Anti-vaccine movement tries out homophobia

By AnthonyLast updated: Friday, February 20, 2009 • Save & Share6 Comments

In another sign of the reactionary nature of the UK’s anti-vaccine movement, it appears that they are not beyond making snide comments about people’s sexuality. After the revelations by Brian Deer that Wakefield changed and misreported results in his research and the damning judgments of the quack science the anti-vaccine is based upon in the Cedillo case, the anti-vaccine movement has been thrashing around like a drowning man.

The One Click Group, have posted what they consider an exclusive about Brian Deer, who is perhaps the true believers’ number one enemy in the UK (in the US the lucky man is Paul Offit). The One Click Group (theoneclickgroup.co.uk) claim Deer went beserk in the General Medical Council press room during Wakefield’s hearing, although even their partial account notes Deer called for security – not them. In the introduction to their “exclusive” they say of Brian Deer:

By all accounts a gay man and therefore unlikely ever to have to face the multiple vaccine risk agonised over by parents from around the world in relation to their children, Brian Deer has made it his business to portray the parents of these autistic vaccine damaged children as deluded mendacious chancers.

Aside from the fact that these parents are not parents of vaccine damaged children, in fact they are arguably the most badly treated individuals in the whole MMR vaccine-autism hoax, the idea that Deer’s sexuality influences his opinions about the safety of vaccines is homophobic, indicative of the deranged attitude of mind of the anti-vaccine movement, and completely nonsensical. Here are some reasons why.

1. Even if Deer is homosexual, it does not necessarily mean he has no stake in vaccine safety. Homosexuals are not some mysterious alien presence in our society, they have families which include small children. Homosexuals can even adopt children.

2. The vast majority of the medical and scientific community do not accept the link between MMR vaccine and autism. The One Click Group may be surprised to learn that not all of them are homosexual. Many, including myself at the height of the media scare, have children who have received the MMR vaccine.

3. It is in the nature of people to care about issues that have no direct effect on themselves because of empathy for other individuals or even because they have an intellectual curiosity about exposing the truth. Journalists also draw attention to human rights abuses in countries, when they themselves suffer no risk of the same treatment. Are we to question their motives too?

4. The anti-vaccine movement itself includes gay men. The One Click group should know this since they host a series of news articles about David Kirby, a prominent anti-vaccine campaigner in the US, who published a book called Evidence of Harm. They reported on his UK visit, and even host his lecture slides. David Kirby was a reporter for Outweek, a gay and lesbian weekly magazine, and for The Advocate, a leading LGBT news site in the US.

What nice people they are.

UPDATE: Brian Deer comments on the report of his alleged “rant”.

6 Responses to “Anti-vaccine movement tries out homophobia”

Comment from Matt
Time 20/2/2009 at 12:54 am

Gad, what people.

I seem to recall this happening about a year back as well: trying to use sexuality as a hammer to beat upon their enemy.

It is disgusting that they would even try it.

Mr. Deer, not all autism parents are like that. Even amongst those promoting vaccines as a cause.

Comment from Broken Link
Time 20/2/2009 at 1:09 am

So people who are too old to have children, or who have already completed their families, or the infertile are also prevented from commenting.

This is total nonsense. A person’s comments should be judged on logic and evidence. Anything else is just silly.

I expect that David Kirby is gay. So what? If his logic doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, then he should be taken to task, just as I would demand that Brian Deer or anyone else have a logical argument.

Comment from EmbraceTheSuck
Time 20/2/2009 at 3:47 am

The wilderness is a lonely place, One Click Group. And that’s where the whole anti-vaccine movement is headed – to the wilderness. For a very long time. This is no time to disparage alternative sexual expression. The silence can do funny things to a man – things he never thought he would do. Oh yes. I’m talking about you, One Click Group.

Comment from Kathleen Seidel
Time 20/2/2009 at 6:02 am

How tacky, ignorant, desperate and inhumane.

Here’s something to clear your palate:

The impact of Prop 8 on my family, by Andrew Solomon

Comment from Holy Prepuce!
Time 20/2/2009 at 5:50 pm

The Vaccine Court’s release of its opinion on Darwin’s 200th birthday was fortuitous, seeing as the vaccine-autism faithful have a good deal in common with religious fundamentalists. They are so invested in their ideas that they ignore or attack any evidence to the contrary, and treat gaps in the opposing evidence as further proof in their favor.

The obscenity of the “anti-vax” movement is stupefying– a campaign to reinstitute open sewers or ban refrigeration could scarcely threaten greater violence to the public health.

I have much more to say on this topic here.

Comment from The Daily Gonzo
Time 22/2/2009 at 5:40 pm

You’re absolutely right in your criticism, but I think you’re also missing the point entirely:
The anti-vaxxers don’t just “try out” homophobia, but actively encourage it with their pathologizing of human differences.

Anti-vaxxers (and quacks in general) always insist, that Autism is a “terrible disease” which is of course a precondition for sCAM mongering; if people were more accepting of human differences, snake oil peddlers would lose a market.

So whenever Autism rights advocates point out that Autism is a way of being, comparing it to homosexuality, (which was until fairly recently classified as a mental illness) these points get firmly dismissed as unrelated, often with a scoffing homophobic tone.
I’ve noticed this on the AoA blog, and John Best is also notorious for his rampant homophobia.

I think you should consider the medical model and how it stigmatizes people as defected and less human:
Your use of the word “homosexual” has exactly that clinical background, and is therefore rejected by the LGBT community.
Here’s a link to the GLAAD Media Reference Guide: Offensive Terminology to Avoid which explains this in more detail.

The fact that the anti-vaxx movement includes gay men, and Kirby wrote for The Advocate is sad enough, but then again The Advocate isn’t free from the occasional slip into bigotry, and had a rather ill-advised cover last year declaring that “Gay is the new black”, ignoring that racism still exists and other groups (people with disabilities for example) get discriminated against, too.