year
HIV/AIDS and Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) [CDC]

So what the report says is that of all HIV infections among males in 2005, 71% were MSM. THAT IS NOT THE SAME THING AS SAYING THAT 71% OF GAY MEN ARE HIV POSITIVE!!!!!!!!! AT ALL. NOT EVEN CLOSE! Whether out of her own ignorance or a deliberate disregard for data, Regina Griggs chose to lie through her "ex-gay" loving teeth!

It also should be noted that worldwide, MSW/WSM account for a drastically larger percentage of HIV/AIDS cases. So while it may have been convenient for David Barton and cohorts to then use Regina's unfathomably insane figure to say that this "is the laws of nature telling you this ain't right"...

(click to play audio clip)

*Source: Wallbuilders Live, 10/16/09

...we have to wonder why, exactly, they see their God as hating so many of the world's heteros!

But now let's move on to the present. What sort of silly shenanigans are the PFOX-ers up to now? Well, they are taking one minor procedural determination from The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and acting as if it has lent some kind of validity to their cause. Here's their latest press release:

BURBANK, Calif., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has directed the Walt Disney Company to accept a shareholder resolution requesting the inclusion of ex-gays in Disney's sexual orientation policies and corporate diversity programs. Disney had opposed the ex-gay resolution and asked the SEC for permission to exclude it from stockholder consideration.

"Like many corporations, Disney implements mandatory diversity training for employees that emphasizes gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders, but fails to include ex-gays," said Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX). "It is a serious omission both for the ex-gay community and their supporters."

"Employees who support the ex-gay community are not welcomed to express their views and fear they would be forced to undergo sensitivity training because they support former homosexuals," said Griggs. "Ex-gays are forced to remain closeted because they are not protected by diversity policies and are subjected to open disapproval by others in the workplace. The inclusion of ex-gays will cost Disney nothing to implement and would provide true diversity and respect in the workplace."

The resolution cites a recent judicial decision issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In that case, brought by PFOX, the Court ruled that former homosexuals are a protected class that must be recognized under D.C.'s sexual orientation non-discrimination laws. The Court held that sexual orientation does not require immutable characteristics.

"Disney should treat ex-gays and their friends with the respect they deserve," said Bobbie Strobhar, the stockholder who submitted the shareholder resolution. "We need more of these resolutions nationwide to assure tolerance and safety in the workplace for the ex-gay community and their supporters."

Disney Ordered to Include Ex-Gays in Shareholder Resolution [PR Newswire]

So it sounds like a win for them, right? But the only thing? It's a tiny SEC determination, only saying that Disney cannot reject this certain shareholder resolution on the one ground that they sought. The SEC allows shareholders to propose resolutions, and companies often try to exclude them on technical grounds. This SEC determination lends no credence to the PFOX resolution. It in no way increases its chances of adoption. It merely says that Disney cannot use rule 14a-8(i)(3) to omit the proposal. It's all procedural.

Here, if you care enough, you can read the SEC determination for yourself:


Bobbie Strohbar: SEC

But clearly PFOX wants this to seem like something more. Desperate for credibility, they are hoping folks will think that the SEC has lent credence to "ex-gay" programs, and that Disney is just a hop, skip, and mouse ear away from protecting "former homosexuals" as a suspect class. Because this is what PFOX is all about: Dissipation of half-truths, untruths, or limited truths, so as to confuse people. It's the one "M.O." they never seem concerned about changing!

So be on the lookout for the way this gets reported, folks. With the summer D.C. ruling, we saw several news outlets (even LGBT ones) fall in the PFOX trap and accept the script that they had actually "won" something. This is what Regina Griggs wants. And if there's one thing we've learned about Regina Griggs' wants, it's that they in no way jibe with our peaceful existences!

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Your thoughts

Seriously, what is up with these guys? There's no reason to require diversity training for "ex-gays" because if you're ex-gay, you're just strait. It's not a new orientation at all

Posted by: dragon8888 | Jan 13, 2010 11:56:20 AM

It's all about validation. Validation of their "lifestyle," if you will.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 13, 2010 12:40:21 PM

Well, if they claim to no longer be gay, then can't they just live a normal life as a straight person, and stop obsessing over gay-related issues? How would they be harassed, persecuted, or discriminated against in that case?

Posted by: Dan T. | Jan 13, 2010 1:29:19 PM

That's got to be some of the most egregious misuse of statistics I've ever seen. If 0.6% of adults in the US have HIV (value from Wikipedia, admittedly), and 71% of those are MSM, then MSM make up only ~0.4% of the total population of adults. That's wrong by an order of magnitude or so.

Posted by: marsmannetje | Jan 13, 2010 1:31:28 PM

But let's not even confuse it further, mars. The CDC stat is that of all HIV infections, 71% were MSM. They don't pretend to apply it to the gay population at large -- they just show that of infections, MSM had a higher proportion. Something we know, and something we've all been working to combat since 1981.

Regina's "stat" is that 71% of MSM are HIV positive. It is indeed an egregious lie.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 13, 2010 1:41:54 PM

I guess I hadn't considered the possibility that they had not done any statistics at all (no matter how faulty), but simply made it up and lied about it. I should really know better by now, I suppose.

