Ed Team

Response to NARTH Quote of the Day

Filed By Ed Team | September 04, 2006 1:04 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day, Transgender & Intersex
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I'm not sure why this quote was selected for posting on this website. I think you have to consider the source--the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Responding to this quote is a bit like responding to a quote from Hitler stating that Jews are not really people. If you look at NARTH's website, their agenda is crystal clear. They are not interested in any type of real truth. They are interested in furthering their world view which is a very fundamentalist Christian view that anything that doesn't fall in line with their interpretation of Christianity must be "unnatural" and therefore a "disorder". If they can convince everyone else that homosexuality and transgenderism are "unnatural", then they further the "truth" of their religion. How convenient. If only we would all just follow the gender roles laid out to us by God and not question anything, life would be so much better wouldn't it???? This is not too different from those religious individuals who want to discount the theory of evolution because if that theory is seen as scientific truth, then that must mean that their religious "truth", which includes (read "hinges upon") a specific story of creation, is not actually true after all. Then what power or claim to truth do they have? Then they just look like fools who fell for some fairy tale, don't they?

I found an interesting letter from NARTH to the American Medical Association on their website in which they wanted to "correct" some information that the AMA had in their Complete Medical Encyclopedia on the subject of homosexuality. This is an excerpt....

There is also a fourth point that must be clarified: "Although some religious groups condemn homosexuality as morally perverse, it is considered a normal sexual orientation, not a disorder or a sign of a disorder."

The author of this statement is technically correct, of course. The APA does not categorize homosexuality as a disorder. But the implication of that statement is that the religious proscription against homosexual acts ought to be considered simply prejudicial (or absurd).

We disagree. A person who is not disordered in some way will not experience high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, attempted suicides, promiscuous relationships, or engage in self-destructive sexual behaviors that place the person at high risk of acquiring an incurable STD or HIV.

...

Thus it would seem that the natural-law worldview about gender and sexuality held by the world's traditional Jews, Christians, and Muslims, for example, must be based in some sort of wisdom about our human design--and should not be so cavalierly and disrespectfully dismissed by your publication.

Gotta love this logic. Their interpretation of Christianity results in a certain view of men and women, gender development, and gender roles. These results must be correct because those who vary from these roles experience more negative experiences than those who conform to them. Assuming that this is even factually true (that gender nonconforming persons experience more negative life experiences), I wonder why that might be? Could it be because people like Dr. Berger advocate the harassment and shaming of gender variant children? I would submit that any person who is beaten down, treated violently or with disrespect, taught that they are immoral, not deserving of love, or going to hell of course are going to have more negative experiences. However, the question is WHY. Is it because of who they are or how they are treated? Of course we would expect that people who are given negative feedback on a consistent basis that undermines their very value as human beings are going to develop more problems with addiction, depression, and the like. That's no great mystery and has happened with many populations, not just glbt. Minorities of all kinds have experienced it in this country and others (blacks, Jews, Native Americans, etc.).

It's interesting that their website doesn't at all talk about sexual diversity that is naturally occurring in living beings, including humans. A fish goes from being female one minute to being male the next....hello???? Is that some sort of exception? Or do they claim that it's not significant if other species do it....they're not as important as we are.....maybe God was just practicing with them anyway until he made US...you know, the only beings that matter on this planet.

What about when sexual diversity occurs in humans? They seem to conveniently leave that out. I personally know at least five intersex people....people whose visible, physical sexual attributes were not what doctors consider to be in the range of "normal" at their time of birth. There are other people whose DNA tests reveal that they are not just XX or XY but some other combination, whether XXY, XXXY, XO, etc. A person may appear to be a "normal" female and have XY chromosomes with a body that cannot process androgens. A person can also have XX chromosomes and have a type of adrenal hyperplasia that causes development in a more male direction. There are many other genetic combinations that may be considered "abnormal" by some or may be considered evidence of sexual diversity by others. However, if such individuals exist and are physically identifiable as demonstrating such diversity via their physical body, why do we assume that the brain, which is also part of the physical body, cannot also embody and demonstrate the same type of gender development diversity? The brains of some transgender individuals were studied and differences were noted between the brains of the transgender person and the brains of persons who were also labled with the same sex at birth. In other words, the brains of males who identified as females during life were found to be structurally more similar to the brains of females than males with regard to the particular structures of the brain that control gender identity and sexual function. Why is this not mentioned anywhere on their website?

People who identify as transgender do so from a very early age, usually around 2 or 3. I highly doubt that "society is causing gender identity confusion" at this age, considering also that there are and have been transgender people in ALL societies, not just ours. Transgenderism seems to appear at the same rate regardless of whether a society is accepting and supportive of transgender people or not.

The present subject of transgenderism aside, any doctor who would advocate harassment and bullying of children by anyone should have his license to "do no harm" revoked. Harassment, shaming, and violence are NEVER appropriate options. Violence, whether physical or to the emotion spirit of a child, NEVER results in a positive outcome, period. All you do is give a child a bunch of negative energy and hurt that they will either direct outward toward others as violence or inward against themselves as injury to their souls. The fact that this doctor would basically sacrifice the welfare of children in promoting his religious world view makes me sick.

*BRY*lo


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Thank you for this post. It is very well-written and clear-cut! Unfortunately, there are quite a few physicians who haven't a clue and do more harm than good.

At the hearings in Indianapolis for the Human Rights Ordinance last December, a "well-known" psychiatrist here in town related that he has "helped" homosexuals to change their orientation. He really spoke as if he thought he knew what he was talking about. Those of us enlightened people just sat there with our mouths hanging open. I find it very sad and very unprofessional, to say the least.

It seems the Christian Right has a very definite agenda, and they will do everything in their power to see it through. They don't care who they step on to get their way.

I was talking with a PFLAG mom the other day. She believes one of the ways to combat the misinformation and discrimination is to get as many straight allies on board as possible. Also, we need to talk to people on a one-to-one basis and share our stories. It may seem like a daunting task, but these encounters add up and you get a ripple effect.

Brylo,

I picked it because it highlights - quite dramatically - the hateful rhetoric these Christian fundamentalists are attempting to use against us. For any doctor to espouse that the way to "cure" transgender children is to mock, bully and ridicule them is absolutely outrageous... I think Annette's memory serves correct about Dr. Alig from the HRO battle. The man spouted off stuff that the APA and AMA had long since declared invalid. How these quack doctors manage to keep their license is beside me.

An excellent post, Bil.

Dr. Alig is convinced he's right...he continues speaking to any group who will have him, that he's "transformed" formerly gay men into straight men.

I suppose reasonable professionals can disagree, but they shoudln't be allowed to espouse methodology their professional organizations have discredited for over a decade.

Clearly,, the folks who pay attention, want to beleive homosexuals can change.

We have a lot of work to do yet.