Though Gibson never explicitly states the basis for his argument,rnthe logic appears to go as follows. First, some 5,000rnyoung people commit suicide each year (true). Assuming thatrnone-tenth of the population is homosexual, we would expectrnabout 500 of these cases to involve gay teenagers and youngrnadults, i/homosexuals had a “normal” rate of suicidal behavior.rnHowever, homosexuals are approximately three times as likelyrnas heterosexuals to commit suicide, so that the actual numberrnof homosexual suicides in a given year would be closer to 1,500.rnTherefore, the proportion of teen and young adult suicide casesrninvolving homosexuals is about 30 percent of the whole, orrnapproximately one third.rnThe argument therefore depends on the estimate for the gayrnproportion of the population, and that is drawn entirely fromrnKinsey—neat and unadulterated by any of the subsequent refinementsrnor revisions of that disastrous project, although manyrnsuch interpretations were available even then. Gibson’s conclusionrnhas been quoted as authoritative by other writers, all ofrnwhom know (or should know) the fundamental flaws of thernKinsey data. Moreover, Gibson’s “one in ten” refers to thosernyoung people with “a primary gay male, lesbian or bisexual orientation.”rnWhat makes this outrageous is that not even Kinseyrnclaimed a lesbianism rate of ten percent of women, evenrnamong the very odd sample with which he was working. Norrnhas any study ever shown or even argued that bisexuals have arnhigher tendency toward suicide than heterosexuals, as claims ofrnhigher suicide rates have only been presented for the exclusivelyrnand self-identified homosexual. Apples are most certainlyrnbeing compared with oranges.rnWhat is particularly strange about all this is that for most ofrnthis century, one of the standard weapons in the antihomosexualrnarserral was the charge that gays were indeed likely to commitrnsuicide because their condition was inherently unhealthy,rnand connected to various forms of mental illness. Gounteringrnthis allegation, the American Psychiatric Association removedrnhomosexuality from its diagnostic list of diseases and pathologiesrnin 1973. A decade later, gay activists themselves began presentingrngay vulnerability to suicide in the foreground of theirrnown rhetoric, as proof of the pernicious effects of rampant andrnpervasive homophobia throughout American society. Today,rnthis latter approach has become the norm, and the rhetoric hasrnwon universal acceptance in the media, for whom “homophobia”rnleads directly to the destruction of young lives.rnThe question of whether homosexuals (however defined)rnconstitute one or ten percent of the population does not itselfrnhave great significance for the issue of gay rights or gay activism.rnOne might follow John Stuart Mill in believing that a societyrnhas no business regulating the sexual doings of its citizens, providedrnthat no harm is caused to outside parties, while there isrnample precedent for providing legal protections for people orrngroups who prove vulnerable to assault or discrimination.rnThese arguments do not change substantially whether thernUnited States has two million “gays” or 25 million. On the otherrnhand, it is hard to tolerate the arguments that have beenrnmade about gay rights and wrongs, when these are founded uponrnevidence or statistics that are not only wrong, but which thernadvocates in question should know are wrong. The wholernmythology of “one in ten” of the population being homosexualrnmight well be discussed in terms of abuse and perversion, butrnusing neither term in a sexual sense: the abuse is that ofrnrhetoric, and it is science which is perverted in the process.rnTHIRTY-FIVE YEARSrnOF NEWSPAPER W O R KrnEdited by Fred Hobson,rnVincent Fitzpatrich, andrnBradford Jacobsrn”No greater prose stylist everrnwrote for an American newspaper.rnIt is always useful andrnenjoyable to be reminded of this.”rn—-Jonathan Yardley, Vashi?igtorirnPost Book Worldrn$16.95 paperbackrnPREJUDICESrnA SELECTIONrnSelected and with anrnIntroduction byrnJames T. Farrellrn”These selections . . . representrnMencken when he was at thernpeak of his influence and had, inrnfact, become a legend. Here isrnsome of his wittiest and mostrnbuoyant writing.”—James T.rnFarrellrn$15.95 paperbackrnH. L. M E N C K E NrnM E N C K E N ‘ S A U T O B I O G R A P H YrnHAPPY DAYSrnVOLUME : 1880-18S2rn”The basis of the book’s delightrnis that the Baltimore d the daysrnwhen Cleveland was presidentrnand soft crabs sold for two and arnfraction cents a piece . . . isrnmiraculously seen again throughrnthe eyes of a secure young savagernof the more fortunate bourgeoisie.”rn—Saturday Reviewrn$13.95 paperbackrnNEWSPAPER DAYSrnVOLUME 2: 1899-1906rnH B A T H E N D A Y SrnVOLUME 3 : 1 8 9 0 – 1 9 3 6rn”Mr. Mencken is certiiinly One ofrnthe most accomplished and mostrndelightful writers ourcoiintry ha.srnever produced. This third installmentrnof his own remembrance ofrnthings past is a sheer joy to read.”rn—The NationrnON POLITICSrnA C A R N I V A L OF B U N C O M B Ern”Mencken . . . went about as farrnin denigrating the mental competencernof the public figures, largernand small, of his day as expertrnemployment of the Englishrnlanguage could take him.”—NewrnYork Times Book Reviewrn$15.95 paperbackrnHampden Station, Baltimore, Maryland 21211rn1-800-537-5487 •