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Gay Drug Use Study: Lesbian And Gay Foundation Responds To Our Criticism

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Yesterday, The New Civil Rights Movement published our report and initial analysis of a UK study on rates of drug abuse among the UK LGBT population. The study, “Part of the Picture: Lesbian, gay and bisexual people’s alcohol and drug use in England (2009-2011),” was actually funded by an LGBT charity, The Lesbian & Gay Foundation, and was presented in the British and U.S. media as finding that gay people are seven times more likely to use illegal drugs.

The New Civil Rights Movement continues to strongly oppose the media’s characterization of the study, and continues to characterize the study’s methodology as flawed, as we reported yesterday:

One of several problems with the study seems obvious: those who took the survey were attendees at gay pride parades — hardly a representative sample of LGBT people. Other issues include age samples, the group the study used as a base, and that the study is one that uses self-reporting for its results. is the study flawed? Most likely yes, but there may still be important takeaways. Can we call it good science? Sociologists will need to weigh in, but given the easily-spotted flaws, it seems doubtful.

We concluded:

There is little question that LGBT people are subject to more harassment and hate than any other segment of the population, and it’s not surprising to learn that members of socially and politically oppressed populations would look for relief, possibly in illegal substances, especially when LGBT social life historically revolved around bars, although that has changed for many as advances in equality make their way into cultures.

Time will tell how vlid this particular study is. Studies like these, if they are valid, are important because they expose the hidden needs of minority populations, but it is irresponsible for studies like these to be released without context and explanation, allowing those on the Right to use them as “evidence” of poor moral character, especially when those on the Right created the very scenarios that strongly contribute to this behavior.

In researching the study for yesterday’s article, we contacted the Lesbian & Gay Foundation, and received the following response, from both the Lesbian & Gay Foundation and the University of Central Lancashire, who jointly conducted the study. We offered to publish their response, which you can read, in full and unedited, below, followed by our comments:

 

Thank you for taking the time to read and report on our study in to drug and alcohol use amongst lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people in England. The report is certainly generating a good deal debate about these issues, something we feel is long overdue and we have now had the opportunity to read a range of responses to the report. We welcome your contribution to the debate but would like to take the opportunity to point out a number of inaccuracies in your article

You criticise the findings on the basis that ‘those who took the survey were attendees at gay pride events’. This is a partial presentation of the facts based on a misreading of the report.  While most (81%) of the respondents were surveyed in this way, the remainder responded to the survey either by post or on-line questionnaire.  This is important, because your article misses the steps we have taken to test the effect that this may have had on the results. In 2012 we conducted a separate analysis of the POTP data on drug use by recruitment method (Pride events, postal questionnaire and online questionnaire). This analysis suggests that the high rate of reported last month drug taking amongst the sample as a whole cannot be explained simply by the large number of respondents recruited via Pride events. Despite demographic differences between the sample sub-sets (e.g. that postal respondent were older), respondents recruited at Pride events were no more likely to have taken any drug in the last month than any other group of respondents and for some substances they were the least likely. These data are reported on page 19 of the main report. From this we conclude that the high rate of reported last month drug taking amongst the sample as a whole could not be explained by the large numbers of people who were surveyed at Pride events.

You also criticise the study on basis of the age profile of the respondents, who you rightly point out are younger in our sample than in the population as a whole.  You use one of our tables to support your point about this. In the  report we emphasise clearly that  caution should be taken in relation to the comparisons between our findings on last month drug use and the figures reported for the general population by other studies, most notably the British Crime Survey.  We state very clearly that ‘making comparisons between the drug use reported by the POTP respondents and that reported by the general population is not straightforward because the POTP sample is younger by comparison’.  For this reason we also compare drug use by younger LGB people aged 16-24 for that reported by the British Crime Survey for the same age group, and conclude that within this age group last month drug taking by LGB people is just over two and half times more prevalent.

We also take great care to highlight the limitations of our study. We point out that we used a range of convenience sampling methods; that our sample is younger than that of the population as a whole; that our sample is younger than of the population used in the British Crime Survey; that most respondents were recruited at Pride events; that we had a low proportion of Black and minority ethnic respondents; and that the sample cannot be said to be representative of the LGB population as a whole.  However, these sampling and methodological problems are not unique to our study.  They are common to most studies in to drug and alcohol use and other risk behaviours amongst LGB groups as well as to many studies with so called ‘hard to reach populations’.

