This is a big deal.
I was e-mailed and messaged by billions of people to write about this, even though I had already tweeted it Monday morning, from Ryan Anderson, and then again Monday afternoon, from Kelsey Harkness.
Anyway, there was a new report published in the journal The New Atlantis, surveying all the peer-reviewed research that has been done on sexual orientation and gender identity. (H/T Roland, George, William, and many, many others)
This article from the Daily Signal explains what the report is about:
A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.
Co-authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality, the 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.
The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”
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, whom the editor of The New Atlantis describes as “arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century,” is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was for 25 years the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was during his tenure as psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins that he put an end to sex reassignment surgery there, after a study launched at Hopkins revealed that it didn’t have the benefits for which doctors and patients had long hoped.
These are serious people. Johns Hopkins is the top medical school in the USA, and probably in the whole world.
The Daily Signal article also lists the 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 reason why we need to be guided by science in these matters, and not by ideology or feelings, is because of the harm we can do to children if we are not accurate:
Policymakers should be concerned with how misguided school policies might encourage students to identify as girls when they are boys, and vice versa, and might result in prolonged difficulties. As the report notes, “There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”
You should read the rest of the Daily Signal’s post, and if you want to go on and read the report, you can find that here on the New Atlantis journal’s web site.
I feel pretty comfortable talking about the same-sex marriage issue, having read several books and papers on that. I also have some background in gender identity disorder, and different things that happen to a child in the womb, and during their childhoods, that can affect that. But this transgender question is an area where I need to read more – this was not on the radar when I was exploring all this in the late 90s and early 2000s. I want to be able to discuss this as competently as I can discuss other social issues.