Thursday, July 26, 2012

Institutional homophobia

Posted July 25th, 2012

When we speak about institutional homophobia in Belize, it normally not understood. Its a concept the represents a structural problem in Belize that impacts rights advancement. The National AIDS Commission was asked, for example, to vote on the United Belize Advocacy Movement request to issue a statement of support, but the vote came back  9 for, 2 abstentions and 8 no's .The resistance can be argued as both rational and passive agressive response to not wanting to rock the boat in the system. Yet, the Universal Periodic Review of 2009 speaks to the NAC as an interim Human Rights Institution. Does this mean it fell short of its role? I will leave the reader to draw its own conclusion.

One can argue that because of the section 53 challenge, CEO in Ministries  would not be able to support any public statements to support the human rights needs of the men who have sex with men population. but, what have they been doing the last 10 years? When a reference is made to the Universal Periodic Review  addendum of 2009  that government of Belize believes it does not have a political mandate, and L.G.B.T citizens are ignored. Despite the fact, that the fundmental rights in the constitution exists and acknowledge ment of the human rights of all its citizens  is known, it seems lost on policymakers that its the constitution that guides a democracy, not religion or vote. The response to recommendation nine below sums up government position about needing a  mandate.

 Recommendation 9:
To take appropriate legislative measures in order to ensure that no person can be subject to criminal sanctions for same-sex activitybetween consenting adults

Government Reponse:9. The Government of Belize has considered this recommendation and is of the view that any legislative changes in this regard would require extensive national consultations given the nature of the issues involved. The Government does not yet have a mandate to effect these changes

It amazes me that the idea of protecting a minority basic rights requires a political mandate. It amazes me that international instruments signed by government has insufficiently translation into the everyday lives of Belizeans. Here is a young man speaking up for the first time, who addresses his need for dignity and right when he is experiencing homophobia on the ground. What do we tell the next generation of L.G.B.T persons in Belize?
While they access the education system, pay taxes, run businesses and contribute to the overall development of the country.

As we have learned with our national dialogue, L.G.B.T issues impacts the family relationship. It is a mothers issues, it is a fathers issue. Mothers are affected by street violence whether it is a son or daughter killed on the street. It is time we address the issue of the model anti-discrimination legislation from CARICOM in a way that impacts citizens lives now, not in a decade. The Universal Declaration of human rights speaks to the dignity and rights of all, not just some. Our work we believe has a multiplier effect and demands, not asks that rights-enforcement be addressed properly once and for all. And so we agitate for action and recognition. the gathering we had for the dialogue on July, 24th, 2012 is just a start of what we hope is a longer strategy for legislative reform. As a point, we present the star of our work a mother, expressing support for her son below:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LGBT, Gender-base Violence National Dialogue

Dialog On LBGT Issues
Tue, July 24, 2012

The public awareness of the issues related to gay men has probably never been so prominent in the national discourse. But, UNIBAM wants to push it further along and it joined with other advocate organizations in a Dialog to increase the visibility of homophobia, discrimination and understanding of gender based violence while also framing a background document for the development of an Anti-Discrimination Legislation. Caleb Orozco told us more:
Caleb Orozco
"What's happening here is that we are looking at the issue of gender base violence, homophobia and LBGT human rights. Because we recognize that it's little discuss, little understood and so our work around this issue is about understanding and consciousness that it does exist and there is a link between the 3 issues."
"Whether its sexual abuse, physical abuse and discrimination - all those persons who experience it belong to a family and that family has a mother and a father. When you look at the issues from a family perspective it's a son or a daughter being impacted. More precisely discrimination in our mind happens differently for males versus females. For males the issue might be direct insults, threats and ridicule. For women in the LBGT community it might be intense sexual harassment and mixed around the idea that if they have sex with a straight man their lesbianism would go away. These issues which not only impact psyche of the individual but it impact psyche of the family because then families are between whether to support a love one or to argue against the individual they claim they love, life and forgetting the love and the dignity of that person is the most important thing of all."
"We are hoping to start a conversation not only with our supporters but we start a conversation with an organization about the intensity of their position. At the end of the day I believe religion speaks the love but that love somehow has been lost along the way with the intensification of homophobic remarks that are being made using the bible. Beyond that we are hoping that people recognize that discrimination isn't just a LBGT issue, it's a family issue, it's an everyone issue. We experience it different and what we are looking is to broaden that understanding and seeks the legislative framework necessary for that recognition to occur."
Over 40 persons attended this morning's seminar that was held at the Radisson.

 Jul 24, 2012

Channel 5 Coverage

UNIBAM discusses sexual orientation; is it a choice?

The President of United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), Caleb Orosco, is taking the government to court, challenging Section Fifty-Three of the criminal code on the grounds that it criminalizes homosexuality. This morning the organization held a meeting at the Radisson to dialogue with various human rights agencies. It discussed a myriad of issues including sexual discrimination and ways to increase the understanding of gender based violence, homophobia and LGBT human rights issues. According to Orosco, the LGBT movement is raising consciousness on sexual orientation across demographic lines. Clinical Psychologist, Asa DeMatteo, presented scientific findings on the origins of sexual orientation and Orosco says it is not a choice.

