The homophobic LifeSite News – an ultraconservative site that also rails against abortion and contraception – got temporarily banned from Twitter for tweeting an article on sexually transmitted infections that condemned the behavior of gay and bisexual men.
“We have restored your account, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” Twitter officials reportedly said in a message to LifeSite News. “Twitter takes reports of violations of the Twitter Rules very seriously. After reviewing your account, it looks like we made an error.”
The article in question was from 2014 and was written by Gerard M. Nadal, a biologist who is president and CEO of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, which claims there is a link between abortion and breast cancer – something that has been widely debunked.
L:ifeSite News called his article on STIs “a factual analysis of homosexual health data,” but his analysis is actually questionable. He cited a Bloomberg News story on the rise in syphilis and gonorrhea among men who have sex with men; Bloomberg reported figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and quoted medical professionals who blamed homophobia and lack of access to care for the rise.
But Nadal’s “analysis” termed this reasoning a “whine.” He further cited a New York Times article about gay and bi men’s reluctance to disclose to partners if they are HIV-positive, and he blamed nondisclosure and condomless sex for the rise in STIs.
These are indeed concerns that the LGBTQ community and responsible health care providers have brought up – although in recent years, pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV-negative people and treatment as prevention for those who are positive have greatly reduced the chance of HIV transmission. It’s almost impossible for an HIV-positive person with an undetectable viral load to transmit the virus. Of course, these strategies don’t prevent the transmission of other STIs, and that is among the concerns LGBTQ activists and supportive health care providers are addressing.
Nadal’s response, though, was to demonize gay and bisexual men. “In studies and commentary on the issue of nondisclosure, fear of rejection is often cited as the driving force,” he wrote. “While quite legitimate, the act of nondisclosure says something about the hedonistic predisposition of the offenders. They are more concerned about their acceptance in bed, than the life, health, and safety of the people whom they knowingly place at risk. They hold in low esteem the unsuspecting individual, denying them the right to make a decision for themselves. It is part of the objectification of the other inherent in sexual promiscuity.”
That sounds pretty hateful, actually. But LifeSite News contended the blocking of the site was a sign of liberal bias in Silicon Valley. “This total intolerance for even reporting government health dept statistics that reveal the health dangers of homosexual activity betrays what Peter Thiel, himself a homosexual, previously called a totalitarian mindset in Silicon Valley,” Steve Jalsevac, cofounder and president of LifeSite News, said in a post on the site. “This is getting dangerous for our democracy since a free press is one of the basic and necessary foundations for a genuinely democratic society.”
Peter Thiel, however, is a supporter of Donald Trump, and Trump calls the press an “enemy of the people” and has responded inadequately to the murder of a Washington Post journalist in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.
At any rate, LifeSite’s Twitter access has been restored. The site says 7,300 people signed a petition calling for the restoration, and numerous conservative activists spoke out. LifeSite also happens to be hosting a petition urging the firing of a gay staff member at a San Diego Catholic church. The staffer and the church have been targets of vandalism and threats.