Anti-LGBTQ Arizona Pol Regurgitates Old Lie About Gay Life Expectancy

Tuesday August 13, 2019

It's the Trump era, and falsehoods of all sorts are now fashionable — including long-debunked lies like the one so-called researcher Paul Cameron told in the 1980s about the life expectancy of the average gay male. Cameron created a bogus "study" by reading over obituaries in gay newspapers and then, based on those obits — which were hardly representative of the entire LGBTQ community, or even all gay men — arrived at the idea that gay men die much, much younger than heterosexuals, at an average age of 43.

That utterly unscientific claim has been roundly refuted over the years and Cameron himself was tossed out of the American Psychological Association for "a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists," but anti-LGBTQ people in positions of power still parrot it, or figures like it. An Arizona county supervisor named Ron Gould trotted out a very similar fake statistic in a recent interview with a local newspaper, telling the Kingman Daily Miner that gay men die, on average, at age 42.

Gould also took the occasion to slam marriage equality, compare gay people to alcoholics, and grouse that non-heterosexuals have moved on from timidly asking for "tolerance" from society's self-appointed moral guardians to demanding fully equal citizenship and fully equal protections under the law.

From the Kingman Daily Miner article:

In Mohave County, social issues don't play much of a role in his job as supervisor, but in his legislative past, Gould sponsored a bill to ensure that marriage will be reserved for heterosexuals only. He perceives being gay as harmful and points to statistics which, according to him, prove a homosexual male's life expectancy is 42 years. "So you think they die younger because of their sexual orientation?" "That's why they die," Gould replied. "We all have our sins, but we should try to suppress them. Alcoholism is harmful, too, but we don't see groups promoting alcoholism." Gould admits gay people have the same civil rights, but marriage is not one of them. "It used to be 'tolerate us,'; now it's 'accept us,'" he said.

The Arizona chapter of Stonewall Democrats responded on Twitter, calling for Gould's "rhetoric" to be "shut down."

Another area newspaper, the Phoenix New Times, offered a synopsis of Gould's political career, noting that after moving to Arizona from California he served as a state senator for eight years before winning office as a county supervisor.

The Phoenix New Times also took note of a separate controversy that embroiled an appointee of Gould's, LaJuana Gillette, who sparked a firestorm of criticism after posting what some saw as racist comments on Facebook (which now seems to have been deleted).

Commenting on immigration, Gillette declared, "This is America!! This is a Christian Nation! I like it like that." Gillette's post went on to say, "We must stop the minorities from coming here and trying to change us."

Gillette, who was installed by Gould on a zoning and development board, went on to criticize California cities Monterrey Park and Arvin, saying that "All the signs [are] in Mexican" in Arvin, while in Monterrey Park, "all the signs are in some Asian language."

Gillette also parroted a popular, if untrue, talking point from among conservative pundits, claiming that "We actually have Muslim communities here in the U.S." that are "using Sharia law."

The Phoenix New Times also cited an earlier Facebook post (also now seemingly deleted) Gillette made in which she claimed that people of color are lazy and respond to critics with a single term:

"This is the answer to any criticism, you are a RACIST!" Gillette declaimed.

In the same post she added:

"So, if you are black or brown you don't have to do your job! Because if anyone, like the President, mentions that you aren't doing your job, they are RACIST!"

Extremist language by public officials is increasingly surfacing. Last week, after a pair of mass shootings — one in El Paso by a gunman who reportedly posted an online manifesto referencing white supremacist language ad another in Dayton, Ohio, that was allegedly carried out by a gunman who had frightened fellow students while in high school with a "hit list" and a "rape list" — an Ohio state lawmaker, Candice Keller, raced to Facebook to blame "liberals," as well as marijuana use, video games, and — of course — married gay couples and trans people for the nation's soaring gun violence.

Keller's post shocked even some of her fellow Republicans, a few of whom joined Democrats in calling for her to resign. Keller dug in, however, and reportedly has plans to pursue a Senate seat in next year's elections.

Other GOP officeholders have successfully clung to power despite conduct that would, in ordinary times, be instantly disqualifying. Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte paid no significant political price for assaulting a journalist in 2017 and has now filed paperwork to become a candidate in Montana's 2020 gubernatorial election, The Huffington Post reported.

In 2018, Washington State Rep. Matt Shea cruised to reelection despite revelations that he had authored a manifesto in which he outlined steps for overthrowing democracy in the United States and replacing it with theocratic rule. The manifesto was overtly violent in character, calling for Christian warriors to "kill all males" who refused to submit. Shea then easily weathered a subsequent scandal in which it was revealed that he had discussed attacks, including physical violence, and surveillance of political opponents such as liberals or "Antifa" activists. Among the suggestions made during that online exchange were tactics for attacking opponents' homes, places of employment, and the daycare attended by their children.

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