Only the gay die young? Part 3 – Kirk Cameron responds to Morten Frisch

In an email received Friday, Paul Cameron’s son, Kirk, responded to the post here on this blog from Danish epidemiologist Morten Frisch. It is a 4 page response in a Word document which is why I will link to it instead of reproduce it in this post. Thanks to Dr. Cameron for permission to post.

Read the response here: Kirk Cameron’s letter of response.

I probably won’t have much to say about this until next week but I hope to comment in more depth then.


14 thoughts on “Only the gay die young? Part 3 – Kirk Cameron responds to Morten Frisch”

  1. Nick C,

    “The answer to health problems in the African American community is to help people learn healthy behaviors, which starts with encouraging people to accept who they are with pride and reject a negative self-image fostered by society. Why should the solution to health problems within the gay community be any different?”

    My sense is that Cameron wants the “shorter lifespan” issue to be inherently associated with gay identity and sexual behavior. He lists these other issues as contributing to shorter lifespans, but people other than gays and lesbians engage in them. So the argument is self-evident for longer lifespans for people who decide not to smoke, drive recklessly, drink and drug makes sense regardless of sexual identity…

    Sexual behavior is a unique component that can be farreted out as well, separating and examining various sexual behaviors for heterosexuals and homosexuals which are safe or high risk; I believe sexual promiscuity for heterosexual women poses higher health risks than for heterosexual men. And so on.

    If Cameron makes the argument as I describe…he weakens the correlation of “shorter lifespan” with gay identity and undermines his argument. He needs to group all those behaviors under a gay identity (and hide the fact that this is the case) in order to persuade his supporters that gay identity is inherently “against nature.”

    Still thinking about your natural law argument, the Catholic Church and gay identity.

  2. I couldn’t find the Washington Post obits for May 2003. But I suspect it would be similar to the one I found on an entertainment sight. Would this obituary be place in the “gay” or “straight” category?:

    JOHN CARLYLE Died May 27, 2003

    Stage, film and TV actor John Carlyle died at age 72. Mr. Carlyle made his TV debut at age 20 in a “Hallmark Hall of Fame” production. Mr. Carlyle’s film credits include Ken Russell’s “Whore,” the TV mini-series “Rich Man, Poor Man,” “The Spirit of St. Louis,” “The Monster that Challenged the World” and a scene that was cut from the Judy Garland/James Mason version of “A Star is Born.”

    From this limited info one might say “straight”, but Carlyle’s very amusing autobiography Under the Rainbow tells quite another tale.

  3. I find the obituary comment a little creepy. I don’t particularly expect that when writing obituaries for my family members (for any publication), that I’ll include descriptions of their bedroom behavior.

    Just imagine:

    “Grandma Mary died after 92 happy years. Beloved mother and grandmother to many, she obviously enjoyed sex because she had nine kids.”

    “Cousin Jim passed away tragically this week. He is survived by three children by two different wives, and also mourned by his mistress of seven years.”

    “Uncle Rich died today at 79. We’re pretty sure he was gay because he never got married.”


    Yet Cameron expects that every single secret of somebody’s life will be revealed upon their death — not only revealed, but published in an obituary? Obits are supposed to be celebrations of life and accomplishments, not gossip columns where you see what skeletons can be dragged from the closet (no pun intended).

  4. NickC,

    If I can add to your list of contributing factors, there is still the problem with health care providers and their ignorance/presumptions about care to same-sex attracted persons.

    There’s something about the doctor/patient relationship that can make it difficult to be fully candid. I’m not a very closeted person, but I found it uncomfortable to correct my doctor’s assumption that I was straight. And my doctor practices at Cedars Sinai across the street from West Hollywood.

  5. Many minority populations in this country have high rates of bad health and premature death. I did a quick google search on the question: Do African Americans die earlier than whites? Got over a million hits, with the first in the list an article from a CDC publications, nothing that “For many health conditions, non-Hispanic blacks bear a disproportionate burden of disease, injury, death, and disability.”

    Does this mean that African Americans should all seek to become ex-blacks? Do you help young black people escape unhealthy patterns by heaping them with guilt and shame for their very race?

