Scientific research shows that most of the supposedly transgender children and teenagers who ask to change sexes instead just change their minds and grow up as normal adults, according to a new report.
The report warns parents and officials not to impose life-changing surgery or aggressive hormone treatments on kids, saying “there is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”
Their 144-page study was conducted by two of the world’s most renowned psychiatrists, Dr. Paul McHugh and Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, and is published in the journal, New Atlantis. The study is titled Sexuality and Gender: Findings from Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences.
They reviewed hundreds of studies on sexuality and gender from the fields of biology, psychology, and the social sciences. They explored research in epidemiology, genetics, endocrinology, psychiatry, neuroscience, embryology, and pediatrics. They have concluded the science does not support the claims popularly believed about homosexuality and transgenderism.
Their report comes with a proviso that many academics the authors consulted with asked not be identified with the report because they feared the inevitable backlash from the LGBT lobby and from the universities where they work.
Mayer writes that his interest in the topic was piqued when he learned with alarm “that the LGBT community bears a disproportionate rate of mental health problems compared to the population as a whole.”
The report begins by looking at the notion of “sexual orientation” and the claim that people are “born that way” is widely accepted. But Mayer and McHugh conclude “The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings—the idea that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.”
They looked at genes and hormones and concluded even though such factors “are associated with sexual behaviors and attractions, there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.”
They looked at brain activity and found even slight differences in brain activity between heterosexual and non-heterosexual individuals “do not demonstrate whether these differences are innate or are the result of environmental and psychological factors.”
The authors also found the scientific literature shows that sexual orientation “may be quite fluid over the life course of some people”, pointing toward one study that shows up to 80% of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions “no longer do so as adults.”
The literature also shows big impact from nurture instead of nature. For example, the data shows a strong correlation between non-heterosexuality and childhood sexual abuse. Non-heterosexuals are about two to three times as likely to have experienced such abuse.
Also, the medical impact of non-homosexuality can be large, the report says.
Compared to the general population, non-heterosexual sub- populations are at an elevated risk for a variety of adverse health and mental health outcomes … [non-heterosexuals] have about 1.5 times higher risk of experiencing anxiety dis- orders than members of the heterosexual population, as well as roughly double the risk of depression, 1.5 times the risk of substance abuse, and nearly 2.5 times the risk of suicide.
Transgender mental health problems are even higher. “Especially alarmingly, the rate of lifetime suicide attempts across all ages of transgender individuals is estimated at 41%, compared to under 5% in the overall U.S. population,” according to the report.
LGBT lobby groups argue that negative health results come from what they describe as “homophobia” and “transphobia.” This “social stress model,” say the authors, “probably accounts for some of the poor mental health outcomes experienced by sexual minorities, though the evidence supporting the model is limited, inconsistent and incomplete.”
One of the problems for researchers and certainly for the general public is how to define certain terms. Most people think they know what it means to be “homosexual.” Mayer and McHugh find not even the experts agree.
Should homosexuality, for example, be characterized by reference to desires to engage in particular acts with individuals of the same sex, or to a patterned history of having engaged in such acts, or to particular features of one’s private wishes or fantasies, or to a consistent impulse to seek intimacy with members of the same sex, or to a social identity imposed by oneself or others, or to something else entirely?
The authors cite what is the most authoritative study on human sexual behavior, the Laumann study of 1994 that was initiated to answer the deeply flawed Kinsey Study from the 1950s.
While there is a core group (about 2.4 percent of the total men and about 1.3 percent of the total women) in our survey who define themselves as homosexual or bisexual, have same-gender partners, and express homosexual desires, there are also sizable groups who do not consider themselves to be either homosexual or bisexual but have had adult homosexual experiences or express some degree of desire….[T]his preliminary analysis provides unambiguous evidence that no single number can be used to provide an accurate and valid characterization of the incidence and prevalence of homosexuality in the population at large. In sum, homosexuality is fundamentally a multidimensional phenomenon that has manifold meanings and interpretations, depending on context and purpose.
The authors cite pro-gay scholar Lisa M. Diamond who admits “The more carefully researchers map these constellations—differentiating, for example, between gender identity and sexual identity, desire and behavior, sexual versus affectionate feelings, early-appearing versus late-appearing attractions and fantasies, or social identifications and sexual profiles—the more complicated the picture becomes because few individuals report uniform inter-correlations among these domains.”
The authors are especially skeptical about the notion of “trangendering.” Elsewhere McHugh has compared the notion someone thinks they were born into the wrong body with anorexia. A deathly skinny person looks in the mirror and sees a fat person is no more than a psychological disturbance. In the same way, a man who thinks he is a woman is also psychologically disturbed and no amount of surgery or hormones will change that disturbance.
It should be noted that the number of people who think they are wrongly sexed is an very small percentage of the general population. According to the pro-trans Williams Institute at UCLA, a mere 700,000 Americans, or 0.003 percent, meet their 2015 definition of transgenderism.
The authors describe the even smaller subgroup of “intersex” people — persons whose “sexual anatomy is ambiguous” as extremely rare.
Some of the research on transgender people claims to identify biological features of transgenderism.
For example, Stanford biologist Robert Sapolsky and others propose that the “transgendered” have brains different than their biological sex and similar to the opposite sex. Sapolski ran neuroimaging tests and claims he found differences. Spanish scientist Giuseppina Rametti used MRI to look at the brains of female-to-male transsexuals and claimed, “Differences were noted in the white matter microstructure of specific brain areas.” After examining these studies, Mayer and McHugh conclude:
The consensus of scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the proposition that a physically and developmentally normal boy or girl is indeed what he or she appears to be at birth. The available evidence from brain imaging and genetics does not demonstrate that the development of gender identity as different from biological sex is innate.
The authors argue these and other scientific studies do not support the hypothesis that “gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex – that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or a ‘woman trapped inside a man’s body.’”
Mayer and McHugh are especially concerned about children who may believe they are the wrong sex.
Children are now routinely shepherded towards transgender medical treatments by confused parents and ideological counselors and encouraged to have surgical and other medical interventions, particularly the use of hormones to delay puberty. They say there is “little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents…” They also say, “There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”
The report shows that almost everything the general public is being led to believe about homosexuality and transgenderism is false. The report will likely initiate a firestorm against it and the authors.
McHugh is the former head of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Mayer is scholar in residence at Johns Hopkins and Professor of Statistics and Biostatistics at the University of Arizona. A graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Medical School, McHugh is currently University Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is the author, co-author, or editor of seven books from his field.
Mayer has had full and part-time academics appointments have been in twenty-three disciplines including statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology, public health, social methodology, psychiatry, mathematics, sociology, political science, economics, and biomedical informatics. He has published peer-reviewed papers in such top-tier journals as The Annals of Statistics, Biometrics and the American Journal of Political Science.