Date: Mon, 04 Oct 2010 13:47:32 -0400

From: M'Lynn Hartwell

Reply-To: Jim Carruthers <> CC:,"Commissioner - Mr. Mayor" <>, Commissioner Jim Carruthers <>,Commissioner Jody Bergman <>, Commissioner Mike Gillman <>, Commissioner Ralph Soffredine <>, HRC COMISSIONER Gardner <>, HRC COMMISSIONER Moore <>, HRC COMMISSIONER Hornberger <>, HRC COMMISSIONER Kelly <>, HRC COMMISSIONER McClellan <>, HRC COMMISSIONER Mentzer <>, HRC COMMISSIONER Perez <>, HRC COMMISSIONER Persky <>, HRC COMMISSIONER Wagner <>, HRC Human Resources Specialist Springer <>, Chris Bzdock <>

Subject: Letter from Mike Mulcahy

It has come to my attention that Mr. Mulcahy continues to cite the study below, which also continues to be widely published by the American Family Association and the Family Research Council

Modelling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men

In all fairness to the readers, and perhaps the listeners tongiht .. Here is the response from the authors of that study:

Gay life expectancy revisited
by Robert S Hogg, Steffanie A Strathdee, Kevin JP Craib, Michael V O'shaughnessy, Julio Montaner and Martin T Schechter

    Over the past few months we have learnt of a number of reports regarding a paper we published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the gay and bisexual life expectancy in Vancouver in the late 1980s and early 1990s. From these reports it appears that our research is being used by select groups in US and Finland to suggest that gay and bisexual men live an unhealthy lifestyle that is destructive to themselves and to others. These homophobic groups appear more interested in restricting the human rights of gay and bisexuals rather than promoting their health and well being.

    The aim of our research was never to spread more homophobia, but to demonstrate to an international audience how the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men can be estimated from limited vital statistics data. In our paper, we demonstrated that in a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 21 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality continued, we estimated that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years would not reach their 65th birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre were experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by men in Canada in the year 1871. 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. As we have previously reported there has been a threefold decrease in mortality in Vancouver as well as in other parts of British Columbia.

    It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive measure. Death is a product of the way a person lives and what physical and environmental hazards he or she faces everyday. It cannot be attributed solely to their sexual orientation or any other ethnic or social factor. If estimates of an individual gay and bisexual man's risk of death is truly needed for legal or other purposes, then people making these estimates should use the same actuarial tables that are used for all other males in that population. Gay and bisexual men are included in the construction of official population-based tables and therefore these tables for all males are the appropriate ones to be used.

    In summary, the aim of our work was to assist health planners with the means of estimating the impact of HIV infection on groups, like gay and bisexual men, not necessarily captured by vital statistics data and not to hinder the rights of these groups worldwide. Overall, we do not condone the use of our research in a manner that restricts the political or human rights of gay and bisexual men or any other group. 

Signed [Robert S Hogg, Steffanie A Strathdee, Kevin JP Craib, Michael V O'shaughnessy, Julio Montaner and Martin T Schechter]

The group of speakers he was involved with at the previous commission meeting also quoted from the Family Research Council (Paul Cameron). You may wish to know some additional information about the quality of his research and character as well:

Paul Cameron holds the dubious distinction of having been castigated by the major professional societies of two different disciplines, in two different countries:

Cameron’s “Research” Findings

As is generally true of Cameron’s statements about homosexuality and sexual minorities are so full of falsehoods, junk science, and outright bigotry that a point-by-point rebuttal would be a Herculean task — not unlike cleaning out the Augean stables. Because many of those comments echo “findings” he reported in a 2005 paper published in Psychological Reports, I’ll note a few problems with that paper.

[Note: Psychological Reports is Cameron’s main publishing outlet. It is a low-prestige academic journal that is distinguished from most other journals in the behavioral and social sciences by its policy of charging authors to publish in it.]