Caleb Orosco, President, UNIBAM
Caleb Orosco
“I am proud to say that the one thousand or so people that we have in our close group in Belize for the Constitutional Challenge have not only raised awareness, but they have engaged the Christian right and their position. I am most proud of the fact that we’ve taken sexuality out of the closet—and not just LGBT sexuality; I mean sexuality as a whole. Nobody in this country can ever say that they do not or have not had a discussion on sexual orientation. Nobody can ever say that they don’t know what discrimination is like or they cannot say that there isn’t a face to the issue of discrimination. We had invited a clinical psychologist to try to build new research around epigenics and basically it is scientific research that talks about the origins of sexual orientation. For us, his presence here has value because he brings not only a professional perspective but a scientific background in explaining what things are. His value is also to break up some of the myths that have been projected out there in the media; that sexual orientation is a choice, that sexual orientation you can pray the gay away. These are fundamental issues which have hardly begun to be address within the media or the education system. So his presence is about increasing the awareness of the other scientific research.”

According to Orosco, no individual should endure abuse because of their sexual orientation. According to Clinical Psychologist, Asa DeMatteo, the court challenge is the beginning of a long process which will inevitably lead to the tolerance of differences on sexual orientations.

Asa DeMatteo
Asa DeMatteo, Clinical Psychologist
“Gay people say I’m a citizen, I pay my taxes, I live a life in this country or my country and I want to be equal under the law.  Belize is like the United States in the 1970s or England in the 1980s; this is moved faster in some places than others. A lot of people, particularly here in Belize talk about it as a gay agenda or as a conspiracy. I don’t know how you call it a conspiracy for someone to say I wanna be equal. I want to be treated equally under the law.  The biggest opposition—but not all the opposition—comes from the religious community and that’s just a segment of the religious community. I don’t think they should be asked to accept it. What they have to be asked to do is keep the laws out of discrimination. No church has to accept that homosexuality is not a sin; no church has to accept gay marriage or anything like that. Religion like sexuality is a private matter that each person gets to choose. And so what they need to do is tolerate differences. This issue is for me and for gay people; this is our life. This is our everyday twenty-four seven life that we have to cope with; this insult kind of insult to our dignity and our civil rights. For the church it is a side issue. It’s an important to them, but it is not central. Central to their belief is their love of god and their adherence to biblical principles; that is their central focus. And why they are going to accept it is that they are just gonna give up. That’s what happen all across the world. They’re gonna say all right already we understand the equality and how that happens so far—and I can only look at history to predict how it happens in the future—is that gay people say I’m gay. Caleb Orosco started this thing but that’s not gonna change. What’s gonna change people is when they find out; oh my butcher is gay; oh my nephew is gay; oh my son is gay; my daughter is in love with a woman. When you know that someone is gay, you can’t hate them anymore because they’re your community; they’re your brothers and sisters and friends and neighbors and business men and stuff like that. And that’s how it happens all over the world. And Belize isn’t different from the rest of the world. And it will come. This is the beginning of a long process.”

UNIBAM, as an organization has been struck off from the case by the court, but Caleb Orosco, its president is continuing with the legal challenge.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Marriage Equality Cost and Belize

 Posted July 19th, 2012

It is interesting to note that with the United Belize Advocacy Movement constituutional challenge will lead to gay marriage. In reality it seeks a narrow ruling on amending the law so that it does not apply to consenting adults. We at the United Belize Advocacy Movement has not discussed the issue or consuulted with the community.  This dialogue in small groups in thhe LGBT community have taken place. What we realise is that positions in the community is diverse. To support the dialogue on the issue is this link about the cost of marriage ineqaulity which is at

What we do know at the United Belize Advocacy Movement has an inclination to look at some format like Civil Union or civil partnership. The issue as an organization is that marriage may not be a prioirty as discrimination and homophobia has to be addressed in the wider society. The organization sees the importannce of the state acknowledging the relationship of same-gender loving couples as a dignity issue that elevates the community relationship on equal grounds.

Time will tell how we approach the issue and how we mobilise.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

LGBT Unity and the power of the Environment

Post 15th July, 2012

The power of rivers in shaping the Belizean environment cannot be underestimated.  But when used to to address the emotional well-being of the Belizean LGBT person, it impacts cannot be measured. Working together, the United Belize Advocacy camp team of three, saw over 20 persons show kindness, united in play, and express concern about discrimination. One particular-team building activity showed how individuals wheel-borrowing and walked in pairs, ensured that the person next to them kept paced with the group and all made the kilometer long hike to get to the river for tubing down a mile long path.

  More interesting than this, is in knowing that our people could play games and not be concern about sex, social differences, or the discrimination that often occurs while in Belize City or Dangriga or else where. What we discovered was that while the lesbian community may not experience a high degree of violence, they nevertheless, may experience random violence from young children as young as nine stoning over the Queens Square fence and yelling" unu fucking unibam" or they experience intense sexual harassment, if they work, in a male -dominated profession. It is clear that our process of coming out maybe all different. This may include leaving a video on the TV stand where mother, sister and niece sees it, watches with the only concern,  " How she look better than me? and i da wa real woman?" while others come out by text or have to deal with a mother who gets high blood pressure and faints. We know as well, gay men may come out of their house to avoid the stress of families trying to "pray the gay away." Such moving out expereinces leads to mothers realizing the importance of family, but highlights how different a mom vs a dad may react. Interesting enough, gay men do not count dads as having an option on the issue, especially, if they don't live at home.

The camp itself during the night walk showed that a person could care about the safety of their fellow community member, and not expect anything in return. It was a place where city folks learn that in order to see wild animals they needed to be quite and still. We listens to bats scoop out small fishes out the river and learnt that wild animals do not necessarily want to see a human being. It was the first time that most did not need to worry about a bullet or being robbed as their concerns were ensuring no snakes cross their path and no jaguar suddenly showed up. It was interesting to see how a couple returned to the visitors camp while most endured the 1 hour long journey. During the walk, one person said" Unu si it? unu si it?" ...and in my excitement asked "what?" and the person replies," the million flies we di come!" Upon arrival at the visitors center, that same person yelled"si di jaguar deh!" referring to a statue that was staring us in the night light while we walked pass the visitors center. I am proud must as our people came back in one piece to Belize City.