For us, despite the acknowledged limitations of the sampling methods, the importance of the studies main findings remain intact. LGB people are more likely to report last month drug use than the general population.  Whether the figure is seven times more likely (using the whole sample comparison from our study with the whole sample British Crime Survey figures), two and a half times more likely (using the figures for young people aged 16-24 in our study and figures for the same age group in the British Crime Survey), or three times more likely (using the 2009/10 and 2010/11 extension to the British Crime Survey which compares drug use in the last year) the fact remains that these differences are stark.  It is also noteworthy that drug use within our sample did not appear to diminish significantly with age until respondents were well in to their 40’s which again is in contrast with available data for the population as a whole.

Our study is also the first to use validated measures of dependency from DSM IV and ICD 10 (something you did not address in your piece).This suggests that more than 20% of the sample reported three or more signs of dependence. This is evidence that people are engaged in patterns of drug and alcohol use which lead to problems.

The report’s main findings should be a wake-up call for people working with the LGB community and for policy makers commissioning services at a local and national level. These concerns, raised in the report, are supported and reflected in the comments of David Stuart and Katy Richardson whose views you rely upon for support in your own article. We look forward to continuing and informed debate and discussion on these issues.

* * *

One final thought: Sociologists and other social scientists often do great work and more studies need to be done to help examine the LGBT community, whose needs, due to anti-gay laws and practices, as well as homophobia, are currently different than the overall communities in which we live.

However, as the world learned with the flawed “studies” of people like Paul Cameron, a discredited social scientist whose “work,” decades later, is still the basis of anti-gay hate from organizations like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, and now, the flawed “work” of Mark Regnerus, which as recently as today appeared in the anti-gay attack by New Jersey’s Archbishop John Myers, once a study that portrays the LGBT community in a negative or wanting light is published, despite flawed methodology or flawed conclusions, those studies will live for decades as tools of our opponents, which is why The New Civil Rights Movement was quick, and appropriately so, to criticize this study, despite the good intentions behind it.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Ran a Bribery Center Blocks From the White House’: Comer Mocked for Claiming No Evidence of Trump Influence Peddling

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The powerful Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, James  Comer (R-KY) is being highly mocked after declaring he will investigate President Joe Biden for “influence peddling” despite admitting there’s little if any evidence President Biden has engaged in influence peddling.

When pressed, he pointed to Biden’s classified documents and one alleged email from Hunter Biden’s laptop.

But when pressed again by a frustrated CNN host, asking why he’s not investigating ex-president Donald Trump, he couldn’t offer a valid reason, except to claim there no evidence of it.

Some were quick to point out the Trump’s tenure in the White House was filled with alleged influence peddling operations.

Here’s Chairman Comer with CNN’s Pamela Brown on Sunday. While the transcript is a bit simplified, it’s not far off.

“What’s different with Joe Biden is we’re investigating the Biden family for influence peddling,” Comer said on CNN Sunday evening. “We have a strong suspicion that people around Joe Biden, mainly in his family, have been peddling access to the Biden family, with our adversaries around the world, and when we find out that they have multiple classified documents scattered throughout multiple residences and office buildings across the East Coast, then this raises a huge red flag for us. We want to make sure that those documents in the possession of Joe Biden weren’t somehow sent to our adversaries and didn’t somehow compromise our national security.”

READ MORE: The Powerful GOP Oversight Committee Chairman Is Pushing a Baseless Narrative That Biden Is ‘Compromised’

CNN’s Pamela Brown pushed back.

“But you’ve also talked about how you worried about the same situation with the Trump family. Trump had 300-plus documents at Mar-a-Lago, why don’t you have that same concern?” Brown asked. “I mean, there are visitors going in and out of Mar-a-Lago from different countries, including China, there’s been a Chinese spy who was arrested at Mar-a-Lago and it was in an unsecure location at Mar-a-Lago. So would you apply that same concern evenly across the board?

Comer was unimpressed with the facts she presented.

“If someone can show me evidence that there was influence peddling with those classified documents that were in the possession of President Trump, then we would certainly expect it.”

His defense for the Chinese spy? It’s a public place – making all the more dangerous for unsecured classified documents.

