Davina Kotulski

21 Bogus Reasons Why Gender Matters From the Prop 8 Trial

Filed By Davina Kotulski | January 16, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: bisexual, child care, DSM V, fundamentalists, gay adoption, gay marriage, gender, lesbian, LGBT, marriage, Prop. 8, psychology, Ron Prentiss, same-sex marriage, sexuality, transgender

Yesterday we found out that during the Prop 8 campaign Ron Prentiss reportedly distributed a booklet to churches that included an article entitled "'21 Reasons Why Gender Matters' Examines Gender Disorientation Pathology And Social Policy." By the way, he made up his own psychological terminology, "Gender Disorientation Pathology," as any first year psychology graduate student with knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-TR) would know.

Dr. Lamb obviously had never heard of it either. Dr. Lamb refuted the 21 reasons with peer-reviewed research and literature.

At least four of the reasons were just complete make believe.

  • 15. "Healthy gender development prevents individuals from developing compulsive obsessive disorders leading to sexual addiction and other pathologies." (The terminology is actually "obsessive compulsive disorders.")
  • 16. "Gender disorientation pathology is a symptom of family dysfunction, personality disorder, father absence, health malfunction or sexual abuse."
  • 17. "Gender disorientation pathology will lead to increased levels of drug abuse and partner violence."
  • 21. "Gender disorientation pathology encourages the sexual and psychological exploitation of children."

The full list, as well as notes from the trial, is after the jump.

Yes on 8 Campaign used bogus research and terminology

Apparently, in the booklet, Prentiss makes statements like "12% of children of lesbians became active lesbians themselves."

Dr. Lamb says this is inaccurate according to extensive research on children of same-sex parents.

Gays not more likely to abuse than heterosexuals

Prentiss states: "The sad truth is that homosexual abuse of children is higher than heterosexuals. It is the right of the child to know and have a relationship with bio parent. Gender orientation pathology increases the risk that children will suffer sexual exploitation. It is our duty to protect them."

Lamb refutes all of the above and states that gays are no more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexuals and reiterates that there is no such concept or disorder called gender orientation pathology. He asserts that there is three decades of research refuting this myth and that children are most likely to get hurt by school bullies who don't respect or accept their LGBT parents.

Post-lunch cross-examination of Lamb

(Sorry, this is a bit out of order.)

Defendant Council Thompson begins focusing on research that step-fathers are more likely to abuse their step-children then biological fathers. He's not arguing for covenant-no divorce marriage (yet), but he seems hell-bent to say that all step-fathers and anyone non-biologically related to the child is a menace to that child, to wipe out all non-biological parents from capable child-rearing.

First, it is true some step-fathers molest their children. I ran a sexual abuse survivors program for ten years when I worked as a psychologist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There were many women who had been sexually abused by their biological parents too. Does that mean that we should take children away from their biological fathers because of the chance that, being men, they might abuse their children?

Second, this case is about marriage. Couples who never or can't have biological children can marry and no one is rushing to pass constitutional amendments to take away their marriage rights. Also, have you noticed, same-sex couples are already legally raising children, but I'm not naïve, I know that they are hoping to use this kind of bogus logic to take away same-sex couples rights to parent and adopt. They just did in Arkansas last year.

Grandparents can be important to a child's psychological adjustment, correct?

Thompson: So the grandparents' financial contributions to children make a difference in their lives, correct? Clearly we note that the psychological well-being of parents affects their ability to parent and the quality of relationship with their children.

Holy research-twisting Batman!

Thompson is now taking the fact that some straight parents of LGBT people reject their children and so are not involved in their grandchildren's lives and that this hurts these kids--the implication that kids would be better off with straight parents because their parents don't reject them.

Okay. My friend's Ashle and Kinna have two wonderful daughters and the grandparents are extremely involved in their grandbabies' lives. My friend, Maurie, a straight mom of a lesbian daughter and proud grandmother of two, is extremely active in her grandchildren's lives and is more than happy to show you the beautiful picture of her grandchildren as ring bearer and flower girl at their mothers' long-awaited legal marriage before Prop 8 passed. Should they be denied their Constitutional rights because some straight parents/grandparents are stifled in the current ability to accept their LGBT children? Should straight people who have difficulties with their parents and have been disowned for various reasons or chosen themselves to cut off communication lose their right to a marriage license? Again I think the answers are obvious here. And similar arguments were used to keep interracial couples from marrying.