Monday, July 9, 2012

OASLACLGBTTI Coalition Bolivia Release

Posted July 8th, 2012



 The Coalition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Travesti and Intersex (LGBTTTI) Latin American and Caribbean organizations, formed by groups belonging to more than 23 countries expresses in this communiqué its assessment of the activities of the 42nd General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia on June 3 - 5, 2012.
This Assembly adopted the fifth resolution AG/RES. 2721 (XLII-O/12) “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” This resolution, which is the result of the long term advocacy of the group, includes all the issues contained in the previous resolutions, calling on member states to introduce measures against discrimination and human rights violations and to implement public policies. Furthermore it requests the IACHR to prepare a study on legislation and provisions in force in the OAS member states restricting the human rights of individuals by reason of their sexual orientation or gender identity and to prepare, based on that study, guidelines aimed at promoting the decriminalization of homosexuality.
About the Coalition’s activities
Beyond the resolution that has been formally adopted, the Coalition celebrates the consolidation of its space as civil society component after five years of advocacy work within the OAS and in the region, before, during and after the General Assemblies.
In the days preceding the 42nd General Assembly, the Coalition organized a parallel event in preparation for the advocacy and participation within the OAS. The main discussion topics were: (a) implementation of the resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”; (b) Interaction with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (with specific focus on thematic hearings); (c) Interaction with the Commission on Juridical and Political Affairs; (d) Advocacy in the negotiation process of the draft Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance; (e) Advocacy with member states.

During the two days, invited participants included Jorge Sanin, director of the Department of International Relations of the OAS, who highlighted the importance of the commitment of the LGBTTTI civil society in all processes of the OAS and the increasing visibility of the issue within the OAS, particularly with reference to the Hemispheric Forum.

The Coalition met MP Gladys Prieto Moreyra, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of the Bolivian Parliament, and MP Saul Limbert Garabito, member of the same Human Rights Commission. They both welcomed the Coalition, expressed their commitment on the rights of LGBTTTI people and, in particular, their support to the law on Gender Identity, that has been recently endorsed by the Vice-Minister of Justice and will be sent for discussion to the Bolivian parliament in the next days.

The Coalition also had a meeting with Mr. Darío Paya, ambassador of the Republic of Chile at the OAS, who spoke about the need that society move forward in the inclusion and respect for diversity, and congratulated the Coalition for his presence at the OAS.
During the informal dialogue with the Secretary General of the OAS and the civil society in San Salvador, six delegates of the LGBTTTI coalition addressed to Secretary General José Miguel Insulza their concerns regarding the undue influence of religion on states and the weakening of the principle of secularity; violence and discrimination that LBTTTI women suffer within their own families and communities; hate crimes and discrimination, discriminatory archaic buggery and cross dressing laws, particularly in the English-speaking Caribbean; the need for recognition of the gender and sex identity for transgender, transsexual, travesti and intersex people; the need of completing the negotiation process of the Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance; and the importance to consider the proposal for a Convention on Sexual and Reproductive Rights advanced by civil society.
Mr. Insulza confirmed the OAS’s commitment to fight for recognition of the rights of LGBTTTI individuals and the need to move forward in the negotiation of the Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. He also committed to facilitate a meeting between member states, civil society and the Inter-American Commission on the issue.
The dialogue between Civil Society and the Heads of Delegations of the OAS Member States took place on June 3. Raiza Torriani, Bolivian trans activist, was the spokesperson for the LGBTTTI Coalition. The full text of the speech is published below. In her intervention, Raiza made reference, with particular emphasis, on the situation of LGBTTTI people in the English-speaking Caribbean, mentioning each member of the Coalition in attendance from that region, who stood up calling the attention of the Heads of Delegations and the audience. As result of this action, the state representatives of St. Kitts & Nevis, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago expressed their concerns on the issues and committed to raise the question to their respective governments. The representatives of Brazil and Argentina also expressed their commitment of their countries on the rights of LGBTTTI people.
We welcome the increasing interest for the work of the coalition that represents an acknowledgment of the work carried out in these years.
We thank COC Netherlands, UNAIDS, UNDP, MamaCash and the Campaign for an Inter-American Convention on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, and Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights for their support to make our participation to this General Assembly possible.

The participants of the Coalition of LGBTTTI Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean within the OAS were:

1.    AIREANA - Camila Zabala – Paraguay,
2.    ASOCIACIÓN LIDERES EN ACCION -Germán Rincón Perfetti - Colombia,
4.    COLECTIVA MUJER y SALUD, Claudia Saleta – Dominican Republic,
5.    COLECTIVO UNIDAD COLOR ROSA – Claudia Spellmant – Honduras,
6.    TALLER COMUNICACIÓN MUJER, Tatiana Cordero - Ecuador,
7.    AIDS FREE WORLD - Maurice Tomlinson – Jamaica,
8.    MULABI-COSTA RICA – Natasha Jiménez – Costa Rica,
10.  ORGANIZACIÓN TRANS REINAS DE LA NOCHE – Johana Ramírez – Guatemala,
11.  GRUPO IDENTIDADE RED AFRO LGBTI – Marcos Cesar Gomez – Brazil,
13.  RED NICARAGUENSE DE ACTIVISTAS TRANS – Silvia Martínez – Nicaragua,
15.  UNIBAM – Caleb Orozco – Belize,
16.  WOMEN’S WAY – Tieneke Sumter – Suriname,
17.  TRANSREDBOLIVIA TREBOL - Raiza Torriani – Bolivia.