“Do you have evidence of influence peddling with the classified documents that was for Biden?” Brown asked. “It sounds like you don’t – you’re looking into it, but why wouldn’t you look into it in the same way for Trump?”

“We have evidence that the Biden family has been very cozy with people from the Chinese Communist Party. We have evidence that Hunter Biden was receiving payments that were that were linked directly to the Chinese Communist Party through those Chinese energy companies. We’re very concerned about all the money connected to Ukraine.”

“How is that connected to classified documents?” Brown again pushed.

READ MORE: Principal Ordered Librarian to Take Down Holocaust Survivor’s Famous Quote Just Days Before Holocaust Remembrance Day

“We don’t know we want to look. We see there’s one email that’s been identified that is suspicious that we want to look into. We want to make sure that there’s one email that was on Hunter Biden’s laptop wasn’t one of the classified documents. So I think there’s ample reason to be concerned.”

Comer revealed he has no evidence against President Biden or the Biden family.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) called it a “a politically-driven fishing expedition.”

“Republican hypocrisy on full display,” Gomez tweeted in response. “How can you launch an investigation without any evidence? This is a politically-driven fishing expedition — full stop. Lots of political stunts, not a lot of problem-solving.”

But, as several people noted, there is plenty of apparent evidence against Donald Trump.

HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte called Comer out: “Trump ran a bribery center five blocks from The White House,” he shouted, referring to the Trump D.C. Hotel, while tweeting in all-caps.

“Just a stunning dereliction of duty,” charged Robert Maguire, the research director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). “Trump brought in tens of millions of dollars as president from businesses he refused to divest, which were used by special interests and foreign governments to enrich him while currying favor with him and his administration.”

Telling Chairman Comer he is “happy to chat,” Mother Jones’ David Corn tweeted, “I know of 2 billion reasons Comer and the House Republicans should look at the Trump family regarding influence peddling and overseas dealings.”

Corn is likely referring to the $2 billion “investment” Trump son-in-law and senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner received.

“Six months after leaving the White House,” The New York Times reported last April, “Jared Kushner secured a $2 billion investment from a fund led by the Saudi crown prince, a close ally during the Trump administration, despite objections from the fund’s advisers about the merits of the deal.”

READ MORE: Criminal Charges Against Trump Possible as Manhattan DA Presents Grand Jury With Evidence in Hush Money Probe

MSNBC’s Steve Benen likened Comer’s interview to “watching a snake eat its own tail.” Benen also pointed to Comer’s second attempt, Monday morning, which did not go well.

Bloomberg’s Emily Wilkins, the Vice President of the National Press Club, apparently mistakenly, said to Comer: “So you are asking questions about Trump.”

He made clear he is not.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Principal Ordered Librarian to Take Down Holocaust Survivor’s Famous Quote Just Days Before Holocaust Remembrance Day

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A Pennsylvania principal drew criticism last week after telling a Bucks County school librarian to take down posters with a famous quote by Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winning human rights activist, professor, and Holocaust survivor, just days before Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Central Bucks School District reportedly has ties to an organization that appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Despite being under investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights after an ACLU complaint, the Central Bucks School District earlier this month voted 6-3 to pass “a contentious policy that bans teachers from engaging in ‘advocacy activities’ and displaying inclusive symbols like Pride flags in their classrooms,” WHYY reported earlier this month.

Citing that new rule, known as Policy 321, the school principal told Central Bucks High School South librarian Matt Pecic to take down four posters that displayed Wiesel’s famous quote from his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, WHYY reports.

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented,” Wiesel said.

READ MORE: $1 Billion Campaign From Group ‘Linked to Staunchly Conservative Causes’ Will Try to ‘Redeem Jesus’ Brand’ in Super Bowl Ads

The principal reportedly told Pecic if he did not comply human resources would have to get involved. Pecic, who has worked for the school district for three decades, met with the principal accompanied by his union representative.

“If I didn’t take it down, I knew there would be consequences that could impact me,” Pecic said. “It’s a horrible feeling. And you feel like you have to do something that you don’t agree with.”

Making the issue even more difficult, “Pecic’s ninth-grade daughter, a Central Bucks student at Holicong Middle School, originally emailed him the quote,” WHYY reports.

“This is where I get choked up,” Pecic said. “She said that ‘this quote reminds me of you.’”

