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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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OPINION

‘Lying’: Johnson Slammed for Latest Claim on Trump Respecting Peaceful Transfer of Power

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on Wednesday celebrated Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with House and Senate Republicans, barely blocks away from where the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and on democracy itself took place. Many hold the-then president and his “Big Lie” responsible for the insurrection, and he has been indicted on charges related to it.

Johnson was asked if the ex-president is committed to and respects the peaceful transfer of power.

The Speaker’s response has angered some critics.

Johnson has a tenuous grip on his gavel and on the House GOP majority. He has already faced one vote to remove him, and survived it thanks to House Democrats. To shore up his power, Johnson has traveled to Mar-a-Lago to appear with the indicted and now criminally-convicted ex-president, and has promoted several pieces of legislation critics say only serve as messaging vehicles to please Trump.

Pointing out that this will be he first time Trump has met with both House and Senate Republicans in D.C. since the January 6 insurrection, a reporter Wednesday morning asked the Speaker, “are you committed or have you spoken about basically not doing anything like that again and committing to respecting the American tradition of peaceful transfer?”

READ MORE: Buttigieg on Martha-Ann Alito: Flags Symbolizing Love vs. Insurrection Are Different

Johnson, whose emotions are often on view, repeatedly frown and looked irritated as the reporter spoke.

“Of course he respects that,” Johnson said frustratedly. “And we all do and we’ve all talked about it ad nauseam.”

“We’re excited to welcome President Trump back and he’ll be meeting with the Senate Republicans of course, after he has a breakfast with us. And there’s high anticipation here and great excitement.”

Ahead of Johnson’s remarks CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane had posted where Thursday’s meeting with House Republicans and Donald Trump will take place.

If there were no question about Donald Trump’s commitment to the peaceful transfer of power – and there is given to this day he calls insurrectionists, “warriors,” “victims,” “hostages,” and “patriots” – the Speaker would not need to be discussing it “ad nauseam.”

As a backbencher before being elevated to Speaker, Johnson was not just a little-known congressman, he was an architect of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Johnson spread election fraud conspiracy theories and lies, as a CNN investigation published in April confirmed.

READ MORE: Speaker Johnson on Why He Thinks Hunter Biden’s Conviction Is Valid but Donald Trump’s Is Not

Also back in April, Johnson tried to rewrite history, whitewashing the role of insurrectionists and those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, saying some of them were “innocent, you know, people who were there and just happened to be walking through the building.”

Highlighting those remarks, The New Republic reported, “the Republican leader seemed to suggest that the 2,000 people who charged the halls, destroyed federal property, and interrupted the peaceful presidential transfer of power—1,265 of whom have been charged by federal authorities—were actually mere innocent bystanders.”

Critics were quick to call out Johnson’s remarks.

Veteran journalist John Harwood responded, saying, “by lying here, Johnson shows he understands that what he and House GOP helped Trump do in Jan 2021, and what Trump intends to do again if necessary, is wrong.”

He added, “if he weren’t ashamed of it, he’d tell the truth.”

Award-winning CNBC/NBC News reporter Carl Quintanilla responded to Johnson’s remarks with a 4-second clip of a someone who appears to be attacking law enforcement with the American flag on January 6.

“Bullshit,” declared former Tea Party Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh. “Trump is humanly incapable of accepting an election loss. He will NEVER respect the peaceful transfer of power. And Mike Johnson knows that.”

The Biden campaign reposted the video and remarked, “(No, he clearly does not).”

Media critic and former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob responded with: “Mike Johnson is a lying traitor.”

Mother Jones D.C. bureau chief David Corn wrote: “Given that Trump has promised to pardon the 1/6 insurrectionist rioters who attacked the Capitol, he’s not showing much respect for the rule of law or the peaceful transfer of power. Johnson is lying for Trump. That’s not very Biblical.”

Watch Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

See the video and social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: Many Republicans Don’t Believe Trump Was Indicted or Aren’t Sure – But Say He’s Not Guilty

 

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Buttigieg on Martha-Ann Alito: Flags Symbolizing Love vs. Insurrection Are Different

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg says he hopes Americans can see the difference between an LGBTQ Pride flag representing love, like the one Martha-Ann Alito lamented she has to look at daily, and flags that symbolize the January 6, 2021 insurrection, two of which she flew at the homes she and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito live in.

