Sexual orientation and gender identity: what does the science say? [CNA]


#1

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/size340/Gender_Credit_fieldwork_via_Shutterstock.jpgWashington D.C., Aug 27, 2016 / 07:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For most young people who experience feelings of gender dysphoria, the experience is in fact temporary, and a non-heterosexual orientation is not as fixed as sometimes claimed, a new overview of the relevant research says.

“Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood,” said the report, published in The New Atlantis Journal.

As many as 80 percent of men who reported same-sex attraction as adolescents no longer do so as adults. There were “similar but less striking” results for women. The idea of innate sexual orientation is “not supported by scientific evidence,” the report said.

Titled “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” the report reviews various research studies to examine claims about sexuality and gender.

It was authored by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, Ph.D., a biostatistician and epidemiologist now a scholar in residence at Johns Hopkins University; and by Dr. Paul R. McHugh, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

The report considers various claims like the basis and permanence of gender identity and sexual orientation.

It found there is a lack of scientific evidence for claims that gender identity is an innate property “independent of biological sex.” Scientific evidence also does not support claims that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body.”

Gender identity problems can arise for someone with Intersex conditions, where a person has ambiguous biological sex due to genetic abnormalities.

However, brain structure comparison of transgender and non-transgender individuals show only “weak correlations” between brain structure and cross-gender identification. These correlations are not evidence that this identity has a basis in the biology of the brain.

Similarly, sexual orientation’s neurological basis can be overstated. Against the “born that way” claim, the report authors write: “While there is evidence that biological factors such as genes and hormones are associated with sexual behaviors and attractions, there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.”

The report also considered sexuality, mental health, and social factors.

Non-heterosexuals are two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse.

The authors weighed the evidence that non-heterosexual attractions, desires and behaviors may increase the risk of suffering sex abuse, or that sexual abuse may cause non-heterosexual attractions, desires and behaviors. They said that more research is needed before claiming a link between sex abuse and non-heterosexual attractions.

Non-heterosexuals do face elevated risk of adverse health and mental health outcomes. They are estimated to have a 1.5 times higher risk of anxiety and substance abuse than the heterosexual population. They face double the risk of depression and 2.5 times higher risk of suicide.

The transgender population, recently estimated to make up 0.6 percent of the total population, suffers a lifetime suicide attempt rate of 41 percent, compared to 5 percent of the overall population.

There is “limited, inconsistent and incomplete” evidence that social stressors like discrimination and stigma “contribute to the elevated risk of poor mental health outcomes for non-heterosexual and transgender populations.”

The report said clinicians and policymakers should not assume that models focused on social stressors offer a complete explanation for these health differences.

“Just as it does a disservice to non-heterosexual subpopulations to ignore or downplay the statistically higher risks of negative mental health outcomes they face, so it does them a disservice to misattribute the causes of these elevated risks, or to ignore other potential factors that may be at work.”

Adults who undergo sex reassignment surgeries continue to show a high risk in mental health, being about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide and 19 times more likely to die by suicide compared to a control group.

Regarding therapies for children that delay puberty or modify sex characteristics of adolescents, there is “little scientific evidence” for their therapeutic value, the report said.

At the same time, “some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification.”

“There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender,” the report added.

Full article…


#2

More on research: mygenes.co.nz


#3

Golly, science is starting to catch up with things I have been saying for 30 years. The liberal media is not going to like this, at all.


#4

Why won’t the “liberal media” like it?
I just read the entire overview and most of it is what the “liberal media” have been reporting.

(Who are you defining as “liberal media”, btw? NYTimes, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, USA Today, LA Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, etc, etc…basically, most of the biggest outlets?)

First, this is not a new scientific study…it’s just an overview-- from the New Atlantis’s point of view-- of recent books/studies on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the last five years or so.

Second, readers take into consideration that this quarterly journal is published by a socially-conservative advocacy group…and that the article posted here, excerpting that, is from a Catholic News Agency.

Third, the “liberal media” often report what this overview summarizing:
That a spectrum of sexuality that exists, that various factors contribute to it, and that one’s sexuality is not defined by their gender–which is exactly what this three-part article on Sexuality and Gender is about.
The journal describes how sexuality in both men and women can be “fluid”.

