Econ Prof. lies about gays dying sooner even though paper he cites refutes his claim

September 13, 2014

AIDS, Gay Rights, Sexual Orientation

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“According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, life expectancy at age 20 for homosexual and bisexual men is eight to 20 years less than for all men. That’s a lifestyle shortening of life expectancy greater than obesity and tobacco use. Yet one never hears of insurance companies advertising lower premiums for heterosexual men.”

– Economics Professor at George Mason University in Virginia and Libertarian Walter Williams in a September 2014 column attempting to perpetuate the myth that gays have shorter lifespans than straight people.

The column is posted under the category, “Things I don’t understand,” which is very fitting, considering that Williams does not understand HIV/AIDS or homosexuality.

As I said before in my post about the Tennessee State Senator, his claim is false.

The myth that gay men have shorter lifespans originated from a debunked study by Paul Cameron.

The journal that he cites did a study when HIV/AIDS rates were high in the gay community, and says the following:

“In our paper, we demonstrated that in a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 21 years less than for all men.”

However, in the same paragraph it also says:

“In contrast, if we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men would be greatly improved. Deaths from HIV infection have declined dramatically in this population since 1996.”

Basically, Williams is talking about people with HIV/AIDS dying sooner than people without HIV/AIDS. The study was done at a time when HIV/AIDS rates were much higher in the gay community because the disease was not well understood and efforts to prevent its spread were not yet well developed. They did not show that being gay makes you die sooner.

Let’s stop spreading lies and have a smart discussion about the problem.

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About jslachman381

I'm a Yale graduate who majored in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health.

View all posts by jslachman381

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  1. An objective look at Rick Perry’s scientific claims about homosexuality | "I'm not a scientist, but…" - September 30, 2014

    […] with homosexuality result from prejudice against homosexuality, not homosexuality itself. (See my previous post debunking the myth about gays have shorter […]

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