As partners of the Coalition: Stefano Fabeni and Marcelo Ernesto Ferreyra – Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights

Cochabamba, Bolivia - June 5, 2012


Mister Secretary General, Ministers, Members of the Official Delegations, Civil Society Representatives,

We, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Travesti, Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex organizations, convened in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from May 30 to June 1, 2012, in accordance with the directives established by the General Assembly of the OAS in its resolutions AG/RES.2092(XXXV-O/05); CP/RES.759(1217/99); AG/RES.840(1361/03); AG/RES.1707(XXX-O/00) and AG/RES.1915(XXXIII-O/03), which determine a regulatory framework to enhance and strengthen civil society participation in OAS activities and in the Summit of the Americas process, express our concern that food security is limited to the right to food, while we consider that it is also related to the rights to work, health, housing, education, equality and non-discrimination, a dignified life, respect for nature and the collective rights of indigenous peoples.

We show our concern for the situation of exclusion and vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, travesti and intersex people, as well as afro-descendant people, migrants, refugees, women, youth, differently-abled people, the elderly, indigenous peoples, ethnic groups, people living with HIV, religious minorities, and those who live in situations of armed conflict or natural disasters. In these circumstances, they are exposed to the most severe discrimination, which prevents them from accessing to a good quality of life. 

As intersex and trans persons, whose identity is not recognized, we are not primary subjects in the development of public policies; we are expelled from schools and from our homes, while the society and governments deny the recognition of our condition of human beings, forcing us since childhood to live on the streets, exposed to sexual exploitation. This affects the development of our personality and the exercise of our basic rights.

Several countries do not secure our rights and do not protect our lives; in others we are criminalized by the law, and private and public healthcare services consider our conditions as pathologies.

Indifference, omission and complicity by many states in cases of discrimination and violence against the LGBTI community make those more severe and limit the enjoyment of the basic needs of our communities. This situation is even more serious in the case of the legislation of 11 Anglophone Caribbean countries. We are here with our colleagues from Belize, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, countries that criminalize same-sex conducts between consenting adults. In fact, the lack of political will of the Anglophone Caribbean member states denies human rights and, as a consequence, represents a limit for job opportunities and for decision-making on public policies related to HIV, as well as increase homelessness among youth.

As lesbian women we demand that the states recognize the different types of families, as well as their inclusion in national census; the contribution we offer to food security for our families and our children must be recognized. The lack of recognition of the way we contribute as LBTI women to the wellbeing of our families and to the state economy though our productive and reproductive work does not make our contribution to life visible.

Similarly, we recall the attention on the impact that domestic violence has on food security, as it is impossible in circumstances whereby the right to food for our children is denied and when our economic autonomy is limited or denied.

Finally, we urge member states to respect the principle of secularism, as the lack of separation between church and state, increases oppression, discrimination and social exclusion.

Therefore we demand:

To the Member States:

- To adopt laws and public policies in accordance with the commitments taken in virtue of the resolutions "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity" approved in the previous General Assemblies.

- To adopt laws that recognize the right to identity of trans persons taking as an example the good practice represented by the law recently approved by Argentina.

- To repeal laws that criminalizes same sex intimacy.

- To realize all efforts required in the shortest period of time to finalize the adoption of the Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Form of Discrimination and Intolerance.

- To consider the proposal for an Inter-American Convention on Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

- To sign, ratify and implement all Inter-American instruments for the protection of human rights.

- To effectively strengthen their commitment with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, with the support of the Secretary General of the OAS, and abstain from initiatives that might weaken the Inter-American system of protection of human rights.

To the General Assembly:

- To approve the draft resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” presented by the Brazilian delegation, whose initiative we fully endorse.

We are not born vulnerable; lack of recognition makes us vulnerable.


(Adopted at the second plenary session, held on June 4, 2012)


TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolutions AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08), AG/RES. 2504 (XXXIX-O/09), AG/RES. 2600 (XL-O/10), and AG/RES. 2653 (XLI-O/11), “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity”;


That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that instrument, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status; and

That the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man establishes that every human being has the right to life, liberty, and security of his person without distinction as to race, sex, language, creed, or any other factor;

CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of American States proclaims that the historic mission of the Americas is to offer to man a land of liberty and a favorable environment for the development of his personality and the realization of his just aspirations;

REAFFIRMING the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of human rights;


Of the creation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Unit for the Rights of Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexual, Transsexual, and Intersex Persons (LGBTI), and of its work plan, which includes the preparation of a hemispheric report on this issue;

Of the Second Report of the IACHR on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, according to which organizations that promote and defend the human rights of LGBTI persons play a fundamental role in the region in terms of public oversight to ensure compliance with the states’ obligations vis-à-vis the rights to privacy, equality, and non-discrimination, and are faced with obstacles, among them, murder, threats, criminalization of their activities, the failure to take a focused approach to the investigation of crimes committed by both state and non-state actors against them, and discourse calculated to discredit the defenders of the rights of LGBTI persons; and

Of the Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, presented to the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 2008; and

NOTING WITH CONCERN the acts of violence and related human rights violations as well as discrimination practiced against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,


1.                  To condemn discrimination against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender identity; and to urge the states within the parameters of the legal institutions of their domestic systems to eliminate, where they exist, barriers faced by lesbians, gays, and bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in access to political participation and in other areas of public life.