I'm a math person, so I don't find it confusing, just glaringly wrong. I'm also annoyingly pedantic :)

Posted by: marsmannetje | Jan 13, 2010 2:01:04 PM

"So what the report says is that of all HIV infections in 2005, 71% were MSM."

That actually isn't what it said either. The 71% is of the males who contracted HIV during 2005. The missing statistic is that 0% of the women who contracted HIV during 2005 were MSM. Women (and I'm pulling this from infrequently accessed brain memory cells) accounted for 40% of the 2005 infections, which puts MSM at around 43% of total infections. I could look up the statistics, and provide a more accurate actual number, but you see my point that HIV isn't a MSM issue any more, it is a problem that everyone needs to be aware of, and everyone needs to exercise caution.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 13, 2010 2:09:30 PM

Mars: Griggs simply took the 71% figure and misapplied to the MSM population at large. The CDC figures don't pretend to say how many MSM are in America, or suggest any percentage of MSM that are HIV positive. Regina did.

But don't worry: i don't think you're anything close to annoying or pedantic. :-)

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 13, 2010 2:11:58 PM

Hmm. I'm not following, Dick. Why do you need the women (WSM/WSW) stat?

**UPDATE: Oh wait --shit -- you're totally right! i didn't even see that it says "MALE" adults. Hold the phone -- I'm updating.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 13, 2010 2:15:40 PM

The 71% is strictly of men who contracted HIV. It isn't of the total (male and female population) that contracted HIV in 2005. When you look at all of the HIV infections in 2005 in the US, MSM account for about 50% of the total - not 71% of the total.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 13, 2010 2:21:01 PM

Yea, ur totally right (see update on my last comment). Not sure how, but my eyes totally missed the word "male"!

I've updated the post to reflect this.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 13, 2010 2:23:50 PM

I think that even the CDC attempts to be "somewhat" alarmist in their usage of statistics. It is a common mistake to look at that 71% and read it exactly as you did. I look at statistics all the time, and have learned that a precise read is many times necessary to see the actual meaning of the statistic. The CDC should fully know that as well.

While what they published is technically accurate, the fact that they didn't disambiguate it in perfectly clear semantics suggests that they were going for the shock factor of a 71% number (perhaps hoping that "scaring people" would quell unsafe practices among MSM). Not realizing that the heterosexuals need to be shocked by the statistics as well.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 13, 2010 2:34:53 PM

Yea, I always find CDC stats alarmist as well. An you're right -- that's why I accepted the 71% so readily.

Now back to Regina: 3/4 of MSM are positive?!??! How could she possibly think that/think she could get away with it!?

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 13, 2010 2:44:11 PM

She could get away with it because the people who listen to her just need more support for their preconceived bias. They aren't looking for the truth, just for more "SO THERE" to heap onto the raging flame. I do find it impossible to believe that an intelligent (literate?? educated??) person could read that CDC report and arrive at Regina's farcical statistic. So, she either is entirely bereft of intellect, or she was just repeating another liar who "interpreted it" (the religious are particularly adept at "divining" "facts" that support their lies) for her.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 13, 2010 2:59:52 PM

Another of her favorites is to take the fact that nobody has concretely pinpointed one "gay gene" and spin it to say that medical science concretely believes "THERE'S NO GENETIC BASIS." This is a 2007 quote:

"The official position of all medical and mental health organizations and the American Psychiatric Association is that there is no biological or genetic cause or replicated study for homosexuality," ..."So, why as a doctor should [then-surgeon general nominee James Holsinger] not be allowed to interpret and support the fact that change is possible? That's what medical science says."

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 13, 2010 3:14:15 PM

Oh, and check out this 7/08 ONN article. In it, Regina says that "Over 70 percent of young kids 13- to 24-years-old, men having sex with men, are now HIV-positive":

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Education/Default.aspx?id=192536

Note that at the bottom, ONN responded to the scrutiny. But their response is "In June of 2007 the Centers for Disease Control stated that homosexual sex accounted for 71 percent of all HIV infections." Which is (a) not all what Regina asserted; and (b) as we've established here, not at all what the CDC data showed!

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 13, 2010 3:19:04 PM

"Seriously, what is up with these guys? There's no reason to require diversity training for "ex-gays" because if you're ex-gay, you're just strait. It's not a new orientation at all"

Thats always been the biggest indicator they're full of crap to me. If they actually believed for a moment it was possible to just completely change your orientation they'd say so. They'd proudly be boasting about how straight all their members are now, but they dont.

Its like claiming you've cured left-handedness. Sure the person will pick up stuff with their right hand, but it's obvious to everyone how twitchy and uncoordinated they are with it and that if it weren't for the person standing over their shoulder screaming about how southpaws are vile hellbound sinners they'd be using the left one.

Posted by: wackadoodle | Jan 13, 2010 4:11:49 PM

I want Rachel Maddow to invite Mx. Griggs on to discuss her positions. I'd like to hear her try to defend the indefensible.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 13, 2010 6:20:46 PM

Rachel would tear her a new asshole.

Posted by: Mykelb | Jan 13, 2010 9:08:14 PM

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