It has been often repeated in recent years that the new civil rights struggle is for LGBT “equality.” During a debate regarding same-sex marriage in 2008, hosted by the local bar association and law school, I distinctly recall a fellow panelist opining in sweeping emotional language about how the LGBT movement was the moral equivalent of the historic movements for women’s or racial equality. We have been told that civil rights sympathy and special legal protection should be afforded by society precisely because those struggling with same-sex attraction or transgender dysphoria, purportedly similar to the categories of race or gender, were “born this way.” That being gay is a lot like being a woman or like being black. Not to mix metaphors too much but, according to all available scientific research, this civil rights narrative turns out to be the ethical equivalent of a house of cards built upon a foundation of sand. Like the emperor, it may be proud, powerful and pretentious, but it is nakedly false.
A recent report published in the New Atlantis by two of the leading scholars on mental health and human sexuality completely destroys the factual basis for the LBTQ “civil rights” narrative. The report, “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” is co-authored by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh. Mayer is a scholar-in-residence in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University. McHugh is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. When McHugh was a psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins, he put an end to sex reassignment surgery there, after a study revealed that it didn’t have the benefits for which doctors and patients had long hoped. In fact, it did much more harm than good.
McHugh and Mayer’s 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender.
Here are four of the report’s most striking and important conclusions:
- 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.
There are many very important public policy implications that flow out of this research.
First, policy makers, in particular, and society in general, should not be in such a rush to acknowledge and applaud transgenderism. This is especially true for children and teens who may be dealing with same-sex attraction or transgender feelings. As the research shows, many of them will simply grow out of or move beyond these feelings. Hormonal and surgical intervention for children should be avoided. Mayer and McHugh write: “We are disturbed and alarmed by the severity and irreversibility of some interventions being publicly discussed and employed for children.” It is neither empathetic nor compassionate to lock children into behavior patterns or beliefs about themselves when these proclivities may be fluid or changing; and especially when these lifestyle choices are known to result in higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicide.
And the outcomes of sex-reassignment surgery aren’t much better for adults (think Caitlyn Jenner). As the study notes:
“Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about five times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.”
In light of this research, the Obama administration’s recent mandate that all health insurance plans must include sex reassignment surgery appears grossly misguided.
Second, we shouldn’t change bathrooms for everyone to accommodate less than .03 percent of the population that may be transgender. It is frankly anti-women to refuse to respect the privacy and safety of women and girls in the restrooms, locker rooms, and showers of America. Should we force them to feel unsafe and uncomfortable in the presence of gender-confused biological men? Should more than 50 percent of the population forfeit its right to privacy and safety for .03 percent? I think not.
Third, we must finally admit that virtually the entire factual and legal foundation for same-sex marriage, nationally mandated in Obergefell v. Hodges, as Elf famously said, “Sits upon a throne of lies.” This research directly contradicts claims made by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in last year’s Obergefell ruling. Kennedy wrote, “Their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment.” He added that only “in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.”
Sorry Justice Kennedy, this just simply isn’t true. In fact, a combination of biological, environmental, and experiential factors likely account for an individual’s sexual attractions, desires, and identity, and as the study notes “there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.” Those pushing the radical LGBT legal agenda, desperately want this to be true so that they can “win” the debate about whether same-sex relationships are the “same” as opposite-sex relationships and therefore entitled to equal societal recognition and dignity. But, the emperor has no clothes.
The other same-sex marriage lie debunked by other research is that gay parents are the “same” as heterosexual parents. This is the myth that two men or two women are the equal in terms of parenting outcomes and child thriving as are traditional man-woman marriages. This is the idea that children “just need to be loved,” that they don’t necessarily benefit from being raised and nurtured by a mother and father. This myth has also been widely debunked in the social science research, such as Mark Regnerus’ studies. All the research establishes that kids actually need a mom and need a dad—in fact they do much better with a mom and dad.
In conclusion, let’s take a moment to finally acknowledge the obvious elephant in the room. We can and should realize that the LGBTQ + Emperor has no clothes! He never did. We have been consistently lied to and deceived by those pushing what some have labeled the radical LGBT agenda. We must always treat those struggling with LGBT issues with compassion, dignity and respect. However, the bottom line here is that most of the American public has been duped by years of cultural propaganda and myths—a wide-spread decades long misinformation campaign—unsupported by experience, common sense, and science. In a cultural moment awash in strong emotions and pagan worship of the idol of radical sexual autonomy, truth still exists, actually matters, and should be the plumb line when creating public policy that will actually result in the common good and human flourishing.
— by Dean R. Broyles, Esq.
Broyles is a constitutional attorney serving as the President of The National Center For Law & Policy (NCLP), an organization fighting to promote and defend religious freedom. Copyright© The National Center For Law & Policy. Reprinted with permission.