2.                  To encourage member states to consider, within the parameters of the legal institutions of their domestic systems, adopting public policies against discrimination by reason of sexual orientation and gender identity.

3.                  To condemn acts of violence and human rights violations committed against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender identity; and to urge states to strengthen their national institutions with a view to preventing and investigating these acts and violations and ensuring due judicial protection for victims on an equal footing and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

4.                  To urge states to ensure adequate protection for human rights defenders who work on the issue of acts of violence, discrimination, and human rights violations committed against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

5.                  To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to pay particular attention to its work plan titled “Rights of LGBTI People” and, in keeping with its established practice, to prepare a hemispheric study on the subject; and to urge member states to support the efforts of the Commission in this area.

6.                  To request the IACHR to prepare a study on legislation and provisions in force in the OAS member states restricting the human rights of individuals by reason of their sexual orientation or gender identity and to prepare, based on that study, guidelines aimed at promoting the decriminalization of homosexuality.

7.                  To urge the member states that has not yet done so to consider signing, ratifying, or acceding to, as the case may be, the inter-American human rights instruments.

8.                  To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly on the implementation of this resolution. Execution of the activities envisaged in this resolution will be subject to the availability of financial resources in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

When Luis Wade Quotes Flawed Texas AM Study

Post image for University of Texas Opens Inquiry of Regnerus Study; NCRM Reporting Plays Central Role

University of Texas Opens Inquiry of Regnerus Study; NCRM Reporting Plays Central Role

by Scott Rose on July 1, 2012

The New Civil Rights Movement writer Scott Rose’s recent series of investigative reporting articles  about the Mark Regnerus study of “gay findings” at University of Texas has played a central role in the university’s decision to conduct a scientific misconduct inquiry 

Between January, 2011 and June of 2012, Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, Austin, plotted, carried out and then had published a “study” of dubious scholarly merit, alleged to show, but not actually showing, that homosexual parents are dangerous to children.
Funding for the Regnerus study was arranged through the National Organization For Marriage‘s Robert P.George along with George’s anti-gay-rights colleagues at The Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation. George is an author of the anti-gay NOM pledge signed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
NCRM Writer Invited to be Interviewed
This reporter mailed a Scientific Misconduct complaint about Regnerus to University of Texas President William Powers, Jr. on June 21.  On June 25, UTA Research Integrity Officer Dr. Robert Peterson told me in an e-mail that he will be conducting an inquiry as per university policy.
Dr. Peterson invited this reporter to Austin to be interviewed by the Inquiry Panel, or alternately to participate in a teleconference with the panel. As of this writing, this reporter’s interview with the panel is scheduled to take place between July 6 and July 11.  Nonetheless, at this time it is not clear that Dr. Peterson has committed to a full and thorough investigation.

More Evidence Should be Considered by University of Texas

 There now is far more evidence for the Inquiry Panel to consider.  This reporter provides the following additional evidence: 

A thorough “Scientific Misconduct” investigation of Regnerus would include examinations of whether 1) Regnerus’s study, taken as is, lacks scientific integrity; and whether 2) Regnerus has engaged in any improper relationships with his funders and/or others in connection with the study.
Even on some basic points, informational clarity is lacking.  For example, Regnerus writes in his study: “The New Family Structures Study (NFSS) was supported in part by grants from the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation.” That sentence is unambiguously worded to mean that the study got funding from sources in addition to the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation. Yet, according to David Ochsner, Director of Public Affairs at University of Texas, Austin, Regnerus is now alleging that Witherspoon and Bradley were his study’s sole funders.
However that may be, Dr. Peterson thus far, disappointingly, has declined my request that he obtain, and provide copies to this reporter, and other members of the public: 1) all written and/or typed communications; 2) all notes taken about telephone and all other communications, between; 3) Regnerus and his study funders, the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation, and between Regnerus and anybody else, involving his study, between 3) the initial contact about such a study, between Regnerus and The Witherspoon Institute and/or anybody associated with Witherspoon, and the time that Witherspoon gave Regnerus a $35,000 “planning grant” through to 4) Witherspoon’s and Bradley’s approval of the study plan and resulting full funding of the study; and between aforementioned parties through to 5) the present day.

Additionally, I have requested Dr. Peterson to provide this reporter with copies of; and 6) a full accounting of study fund disbursements, including; 7) a verifiable record of how much Regnerus was paid in association with the study.
That documentation is necessary for the actualization of a full and true investigation. As UTA’s investigation protocol says; “The purpose of the investigation is to: explore in detail the allegations; examine the evidence in depth; and, determine specifically whether misconduct has been committed, by whom, and to what extent. The investigation also will determine whether there are additional instances of possible misconduct that would justify broadening the scope beyond the initial allegations.”
The UTA Investigation protocol goes on to say: “The Research Integrity Officer immediately will sequester any additional pertinent research records that were not sequestered previously. The sequestration should occur before or at the time the respondent is notified that an investigation has begun.”
Additional Allegations
The very name of the Regnerus’s project, “The New Family Structures Study,” is deceptive — and is an anti-gay bigot dog whistle — in ways characteristic of Regnerus’s funder NOM’s Robert George of the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation.
Because of that, and for reasons elaborated below, this reporter insists that for its Scientific Misconduct inquiry of Regnerus, the University of Texas, Austin must examine in its investigation, and provide, copies of all written communications, and notes, such as of phone conversations, and all other documentation of the relationship between Mark Regnerus and The Witherspoon Institute from the time those two parties first considered a study about children of gay parents, to include the time that Witherspoon gave Regnerus a $35,000 “planning grant” and subsequent to when the plan had been formulated and Witherspoon approved Regnerus for his full study funding.

