The study revealed that the notion that gender identity is fixed and determined by biological factors is also not backed up by data.The issue of sexual orientation has been a very controversial issue since nations in the West began to recognize Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT) rights.
An important part of the current LGBT debate is the belief that sexual orientation is predetermined by biology. Therefore, if a person has no choice over whether to be gay or not, society cannot demand that he or she becomes ‘straight’. This is a sound and reasonable argument. Indeed, society cannot force people to change from something they have no control over.
On the other hand, the ‘born that way’ argument has been disputed by some people. A latest cross-discipline study published in the journal New Atlantis has challenged the belief that human sexuality and gender identity are determined by biology and remains fixed. The New Atlantis journal focuses on political, societal and ethical ramifications of technological advances.
The study, carried out by two researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, revealed that there is no scientific proof of sexual orientation being fixed. The researchers said the objective of their study is to draw the attention of the public to mental health problems of the LGBT community. The study cautioned against drastic medical treatment for transgender children.
According to the study, regardless of its political worth, the “born this way” notion by the LGBT community is not backed up by sufficient scientific data. But the study did not conclude or state that being gay is a choice. It merely said stating the opposite may be wrong.
The study, a 144-page paper, was written by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist and biostatistician also trained in psychiatry, who is currently a scholar in residence at the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Paul R. McHugh, who also co-wrote the paper is a renowned psychiatrist, researcher, and educator and former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Dr. Mayer said many people who contributed to the study asked not to be identified. The anonymity they requested is to protect them from a potential backlash from those who would disagree with the study. He admitted the study may stir controversy among both pro and anti-LGBT people.
“Some feared an angry response from the more militant elements of the LGBT community; others feared an angry response from the more strident elements of religiously conservative communities. Most bothersome, however, is that some feared reprisals from their own universities for engaging such controversial topics, regardless of the report’s content—a sad statement about academic freedom,” Dr. Mayer said.