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To elaborate on Papal Teaching is our mission on Plinthos (Gk. "brick"); and to do so anonymously, so that, like any brick in the wall, we might do our little part in the strength of the structure of humanity almost unnoticed.
Lawrence S. Mayer, "Preface," Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences, The New Atlantis, Number 50, Fall 2016, pp. 4-6.
● 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.● 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. While minor differences in the brain structures and brain activity between homosexual and heterosexual individuals have been identified by researchers, such neurobiological findings do not demonstrate whether these differences are innate or are the result of environmental and psychological factors.● Longitudinal studies of adolescents suggest that sexual orientation may be quite fluid over the life course for some people, with one study estimating that as many as 80% of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults (although the extent to which this figure reflects actual changes in same-sex attractions and not just artifacts of the survey process has been contested by some researchers).● Compared to heterosexuals, non-heterosexuals are about two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse.
● Compared to the general population, non-heterosexual subpopulations are at an elevated risk for a variety of adverse health and mental health outcomes.● Members of the non-heterosexual population are estimated to have about 1.5 times higher risk of experiencing anxiety disorders 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.● Members of the transgender population are also at higher risk of a variety of mental health problems compared to members of the non-transgender population. 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.● There is evidence, albeit limited, that social stressors such as discrimination and stigma contribute to the elevated risk of poor mental health outcomes for non-heterosexual and transgender populations. More high-quality longitudinal studies are necessary for the “social stress model” to be a useful tool for understanding public health concerns.
● 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 in a man’s body” — is not supported by scientific evidence.● According to a recent estimate, about 0.6% of U.S. adults identify as a gender that does not correspond to their biological sex.● Studies comparing the brain structures of transgender and non-transgender individuals have demonstrated weak correlations between brain structure and cross-gender identification. These correlations do not provide any evidence for a neurobiological basis for cross-gender identification.● Compared to the general population, adults who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery continue to have a higher risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes. One study found that, compared to controls, sex-reassigned individuals were about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide and about 19 times more likely to die by suicide.● Children are a special case when addressing transgender issues. Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.● There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents, although 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.
While some people are under the impression that sexual orientation is an innate, fixed, and biological trait of human beings — that, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, we are “born that way” — there is insufficient scientific evidence to support that claim. In fact, the concept of sexual orientation itself is highly ambiguous; it can refer to a set of behaviors, to feelings of attraction, or to a sense of identity. Epidemiological studies show a rather modest association between genetic factors and sexual attractions or behaviors, but do not provide significant evidence pointing to particular genes. There is also evidence for other hypothesized biological causes of homosexual behaviors, attractions, or identity — such as the influence of hormones on prenatal development — but that evidence, too, is limited. Studies of the brains of homosexuals and heterosexuals have found some differences, but have not demonstrated that these differences are inborn rather than the result of environmental factors that influenced both psychological and neurobiological traits. One environmental factor that appears to be correlated with non-heterosexuality is childhood sexual abuse victimization, which may also contribute to the higher rates of poor mental health outcomes among non-heterosexual subpopulations, compared to the general population. Overall, the evidence suggests some measure of fluidity in patterns of sexual attraction and behavior — contrary to the “born that way” notion that oversimplifies the vast complexity of human sexuality.
Might I actually be bisexual? Have I been so wedded to my gay identity — one I adopted in college and announced with great fanfare to family and friends — that I haven’t allowed myself to experience another part of myself? In some ways, even asking those questions is anathema to many gays and lesbians. That kind of publicly shared uncertainty is catnip to the Christian Right and to the scientifically dubious, psychologically damaging ex-gay movement it helped spawn. As out gay men and lesbians, after all, we’re supposed to be sure — we’re supposed to be “born this way.”
1. States of physical arousal that may or may not be linked to a specific physical activity and may or may not be objects of conscious awareness.2. Conscious erotic interest in response to finding others attractive (in perception, memory, or fantasy), which may or may not involve any of the bodily processes associated with measurable states of physical arousal.3. Strong interest in finding a companion or establishing a durable relationship.4. The romantic aspirations and feelings associated with infatuation or falling in love with a specific individual.5. Inclination towards attachment to specific individuals.6. The general motivation to seek intimacy with a member of some specific group.7. An aesthetic measure that latches onto perceived beauty in others.
What does it mean to be “sexually attracted” to someone? Does it mean to have a tendency to be aroused in their presence? But surely it is possible to find someone sexually attractive without being aroused. Does it mean to form the belief that someone is sexually attractive to one? Surely not, since a belief about who is sexually attractive to one might be wrong — for instance, one might confuse admiration of form with sexual attraction. Does it mean to have a noninstrumental desire for a sexual or romantic relationship with the person? Probably not: we can imagine a person who has no sexual attraction to anybody, but who has a noninstrumental desire for a romantic relationship because of a belief, based on the testimony of others, that romantic relationships have noninstrumental value. These and similar questions suggest that there is a cluster of related concepts under the head of “sexual attraction,” and any precise definition is likely to be an undesirable shoehorning. But if the concept of sexual attraction is a cluster of concepts, neither are there simply univocal concepts of heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.
0 - Exclusively heterosexual
1 - Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2 - Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3 - Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4 - Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5 - Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6 - Exclusively homosexual
Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexualattractions to men, women or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in acommunity of others who share those attractions. Research over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex.[Emphases added.]
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.[Emphases added.]
