Gay GOP official under fire for linking LGBTQ suicide rates to number of sex partners
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Dave Robinson, the communications director for the Salt Lake County Republican Party, is facing criticism after he linked suicide rates in the LGBTQ community to the number of sexual partners a person has had. 

During a meeting with The Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial board, Robinson, who is gay, recalled a previous conversation he had in which he sought to defend the Republican Party’s relationship with the gay community.

“I said, you can own your own business, you can run for office — I don’t think there’s a better time on this planet in history to be gay than right now,” Robinson said to the Tribune.

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When pressed about the high suicide rates among those in the LGBTQ community, Robinson said he thinks “it has more to do with the lifestyle that the gays are leading that they refuse to have any scrutiny with.” 

He then went on to note that he knows members of the LGBTQ community who have been involved with “over 2,000 sex partners” and said he believes that could be contributing to “some of the self-loathing” in the community that turns people to committing suicide.

“You talk to some of these people that have had grundles of sex partners and the self-loathing and basically the unhappiness and the self-hatred level is tremendously high,” he said. “The gay community really needs to start having some conversations within their community, saying, how is our lifestyle affecting our mental health?” 

The communications director also said the increase in the availability of PrEP, a kind of pre-exposure prophylaxis used to prevent HIV, could be causing an increase in STD rates by causing members of the LGBTQ community to engage in unprotected sex like “bunny rabbits” and leading to mental health issues that can lead to suicide. 

Robinson’s remarks prompted criticism from many other Republicans who denounced his controversial claims. 

“I am angry that someone who purports to speak for Republicans has made such inappropriate, inaccurate and hurtful comments,” Salt Lake County Council Chairwoman Aimee Winder Newton said in response to Robinson’s remarks to the Tribune. “This has caused our LGBTQ friends heartache and has been counterproductive in our fight against suicide.”

Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R) also condemned Robinson’s remarks in a post on Twitter.

“Instead of enjoying a celebratory dinner with family recognizing the passage of Historic National Legislation for suicide prevention, I have to react to this,” Thatcher said on Twitter. “Mr. Robinson, you do NOT speak for me. Bigotry in any form is unacceptable. Disappointing is not a strong enough word.”

Robinson defended his comments after he was notified by the Tribune they would be published on Tuesday.

“I stand by my position that multiple sexual partners leads to increased risk of STD and HIV, which affects one’s mental, physical and financial health, which leads to a higher risk of depression which leads to a higher risk of thoughts of suicide which leads to higher suicide rates,” Robinson told the newspaper in an email.