Activist says gay sex leads to early death on Perth radio

Perth’s Christian radio station 98five Sonshine FM has broadcast claims by traditional marriage advocate James Parker who says gay sex leads to an early grave.

Parker claims there are a number of unspoken health risks associated with homosexuality that are not discussed in mainstream media.

The vocal activist, who often speaks of his conversion to heterosexuality as a formerly gay man, has been regularly appearing on Sonshine FM to warn of the dangers of marriage equality and society’s support of the LGBTIQ community.

Speaking on air this morning, Parker told radio host Mike Crichton that the wider community was largely unaware of the seriousness of some of the health implications associated with homosexuality.

“There are health implications on all fronts, and it’s interesting isn’t it that even with copious amounts of LGBTI promotion and legislation and social acceptance particularly over the past three or four decades, there have actually been few positive changes to the health outcomes for people who practice homosexually [sic],” Parker said.

“So of course, the question I think we need to ask ourselves is, is the problem society’s issue or do the roots actually lie in the activity itself?”

Apologising for the subject matter, Parker also cited that the New Zealand AIDS Foundation had found anal sex to have 18 times the likelihood of transmitting HIV than vaginal intercourse. The activist also raised concerns about an increase in STI’s among the gay community.

“Even Cuban researchers have discovered that there’s a new and aggressive strain of HIV which can develop into AIDS more rapidly than ever,” Parker said.

“Of course there’s the arrival of something called ‘super-gonorrhoea’ that was reported in The West later last year and that’s spreading through Australia’s gay community in particular, and it’s now beginning to ripple into the heterosexual community. The thing with super-gonorrhoea is it’s presently antibiotic resistant… the risks of gay sex, which in some way our young people are being encouraged to consider and practice.”

Parker went on to conflate his claim that youth are encouraged to practice “gay sex” with the existence of the Safe Schools anti-bullying program – a subject he spoke out against alongside former Southern River MP Peter Abetz during a speaking tour in 2016.

“Safe Schools have said to them you’ve got two virginities, one with a boy and one with a girl and all the rest of it, so they are being encouraged to do this. This in a sense in the crack in the dam being hidden from public examination and this has meant keeping sexually active youngsters in the dark as well.”

“If the entire risks were to be revealed and those risks… there’s high levels of promiscuity, there’s physical injuries and physical health issues that go with different types of intercourse that aren’t vaginal, let’s put it that way.”

The Christian activist went on to declare that being homosexual increased your chances of experiencing psychiatric illness and suicidal behaviours.

“There’s high rates of psychiatric illnesses and drug abuse and suicide attempts among lesbian and gays as well.”

Parker claimed that there was significant research that men who have sex with men were more likely to have shorter life spans.

“Now there’s been a number of different studies done to date looking at the whole lifespan – particularly with gay men, practising gay men, and I can’t stress the word practising enough, so people who practice homosexually as men, then their life span, they can lose up to 20 years of life because of the effects that gay sex has on the human body.”

Parker then added that gay men should not be allowed to wed because very few couples had monogamous relationships.

“In the gay community monogamy refers to long term emotional fidelity, but not sexual fidelity that’s really still very, very rare in gay relationships so there’s all sorts of different effects going on here and, if society was aware of what the implications were, we would all be out, rightly, outraged by the devastating long-term effects of homosexual practice.”

Parker said he spoke from a position of authority because he had previously led a gay life.

“Only this would be out of genuine and deep concern for those people who practice this, so although I might seem like a nasty horrible whistle blower I’m actually saying I’ve seen this first hand.”

Sending a question to the studio, a listener asked whether there was a link between “males who question their sexuality and identity” and a lack of a male role model in their lives.

Parker told listeners, and host Mike Crichton, that many gay men had been sexually abused but were often unaware that the abuse had occurred.

“Many men who I first worked with, I’d just casually bring up in conversation ‘any history of sexual abuse?'” Parker answered.

“It might be four, five, six years down the line once they’ve done some real scratching beneath the surface and internal work and they discover their abuse.”

The activist then argued that many gay men had emotionally absent fathers.

“Many might have had their father present but he wasn’t emotionally present, that could not connect with his heart.”

Parker used Australian Olympian Ian Thorpe and British diver Tom Daley as examples of gay men with removed fathers.

“When you look at how they were pressured by their dads into their swimming and diving and performing and the rest of it, what happens is there just seems to be an emotional disconnect and so what’s happening is people are looking for that.”

Host Mike Crichton raised another question from a listener, but was unsure if he could read it aloud on air. Crichton then prompted Parker that the subject matter of the question pertained to “health issues”.

“Putting it bluntly, I know a number of men who’ve hit a point midlife where they’re having to wear adult nappies because basically they’re leaking from behind. That’s a polite way of putting it,” Parker said.

“There are some major health implications here. If you like, the front part of a woman is made for life and the back part of a man and a woman are both for getting rid of the toxicity in the body.”

Parker asserted that this was the reason “sodomy” was recognised as criminal activity for “literally centuries”.

“For the overall health of society, we’ve got to be able to respond to our bodies in the healthy and right way as well.”