The very first paragraph of the report says, “We hope to show here that, though sexual orientation is not a choice, neither is there scientific evidence for the view that sexual orientation is a fixed and innate biological property.”
So, sexual orientation is not a choice…and sexual attraction may not be “fixed”.

The overview also confirms that 20 percent of males who feel same-sex attraction as adolescents continue to do so in adulthood, and the rate is higher in females…closer to the 50 percent mark.

Some of the points in the summary:

1–“The concept of sexual orientation is unusually ambiguous compared to other psychological traits” and “in the face of this complexity and uncertainty, we need to be humble about what we know and do not know.”
But,
“The strongest statement that science offers to explain sexual orientation is that some biological factors appear, to an unknown extent, to predispose some individuals to a non-heterosexual orientation.”

2–That poor mental health found in sexual minorities are primarily due to “social stress” “stigmatization” “mistreatment” “prejudice” and “discrimination”.

3–“The causes of cross-gender identification remain poorly understood…thoughtful scientific research and careful, circumspect interpretation of its results can advance our understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity.
There is still much work to be done and many unanswered questions…”

I can’t see anything that I read that would bother the “liberal media”…though I think, maybe, the “conservative media” won’t like it. Notsomuch.
I don’t imagine this liberal media reporting much on this Atlantis overview, since there is nothing new here–it’s just a round-up.

Which parts of this Atlantis overview have you been saying for 30 years?

Perhaps, like what many here so often say about God…sexual orientation and gender identity are mysterious, non-concrete things that cannot be proven in a science lab.
Yet.

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#5

Sexual orientation development and disappearance is not well understood.

Gender identity is a state of mind.

Ed


#6

Yes, one thing I notice from this new summary of the research is how often it emphasizes how little we still know about sexual orientation or gender identity.


#7

I’m going by the intro of what was posted here. "“Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood,” said the report, published in The New Atlantis Journal.

As many as 80 percent of men who reported same-sex attraction as adolescents no longer do so as adults. There were “similar but less striking” results for women. The idea of innate sexual orientation is “not supported by scientific evidence,” the report said."

The liberal media supports families with a gender disordered child to encourage the “choice” of the child, and to support the choice even to the point of delaying puberty, or giving the wrong gender puberty drugs to the child.

The liberal media likes to portray homosexuality as inborn and permanent. This is why they have sought to ban reparative therapy.


#8

Reparative therapy is banned by all professional licensing bodies (Psychiatry, Psychology, Counseling, Social Work) because it is ineffective at best and psychologically harmful at worst.


#9

Yikes.

Reparitive therapy only causes more harm.


#10

It is becoming common in modern psychiatry/psychology that when the “experts” are stumped at curing people, they just nullify the condition as a disorder.


#11

Yes, I re confirmed all that in my post with more specifics after reading the entire Overview. It said that:

1-- 20 percent of males who feel same-sex attraction as adolescents continue to do so in adulthood, and the rate is higher in females…closer to the 50 percent mark.

2–The first paragraph of the overview says: “We hope to show here that, though sexual orientation is not a choice, neither is there scientific evidence for the view that sexual orientation is a fixed and innate biological property.”

So: Sexual orientation is not a choice…and sexual attraction may not be “fixed”–it can be fluid.

*What are you saying? *
That any and all newspapers, magazines, blogs, and TV news shows that are not conservative right–which pretty much means most of the largest publications in the world–encourage parents to delay their child’s puberty or give them hormones?

I just read an article in the *NYT *and the Washington Post that does not say that at all.
So you are inaccurate in stating this.

The liberal media likes to portray homosexuality as inborn and permanent. This is why they have sought to ban reparative therapy

I read articles this year in USA Today and the NYTimes that does not say this. These publications, I think, are considered “liberal” by very conservative people.
So again…what you say is not accurate.

They don’t “like to portray” homosexuality a certain way…they report what people experience and what doctors see and think and discover.

It’s not “the liberal media” that has “sought to ban reparative therapy” for homosexual people.
It’s the American Psychiatric Association, the US Surgeon General, The American Psychoanalytic Association, etc, etc…and thousands of people who were hurt or horrified by the therapy methods used in the past–lobotomies and violence, for example–and the ones still used today, be they physical, mental or emotional.

.


#12

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