A discredited anti-gay researcher by the name of Paul Cameron held a press conference recently in which he said according to his "research, gays are pedophiles who also engage bestiality
The sad thing about this is not what Cameron claims, but the fact that many lgbts – and heterosexuals for that matter – don’t know who he is.
Cameron is a sad fool, a pathetic old man who has been kicked out of or censured by several medical groups over the years, including the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association, for the blatantly hideous methodologies he uses to smear the lgbt community. Among other things, Cameron claims that:
- Lesbians are more likely to die in car wrecks,
- Gay men molest children at a high rate and are more likely to be serial killers,
- Gay men stuff gerbils up their rectums,
- Gays and lesbians in the military are more likely to rape their heterosexual counterparts
In short, Cameron is a laughing stock, a clown, a person so oblivious to his obvious failings that he continues to flail away.
But he is so much more. He is a reminder of something. You see, as religious right groups combat the growing popularity of marriage equality by portraying themselves as bullied organizations merely standing on their faith, they don’t want you to know about Cameron.
It wasn’t that long ago when these religious right groups, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for American, the American Family Association, et. al., openly and freely cited his work in spite of his many professional rebukes.
However, as Cameron’s reputation for distortion became more widely known, these groups either disassociated themselves from him, cited him through a second source (which some still do), or cherry-picked legitimate research to prove crackpot theories which originated with him (such as the lie that gay men molest children at a high level or the false accusation that gay men have a shorter lifespan than heterosexuals).
None of these groups ever apologized for using Cameron’s lies to smear the lgbt community nor even acknowledged that for a time, he was a main component in their war on the lgbt community.
And for the most part, they were able to get away with it because neither the lgbt community nor our leadership pressed the issue.
So Cameron is a symbol in another way. He is representative of the failure of the lgbt community to take the offensive in the fight for our equality.
While we laugh at this doddering old man, we forget that his work is still being cited as fact by people as insignificant as commentators on Facebook to very significant as Republican leaders (i.e. Michigan Republican leader Dave Agema).
Yet, other than a few bloggers such as myself, there has never been a major offensive to connect him to the religious right groups or take them to task for citing his bad work in defense of their “morals.”
The defense of morality should never include lies. And those who are lied on should not allow it to happen without challenge. But the lgbt community has allowed this to happen by underestimating just how willing religious right groups are to deceive. Meanwhile because of our carelessness and inattention, they have built up a firewall of anti-gay theories backed by lies, distortions, and cherry-picked science. The vast majority of these theories originated from Cameron.
So will there be some serious part on behalf of the lgbt community to knock down this firewall? It can be easily knocked down because it’s so flimsy. Lies generally are.
Or are we going to continue to do what we have done, which is attack the media for allowing anti-gay spokespeople like Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher, or Peter Sprigg to repeat these lies without challenge.
Forget blaming the media. Our community is powerful enough to handle this. We are powerful enough to take on these lies before they are used against us. And we especially powerful in knocking them down.
But are we ever going to take the initiative?
There is nothing wrong with us relying on intelligence and progressive ideas to achieve equality. But the religious right deceptions are something which cannot be ignored. There is nothing wrong with addressing them head on.
When dealing with folks not afraid to lie, good old fashioned and straightforward truth-telling never hurts.