    Obviously, the health problems of the African American community are not inherent, inescapable consequences of having a certain color of skin. The CDC article notes that “Multiple factors contribute to racial/ethnic health disparities, including socioeconomic factors (e.g., education, employment, and income), lifestyle behaviors (e.g., physical activity and alcohol intake), social environment (e.g., educational and economic opportunities, racial/ethnic discrimination, and neighborhood and work conditions), and access to preventive health-care services (e.g., cancer screening and vaccination).

    To whatever degree it may be true that gay people suffer a higher rate of health problems than the general population, we can also find a complex set of contributing factors. These include lifestyle behaviors that are acknowledged problems within segments of the gay community (smoking, alcohol, drug use, promiscuity). But they also include the social barriers gay people face–discrimination, rejection by family and church, legal impediments to forming families, and marginalization of our long term relationships.

    The answer to health problems in the African American community is to help people learn healthy behaviors, which starts with encouraging people to accept who they are with pride and reject a negative self-image fostered by society. Why should the solution to health problems within the gay community be any different?

  6. Further, careful examination of our work and of the charges against us reveals that — while no one is perfect, including us — we have performed our work with scientific integrity and honesty.

    I needed a good chuckle today

  7. However it may play out, what scientist/mathematician there is in me seems to think that one cannot make heads or tails out of any data concerning a societal practice when that practice (Danish registered partnerships) has only been measured for 6 or 7 years. It seems to me that such a study would only determine the immediate “weather” while it is the overall “climate” of the issue one wishes to determine.

    Today, now in this generation, HIV/AIDS has been a factor in the “weather” of our lives, and it will show up statistically. My point is this, marriage for gays and lesbians, registered partnerships, or what have you, all are new tools whose real effect upon society cannot yet be judged. That may take a generation, or more, before determination may be made – before the climate may be discerned.

  8. “Citations might help these statements be meaningful arguments of interest.”

    I agree, but with this duo I’m not sure there is much to redeem them. We will have to leave it to credible researchers to do the studies. Anyone who uses information gleaned from any Cameron work does so at their own peril. That fact that you see Cameron study artifacts all over is a sad commentary, however.

  9. From Cameron’s letter:

    “Can a subpopulation that more frequently engages in tobacco use, illegal drug abuse (including intravenously), more frequently consumes excessive alcohol, is more frequently criminal, is more frequently infected with STDs, tests more frequently as mentally disturbed, commits suicide and gets into auto and other accidents more frequently, more frequently drives under the influence, etc. be reasonably expected to live as long as either the general population or the married? Is this the “pure nonsense” to which Dr. Frisch is referring? The question is not whether the homosexual subpopulation will live as long as the married, but how many years fewer. Only time and further empirical tests will tell whether the differential will average 24 years, 20 years, or something else.”

    Citations might help these statements be meaningful arguments of interest.

  10. Lynn David,

    In the Camerons’ original paper, they cited custom datasets that they purchased from Statistics Denmark. I have no idea what that data contains or how it was constructed.

  11. Kirk Cameron wrote:

    Further, in that study, analysis of the patterns of missing answers among respondents showed that those with homosexual interests were more, and not less, likely than those with only heterosexual interests to respond to questions about sexually non-conforming behavior.

    Duh…. it is more likely to get answer about “non-conforming behavior” when your very definition of “non-conforming behavior” is requisitely implied by the homosexuality for which you are looking. He can’t even understand the bias he writes into a survey.

    I’ve been looking through the StatsDenmark website (yep, I registered) and I can’t find a statistic that would deal with the death of those registered partners enumerated in folder “IREG1” – where the information on registered partnerships exist. And those numbers are heavily skewed towards the younger gay and lesbian. i’ve searched the population and social conditions/health statistics and I can’t find something that says such and such were registered partners and are now dead.

  12. Kirk is a chip off the old block, strawman arguments and all. I’ve tried several stabs at a comment this afternoon, but frankly I hardly know where to begin…

  13. I think Kirk Cameron’s objections about the age of the people who enter into a registered partnership can be said to have been adequately addressed over at Box Turtle Bulletin. It’s of course nonsense.

    Another point that has been ignored, is that inheritage is easier when you’re in a registered partnership, especially if there are children involved, so there would be an incitament for people to get married fast, if one part of the couple is fatally ill. This would even out over time, but in the early years it would be a considable factor when looking at the longlivity of people in registered partnerships.

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