Encourage monogamous lifestyle for all

Friday, April 7, 2006

Dr. Ruth Jacobs persists in her anti-gay crusade by throwing around statistics about ‘‘the gay lifestyle” (‘‘Medical data shows that gay lifestyle is risky,” March 31 letter). Granted, as an infectious diseases specialist she probably sees many infectious diseases, among which are sexually transmitted diseases.

But just as most heterosexuals are not prostitutes and are not living ‘‘the straight lifestyle,” most gay men and women are not living a special lifestyle either. Just ask Andrew Sullivan of Time magazine and The New Republic, who documented this point. That’s an old canard from the Christian extremists, formerly led by indicted Rep. Tom Delay, who was recently compared to Jesus by one of his buddies, Rick Scarborough.

Promiscuity leads to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. Anal sex is associated with a higher incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Focusing on one population is not only misleading but it’s dangerous, because most anal sex is engaged in by heterosexual couples who, if they are acolytes of Dr. Jacobs, will assume that they have no risk from that behavior because they are not gay. That’s absurd.

We should be encouraging a monogamous lifestyle for all our children, gay and straight. But that would mean supporting marriage equality, which is anathema to Dr. Jacobs. So religious extremists continue to twist themselves into knots, promote pseudoscience, and cause more harm to the public health.

Dana Beyer, M.D., Chevy Chase

The writer is on the board of Equality Maryland, an advocacy organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Marylanders.