As happens, not a single one of the family structures considered in the Regnerus “New Family Structures Study” is actually “new.”
Regnerus says he surveyed people aged 18 – 39, and raised by:
a) married biological heterosexual parents – which is not a “new” family structure;
b) adoptive parents – again, not a “new” family structure;
c) divorced heterosexual parents – not a “new” family structure;
d) stepparents – not a “new” family structure.
Moreover, it is not “new” for gay adults to raise children. Major league baseball pitcher Joe Valentine, born in 1979, was raised from birth by two lesbian mothers. Very important to note in the context of the Regnerus matter: We only know about Joe Valentine’s lesbian mothers raising him because he went on to become famous. In the general population, there are many family groupings like that of Joe Valentine’s, suitable to the study that Regnerus alleges he intended to carry out, yet failed to carry out in reality with anything even remotely resembling scientific rigor. When baseball scout Warren Hughes signed Joe Valentine for the White Sox, by the way, he shook both lesbian parents’ hands after they agreed to an $80,000 bonus.
Dorothy Dandridge, born in 1922, and the first African-American actress nominated for an Academy Award, was raised by two lesbian mothers. Actress Jodie Foster, born in 1962, was raised by two lesbian mothers.
There numerous additional existing examples of people raised entirely by a gay or lesbian couple, for a number of decades through the 1990s, especially including non-famous persons raised by such couples.

Regnerus’ Survey Methodology is not Current
Regnerus’s claim that the probability-based web panel that he used is the best of all existing sampling methods for surveying gay fathers and lesbian mothers is false, totally and utterly false. For his sampling, Regnerus relied on the company Knowledge Networks to find his survey respondents through Knowledge Networks’ existing panelist system, which is based on a combination of random digit dialing sampling and address-based sampling.
The sampling method superior to that combined one, is commonly referred to as “address-based sampling,” unadulterated by any random digit dialing sampling application. By the way, as turns out, Knowledge Networks, Regnerus’s survey management company, will carry out pure address-based sampling, given enough resources in time and money.
The precise reason that old-fashioned random digit dialing (RDD) sampling is now inferior is especially relevant to this scientific misconduct complaint against Regnerus.
Here is the precise reason: RDD sampling does not include households without landline phones. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control conducted a study of households that cannot be reached through RDD. The percentage of unreachable households is highest for the age demographics that Regnerus alleges he studied.
Forty percent of persons ages 18- 24; and 51 percent of persons ages 25 – 29; and 40 percent of those ages 30 – 34 cannot be reached through RDD.
That is the main reason why Regnerus’s survey data barely included a handful of young adult children of actual gay parents, and yet a hodge-podge of others whom Regnerus fraudulently shoehorned, for his convenience, and against sound scientific practice,  into the “lesbian mother” and “gay father” categories.

It is therefore of vital importance to fully investigate the allegations brought to the scientific misconduct complaint against Regnerus that the UTA Inquiry Panel thoroughly examine a) what Address-Based Sampling is; b) why it is superior to the sampling method Regnerus used, and; c) the fact that Regnerus is being disingenuous and duplicitous when he alleges that finding actual young adult offspring of gay parents would have been too difficult, and that he therefore had to settle for a sampling hodge-podge of people not actually raised by gay parents, to uncover and measure harms allegedly done to children by gay parents.
Here, then, is an explanation of how survey companies carry out address-based sampling (ABS):
ABS involves probability-based sampling of addresses from the U.S. Postal Service’s Delivery Sequence File. Randomly sampled addresses are invited to complete a researcher’s survey through a series of mailings and in some cases telephone refusal conversion calls when a telephone number can be matched to the sampled address. Invited households can respond by one of several means: by completing and mailing back a paper form in a postage-paid envelope; by calling a toll-free hotline; or by going to a designated web site and completing a screening form at the website. The key advantage of the ABS sample frame is that it allows sampling of almost all U.S. households.  

An estimated 97 percent of households are “covered” in sampling nomenclature. Regardless of household telephone status, they can be reached and contacted via the mail. Not only does ABS allow coverage of the growing proportion of cell-phone-only households, but it also improves sample representativeness (compared to random digit dial, or RDD, samples) for sexual minorities, minority racial and ethnic groups, lower educated, and low-income persons. ABS-sourced sample tends to align more true to the overall population demographic distributions and thus the associated adjustment weights are somewhat more uniform and less varied. This variance reduction efficaciously attenuates the sample’s design effect. The approach’s advantage is its representative sample.
This superior sampling approach is not inexpensive to carry out, particularly when targeting a low-incidence demographic like young adult children of gay parents. For example, to survey a general population sample, one could begin with a sample of 10,000 and estimate that approximately 1,000, or 1 percent would respond and complete the survey. However, if there are eligibility criteria to participate in the survey that screen out (for instance) 99 of every 100 persons willing to respond, to obtain 1,000 survey respondents, one would need to begin with a sample of 1,000,000 and estimate that 100,000, or 10 percent, would respond and complete the screener, and 1,000, or 1 percent of those would be determined eligible and would complete the survey.
Thus, even had a sample of 1,000,000 people — recruited via address-based sampling — produced only 500 young adult children actually raised by gay parents, that address-based sampling still would have produced twice the number of study subjects Regnerus used but is inaccurately categorizing as having been raised by gay parents.
To sum this point up; 1) Regnerus likely misleads when he asserts he compared young adult children of gay parents to young adult children of “intact biological families;” 2) In the study itself, and in his public promotions of the study, Regnerus likely misleads when he states that he would not by any means have been able to survey an adequate sampling of young gay adults substantially raised by gay parents up through the 1990s; and 3) Regnerus likely misleads when he states that he used the best existing survey method for surveying young adult children of gay parents.

