A scientist has accused Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays (PFOX) of distorting his research by claiming that high school gay-straight alliances increase risk of suicide for teens.
PFOX President Regina Griggs said that “the risk of suicide decreases by 20% each year that a person delays homosexual or bisexual self-labeling,” and criticized schools for affirming teens who self-labeled.
However, Dr Gary Remafedi, a pediatrician at the University of Minnesota, whose research Griggs cited, told Wayne Besen that the claims did not line up with his study:
My work has been cited by PFOX in response to a Washington Post article on gay-straight alliances (GSA). … PFOX misuses one of my studies on suicide attempts in gay youth to argue that people should not identify their sexual orientation at young ages. Our findings do not support the contention that young people choose their identity or the timing of events in identity formation. Nor is there any evidence that the availability of GSAs influences those developmental processes.
Misrepresenting scholarship in order to cast suspicion on LGBT persons is nothing new to anti-gay groups. In 2006, University of BC professor Elizabeth Saewyc accused James Dobson’s Focus on the Family of twisting her findings to claim that embracing lesbianism led to suicide. Dr Robert Spitzer has made the same complaint towards FotF. Robert Hogg is another researcher whose studies have been manipulated by the Religious Right to give credence to myths about the “gay lifestyle.”
Truth Wins Out has been keeping an archive of Focus on the Family’s unscholarly distortions, including statements from scholars whose own work has been misrepresented by James Dobson et al, at www.respectmyresearch.org.