Marshall’s Claim Homosexuality “cuts your life by 20 years” – False
Del. Bob Marshall has repeatedly made his views on same-sex marriage and homosexuality known – most recently through publicly condemning the judicial nomination of openly-gay Tracy Thorne-Begland, and exposing the idea that gay behavior cuts one’s lifespan by 20 years.
Marshall claimed that Thorne-Begland would not be able to prevent his sexual orientation from influencing his judicial decisions. On an interview with CNN, Marshall revealed his belief that “Sodomy is not a civil right.” Another reporter inquired whether same-sex marriage is protected within the constitution, and this is when Marshall claims homosexual behavior cuts an individual’s lifespan by 20 years. A study published in June 1997 by the International Journal of epidemiology, he said, supported this hypothesis.
Researchers at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS dissected the relationship between HIV and the mortality of gay and bisexual men in Vancouver from 1987 to 1992. Their findings revealed that at the age of 20 the life expectancy was 8 to 21 years shorter than the overall population of men in the city. Researchers also determined that their consensus may underestimate the life expectancy deficit of the gay and bisexual community, due to the number of unreported AIDS cases.
“If we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men would be greatly improved. Deaths from HIV infection have declined dramatically in this population since 1996,” said the author’s.
Julio Montaner, co-author of the study and director of the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, participated in an interview regarding Marshall’s use of their findings, and he reveals that it’s a rather “gross misrepresentation.”
“To use my report to support the notion that gay and bisexual sex is somehow the reason why people die early is misusing the data,” Montaner said.
The co-author of the study points out their research was conducted during a time when HIV treatment was ineffective, and the HIV epidemic was poorly controlled. The years following has proved to be effective, in terms of treating and preventing the disease; for instance, in British Columbia, annual diagnosis of new infections have dropped from 900 in the mid-1990s to 300 in recent years, said Montaner. He also points out that deaths from HIV have fallen sharply.
In 1995, the rate of HIV deaths per 100,000 people peaked in the United States at 36.3 deaths and in 2010 fell to 2.7. Even though gay and bisexual men represent 2 percent of the population, this group is still the most affected by HIV. Within the U.S. population, gay and bisexual men account for 61 percent of HIV cases.
“With significant investment in medical resources, homosexuals are living longer than in previous years with their compromised health status, but nevertheless still shorter lives than comparable married heterosexuals who don’t eat up medical resources to the same extent,” Marshall wrote.
Marshall’s other pieces of research did not prove his hypothesis that homosexual behavior today cuts life expectancy by 20 years. U.S data comparing life expectancy of homosexuals and to the rest of the population is unavailable, due to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) not keeping figures based on sexual orientation. Laura Durso, who researches issues of the LGBT community at the Williams Institute at UCLA, reiterates that there are very few national-population surveys in the U.S. that ask for their sexual orientation, which makes it difficult to compare the life expectancy of homosexuals and heterosexuals.
Rachel Williams is a rising senior at Virginia Commonwealth University with a calling to be a voice to the voiceless; and passion is to bring gender equality and ethnic justice to the forefront of RVA.
BREAKING: Bill to allow a “person” to deny services for same-sex weddings passes Virginia House subcommittee
BREAKING: A bill aiming to protect religious organizations when they deny services related to a same-sex wedding was passed by a voice in a House subcommittee today. Submitted by Delegate Nicholas J. Freitas (top image right, R-30, Culpepper) proposed to shield any person from punishment from the state, civil or otherwise, if they deny services [...]January 19, 2017
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