(The first of a two-part response.)
Sex-ed And Making Points
Anyway, so in trying to live up to the distinction bestowed upon me by David Smalley, I decided to kick over an anthill and see what pops up. Well, I can’t say that I was surprised by Smalley’s reaction to it, especially when he called it “moronic”.
So, what was it that started this little to-and-fro: a jab at LGBT-inclusive sex-ed. Now I am not the biggest fan of it, in fact I would argue that what is touted as “sexual education” is merely a license to engage in reckless sexual behavior. This report from 2015 argues that there is something inherently wrong with sex-ex in the United States, because it’s not really having any meaningful effect on out-of-wedlock births or STD infections. The data isn’t any better for abstinence-only either. Back in 2017, I shared a report on how the elimination of sex-ed actually had a positive effect on teen pregnancy rates in the UK. So, my conclusion has always been for schools to focus on the 3-R’s of education (readin’, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic) and leave the social engineering to the parents. But because there’s a group of people who seem to only care about themselves (I have to wonder how many of them actually have children) we not only have a push to expose teenagers, who don’t really have a clue, to so-called “comprehensive sex-ed” but younger and younger children, and—I’m not trying to be a conspiracy theorist here—but I cannot help but see something nefarious behind it.
So what’s with this “LGBT-inclusive sex-ed”?
Well, this began with me asking a question in regard to a tweet by Stephen Evans of the British National Secular Society, in response to a position put out by the organization in response to a survey of educators and parents in the UK.
The article begins,
“The National Secular Society has urged the government to reconsider a requirement on schools to take pupils’ “religious background” into account when teaching about relationships amid an escalating campaign against LGBT-inclusive education.
Of course, there’s a general failure to mention which religious group is causing the dust up (hint: rhymes with muslin). I mean, as a believer in Christ, knowing both what Christ has concluded and the historic teaching of his apostles, I was somewhat shocked, but not necessarily surprised that someone takes the teachings of their religion seriously. The above article doesn’t even begin naming opposition until the 16th paragraph, where it says,
“Mainly Muslim parents, with some support from those of other religions, have protested against LGBT-inclusive education in recent weeks, drawing a series of concessions in several schools.
Well, what is this LGBT-inclusive education? According to the organization GLSEN, it involves,
“Providing LGBT youth with accurate and useful information that is relevant to their sexual health and development is critical, particularly given the sexual health disparities widely reported for LGBT youth, such as increased rates of sexually transmitted infections.
These are matters that are indeed concerning, after all the Centers for Disease Control has noted that, “…gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men accounted for 83% of primary and secondary syphilis cases…”. The CDC’s factsheet on STDs notes that, “…men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected,” by STDs, as if the fact that they are infected is somehow disconnected from their behavior, something that this 2017 article from Slate seems to be clueless about as well, as it notes that, “…guys on the fantastically effective pill-a-day Truvada program were avoiding HIV infection—there were no new transmissions for regimen-adherent patients over the study period, in fact—but they seemed to be getting other sexually transmitted diseases relatively often.” The article notes that there’s an element to the increase in infections, but cannot seem to work out that the behavior itself is contributing to the problem. The author of the article also has to make a personal insertion saying, “…I can’t help but feel a kind of old-fashioned, Larry Kramer–tinged guilt, like my community is to blame because of our more open relationship to sex.” Even if we take these 2010 numbers as consistent in regard to the number of sexual partners, this still means that there’s an inherent connection to the behavior that doesn’t exist in regard to the “straight” population.
Then there’s the mental health issue
The National Association on Mental Illness reports that,
“LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder.“
Now, I have some experience with a person who has generalized anxiety disorder because my youngest son, who also happens to be on the autism spectrum, was diagnosed with it over a decade ago. GAD, “is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry.” GAD, generally speaking, can have a comorbidity with other psychological disorders.(1) And if rates of depression, self-medication through drug abuse, and rates of suicide is as high as is claimed, we have to ask a question, and it seems to be a logical one: is the reason that these rates are highest among self-identified LGBT externally caused, that is by so-called “discrimination”, or is the sexual behavior of those, as well as drug abuse and suicide internally caused by psychological disorders? This is a reasonable hypothesis to test, and fortunately we already have such data at our fingertips.
