The fall issue of The New Atlantis — A Journal of Technology and Society contains a report of tremendous significance for both professionals and the general public on the various issues surrounding sexuality and gender.
The journal is published by the ‘Center for the Study of Technology and Society’, a non-profit research and educational organisation in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to improve understanding of the crucial moral and political questions raised by modern science and technology.
The report is entitled “Sexuality and Gender,” an article that is self-described as a “careful summary and an up-to-date explanation of research on sexual orientation and gender identity, offered to improve public understanding of these complicated subjects.” Readers may access this study at http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/number-50-fall-2016.
So far, the article has not received attention in the local press. Given that in this scientific age so many major public policies and paradigm-changing decisions are based on scientific evidence, I thought it was important to bring it to your and the public’s attention.
The report was written by Dr. Paul R. McHugh, M.D., who, according to the preface to the report, is the former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and “one of the leading psychiatrists in the world,” and Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, MB, MS, PhD, who is currently “a scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.” The report is based on research across a variety of scientific fields, including epidemiology, genetics, endocrinology, psychiatry, neuroscience, embryology, and paediatrics, as well as psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and gender studies.
When the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favour of same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015, Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the SCOTUS. Included in his statement were these words, “Only in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognised that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.” Clearly Justice Kennedy, along with a host of others, holds to the view that sexual orientation is immutable, because people are “born that way.” That view, however, is not supported by science, according to this report. In fact, the report notes that as many as 80 per cent of male adolescents who claim a gay sexual orientation will change their preference by the time they are into adulthood! Likewise, the report shows that the vast majority of “transgender” children who feel an attachment to the opposite gender grow out of it by the time they become adults.
Of equal significance is the sobering set of facts regarding health issues. The report states, “Compared to the general population, non-heterosexual and transgender sub-populations have higher rates of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and suicide, as well as behavioural and social problems such as substance abuse and intimate partner violence.” When we add to this the known fact that—to quote from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—“Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM)…are disproportionately impacted by syphilis, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),” we see how important it is to both private life and public policy that science, and not political correctness, be given priority consideration.
The press has a significant role in influencing values and behaviours, and this role must be exercised with integrity and impartiality, as well as courage, in an age where the risk of offending certain parties appears to be given more weight than the value of certain information to the common good of society.
The writers of this report came face to face with this social malignancy. Dr Mayer writes in his preface to the study: “In the course of writing this report, I consulted a number of individuals who asked that I not thank them by name. Some feared an angry response from the more militant elements of the LGBT community; others feared an angry response from the more strident elements of religiously conservative communities. Most bothersome, however, is that some feared reprisals from their own universities for engaging such controversial topics, regardless of the report’s content — a sad statement about academic freedom.” Fortunately, these good doctors did not allow such fear to hinder the release of this important report.
Pastor Alson Ebanks
Cayman Ministers’ Association