Sunday, June 10, 2007

James Holsinger has some explaining to do

It seems that the controversy over Bush's surgeon general nominee, James Holsinger, continues unabated.

And the issue is getting more cloudy.

Several of his defenders are coming out of the woodwork defending Holsinger, making it seem that he is a latter-day Mother Teresa. These defenders include a lesbian:

Maria Kemplin, a former colleague of Dr. Holsinger’s who is a lesbian, is familiar with the 1991 report. But in a letter she sent to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, she wrote of Dr. Holsinger as a friend who helped without judging her.

“I am a liberal Democrat and a member of gay and women’s rights organizations,” Ms. Kemplin wrote. “Still, I strongly support Dr. Jim Holsinger as a leader and administrator who is able to see across divisive issues and relate with integrity to people, no matter their life circumstance.”

Good, then Holsinger won't have any problems answering questions about that paper he wrote demonizing gay men.

One of the biggest calamities of the American media is the abject laziness of our journalists. Sometimes in pursuit of "popular" stories, they miss the stories that, with a little time and effort given to them, can bring much needed attention to important issues.

And to me, one of the biggest underreported stories have been how the anti-gay create phony scientific studies to push forth a religious point of view, much like Holsinger did in 1991.

The lgbt community has had to deal with "scientific papers" put out by groups like the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, etc. accusing us of molesting children, having a short life span, and other assorted ills.

These papers either use bad sources or cherry pick credible information to reach a conclusion already frought in the author's mind - that gays and lesbians are sick people and anything that protects us is a bad thing.

Case in point is a recent article talking about gays adopting children:

Judith Stacey, a sociology professor at New York University and co-author with Tim Biblarz of "(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?" in the American Sociological Review, says conservative groups distorted the findings of her 2001 study, which found some slight differences in children of lesbian mothers in terms of career choices and sexual experimentation. And while some of her ongoing work is finding "minor differences in sexuality and possibly in the range of comfort, but just barely, with non heterosexual behavior," a European study of daughters of lesbians has found a skew toward more heterosexual partners. . .

When Dr. (James) Dobson, in his Time magazine essay criticizing Ms. Cheney, cited research from Kyle Pruett at Yale University to state that children need fathers, Dr. Pruett, author of "Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child," was furious, claiming Dr. Dobson had misrepresented his findings to suggest that children of gay parents would somehow suffer developmentally. After attempts to contact Dr. Dobson proved fruitless, he taped an interview and posted it on excoriating the conservative leader.

. . . Mr. (Peter) Spriggs (from the Family Research Council) remains unrepentant about his and Dr. Dobson's use of research to bolster their contention that children do best with a mother and a father.

"No scholar has the right to dictate how another person will use his data, just because he happens to disagree from a political point of view," he said.

On the contrary Mr. Spriggs. If a scholar's work is being used incorrectly, he or she has a right to call foul.

And a community who has been maligned by usage of said work has a right to complain and demand answers, particularly if the alleged perpetrator is vying for a position to represent this community.

So Holsinger's defenders can trot as many lesbians as they want out of the woodwork. And I don't even care if it's discovered that Holsinger was the one who really parted the Red Sea and performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes.

If he wants to be my surgeon general, he needs to answer for his attempts to call me and mine sick people.