Page 6, 27th February 1998

27th February 1998
Page 6
Page 6, 27th February 1998 — Shorter lives for practising gays: untrue or just politically incorrect?
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Shorter lives for practising gays: untrue or just politically incorrect?

PETER STANFORD, it Seems to

me, is rather less than charitable, and rather more than confused, in what he writes about Anne Atkins' article in the Sun (Book review, 20 February).

I have before me as I write a copy of the Press Complaints Commission's "adjudication" on complaints about that article. It criticises Mrs Atkins' claims that (1) the average life span of a homogenitally active man who has not contracted HIV is 43 years, and (2) that a homogenitally active man is 17 times more likely to be a paedophile than a "straight" man.

But it needs to be noted, and in all fairness should be noted, that the Commission did not say then and has not said since, that those two statements are untrue, merely that they "should not have been presented as fact", which gives the impression that it was more concerned with political correctness than with veracity.

As a matter of fact, the Duke of Norfolk quoted the 43 year lifespan figure in the House of Lords debate on the gay age of consent. And no one questioned it there or then. Contrariwise, of course, Peter seems over charitable in proclaiming Ms Elizabeth Stuart to be both a "devout Catholic" and a "lesbian". To say the least, his judgement on that score carries no weight, but a biblical threat of retribution.

Jean Reade Banstead, Surrey




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