Monkeypox: The Real ‘Don’t Say Gay’ - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Monkeypox: The Real ‘Don’t Say Gay’

When it comes to monkeypox, male homosexuality again becomes the love that dare not speak its name.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tasked with compiling surveillance-report snapshots of the demographics of disease, reports this slur against our egalitarian age:

The median age of [monkeypox] patients is 35 years (range 18 to 76). Of the 1,383 patients with information on sex assigned at birth, 99.1% were assigned male sex (13 assigned female sex).…  Among the male patients with information on sexual activity, 99% (n=624) reported male to male sexual contact.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state-of-emergency declaration omits mention of the small group of men who have sex with men accounting for such a massive percentage of the cases. So, too, does New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s declaration of a disaster in the Empire State. Ditto for the state of emergency declared by New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Highlighting this fact undoubtedly saves numerous players from a trip to the 15-day disabled list. But some political figures instead are fixated on defeating a threat more ominous than even monkeypox: stigma. In the fight against this affliction, public health officials do sometimes by necessity indicate, obliquely, circuitously, and otherwise, the prevalence of monkeypox among homosexual men.

Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, writes to the World Health Organization:

We fear the consequences due to “monkeypox” related stigma may be exacerbated given that in many contexts, transmission is concentrated among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men — a population we know to face ongoing stigma, marginalization, violence and even criminalization. Words can save lives or put them at further risk; thus, the world cannot repeat these mistakes in nomenclature again.

Cancer, heart disease, malaria … nomenclature?

The United Nations emphasizes that “the disease could affect anyone” and that “available evidence suggests that those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox, and that risk is not limited in any way, to men who have sex with men.” The U.N. warns that “reporting and commentary was reinforcing homophobic and racist stereotypes” and proclaims that it “appreciates the LGBTI community for having led the way in raising awareness of Monkeypox.” It encourages “a rights-based, evidence-based approach that avoids stigma.”

While authorities tell us on every package of cigarettes that smoking heightens chances of lung cancer, they present a general, everybody-is-at-risk message on monkeypox, à la the “not limited in any way” or “in many contexts” from the propaganda masked as public health above. Public servants lag behind the media, which in the early days of the spread vaguely reported outbreaks at “festivals” and “raves” — as though perhaps glow sticks and 200 beats per minute caused monkeypox — but now offer more specifics. Influential gays, less afraid that the “homophobe” label will stick, also openly note that this disease disproportionately impacts their group.

“It’s entertaining watching the left sit here and say, ‘Don’t stigmatize gays for this being a — quote — gay disease,’” Charles Moran, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, told Breitbart. He continued:

[B]ut at the same time, the health direction is, “This would probably be a good time to reduce your number of sexual partners or to limit your different types of exposure,” and then people turning around and saying, “Well that’s just homophobic,” but at the same time turning around and saying, “You’re not doing enough for our population.”

Bravo host Andy Cohen acknowledged that “this is affecting us at much higher rates than others right now.” He told fellow gays to “get vaccinated,” “be safe,” “don’t take unnecessary risks,” and “keep it locked up.”

That sounds like a person who cares about gays. The proclamations from the politicians read like from people who care about whether other people will say they care about gays.

The term “gay,” an obligatory mention for first grade teachers and story hours at the library, has become muted by many of the same politicians incensed that Florida officials ordered teachers to leave sexuality out of their lesson plans for 9-year-olds and under. Monkeypox morphed “Must Say Gay” into “Don’t Say Gay.”

It turns out that germs flash two middle fingers, or at least those spikes that cover them, at diversity, equity, and inclusion. Strangely, health officials desiring to scare the public about contagious diseases refuse to spotlight the aspect of germs most horrifying to the 21st-Century Man Person: their bigotry.

Our fear of stereotyping groups so overwhelms that many suppress data that might show one group or another especially prone to a malady. This familiar phenomenon depicted COVID-19, a disease primarily killing the old and obese, as a deadly threat to schoolchildren and people wishing to play basketball at a public court. We try to democratize diseases, but they keep discriminating. Our wish to impose randomness hides the behavior that helps determine not only whether one becomes sick but the severity of the sickness.

Highlighting rather than hiding the truth allows for informed choices that allow adults to weigh risk and reward. Smoking, Burger King, and the Daddyland Festival — each someone’s idea of enjoyment — come with consequences. We do not like consequences, either. So, we downplay behavioral risks. Many treat them as literally a fate worse than death by intentionally omitting them.

These diseases kill not only people but ideological assumptions. This latter result some cannot abide.

Daniel J. Flynn
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Daniel J. Flynn, a senior editor of The American Spectator, is the author of Cult City: Harvey Milk, Jim Jones, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco (ISI Books, 2018), The War on Football (Regnery, 2013), Blue Collar Intellectuals (ISI Books, 2011), A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, New York Post, City Journal, National Review, and his own website,   
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