Thursday, November 04, 2010

Project Inform ED Can't Produce 
'Gay Isolation' Studies

(A "Dennis the Menace" cartoon may explain some missing studies .)

Dana Van Gorder, who continues to reside and vote in Emeryville, dedicated most of his tenure as gay liaison within the SF Department of Public Health in the 1990s to building a community center.

There was more of a grassroots push among gays who actually live here to reopen bathhouses when Van Gorder refused to support that push, because he was adamant that a center was more important. We all know now the center flopped, has very minimal community backing, and would have closed a long time ago, if not for bailouts from City Hall.

A key premise of Van Gorder's for why a center was needed was based on old-school "gay = victim" mentality. Whenever he was asked to explain the supposed needs of gays in San Francisco, the East Bay resident would invoke poor, pitiful pansies thinking and apply it to us. Here's a quote of his from April 1997 in the Chronicle, exemplifying his thinking:

"Many people continue to be isolated despite the fact there are a lot of places to plug in,'' said Dana Van Gorder, a community center board member. [...]

Eleven years later, he's still peddling his victimology. This is what he said to the Bay Area Reporter in March 2008, about why local gays had rejected the center and would not help fund it:

"In study after study, gay men, at least, describe their feelings of isolation and a lack of a sense of community. And yet the center is always somewhat starved financially in the midst of enormous community assets." [...]

There he goes again, with the supposed isolation of gay men in San Francisco, and this time he cites multiple studies to back up his claim.

I recently emailed Van Gorder, requesting copies of those studies. He currently is executive director of Project Inform, the science-heavy HIV treatment and policy org, but he made his 2008 BAR remarks as a private citizen. Regardless of whether he was wearing his AIDS Inc hat when he talked about the alleged studies, he is quite aware of the importance of backing up any health-related claim linked to gay men in San Francisco. His reply:

I have not kept many of the studies you are requesting mostly due to their age. Others were commissioned by others and I do not have access to them. Others I can assemble. I will work on that as I can given other responsibilities and get back to you.

This was my follow up to him:

You say you have not kept "many of the studies." How many of them did you discard? You further claim other studies were commissioned by "others" and you don't have access to them. Can you tell me the names of who conducted those studies and how many commissioned studies you are referring to?

When you say you can pull together others, how many other studies are you talking about?

Also, when can you assemble _any_ of the studies for public inspection? By the end of the week, end of the month, maybe before New Year's Eve?

That was sent to Van Gorder on Monday, and he has not yet replied. Because of the gravity I attach to any alleged scientific study about the health and well-being of San Francisco gay men, such as the recent largely rejected HIV math model on drug resistant strains here put forward by another non-resident, Sally Blower of UCLA, I will use public forums to address the Van Gorder claims. Publicity is a great disinfectant for bogus health claims related to SF gays.

Today I'm attending the general meeting of the HIV Prevention Planning Council, and intend to deplore Van Gorder's failure to produce a single study on the alleged isolation of gay San Franciscans. Various committees of the council will also have to deal with my concerns. It is my contention that the council must learn to be wary of any claims put forward by Van Gorder and Project Inform related to local gays, HIV prevention and treatment issues.

And Van Gorder should either produce the studies, or tell me when he can do so. If he can't show me the studies, then he must consider making an apology to the local gay community for his inaccurate portrayal of us.

1 comment:

sfmike said...

Go get him, Michael. That (new) building should be razed to the ground and the land sold to pay off the debts. That "community center" has some of the worst vibes I've ever felt, and your quotes from Mr. Van Gorder finally give me an inkling on why it's so bad.