Why, oh why, do I read The Guardian?

Caption: I think he probably guessed already.

I know I say that I read The Guardian so that you don?t have to, but sometimes I really have to wonder why I do it to myself. Just when I think they couldn?t say anything more crazy, along comes this: Quote:

Amyl nitrite: Australia’s ban on poppers is an attack on gay and bisexual men. End of quote.

Excuse me?what?

Amyl nitrite has long been a drug particularly associated with gay party culture. I?ll spare you the details. But arguing that restricting its use is somehow akin to gay-bashing is as ludicrous as arguing that restricting the use of marijuana is an attack on white boys with dreadlocks. Quote:

In the 1890s, South Australia and Queensland became some of the first jurisdictions in the world to enact laws prohibiting the non-medical use of a particular drug?widely regarded as racially discriminatory?we can see a parallel in the Therapeutic Goods Administration?s proposal to criminalise a family of alkyl nitrites commonly referred to as ?amyl? or ?poppers?. End of quote.

Well, no, we can?t. Reaching back 130 years really shows how weak this guilt-by-association argument really is.

It gets sillier. Quote:

We can consider how the proposed ban on poppers might implicitly criminalise homosexual sex. End of quote.

Or not. You don?t need to pop amyls in order to engage in a bit of pillow-biting. Lube is perfectly legal, and available even in supermarkets these days. Hell, just spit on your fingers if you?re desperate.

But we haven?t got to the bottom of the rabbit hole of hysterical flouncing yet. Backs to the wall, folks, it?s about to get really crazy. Quote:

Indeed, some of the justifications for the prohibition are grounded in homophobic tropes, such as the common stereotype that gay men are sexual predators, paedophiles or endanger children.

The TGA?s September report argues that the ?sweet? aroma of poppers poses a risk to child safety through the possibility of accidental ingestion?the implication is that gay and bisexual men are a threat to children. End of quote.

What the hell are you sniffing, there, son? The argument about “sweet aroma” is definitely a bit silly (the stuff stinks), but there’s no ?implication?. Unless you?ve got your theybies as a no-doubt terrified audience to your amyl-powered backdoor-blitzin?, it?s hard to see how you?re drawing that connection. Quote:

Further, the report goes on to repeat the assertion that paedophiles use nitrites to sexually assault children no fewer than six times, citing a report from 1993 that concluded there was no evidence for this claim. End of quote.

?No evidence,? maybe, except for police reports like this: A ?predatory paedophile ring??plied [boys] with amyl nitrite, or ?poppers?.

Or this: The girl was raped or indecently dealt with by six other men?who drugged her with amyl nitrate; and: A gang of paedophiles…discussed the use of amyl nitrate ?poppers? to subdue victims.

And this: A former RAF airman who repeatedly raped a young girl…gave his victim amyl nitrate, known as poppers, on several occasions before abusing her.

None of this suggests that all gay men are paedophiles ? indeed, they show that amyl is used by heterosexual predators as much as homosexual ? but they do serve to show that the author is either willfully blind or just plain lying through his teeth when he claims that there is ?no evidence?.

The arguments (valid or not) for restricting amyl nitrites are based on health grounds, not some imaginary anti-bum-bandit conspiracy. Quote:

Misuse can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea, or exacerbate glaucoma and circulation problems. This is mostly true. However, the same can be said of the sex aid Viagra, mainly used by heterosexual men, which can cause headaches, dizziness, congestion, diarrhoea and rashes in addition to exacerbating existing conditions. End of quote.

There are a few things to correct here. Firstly: mainly used by heterosexual men? This is simply untrue: Thirty-two percent of?gay and bisexual men in [a] study reported using Viagra during the past year, compared to only 7 percent of the heterosexual men. The use of Viagra among gay men, particularly in what is known as the ?ChemSex? scene (don’t ask, don’t Google), is well documented.

This is where a very real risk of amyl abuse comes in: Poppers taken with?erection inducing drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra)?can dangerously affect blood pressure and heart rate causing a person to faint, or even have a heart attack or stroke.

Now, I get that arguments can be made both for and against restricting the sale of certain substances. Maybe further restricting amyl nitrites is an over-reaction.

But to paint it as a big ol? gay-hatin? conspiracy is ludicrous. Even for The Guardian.