Regnerus’ Contract with Knowledge Network for Survey Participants is Incentive Based 
An additional point of vital importance must be made regarding how Knowledge Network retains its panel of survey subjects. “Panel members” — as KN calls them — after being invited in, take on average at least one survey per week. Members are given payment incentives for completing screeners and surveys; they additionally are incentivized through entries into raffles and sweepstakes with cash and other prizes. Additionally, where KN recruits panelists who do not have computers, KN gives them a laptop with free monthly internet service.
Obviously, panel members desirous of the cash rewards, entries into sweepstakes and raffles, and of continuing with the free internet service and laptop, will want to remain in the game, answering weekly surveys. With their ongoing experience in answering different surveys, they learn how to answer tell-tale screener questions, such that they can go ahead with the survey rather than being cut off from it.
At the beginning of the Regnerus “survey instrument,” respondents are asked whether 1) they had lived with their biological mother and father until age 18; and then 2) whether they had ever had an adoptive parent.  At that point, a lot of possibilities remained, including, for example, that of being raised by a single parent.
This is extremely important: The next question was “From when you were born until age 18 (or until you left home to be on your own), did either of your parents ever have a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex?”
Knowledge Networks’ experienced survey takers looking at that question would understand that this study needed people who answer yes to that unusual screener question. They would understand that the study was substantially about such people. These survey-rewards-addicted responders want their incentive rewards for answering special and/or long surveys, they want their reward entries into raffles and sweepstakes. A survey taker could very well be motivated to answer “Yes,” even if in truth, neither of their parents ever had had a relationship with someone of the same sex. They could then just wing the rest of the answers. And, there is no way to fact check the thing; Regnerus takes for granted that his survey respondents always told the truth, even though many had documented incentives for not always telling the truth.
Regnerus Survey Manipulates Question Sequencing
In numerous ways, the Regnerus Survey Instrument was contrived to stack the deck against parents whom the study arbitrarily labeled as “gay.” To cite one example; the first question asks if the respondent lived with their biological mother and father through to 18. If the respondent answered “Yes,” they got skipped forward in the survey, and never asked whether one or both of their biological parents was homosexual. Meanwhile in real life, there are families like that of Leonard Bernstein, bi-sexual if not actually homosexual, and his wife Felicia. They lived together through the time their first two children were 18, even as Leonard was having liaisons with males. The Bernstein children had what the Regnerus study considers “good” outcomes, but would have attributed those good outcomes to an “Intact Biological Family,” even though the Bernstein father was at least as gay as anybody Regnerus labels “Gay father” in his study.
In sharp and disturbing relief against Regnerus’s manifest negligence about precisely determining the extent to which his respondents were raised by actual gay parents, the Regnerus Survey Instrument includes many questions of marginal if any meaning to the alleged topic of the study. For instance, the Survey Instrument asks “When did you last masturbate?
If Regnerus’s main aim was to compare young adult offspring raised by heterosexual married parents with young adult children raised by gay parents, why did his Survey Instrument omit crucial relevant questions while asking such flabbergastingly tangential things as “When did you last masturbate?”?
Regnerus’s written study Introduction makes plain that; 1) he was concerned about the impact of child-rearing studies on “the legal boundaries of marriage;”  – that phrase is an exact quote from Regnerus’s written study, and I’m going to repeat it because of its importance here: “the legal boundaries of marriage.” 2) he was concerned about study conclusions showing that homosexual orientation does not preclude one from being a good parent; and that 3) he was concerned about a recent slip, from exclusive perceived superiority, of “intact biological families,” and that 4) he wanted to use this study to help to restore “intact biological families” to their position of exclusive perceived superiority.
Regnerus Funding Arranged by NOM Head Robert George
Regnerus’s funder Robert George of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage is obsessively concerned with “the legal boundaries of marriage.” Robert George has written a draft for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages throughout the nation. He does not like to see gay parenting study results with good child outcomes, as they are work against his known, ferocious anti-gay political goals. George’s aims in arranging for the funding of Regnerus’s study precisely match the concerns expressed in Regnerus’s introduction.
After George got Regnerus his $35,000 “planning grant” through The Witherspoon Institute, the study plan was cunningly elaborated to guarantee that gay parents would come out looking bad. Regnerus has been lying to the public to hide that truth. For example, writing in Slate, Regnerus said that all of the family scholars involved in the study design “lean left.” Yet we know some came from Brigham Young University, whose “Honor Code” at the time of the study design forbid all BYU community members from “promoting homosexual relations as being morally acceptable.” And BYU has a formidable record of enforcing its “Honor Code.” How credible is Regnerus’s claim that his study designers from Brigham Young University “lean left” on gay parenting? Who are those Brigham Young people?  Can I interview them for publication, so that their BYU higher-ups will be sure to know that they “lean left” on gay parenting?
Even more importantly, if one is interested in a genuinely scientific result, why would any political leaning matter, above one’s devotion to scientific integrity? Why is Regnerus defending his study to the public, by alleging that Brigham Young University family scholars “lean left” instead of by saying that they are first and foremost rigorous and uncompromising scientists?
Now, in what ways is the deceptive Regnerus title “The New Family Structures Study” similar to deceptions known to be promulgated by Regnerus’s anti-gay-rights funding arranger Robert George?
Regnerus did not survey anybody raised in an era with legal recognition of same-sex spouses. And — as previously explained — he absolutely did not survey anybody raised in any genuinely new family structure. But he did write into his study Introduction a concern with how child-rearing studies impact “the legal boundaries of marriage.” He also wrote into his study introduction a concern with re-establishing, through this study, the exclusive perceived superiority of the “intact biological family.”

