Study Debunks Key LGBTQ Claims

35337530 - silhouettes of people holding gay pride symbol flagA new study that examined nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies on sexual orientation and gender identity has dispelled some of the key claims of the LGBTQ community – that homosexuals are “born that way” and that surgical and hormonal interventions for children suffering gender confusion should be rejected because most grow out of it.

The National Catholic Register (NCR) is reporting on the study which found that science has not confirmed key theories about homosexuality and transgenderism. The study, which was released on August 22, was written by Dr. Lawrence Mayer, scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, and Dr. Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who served for 25 years as psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In his preface to the report, Mayer presents “Sexuality and Gender” as a work of science, not a political manifesto. An epidemiologist trained in psychiatry who has held tenured positions at the likes of Princeton University, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania, says he was inspired to co-author the report after initial research stirred grave concerns about the poor mental health outcomes in the homosexual and transgender community.

“I dedicate my work on this report, first, to the LGBT community, which bears a disproportionate rate of mental-health problems compared to the population as a whole,” Mayer wrote in the study’s preface. “We must find ways to relieve their suffering.”

He also dedicated the report to “scholars doing impartial research on topics of public controversy. May they never lose their way in political hurricanes.”

“The latter dedication underscores growing concerns that academic researchers can be influenced by powerful ideological currents that have paved the way for the legalization of same-sex ‘marriage’ and a range of accommodations for transgender people,” writes Joan Frawley Desmond for NCR. “And critics of these ideological perspectives contend that researchers face pressure to support the new orthodoxy on sex and gender, citing the case of Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas-Austin who was threatened with the loss of academic tenure after his 2012 peer-reviewed study raised questions about LGBT parenting.”

lgbt studyWhile stating that the authors of “Sexuality and Gender” will likely provoke controversy for challenging the genetic basis for same-sex attraction and treatment for children who identify as transgender, the authors take no position on public policy debates about same-sex marriage or the so-called “bathroom bills” for transgender students.

“Rather, the authors make clear that people who struggle with a range of sexuality and gender issues need the highest standard of care, and they call for additional research to provide a solid foundation for effective treatment,” Desmond writes.

Stripped of the politics, the science behind these pressing issues becomes crystal clear.

For example, there is virtually no evidence that anyone, either gay or straight, is “born that way” and found that the much touted “twin studies” that supposedly proved a genetic predisposition to homosexuality do not substantiate such claims.

“So the question ‘Are gay people born that way?’ requires clarification. There is virtually no evidence that anyone, gay or straight, is ‘born that way’ if that means their sexual orientation was genetically determined,” the report explains.

Instead, researchers found other factors to be at play, such as a causal link between non-heterosexual behavior in adults and the experience of childhood sexual abuse and bullying by peers. A 2011 meta-analysis of 37 North American studies found that non-heterosexuals were 2.9 times more likely to report sexual abuse and 1.7 times more likely to report being threatened by peers than heterosexuals.

However, they believe more research is needed to clarify this connection.

As for the transgendered, the report found no scientific evidence to support the theory that “gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be ‘a man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body.’”

The authors call into question the trend toward adopting hormonal and other interventions for children and teens who do not identify with their biological sex.

“Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood,” the report concludes. “There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.”

In fact, the report cites evidence that surgical interventions don’t work at all, such as cases of boys born with poorly developed genitalia who were surgically altered to have the genitalia of a female. Even though the parents were told to raise the boys as girls, when researchers followed up with them years later they discovered that a majority of the children still identified as males despite how they had been raised.

“What is clear is that biological sex is not a concept that can be reduced to, or artificially assigned on the basis of, the type of external genitalia,” the report states.

Overall, the authors conclude, “In reviewing the scientific literature, we find that almost nothing is well understood when we seek biological explanations for what causes some individuals to state that their gender does not match their biological sex. … Yet despite the scientific uncertainty, drastic interventions are prescribed and delivered to patients identifying, or identified, as transgender.”

Perhaps the most startling section of the report are the statistics on mental-health and sexual violence issues within the LGBT community.

For example, the researchers cite statistics from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which is conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, which found that 41percent of transgender individuals have attempted suicide compared with just 4.6 percent of the U.S. overall population.

Some experts cite what’s known as the “social-stress model” to explain these numbers, which is said to be the effects of discrimination and stigmatization within families and communities. While the authors cite that social stigma can inflict deep emotional, there is a need for well-designed studies that can test this social-stress hypothesis to determine if more is needed than just to change the laws and enforce more anti-discrimination measures.

Instead, the new study is calling for a much more robust, multifaceted approach to help this community rather than believing these mental health problems are the result of only one cause.

“At this time, the medical and social strategies for helping non-heterosexual populations in the United States are quite limited, and this may be due in part to the relatively limited explanations for the poor mental-health outcomes offered by social scientists and psychologists.”

The authors of the new study don’t claim to have all the answers yet, but believe that actual science – whether it renders politically correct results or not – must be part of the conversation going forward.

“Science is by no means the only avenue for understanding these astoundingly complex, multifaceted topics; there are other sources of wisdom and knowledge — including art, religion, philosophy, and lived human experience,” they acknowledge.

“However, we offer this overview of the scientific literature in the hope that it can provide a shared framework for intelligent, enlightened discourse in political, professional, and scientific exchanges — and may add to our capacity as concerned citizens to alleviate suffering and promote human health and flourishing.”

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