A study from 2011, reported here, noted that teens—both gay and straight—had high rates of suicide, both attempts and successful, even in communities where they, “...weren’t bullied or depressed…” To me, that indicates that something else is going on.
Another study found that suicide attempts among those who identified as LGBT had a surprisingly common basis, in that those who did, “…were more likely in those whose parents had alcohol or drug problems, who had experienced repeated childhood physical abuse, who had experienced childhood sexual coercion…”, especially among males. Suicide attempts are also extremely high for those who identify as transgender, as this study demonstrates, with rates as high as 50% among those who have told everyone.(2)
I should note that my heart goes out to these people who are wrestling with depression and anxiety disorders, moreover it especially goes out to those who have convinced themselves that the only way to be happy, to alleviate your shame and pain, to escape any feelings of inadequacy or incompleteness is not to run into a lifestyle that worships death. Walt Hayer, someone who “de-transitioned”, and has a powerful story all his own of the lies that he embraced while living as a woman, relates the story of a young man named Billy who, on account of teasing and bullying, came to believe that if he was a girl the teasing would stop.
There are frightening connections between childhood abuse—especially sexual abuse such as this study relates—and depression, anxiety, and sexual expression. A study from New Zealand kicked over a few anthills when it revealed a surprising correlation between the trauma of sexual abuse and sexual attraction, by a 3-fold measure. This doesn’t mean that abuse causes same-sex attraction, rather that it possibly provides a catalyst. There were several other likely correlates as well, but no “magic bullet” of explanation.
What about the genetic objection?
As one opponent to the results of the New Zealand study said,
“I have no doubt that the religious right will leap to the conclusion that this goes to show conclusively that homosexuals are made rather than born,”
Well, that is the question that is being raised, isn’t it, especially given the promotion of “LGBT-inclusive sex-ed”, isn’t it?
I mean, it’s an objection raised by Smalley in his tweet. But such an argument naturally drags along about a dozen moral problems, especially since we’re talking about behaviors.
In 2014, some activists argued that the question had been put to rest with a study of 409 gay twins that confirmed a hypothesized mutation. The problem is that the study was conducted on men that were exclusively gay, and had a gay twin. That’s like looking for a bunch of needles in a pile of needles. The study results came with a powerful concession, noting, “...that complex traits such as sexual orientation depend on multiple factors, both environmental and genetic. Even if he has hit on individual genes, they will likely only have at most a small effect on their own, as has also been seen in studies of the genetic basis for intelligence, for example.”
One of the foremost researchers on the question has noted,
“As at 2016, no homosexual genes or other genetic explanations have been shown to be the dominant cause of homosexuality either for male or female. (3)
Further, the same researcher has said,
“In this biochemical ecology it is almost impossible for any one gene, or a minor combination of genes to completely control all the others, though a small group of genes does determine (usually) the body form and organisation of organs in the body and the expression of all other genes during development. (4)
As the researcher notes, “There is no gene for smoking, dancing, or making sarcastic remarks.(5)” If there is no specific gene or combination of genes that makes those behaviors possible, why should we believe that a specific gene or combination of genes has anything to do with a behavior or attraction. But let’s just say that there was such a gene or combination of genes, wouldn’t the compassionate thing to do be, given the fact that there are a variety of negative comorbidities associated with it, be to come along side them and discourage their behavior? I’ve written about how such about a position uses faulty reasoning.
So, what are we to do?
Well, right now, you’ll have to stay tuned for part 2.
1. Ann M. Kring. Abnormal Psychology, Twelfth Edition. John Wiley & Sons Publishing. Hoboken, NJ. 2014. p. 179.
2. Page 9, Table 8 in link
3. NE & BK Whitehead. My Genes Made Me Do It!: Homosexuality and the Scientific Evidence, Fifth Edition. Whitehead Associates. 2018. p. 167
4. Ibid. p. 20