Gays suffer from minority distress

While the psychological research shows that LGBT people experience minority distress due to homophobia and discrimination, Thompson decides to take the implication to an illogical conclusion.

He is also making the point that because LGBT people suffer minority distress, which leads to anxiety and depression, and because depression and anxiety affects parenting, LGBT parents do not make good parents. Wow!

I wonder what he says about People of Color who also experience minority distress due to racism and discrimination. I'm sure somewhere in there these folks may be advocating for fewer babies of color (remember they are very concerned with population growth) and believe that gay marriage will lead to the population dying out.

When I debated Maggie Gallagher at Brown University in 2006, she spoke with concern about the reduction of children being born in Western Europe. I could be wrong, but it sure seemed like she was suggesting that not enough white babies were being born, because as far as I can tell, there's no overall global shortage of babies being born.

Is it almost over yet?

Thompson: "Dr. Lamb likes to talk about these rich, deep studies, but you don't have any knowledge if these studies had control groups with biological, married parents which is the core of our case."

Judge Walker interceded and says to Counsel Thompson. "We're trying a case. Is there a way to shorten your questions?"

I agree. My brain and body are starting to check out. I tend to dissociate a bit when Thompson steps up for cross-examination. He is quite annoying and his disdain for educated people, reality, facts, and gay people make me feel like I've been watching FOX News for hours. I can only take this stuff in doses, that's why I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. At least there are funny jokes in between his reports of the assault on logic, truth, and human decency.

Did I mention that there is a huge group of Stanford Law Students here today?


Discussing the Michael Rosenfeld study based on U.S. Census.

Lamb - It is the only study we have, a rare study, which compares all the children in the country in the environments that they are reared, couple thousand children raised by lesbians, with couples thousand children raised by gay male couples, compared to children raised by heterosexual couples.

Matthew D. McGill Plaintiffs' Attorney - In your experience is a sample based on U.S. Census adequate to be reliable?

Lamb - Yes.

McGill - Why does it make sense to maintain a control group of heterosexual couples raising children?

Lamb - Seems most appropriate control group.

McGill - Why?

Lamb - Because you have unmarried couples in all of those groups. Children adopted into two parent family and children in bio family.

The point is to answer Thompson's early assertion that none of the research used only heterosexual married couple with biological children. If they had, it would not have been an accurate group to compare with gay parents who are not legally married and some are their children biologically, others are adopted, and some are from IVF and other forms of alternative insemination. The researchers chose to be in the real world, acknowledging the diversity of families, rather than embracing only one family type.

And speaking of typing, my wife wants to know. Are you done yet?

Yes dear, for tonight.

21 Reasons Why Gender Matters' Examines Gender Disorientation Pathology And Social Policy

Summarized by the NARTH, full reasons at the Fatherhood Foundation's site.

  1. Gender uniqueness and complementarity means that each gender has a unique contribution that can't be filled by the other.
  2. Acknowledging gender differences helps children learn more effectively.
  3. Men and women are happier when they recognize these gender differences.
  4. The masculine gender is an essential ingredient for fatherhood.
  5. The feminine gender is an essential ingredient for motherhood.
  6. Marriage is the best way for men and women to enjoy complementarity.
  7. Gender complementarity in a life-long marriage is essential for the continuation of humanity.
  8. Gender complementarity in marriage is needed for a healthy, stable society.
  9. Gender complementarity in marriage between a man and woman is good for the economy.
  10. Marriage between a man and woman is the foundation of a successful family and best way to protect children.
  11. Gender complementarity in marriage is the best way to teach children about the value of gender.
  12. Gender is important in understanding the significance of manhood.
  13. Gender is important in understanding the significance of womanhood.
  14. In healthy societies, gender complementarity is celebrated; societies rejecting this face harmful consequences.
  15. Healthy gender development prevents individuals from developing compulsive obsessive disorders leading to sexual addiction and other pathologies.
  16. Gender disorientation pathology is a symptom of family dysfunction, personality disorder, father absence, health malfunction or sexual abuse.
  17. Gender disorientation pathology will lead to increased levels of drug abuse and partner violence.
  18. Gender disorientation pathology will increase the risk of communicable disease and bad health.
  19. Gender disorientation pathology will decrease life expectancy.
  20. Gender disorientation pathology is preventable and treatable.
  21. Gender disorientation pathology encourages the sexual and psychological exploitation of children.

