Wednesday, May 10, 2006

OK Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know

Years ago my children’s pediatrician, who was a very wise man, told me that when a mother of one of his patients tells him that she knows something is wrong with her child, he listens. Many years of practice had taught him moms know their children so it is wise to be all ears when a mother talks. What prompted this particular conversation was my embarrassment telling him that I knew something was wrong with my baby even though I could not quite put my finger on what it was. And sure enough, the next day my son had chicken pox blooming in full glory all over his body.

So when I read the USA Today article about a team of Swedish researchers and their findings on homosexuality, it was not surprising to me that their studies added more credence to the theory that homosexuality might be an inborn trait as opposed to a lifestyle choice.

I am certainly no scientist, but I am the mother of a gay child and I know my son did not choose to be gay any more than I chose to be straight. So for me the researchers’ findings were comforting but anticlimactic. I will admit though, it is always nice to have what I knew in my gut to be true reaffirmed by something a little more credible than a gut feeling.

This particular study focused on the brains of lesbian women, but this same group of researchers had conducted a similar study of gay men a year ago. Their findings do not definitively prove one way or another that homosexuality is an inborn trait, but their results certainly chisel away at the religious right’s argument that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. And for me it only strengthens my belief that my son’s destiny to be a gay man was encoded into his genetic makeup long before he was born and there was nothing we could have done to alter that destiny:


Homosexuals' brains respond differently from those of straight men and women when exposed to sex hormones, but researchers now say the difference is less pronounced in lesbians than in gay men.

Lesbians' brains reacted somewhat, though not completely, like those of heterosexual men, a team of Swedish researchers said in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A year ago, the same group reported findings for gay men that showed their brain response to hormones was similar to that of heterosexual women.

In both cases the findings add weight to the idea that homosexuality has a physical basis and is not learned behavior. (emphasis mine)


The important thing is to be open to the likely situation that there are biological factors that contribute to sexual orientation," added Witelson, who was not part of the research team. (emphasis mine)

Sadly, this study will be scoffed at and ignored by the Dobson, Robertson, Falwell crowd. These people are terrified of anything that might throw doubt on their rigidly dogmatic contentions that homosexuality is an evil lifestyle choice and not an inborn trait. These people will never ever be open to anything that contradicts their beliefs. True science is their bitter enemy, which is why they either completely ignore these kinds of studies or create their own pseudoscience to back up their beliefs.

For me, one of the most heinous examples of psycho-babble junk science is this piece of nonsense I got from James Dobson’s Focus on the Family website. I painfully read thru this hooey until I got to what I knew was coming: we parents are to blame for our children being gay. Had we followed the good (((((((bristle))))))) doc’s recommendations, we would never have had a gay son:

… (The boy’s father) needs to mirror and affirm his son's maleness. He can play rough-and-tumble games with his son, in ways that are decidedly different from the games he would play with a little girl. He can help his son learn to throw and catch a ball. He can teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard. He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.

Based on my (James Dobson) work with adult homosexuals, I try to avoid the necessity of a long and sometimes painful therapy by encouraging parents, particularly fathers, to affirm their sons' maleness. Parental education, in this area and all others, can prevent a lifetime of unhappiness and a sense of alienation. When boys begin to relate to their fathers, and begin to understand what is exciting, fun and energizing about their fathers, they will learn to accept their own masculinity. They will find a sense of freedom—of power—by being different from their mothers, outgrowing them as they move into a man's world. If parents encourage their sons in these ways, they will help them develop masculine identities and be well on their way to growing up straight. In 15 years, I have spoken with hundreds of homosexual men. I have never met one who said he had a loving, respectful relationship with his father.

This is so appalling that I am at a loss for words. How dare this man tell me and my husband that not only was our son’s homosexuality avoidable, but it’s our fault that he is gay. I simply cannot comprehend that kind of reckless ignorance and cruelty being blithely tossed out there as though it is backed by sound science. I truly have to wonder if James Dobson has a conscience. Spouting this kind of junk science makes him a despicable human being and a very poor excuse for a doctor. I can only imagine the anguish he has caused so many people. And even more incomprehensible to me is that this fraud has the ear of the President of the United States.


It looks like Pam is reporting that Dobson is hot on the trail to unlocking the keys to the creation of a homosexual:

In Monday's (05/08/06) Focus On The Family broadcast Dobson throws out a new term not even Google has a clinical definition for called "detachment and differentiation." This supposedly describes the process by which a young boy separates from the mother and bonds with the father around ages 2-3. Dobson says homosexuality is "very typically rooted in the failure to accomplish that differentiation." Dobson proceeds to tell listeners and a studio gallery full of Focus Institute students he remembers that pivotal moment at age 2-3 which led to formation of his heterosexuality.

Please go over to Pam’s and read the whole thing.


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