A Tennessee lawmaker has responded to a constituent’s letter regarding anti-GLBT legislation by saying that a gay person is not a “mentally healthy adult human being.” Kristin M. Johnson, a student in Middle Tennessee State University’s Political Science/Pre-Law department, wrote a letter to Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) expressing her opinions on legislation such as the “License to Bully” bill and the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Tennessee.
“The threat to gay or lesbian children (yes, they do exist) or even to children rumored to be gay is quite overt,” Johnson says in her letter. “There is no mistaking that the purpose and language of this bill are to justify and defend anti-gay bullying, which has already caused too much pain and driven too many children to take their own lives.”
In his lengthy, statistic-laden response, Ragan argues that homosexuality is a choice, and that anti-GLBT legislation is not to blame for the recent spate of teen suicides in Tennessee.
Portions of representative John Ragan’s response are reproduced below:
On homosexuality as a choice:
Logically, homosexuality is defined by behavior, i.e., unless one engages in sexual activity with a member of the same sex, he, or she, is not a homosexual. (The term sexual orientation is a description of feelings.) Feelings do not control the behavior of a mentally healthy adult human being.
On gay teens committing suicide:
According to the FDA: “[homosexual practitioner or ‘gay’ men] have an HIV prevalence 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first-time blood donors and 8,000 times higher than repeat blood donors.”
The FDA further warns: “[homosexual practitioner or ‘gay’ men] also have an increased risk of having other infections that can be transmitted to others by blood transfusion. For example, infection with the Hepatitis B virus is about 5-6 times more common, and Hepatitis C virus infections are about 2 times more common in “homosexual practitioners than in the general population.”
A 2007 CDC study found that, although “gay” men comprise only 1-to-2 percent of the population, they account for an epidemic 64 percent of all syphilis cases. All of these statistics are facts.
A resulting critical thought question might be: do homosexual practitioners disproportionately contract AIDS, hepatitis, or syphilis through their own proclivities and behavior or in “reaction” to opinions of that behavior by others or someone supporting a bill?
On homosexuality as sinful behavior:
As a fitting critical thought question, it could be asked if other identifiable groups that engage in behavior of which “others may disapprove” commit suicide at similar rates? In other words, do prostitutes, pedophiles, polygamists, murders, etc., commit suicide at the same, or similar, rates to homosexual behavior practitioners? If similar rates were hypothetically so (not proven to be the case), do these behavior practitioners commit suicide at a higher rate because someone may have disapproved of their behavior or for other reasons? Should society avoid disapproving of pedophilia, prostitution, murder, etc., because practitioners of those behaviors may commit suicide at higher rates?