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Psychologist Paul Cameron has been bashing LGBT people for at least 30 years. His continued demonization of LGBT people and the shoddy and suspect research methods he uses to advance his claims have earned his Family Research Institute (FRI) a place on the SPLC’s anti-LGBT hate group list. They have also earned him censure from a number of professional organizations and harsh critiques of his work (try here, here, and here for starters). In spite of all that, Cameron’s pseudoscience is still widely used to disparage LGBT people, especially by the religious right, and he still finds venues for his articles, some of which aren’t pay-to-publish.
Most recently, Marriage and Family Review, an academic journal published by Taylor & Francis Group, released one of his articles, something the Christian Post made note of earlier this month (Cameron’s co-author is his son, Kirk, no relation to the actor). The article is a rebuttal of sorts to the work of psychologist Evelyn Hooker, whose groundbreaking research in the 1950s exploded the myth that homosexuality is a mental disorder. Cameron doesn’t agree, of course, and claims in the Christian Post that “homosexuals have a host of mental problems, disproportionate physical problems [and] they don’t live as long, and they are disproportionately involved in drug abuse and criminality.”
It’s par for the course for Cameron. After all, this is a man who in 2010 addressed a Polish audience in Krakow and claimed that “homosexuals are more apt to have sex with animals when they’re young, they’re more apt to have sex with animals when they’re adults.” In a 2012 appearance on Crosstalk on the Voice of Christian Youth radio network, he said, “Mark my words clearly; the long term goal of the homosexual movement is to get every little boy to grab his ankles and every little girl to give it a try.” As if that wasn’t clear enough, he compared gay men and lesbians to people who have sexual attractions to socks: “Those who engage in homosexuality or transgenderism or smelling socks, all these things make your life more difficult, and it’s reasonable to regard such people as being mentally deranged or mentally troubled.” He has a number of pamphlets available on the FRI’s website that make all manner of discredited claims about LGBT people, including that they’re more violent than heterosexuals, that they molest children, and one particularly sordid one that describes the alleged sex acts of gay men. That one has the dubious honor of making the rounds on white nationalist websites.
To be clear, Taylor & Francis Group publishes numerous academic journals, and each one has its own chief editor and editorial board. We were curious, though, about how a man with Cameron’s reputation for distorted research could pass an academic peer review. After all, a peer review involves (hopefully) checking the sources of an article and how they’re used in the argument the author makes.
So Hatewatch contacted the publisher’s social sciences editor with questions about management of the various journals. The editor informed us that the vetting and selection of journal content – including peer review – is the purview of each individual journal’s editor. Hence, our inquiry was passed along to Dr. Walter Schumm, editor of Marriage and Family Review and a professor in the department of family studies and human services at Kansas State University.
Schumm, as it turns out, was once listed as a member of an editorial board for a journal Cameron tried to launch, a journal that would reportedly charge authors $500 to publish an article. In the E-mail, Schumm said that Cameron submitted his article to Marriage and Family Review in response to Schumm’s open request for papers rebutting Hooker’s work.
“The essence of scholarship is the pursuit of truth, not political correctness,” Schumm wrote, adding, “If these accusers were focused on truth, they would rebut what Cameron had to say rather than making ad hominem attacks.”
Schumm said he doesn’t “have a rule that you cannot publish if some right or left wing organization doesn’t like you.” In fact, he said that “if I hear about such things, I might be more likely to invite such a person to submit a manuscript or comment.” He said he wants many different voices in the journal – “even voices that some may be trying to suppress.”
Schumm is no stranger to controversy when it come to research about LGBT people. In 2010, he published a paper in which he suggests that LGBT parents are more apt to have gay or lesbian children – that is, LGBT parents will “turn” their children gay through parental pressure and modeling. The study was published in the Journal of Biosocial Science (formerly the Eugenics Review, the publication of the British-based Eugenics Society, which advocated for legislation supportive of eugenics programs until the 1960s, when it decided to focus on biosocial science). The JBS, published in the UK through Cambridge, also has published Cameron. Hatewatch has contacted JBS in the past regarding the publication of Cameron’s work but received only one response, an acknowledgement of receiving the initial E-mail. We received no follow-up. And we’re not the only ones who experienced that. Hatewatch also contacted the Cambridge journals division but received no reply.
Schumm has also written for the online Mercatornet, a rightist site whose editors are based in Australia. Mercatornet has posted articles like this one, which claims that the “It Gets Better” campaign to help bulled LGBT children and teens is actually promoting “deviant sex.” And in a 2010 interview with the rightist LifeSiteNews, Schumm claimed that he found several studies demonstrating that lesbian relationships are unstable.
For his part, Schumm has in the past questioned Cameron’s contention that LGBT people are a danger to children. He explained in the E-mail responding to Hatewatch that Marriage and Family Review publishes a diversity of articles and that the journal welcomes comment on them.
Seems fair enough. But is it really in the interest of free speech, academic discourse and scientific research to publish the work of a man who has been censured by four professional academic organizations for his distorted research about LGBT people? A man who has, over the past 30 years, denigrated LGBT people and made false claims about them that range from the dangerous (they’re child molesters) to the ridiculous (gay men stick gerbils in their rectums)?
We think not.