EXCLUSIVE

ROBERT BURTON-BRADLEY

A ‘health report’ sent to NSW MPs warning of the dangers of gay sex has been labelled as misleading junk science by doctors and gay activists.

Homosexuality: the health risks was published by Christian group Family Voice Australia in their VoxBrief newsletter and claims gay sex is like “swimming in a sewer” and that vaginal sex is far safer.

Author Roslyn Phillips is a volunteer research officer with the group and claims in her report that anal sex leaves a person at far greater risk of disease and infection because of the presence of faecal matter and tearing of the rectum during anal penetration.

Professor Basil Donovan, a medical doctor and head of the Sexual Health Program at the Kirby Institute of UNSW, said this was patently untrue.

“They claim that anal sex is unhygienic because there are heaps of bugs in faeces and micro trauma, but that person obviously doesn’t know much about vaginal sex; there are more bugs in vaginas than anuses and there is always micro trauma, there’s no difference in that,” Donovan told the Star Observer.

“They’ve cherry picked what we call ‘B-grade literature’ and if you’ve got a prejudice you can always find b-grade literature to support it,”.

The article suggests lesbians are more likely to be obese, gay men are rarely monogamous, and that gay men were more likely to be anorexic and live far shorter lives than heterosexual men.

It also claimed there was no proof that discrimination against gay people caused mental health disorders or could led to suicide, which Donovan said was false.

“There’s plenty of evidence that if you marginalise people then of course you put pressure on their mental health,” said Donovan.

“There was even [links to] an article claiming there was twice as much domestic violence in the gay scene, that’s news to me.”

Co-convenor of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Justin Koonin, said the kind of denial shown in the publication was “dangerous”.

“The claim that discrimination and stigma do not cause mental health issues, including suicide, among the gay and lesbian community is particularly alarming,” he told the Star Observer.

“There is simply no evidence to support this view, and ample evidence that there is a direct causal link.

“Of the two references the author cites on this issue, one is from the author’s own newsletter, while the other {the Journal of Human Sexuality} is a publication of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. This has no scientific credibility whatsoever.”

When contacted by the Star Observer about criticism of the report, author Roslyn Phillips said it greatly surprised her.

“[It suggests} that you and others may not have read my paper and its references very carefully,” she said.

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