Anti-LGBT study claims queer people not ”born this way”
The study by Arizona State University statistics professor Lawrence Mayer and Johns Hopkins psychiatry professor Paul McHugh claimed that determining one’s gender identity through their genetic code is not possible.
In other words, the study– “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences”– declared that being born queer is “not supported by science.”
Anti-LGBT study: Them’s fighting words
The current study and its conclusion drew a lot of attention as conservatives are touting it “as though it were the Holy Writ,” wrote Metro Weekly.
Specifically, the study stated that: “There is evidence that genes play a modest role in contributing to the development of sexual attractions and behaviors.”
“But [there is] little evidence to support a simplistic ‘born that way’ narrative concerning the nature of sexual orientation,” the study added.
The study noted that environmental factors may have more of a hand in determining whether a person identifies as queer.
Anti-LGBT study: Problematic issues
Professionals who work regularly with LGBT people– such as psychologists, councelors and therapists – have cast doubts about the study’s conclusions due to its oversimplification.
In particular, they pointed at the report’s mention of childhood sexual abuse as a causal factor of being queer.
“They’re oversimplifying the issue, because it’s really difficult to narrow down that information with basic studies,” said Lori Ann Shapiro, a licensed clinical worker.
“They’re using information about the brain. You can’t truly define what’s going on in the brain based solely on scans or hormonal tests,” Shapiro added.
Anti-LGBT study: A political act?
Another issue involving the study is that it’s overshadowed by the politics of the study’s creators.
Mayer and McHugh are noted to have particular views on the subject, and both have a history of anti-LGBT involvement.
Writing for the Advocate, Dean Hamer of the National Institutes of Health warned that the study was borne by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank.
He also pointed out that the study was published in a non-peer reviewed journal, The New Atlantis.
“What is clear is that McHugh and Mayer are really writing about their personal prejudices or biases, not actually about rigorous academic study,” said Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
“This was a political act, not an academic act,” McBride said.