Stopping people from engaging in anal sex wasn’t the only item on Parker’s agenda, he also spoke out against transgender people being allowed to access gender transition services.

“That I’m aware of, the only surgery that takes place in our hospitals where we actually remove healthy fertility, and operate on healthy bodies is the whole gender reassignment stuff. It’s saying I’m going to take your healthy fertility and I’m going to cut it to bits. Doesn’t that go against the Hippocratic oath? I’m not even sure people still say that, but anyway.”

During his appearance on the show Parker went on to criticise the AFL’s support for marriage equality and argue against LGBT people being allowed to adopt, saying children needed to be raised by both of their biological parents.

LGBT Rights groups condemn the comments

The interview has condemned by LGBT rights groups and advocates.

Rainbow Rights WA Chairperson Jon Mann said the claims put forward by Parker not based in fact.

“Many of Mr Parker’s comments are not supported by fact and often, plain ridiculous” Mann said. “Claims about gay men’s life expectancy are based on research from last century!

“He appears to be referencing a 1997 Canadian study that used data from the 1980’s and early 1990’s, during the AIDS epidemic. Even the researchers of that study have said it is no longer valid.”

Suggestions that gay men have a 20-year shorter life expectancy are often quoted by religious web sites opposed to the LGBTI community.

Parker did not name the source of the study he was referring to but one of the most widely quoted, and debunked, studies drew its conclusion by recording the ages of men in obituary notices of a gay newspaper and comparing them to the average age of men in the USA. The Cameron Playfair Wellum Study was conducted at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

Jon Mann said Parker was simply repeating an attack on gay men that has been around for decades.

“Anal sex is not the exclusive domain of gay men. His anecdotal comments about adult diapers have been around since the 70’s and have no basis in reality. There is no evidence to support that regular anal sex will lead to incontinence.

The head of Rainbow Rights WA said it was particularly disappointing to see Parker’s  “serial scaremongering of Safe Schools” continuing.

“If Mr Parker were genuinely concerned for the mental health issues faced by LGBTI people, perhaps he could stop spending his time actively campaigning against Safe Schools, a program specifically designed to assist.

“Safe Schools is not about making people gay it is about educating and supporting students to understand who they are, and what their peers may be experiencing.”

The comments have also been criticised by advocates for people living with HIV and transgender rights activists.

Ryan Oliver, the WA representative for the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA), labelled the comments as ill-informed and uneducated.

“Association of HIV being a gay virus, or associated with people who have anal sex, is ill-informed and uneducated.

“Female, male, child, adult, straight, gay, bi, trans, top, bottom, versatile, we are all susceptible. HIV does not discriminate and neither should James Parker,” Oliver said.

“Fear mongering using HIV is never conducive to reducing stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV, neither is it an effective in health promotion or safe sex messaging.”

Oliver said Parker’s claims about the dangers of HIV were outdated.

“For a long time there have been multiple strains of HIV (as with all viruses, they come in multiple strains).

“Nowadays medication is so effective that people living with HIV who are taking regular medication can achieve an undetectable viral load, meaning they are unable to transmit the virus.

Oliver said the Christian activist’s comments failed to appreciate modern developments in treating and preventing HIV including PrEP, which is 99% effective in stopping HIV negative people from acquiring the virus.

The representative for people living with HIV said the comments aired on Sonshine FM were highly discriminatory.

“This type of commentary contributes to the stigma of HIV, which we know is a significant barrier in tackling the 20 new infections in Australia each week.” Oliver said.

Kai Schweizer, a local transgender rights advocate, said the comments about transgender people made light of what for many people is a lifesaving procedure.

“I think it really comes down to bodily autonomy and consent,” Schweizer said. “Many heterosexual men undergo a vasectomy in order prevent having more children.

“For many transgender people, surgical intervention is a life-saving treatment for gender dysphoria. However, not everyone feels the need to have such invasive procedures. For trans men, 90% don’t undergo any kind of genital surgery. For most, a mastectomy and hormone replacement is enough to relieve the dysphoria.

Schweizer said it is also important to note that it is illegal and unethical for trans children to have medical intervention.

“Hormone suppressants can’t be prescribed until the onset of puberty, cross-sex hormones can’t be prescribed until 16, and surgical interventions are only legal over the age of 18. The only transition that trans children undergo is dressing in their preferred manner and a change of name and pronouns.”

Sonshine FM defend the interview

Bevan Jones, the CEO of 98Five Sonshine FM, defended the interview saying the broadcaster, like all radio stations, often had guests on to talk about controversial topics.

Jones said the station would ask James Parker to cite where his statistics regarding the life expectancy of gay men were drawn from.

The radio station boss said they would be open to interviewing members of the gay and lesbian community, who are also part of the “with faith” community who held alternative views. As a community broadcaster, the station is focused on people with faith as its target audience.

Leigh Andrew Hill & Graeme Watson


Do you need some support?

If you  are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counseling are available from:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyondblue: and www.beyondblue.org.au

QLife: and www.qlife.org.au QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

Kids Helpline is available for younger readers.  Call 1800 55 1800, it’s free.

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