“I’m often reminded that the most important thing in my life, which is my marriage, and my family and the two beautiful children that my husband Chasten and I are raising that that marriage only exists by the grace of the single vote on the United States Supreme Court,” said Secretary Buttigieg, responding to a question during a CNN interview Wednesday morning about secretly-recorded remarks Mrs. Alito made. “That expanded our rights and freedoms back in 2015 and made it possible for somebody like me to get married.”

“And, you know, Supreme Court justices have an unbelievable amount of power and, and by the nature in the structure, the Supreme Court, there’s no supervision over that power. They are entrusted with it literally for as long as they live. And part of that trust is we expect them to enter into those enormously consequential decisions that that shape our everyday lives with a sense of fairness,” Buttigieg continued, appearing to acknowledge the tremendous drop in perceived credibility the Supreme Court has suffered in recent years. Last summer Pew Research reported the court’s favorability rating had dropped to a “historic low.”

RELATED: Secret Audio of Justice Alito’s Wife Exposes His Plans and Her ‘Bitterness’: Critics

“I also hope that most Americans can understand the difference between a flag that symbolizes you know, love and acceptance and signals to people who have sometimes feared for their safety that they’re going to be okay. And insurrectionists symbology, I’ll just leave it at that.”

CNN’s Berman played audio of Martha-Ann Alito before asking the Secretary to offer his remarks.

“I want a Sacred Heart of Jesus flag, because I have to look across the lagoon at the pride flag for the next month,” Mrs. Alito can be heard saying in the secretly-recorded audio. “And he’s like, ‘Oh, please don’t put up a flag.’ I said, ‘I won’t do it. Because I’m deferring to you but when you are free of this nonsense, I’m putting it up and I’m gonna send them a message every day.’ ”

Although CNN did not play the full clip of Mrs. Alito’s remarks, she continued, saying, “I’ll be changing the flags. They’ll be all kinds. I made a flag in my head. This is how I satisfy myself. I made a flag. It’s white and has yellow and orange flames around it. And in the middle is the word ‘vergogna.’ ‘Vergogna’ in Italian means shame — vergogna. V-E-R-G-O-G-N-A. Vergogna.”

She also said, “I’m German. I’m from Germany. My heritage is German. You come after me, I’m gonna give it back to you. And there will be a way — it doesn’t have to be now — but there will be a way they will know. Don’t worry about it. God — you read the Bible. Psalm 27 is my psalm. Mine. Psalm 27, the Lord is my God and my rock. Of whom shall I be afraid? Nobody.”

Watch Buttigieg’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump Insists No Mandatory Military Draft Advisers Have Been Planning

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Speaker Johnson on Why He Thinks Hunter Biden’s Conviction Is Valid but Donald Trump’s Is Not

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, who could gain tremendous power if Donald Trump is elected president in November, explained to reporters his belief that Tuesday’s jury conviction of Hunter Biden on three federal felony gun charges was absolutely legitimate while Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 state felony charges was not.

“Every case is different,” Johnson told CNN’s Manu Raju (video below) when asked if “the president’s son being convicted on three counts” undercuts the Republican Speaker’s claims of a “two tier system of justice.”

Johnson added, “clearly the evidence was overwhelming” in the Hunter Biden prosecution, one which some legal experts said should not have been brought and at least one member of the jury who spoke to CNN said was a waste of the taxpayers’ dime.

“I don’t think that’s the case in the Trump trials, and all the charges that have been brought” against Trump “have been obviously brought for political purposes. Hunter Biden is a separate instance.”

READ MORE: Secret Audio of Justice Alito’s Wife Exposes His Plans and Her ‘Bitterness’: Critics

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) issued a strong response to the Johnson’s claims.

“We should be very very worried that Republicans are so brazen in their belief that convictions of Democrats are fine but convictions of Republicans are illegitimate. This is a political party TELLING US OUT LOUD that they plan to use the justice system to persecute opponents.”

Speaker Johnson and Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and members from both their GOP conferences will be meeting with Donald Trump on Thursday, reportedly to create a game plan to pass major right-wing legislation if the convicted ex-president wins back the White House on November, NBC News reports.

Watch below or at this link.

 

 

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