Austin Ruse

Friday, in Crisis Magazine, Austin Ruse writes “Their Sexual Proclivities Are Killing Them.” Mr. Ruse is not advocating the use of condoms and PrEP. Nor does he suggest abstinence. No, Ruse, through this mean spirited polemic, wants people to know that gay men are irresponsible sluts. Ruse’s primary cause is to denigrate gay people. Ruse is also the leader of an anti-gay hate group, C-Fam. As a Defender of the Faith Mr. Ruse does not approve of gay people. I suspect that he is frustrated that we neither seek nor require his approval.

Ruse writes:

MSM [men who have sex with men] will continue to insist they are just like everyone else. They will insist they have been with their current lover for ten, twenty, thirty years. But even MSM are beginning to admit that this, too, is nothing more than propaganda. Their sally into marital bliss is a sham and not much more. Some call it the “dirty little secret” of the MSM world, that they want the white picket fence and marital fidelity when what they really want are open relationships where they can have multiple partners often quite anonymously.

This call to stereotype is based on the idea that gay men are less faithful to their spouses or long-term partners than heterosexual men. Usually this is “based” on some statement from someone who does not speak for the gay community. There is no evidence in support of this claim. Yes, I have read the article in Slate and the gay relationships study (which is based on data acquired between 2005 and 2007). They lack an inquiry into comparative heterosexual monogamy. And, as shocking is it may be, Dan Savage (who I like very much) does not speak for the gay community.

Ruse is in no position to appreciate or expound upon the desires of gay men with respect to their relationships. Shere Hite’s research demonstrated that about 70% of men and women cheat on their spouses. A more recent (1999) study put the rate at about 68% for women. A 2004 study (which was neither peer reviewed nor published in an academic journal) by the University of Chicago put the rate at about 25%. People cheat and the only difference between liberals and social conservatives seems to be the level of secrecy.

Later on Ruse writes:

Independent researcher Dale O’Leary published a hair-raising paper in The Linacre Quarterly two years ago called “The Syndemic of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) among MSM” that tells a plethora of uncomfortable truths about MSM.

Ruse goes on about this paper for many paragraphs without mentioning the fact that the Linacre Quarterly is a publication of the Catholic Medical Association. CMA is not a mainstream professional organization. For example, CMA is responsible for this bit of crackpottery which asserts that “same-sex attraction” in children can be prevented and altered through psychotherapy. The potential for disinterested peer review of articles in Linacre is nil.

I am skipping over a great deal of material, much of which is just indecent. This rather verbose polemic eventually concludes with:

No matter what you hear from any MSM you may know, no matter what you hear on TV about how normal they are, no matter what propaganda is rolled out on television about how picket-fence they are, those are simply lies to lull you into a position of acceptance and even celebration.

The awful fact is there are no sunny “gay” uplands. There is only sadness, loneliness, disease, and death.

I confess that there are many things about gay culture that I do not understand. I was in a 30+ year monogamous relationship. I have never had an STD. I do know that AIDS is not a gay disease. Worldwide only a very small percentage of people with HIV are gay men. In the United States that is not the case. AIDS was introduced into the population through gay men. Have some gay men been irresponsible? Sure. Has oppression affected disclosure, HIV testing and behavior? Most definitely. Careers were ruined when it became known that people were HIV positive because of the assumption that they were gay.

Properly used, the failure rate of condoms is about 2%. Add PrEP to the equation and HIV becomes virtually 100% preventable. 

Mr. Ruse believes that homosexuality is a behavior and a choice. Mr. Ruse is also an ultra-conservative Catholic. It is fair to say that his religious beliefs are a large factor in shaping his understanding of sexuality. Ruse’s solution to AIDS is a simplistic “don’t be homosexual.”

The simple fact is that openly gay kids can look forward to satisfying careers, make a contribution to their community, fall in love, marry, raise children and live happy and fulfilled lives. They may encounter a Ruse or two in their journey through life but they are only as relevant as we allow them to be. These are religious zealots who seek to conform public policy to scripture. Fortunately they have failed. They failed because, on the whole, Americans are long on common sense and fairness. We really are decent people. Those sensible and fair people vastly outnumber the religious fundamentalists. Gay people are pretty decent too.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.