The more carefully researchers map these constellations — differentiating, for example, between gender identity and sexual identity, desire and behavior, sexualversus affectionate feelings, early-appearing versus late-appearing attractions andfantasies, or social identifications and sexual profiles — the more complicated the picture becomes because few individuals report uniform inter-correlations among these domains.[Emphases added.]
|GB Men (%)||LB Women (%)|
|CSA: 4.1–59.2 (median 22.7)||CSA: 14.9–76.0 (median 34.5)|
|ASA: 10.8–44.7 (median 14.7)||ASA: 11.3–53.2 (median 23.2)|
|LSA: 11.8–54.0 (median 30.4)||LSA: 15.6–85.0 (median 43.4)|
|IPSA: 9.5–57.0 (median 12.1)||IPSA: 3.0–45.0 (median 13.3)|
|HC: 3.0–19.8 (median 14.0)||HC: 1.0–12.3 (median 5.0)|
|49.2% of lesbians||31.5% of gays|
|51.2% of bisexuals||Approximately 32% of bisexuals|
|40.9% of heterosexuals with ||27.9% of heterosexuals with |
|21.2% of heterosexuals||19.8% of heterosexuals|
(1) gay adolescents going into the closet during their young adult years; (2) confusion regarding the use and meaning of romantic attraction as a proxy for sexual orientation; and (3) the existence of mischievous adolescents who played a ‘jokester’ role by reporting same-sex attraction when none was present.
To help us assess whether the construct/measurement issue (romantic attraction versus sexual orientation identity) was driving results, we compared the two constructs at Wave IV.... Whereas over 99% of young adults with opposite-sex romantic attraction identified as heterosexual or mostly heterosexual and 94% of those with same-sex romantic attraction identified as homosexual or mostly homosexual, 33% of both-sex attracted men identified as heterosexual (just 6% of both-sex attracted women identified as heterosexual). These data indicated that young adult men and women generally understood the meaning of romantic attraction to the opposite- or same-sex to imply a particular (and consistent) sexual orientation identity, with one glaring exception — a substantial subset of young adult men who, despite their stated both-sex romantic attraction, identified as heterosexual.
Compared to the general population, non-heterosexual and transgender subpopulations have higher rates of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and suicide, as well as behavioral and social problems such as substance abuse and intimate partner violence. The prevailing explanation in the scientific literature is the social stress model, which posits that social stressors — such as stigmatization and discrimination — faced by members of these subpopulations account for the disparity in mental health outcomes. Studies show that while social stressors do contribute to the increased risk of poor mental health outcomes for these populations, they likely do not account for the entire disparity.
The most exhaustive collation of published and unpublished international studies on the association of suicide attempts and sexual orientation with different methodologies has produced a very consistent picture: nearly all studies found increased incidences of self-reported suicide attempts among sexual minorities.
The prevalence of suicide attempts among respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality, is 41 percent, which vastly exceeds the 4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population who report a lifetime suicide attempt, and is also higher than the 10–20 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults who report ever attempting suicide.
The concept of biological sex is well defined, based on the binary roles that males and females play in reproduction. By contrast, the concept of gender is not well defined. It is generally taken to refer to behaviors and psychological attributes that tend to be typical of a given sex. Some individuals identify as a gender that does not correspond to their biological sex. The causes of such cross-gender identification remain poorly understood. Research investigating whether these transgender individuals have certain physiological features or experiences in common with the opposite sex, such as brain structures or atypical prenatal hormone exposures, has so far been inconclusive. Gender dysphoria — a sense of incongruence between one’s biological sex and one’s gender, accompanied by clinically significant distress or impairment — is sometimes treated in adults by hormones or surgery, but there is little scientific evidence that these therapeutic interventions have psychological benefits. Science has shown that gender identity issues in children usually do not persist into adolescence or adulthood, and there is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of puberty-delaying treatments. We are concerned by the increasing tendency toward encouraging children with gender identity issues to transition to their preferred gender through medical and then surgical procedures. There is a clear need for more research in these areas.
Sex is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.
We in the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Department eventually concluded that human sexual identity is mostly built into our constitution by the genes we inherit and the embryogenesis we undergo. Male hormones sexualize the brain and the mind. Sexual dysphoria — a sense of disquiet in one’s sexual role — naturally occurs amongst those rare males who are raised as females in an effort to correct an infantile genital structural problem.
Many talked about their painful decision to allow their children to publicly transition to the opposite gender — a much tougher process for boys who wanted to be girls. Some of what Jean heard was reassuring: Parents who took the plunge said their children’s behavior problems largely disappeared, schoolwork improved, happy kid smiles returned. But some of what she heard was scary: children taking puberty blockers in elementary school and teens embarking on hormone therapy before they’d even finished high school.
Tyler’s sister, who’s 8, was much more casual about describing her transgender sibling. “It’s just a boy mind in a girl body,” Moyin explained matter-of-factly to her second-grade classmates at her private school, which will allow Tyler to start kindergarten as a boy, with no mention of Kathryn.
it is important to consider both predisposing and perpetuating factors that might inform a clinical formulation and the development of a therapeutic plan: the role of temperament, parental reinforcement of cross-gender behavior during the sensitive period of gender identity formation, family dynamics, parental psychopathology, peer relationships and the multiple meanings that might underlie the child’s fantasy of becoming a member of the opposite sex.
Arif ... concludes that none of the studies provides conclusive evidence that gender reassignment is beneficial for patients. It found that most research was poorly designed, which skewed the results in favour of physically changing sex. There was no evaluation of whether other treatments, such as long-term counselling, might help transsexuals, or whether their gender confusion might lessen over time. Arif says the findings of the few studies that have tracked significant numbers of patients over several years were flawed because the researchers lost track of at least half of the participants. The potential complications of hormones and genital surgery, which include deep vein thrombosis and incontinence respectively, have not been thoroughly investigated, either. “There is huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing,” says Dr Chris Hyde, director of Arif. “While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized — often to the point of committing suicide.”