Pecic describes himself as someone who often speaks up, “if I disagree with something, especially if I think it’s not for the benefit of students, I will say something.”

On Thursday, after uproar from the community, the district stepped in and allowed the posters with Wiesel’s quote to be put back up.

READ MORE: Trump-Aligned Christian Nationalist Group ‘Taps Into Unholy Well’ That Threatens Democracy

“We regret that the decision was made to remove it,” the district said in a statement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported,  “and in a manner that promotes not only the importance of the novel, but continued awareness and education surrounding the Holocaust and its National Day of Remembrance this coming Friday. The district apologizes for any hurt or concerns this has caused, particularly for those in the Jewish community.”

The Central Bucks School District hired a public relations firm, Devine + Partners, at the cost of $15,000 a month, “in an attempt to repair strained public relations and improve the school district’s image,” The Buck’s County Herald reported last summer.

Devine + Partners was hired to help after “a series of executive decisions made by the Central Bucks School District, most of which appear targeted towards the LGBTQ+ student body.”

“This includes the removal of Pride Flags in the classroom, under the justification that they were political symbols, and as such, not fit for the classroom. It also includes only allowing students to attend Human Growth and Development classes that matched with their assigned genders at birth, and pausing said classes shortly after they began, effectively outing these students to their teachers and peers.”

READ MORE: McCarthy Sat for an Interview With Trump Jr. – One Bragged About an ‘Illegal’ Act, One Wished His Dad Would ‘Show Some’ Love

WHYY is a separate report notes on Monday that the Central Bucks School District has ties to an anti-LGBTQ hate group, the Family Research Council.

The district is currently reviewing five books after rolling out a new, harsh policy “which aims to keep books that a yet-to-be-determined group might deem ‘inappropriate’ for unspecified ‘sexualized content’ out of school libraries,” WHYY reported in July.

“Recent updates to the policy were reviewed by a conservative Christian law firm, Independence Law Center, as first reported by the Bucks County Courier Times,” WHYY adds. “The Independence Law Center is the legal arm of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which is a statewide branch of the national organization Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ Christian nationalist group designated as an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Earlier this month NBC 10 Philadelphia reported on the passage of Policy 321 by the school board. Watch below or at this link.

 

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Criminal Charges Against Trump Possible as Manhattan DA Presents Grand Jury With Evidence in Hush Money Probe

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has empaneled a special grand jury and prosecutors are now presenting evidence against Donald Trump in their revived investigation into hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and one other woman during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Calling it “a dramatic escalation of an inquiry that once appeared to have reached a dead end,” The New York Times reports the Manhattan DA is “laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months,” and says it “a clear signal” that Bragg “is nearing a decision about whether to charge Mr. Trump.”

Among the witnesses testifying is David Pecker, “the former publisher of The National Enquirer, the tabloid that helped broker the deal” with Daniels.

READ MORE: $1 Billion Campaign From Group ‘Linked to Staunchly Conservative Causes’ Will Try to ‘Redeem Jesus’ Brand’ in Super Bowl Ads

Prosecutors have also contacted members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and have subpoenaed phone records and other documents that could provide evidence.

But The Times notes that a “conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory. The case would also rely on the testimony of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who made the payment and who himself pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money in 2018.”

Cohen broke with Trump and in 2016, “made the extraordinary admission in court on Tuesday that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to keep them from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump,” The Times reported in 2018.

The payments were made “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016, Cohen testified.

He was sentenced to 36 months in prison.

“Days before then-President Donald Trump left the White House, federal prosecutors in New York discussed whether to potentially charge Trump with campaign finance crimes once he was out of office,” CNN reported on Friday, citing a new book from CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig.

But they “decided to not seek an indictment of Trump for several reasons, Honig writes, including the political ramifications and the fact that Trump’s other scandals, such as efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and the January 6, 2021, insurrection, ‘made the campaign finance violations seem somehow trivial and outdated by comparison.'”

Award-winning journalist and author Brian Karem tweeted: “As someone who worked extensively with [Michael Cohen] on the book ‘Revenge’ I can say this: Facts show that the MOST dangerous criminal case against Donald Trump could be made by the Manhattan D.A.”

Read The Times’ full report here.

This article has been updated to include Brian Karem’s tweet.

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