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Folks I cannot resist the temptation of jumping in here with a hearty laugh. But first let me say that as an Honorably Discharged and retired Veteran of the Army, very queer in and out too, I did not as some might think join the Army to learn to be a man. I ran away from a nut case dysfunctional home where I was the eldest of 14 siblings 2 grandmothers (within shouting distance) and parents who didn't know how to shut down the baby machine Roman Catholic. So here goes with the reasons that I might agree with the author of those silly statements.

He writes:
# 16: "Gender disorientation pathology is a symptom of family dysfunction, personality disorder, father absence, health malfunction or sexual abuse."

First off the family that I refer to lovingingly of course was more of a zoo of different personalities just vying for attention. Dad obviously was there with 14 kids all under 18 (no multiple births) Mon took only 2000 days to have 8 of them from conception to births in two batches. However I knew that I was different really at the age of 4 and 2 months. Didn't know what it was but I knew and nobody was there to help me through it. That was somewhat sad too.

17. "Gender disorientation pathology will lead to increased levels of drug abuse and partner violence."

Now I don't know about anyone else but I did want to beat the crap out of one boyfriend mainly because he took 2 minutes in the morning to roll me over get off and then light a cigarette. It lasted about 6 weeks and it didn't get any better so I was out of there - out of the city and out of the state. Only said bye bye and I never heard from him again.

21. "Gender disorientation pathology encourages the sexual and psychological exploitation of children."

Not: Not even interested in children, what was it that Charlie Chaplin said, "Never touch them unless properly cooked".

So Mr. Psychologist I hope sincerely that you wake up one day before it is to late if only to smell the roses. Your hype didn't make any more sense than any of the other Right Wingnuts so I sincerely ask what is it that makes you jump up and shout? Are you looking inside of yourself and just have to fly off to protect your turf? I may not be all that educated (23 years in the military proved that) but I know horse pucky when it gets caught on my shoe.

Try replacing Gender with Black, White, Red? or some thing else. Then those 21 reasons Would end up as Racist statements. I hope that one of the lawyers do that!

That's a helluve a "scientific" non-scientific list there. Glad we're making mincemeat out of their "studies."

Regan DuCasse | January 17, 2010 3:31 PM

So much for respect this guy has for INDIVIDUAL attributes and character.
He's only asserting decades if not CENTURIES of artificial gender directives, NOT actuality.

Is he so quickly forgetting, even in those studies from the 50's and 60's that married women were expected to 'obey' their husbands. Couldn't have their own credit line, bank accounts or basically autonomy?

Inferior status is inferior status conferred on women. Women were expected (and did) defer to men, regardless of their own talents and expectations for themselves.

This new generation of young people have seen more egalitarian households and less gender based control among their parents.
If same sex marriage FURTHER gives respect to INDIVIDUALS, instead of compartments BASED on gender, that would be as positively progressive as women being more autonomous in marriage has been.

Besides, he's ALSO assuming that same sex couples live in a bubble without opposite gender influences close to their children, like friends, siblings, grandparents and so on.

Just as in families where a child might not share the same ethnicity or nationality as the rest of the family, that same family is behooved to know and form close relationships with people who do.

The effect is less racism, sexism, homophobia and dispassion about people with disabilities or chronic illness.
Also, children of families who go through discrimination, tend to enter into justice based professions.

And all these anti gay people think this is BAD for children to grow up in?

It's no surprise that such an attitude would come from people who haven't known such injustice firsthand, and don't care to listen to the very people who have.

Davina, if you're reading this, give a hug ffrom me to that knockout wife of yours, and God bless you both.

:0 )

I find it somewhat interesting that I could so easily replace "gender disorientation pathology" with "Christian bigotry" in most of those points.