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The Field Fills In

How Gay Activists Will Respond to a Major Scientific Report That Refutes Their Talking Points

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The internet has been abuzz with headlines declaring, “Almost Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong,” and “Johns Hopkins Shrinks Warn Against Kids Going Transgender.”

As reported by Ryan T. Anderson on Monday, “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.”

How significant was this report?

“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.”

What were the conclusions of this study? “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.’”

How will gay activists respond? They will shoot the messengers. Watch and see.

We’ve seen the pattern for years.

Gay activists and their allies will discredit an individual or a group, then when that individual or group challenges their position, they reply, “No one listens to him/her/them. They’ve been totally discredited!”

The SPLC has often been complicit in this, branding a conservative Christian organization as a hate group or classifying a conservative spokesman as a new leader of the radical right, therefore, whatever they say can be safely dismissed. After all, they’re haters and bigots!

When it comes to the authors of this important new study, they are hardly rightwing, fundamentalist, conservatives. Hardly!

One of the authors, Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, “is a scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University.”

He has taught at 8 universities (including Princeton and Stanford) and, “His full-time and part-time appointments have been in twenty-three disciplines, including statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology, public health, social methodology, psychiatry, mathematics, sociology, political science, economics, and biomedical informatics.”

The other author is even more acclaimed. Dr. Paul McHugh is “University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He was for twenty-five years the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.”

Dr. McHugh “was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) in 1992. From 2002 to 2009, he was a member of the President's Council on Bioethics,” among his many accomplishments.

These certainly sound like formidable scholars, and so their 143-page report, which, as stated, “discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies,” should be taken very seriously when it challenges many of the major talking points put forward by gay activists arguing: gays are not born that way and can possibly change; “non-heterosexuals are about two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse”; when compared to the general population, “non-heterosexual subpopulations are at an elevated risk for a variety of adverse health and mental health outcomes”; and the idea 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.”

Note carefully those closing words, which are a theme of the entire study: These foundational LGBT talking points are “not supported by scientific evidence.”

I can assure you, though, that rather than interacting with the scientific evidence presented in this formidable study, the vast majority of LGBT activists and their allies will dismiss it out of hand.

Why? Because, they will say, Dr. McHugh is an infamous transphobe who is totally out of touch with modern science while Dr. Mayer is unqualified to write on this topic.

As I said before, watch and see.

When it comes to Dr. McHugh, he committed the cardinal sin of opposing sex-change surgery during his tenure at Johns Hopkins Hospital, which is why that surgical procedure was dropped under his leadership. But he did this based on years of interaction with those who identified as transgender, interviewing them before and after surgery, ultimately concluding that, “We psychiatrists . . . would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia.”

I reached out to him in November before I appeared on the Tyra Banks show to discuss transgender children, wanting to know if his views had changed based on more current research. He replied to me on November 18, 2009: “I hold that interfering medically or surgically with the natural development of young people claiming to be ‘transgendered’ is a form of child abuse.”

Not surprisingly, there are few psychiatrists hated more by LGBT leaders than Paul McHugh.

Just within the last few years, the TransAdvocate.com website accused him of “clinging to a dangerous past”; the Huffington Post claimed that he “endangers the lives of transgender youth”; the Advocate.com website referred to the “scary science at John Hopkins University”; and a ThinkProgress.org headline declared, “Meet The Doctor Social Conservatives Depend On To Justify Anti-Transgender Hate.”

So, when it comes to Dr. McHugh, the script has already been written, and no matter what the scientific evidence states and no matter how carefully he has presented it, he will be viciously attacked and his research will be flatly rejected.

As for Dr. Mayer, again, my expectation is that he will be dismissed as unqualified, while his guilt by association with Dr. McHugh and Johns Hopkins will be used against him as well.

The good news is that, over time, truth will triumph, which is why Principle #6 in my book Outlasting the Gay Revolution was “Keep Propagating the Truth Until the Lies Are Dispelled.”

Those who want to know the truth owe it to themselves to study this new report carefully, determined to follow the truth wherever it leads. Those choosing to shoot the messengers will only hurt themselves in the end.

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