Monday, August 22, 2016

Christofascists Rally Around New Faux Study on Sexual Orientation and Gender

As noted in a post earlier today, the Christofascists go to all lengths to avoid admitting that their supposedly inerrant Bible is deeply flawed and in many instances simply untrue.  That same refusal to accept science and objective reality flows over into the never ending effort to sustain the myth that sexual orientation is changeable.  Why?  Because, if homosexuality is a natural phenomenon in nature - in God's plan, if  you will - then their one of their major arguments for condemning homosexuality falls apart.  Likewise, the purported prohibitions in Leviticus are exposed for what they are: the efforts of a small fringe demographic to differentiate itself from older, larger and more advanced surrounding cultures where homosexuality was accepted - e.g., the Persian Empire and Hellenistic cultures.  

In keeping with this seemingly never ending effort to embrace ignorance and rejection of scientific and medical knowledge, the Christofascists are hailing a new "study" that claims that sexual orientation is not fixed - and is therefore changeable - and that rejects much of the existent knowledge on transgender individuals.  In the wake of the repudiation of the sham study done by Mark Regnerus, the Christofascists are desperate for something to keep alive their anti-LGBT lies.  Their lifeline?  A "study" by Lawrence Mayer and Paul McHugh published in “The New Atlantis,” a non-peer reviewed journal co-published by right wing organizations (the current co-chairman of one of them is a founder of the National Organization for Marriage).  For those not knowledgeable about the term "peer reviewed," it means that articles and studys have been reviewed and approved by legitimate scholars and experts.  Non-peer reviewed journals are one step above pay to publish journals which will publish almost anything so long as the author pays the going price to have his/her piece published.  Right Wing Watch looks at the near orgasms being experienced by professional gay haters such as NOM's Brian Brown.    Here are highlights from RWW:
Anti-equality organizations are enthusiastically promoting a new study on sexual orientation and gender, hoping it will be new culture war ammunition.
The study by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh appears in “The New Atlantis,” a journal co-published by the right-wing Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Center for the Study of Technology and Science, which shares an address with EPPC. The New Atlantis is not a peer-reviewed journal, and has critiqued peer review, widely considered the gold standard in scientific publishing.
Among the authors’ contentions are that the belief that sexual orientation and gender identity are innate or fixed properties is “not supported by scientific evidence.” The study also says that the stress of social stigma is not a sufficient explanation for higher rates of mental health and substance abuse problems in LGBT communities.
Mayer says that McHugh initially approached him to review a monograph he had written and the project expanded from there. The prominent but controversial McHugh is a Catholic in his mid-80s who has described himself as “religiously orthodox, politically liberal, and culturally conservative – a believer in marriage and the Marines, a supporter of institutions and family values.” The new study builds on a body of work that dismisses the notion of transgender identity. TransAdvocate and others challenged McHugh’s “selective reading of transgender medical literature” two years ago, and ThinkProgress critiqued his work in 2015.
Brian Brown at the National Organization for Marriage can hardly contain his excitement about the new study, writing in a letter to supporters, “The importance of this new study cannot be overstated.” He urges people to “help spread the word” to “make sure that this groundbreaking research gains the wide hearing it deserves despite what will surely be a concerted effort by the media to bury its findings.”
Also participating in the roll-out is the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson, one of the most prominent opponents of marriage equality. Anderson says the study’s findings undermine the Obama administration’s requirement that schools accommodate transgender children as well as the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
Anderson has written a book and spoken widely about how the anti-equality movement should reject and resist the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.  Anderson has urged the anti-equality movement to conduct new research (citing  the widely discredited Mark Regnerus study on “family structures”) to create “new insights” that future Supreme Court justices could use as justification for overturning Obergefell.
As readers may recall, the Regnerus "study" was funded by right wing, anti-LGBT organizations and basically picked the conclusion it wanted to reach and doctored the "research" data to achieve that desired result.   Given the authors of this new attack on LGBT individuals, especially Paul McHugh, an ultra-right wing Catholic, I fully expect that dissections of this "study" will similarly tear it to shreds.  Not that the coming repudiation will deter the "godly folk" Christofascists from lying through their teeth.   Other than perhaps Donald Trump, no one lies as often or as viciously as the "godly Christian" crowd. 

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