 Regnerus’s title of “The New Family Structures Study,” for public consumption purposes, in reality references no one studied, but rather, families who more recently have been benefiting from expanded same-sex couples’ legal recognition in domestic partnerships, civil unions and marriages.
Regnerus has been promoting his study as evidence against expansion of legal recognition of gay couples’ relationships. In one of his Slate articles, Regnernus wrote that gay-rights “advocates would do well from here forward to avoid simply assuming the kids are all right,” and then, after barely paying lip service to the notion that marriage recognition could perhaps help children being raised by gay parents, he ends his article by saying that the New Family Structures Study  “may suggest that the household instability that the NFSS reveals is just too common among same-sex couples to take the social gamble of spending significant political and economic capital to esteem and support this new (but tiny) family form while Americans continue to flee the stable, two-parent biological married model, the far more common and accomplished workhorse of the American household, and still—according to the data, at least—the safest place for a kid.”
Despite Regnerus’s politically brazen and fallacious statements, Regnerus’s study could not possibly have revealed household instability among same-sex couples raising children, because by Regnerus’s own admission in the written study, he did not study same-sex couples raising children, yet there he is, writing in mass-market online venues that his study “reveals” that household instability among same-sex couples raising children is “just too common.”
That false claim is fully characteristic of anti-gay bigots’ argumentation against legal recognition for gay couples. Any of NOM’s Robert George, Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown or Thomas Peters might have unloosed it themselves. It is 1) too pointed and wild-eyed in its elaboration; and 2) too involved with “turning the knife in the wound” against gay rights after ejaculating a known falsehood about the study and about gay couples raising chidren; and finally 3) too clearly politically-motivated to be the words of a sociologist who does not agree with its substance.

Regnerus Study’s Excerpts Exploited by Religious Right for Political Gain – Is Regnerus in Cahoots with NOM’s Robert George?
If Regnerus’s friend Robert George had paid Regnerus to be one of NOM’sExpert Witness Project” professors producing excerptible anti-gay-rights quotes to inflame voters’ passions against gay rights, he could not have done any better than he did with that last quote from Regnerus.  And as a matter of documented record, Regnerus’s inflammatory, false, highly emotional and propagandistic anti-gay-rights quote is being used all over the country and beyond right now to incite people to deeper misunderstandings and distrust of gay people and their families. A more in-depth understanding of the political motivations of Regnerus’s funders may be had from this reporter’s articleNOM-Regnerus ‘Gay Parenting’ Study; A One-Percenter Dirty Campaign Trick.
Robert George’s Witherspoon Institute – a Regnerus funder — has devoted a stand-alone site to the Regnerus and Marks studies – where the Regnerus Slate article with the aforementioned offending quote is at the top of the site’s list of study-related articles “From the Web.”
Robert George’s NOM has a website page dedicated to “Marriage Talking Points.” There, anti-gay-rights activists are told that one phrase to avoid using “at all costs” is “Ban gay marriage,” because studies show that use of that phrase causes NOM to lose about ten percentage points of support in polls. Even though NOM exists to “ban gay marriage,” and the NOM pledge signed by Romney seeks a ban of same-sex marriage, NOM’s “Marriage Talking Points” page tells people to say that they support “marriage as the union of husband and wife” and not that they want to “ban gay marriage.”

That same brand of political, deliberately deceptive, anti-gay-rights attack through scheming, misleading words appears to have been applied to the Regnerus title of “The New Family Structures Study.” The manifest goals of that deceptive title are 1) to be able to exploit the study, towards a cessation of legal recognition of same-sex couples, which anti-gay-rights forces want to be able to do because, as a matter of documented reality; 2) increasingly common legal recognition is – for legal purposes — (including the legal rights of the people in the families) — creating actual New Family Structures, while Regnerus’s study meanwhile is serving 3) to give anti-gay-rights forces fraudulent cover for alleging that Regnerus has studied child outcomes for those actual new legal family structures, and shown that homosexuals are dangerous to children, even though; 4) Regnerus has not studied new family structures at all.
Regnerus did not even study the authentic human precursors to the new legal family structures for same-sex parents, such as the two lesbian mothers who raised Joe Valentine, even though by means of address-based sampling, he would have been able to do so.
Robert George’s NOM’s 1) instructions to anti-gay-rights activists not to say that they want to “ban gay marriage,” has in common with 2) Regnerus’s study title “The New Family Structures Study” the aim of  3) distracting people from an accurate understanding of the true nature of George’s and Regnerus’s anti-gay-rights activities.
All of the above must be fully and appropriately weighed and investigated by the University of Texas, Austin in its investigation of Associate Professor Mark Regnerus and included within the current Scientific Misconduct allegations that have been lodged against him.

Especially considering that Regnerus himself has admitted that 1) had he done this study through the National Institutes of Health instead of  2) through the Witherspoon Institute’s and the Bradley Foundation’s obsessed anti-gay-rights crusaders; 3) the higher scientific research standards that the NIH would have required him unwaveringly to observe would have 4) worked to the long-term best interests of science, it 5) defies belief that any observer concerned with scientific integrity could judge this matter without finding Regnerus guilty of scientific misconduct.

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on,, The New York Blade,, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.