Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Anti-lgbt news site uses report to create fake narrative about 'gay gene'

Even with bad research they can manipulate for their own aims, members of the anti-lgbt industry cannot resist heaping on more lies.

This week, I've published several posts dealing with a research report - not a study - with a severe anti-lgbt bias. The paper, reviewing over 200 other studies, came to the conclusion that no one is born gay or transgender. Even though the report received  negative critiques over its missteps, (such as the journal which published it, The New Atlantis, was not peer reviewed,  and the fact that one of the authors, Dr. Paul McHugh, has a history of anti-lgbt animus) conservatives and the anti-lgbt industry have been pumping it up as some sort of shocking new development, as well as feeling free to make additions to the report's so-called finding.

The American Family Association's fake news site One News Now had this to say:

Two distinguished scholars at Johns Hopkins University have released a lengthy, three-part report concluding that there's not sufficient evidence to prove homosexuals and transgenders are born in that condition – in other words, there is no "gay gene."

The site then proceeded to get quotes from a member of the conservative Heritage Foundation and anti-lgbt activist "Porno" Pete LaBarbera - but not medical professionals - to further it's narrative about a gay gene. But there is nothing in the report, as politically motivated as it is, about a "gay gene." For those who are not aware, the idea that there may or may not exist a "gay gene" is a straw man argument furthered by the anti-lgbt industry when they attempt to refute the notion that people are born lgbt. 

Warren Throckmorton, a professor of Psychology at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and with whom I have agreed and disagreed with on numerous occasions pointed out several flaws in the paper:

The New Atlantis describes itself as a “Journal of Technology and Society.” However, the article did not receive peer review and it shows. Lawrence Mayer, the first author, is not well known in sexuality research circles but the second author is. Paul McHugh is retired from Johns Hopkins and was responsible for discontinuing the sex reassignment program there. He also was an advisor to the Repressed Memory Foundation in the 1990s.

Quickly, the National Organization for Marriage touted the paper as “Groundbreaking New Research.” Even calling the paper a new study isn’t accurate, there are no new studies in the paper. A bunch of old ones are missing as well.

Throckmorton also said:

 One the “born that way” claim, I find it contradictory that the authors express uncertainty about the causes of orientation but then say with great certainty that the “born that way” theory isn’t supported by scientific evidence. This line is of course meant to hook the social conservatives which indeed it has. I mentioned the misleading “Groundbreaking New Research” headline from NOM, and then I just saw Liberty Counsels email which leads: “Scientific Research Debunks LGBT Propaganda.”

On that note, Throckmorton is right. The report did hook the so-called social conservative community. And now like hogs at a trough, they are using it for their own homophobic purposes.


Tor said...

Did they consider talking to an actual gay person?

Namowal (Jennifer Bourne) said...

They make about as much sense as someone saying "Well, well. Looks like science hasn't found that pesky left-handed gene. There's no proof anyone is 'born that way.' Being left handed is a [pick one: lifestyle choice/perversion/delusion/confusion/demonic possession/fantasy]"