A new report by two American scholars argues that people’s claims to be homosexual at birth or that they are “trapped” in the body of a different gender are not supported by scientific evidence.
The report “Sexuality and Gender” was released Aug. 22 in the fall issue of The New Atlantis, a self-described journal of science, technology and ethics. It was written by Lawrence S. Mayer, a scholar in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University and professor of statistics at Arizona State University, along with Paul R. McHugh, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“We are disturbed and alarmed by the severity and irreversibility of some interventions being publicly discussed and employed for children.”
The report is said to summarize current research on sexual orientation and gender identity from the biological, psychological and social sciences covering nearly 200 peer-reviewed studies from the 1950s to the present.
According to press materials, the report offers four main findings:
— “The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property — that people are ‘born that way’ — is not supported by scientific evidence.
— “Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex — so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ — is not supported by scientific evidence.
— “Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.
— “Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.”
The authors say they offered their study “in the hope that such an exposition can contribute to our capacity as physicians, scientists, and citizens to address health issues faced by LGBT populations within our society.”
They drew particular emphasis on “medical interventions for gender-nonconforming youth.” Young people who wish to express a different gender than that which they were born are “increasingly receiving therapies” including “hormone treatments or surgical modifications at young ages,” the authors write.
“We are disturbed and alarmed by the severity and irreversibility of some interventions being publicly discussed and employed for children,” they write.
The authors say they take no position on “current legal and public policy controversies,” and instead call for more research on “nearly 20 critical issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.”
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