Monday, June 24, 2019

Misrepresenting Dr. Lisa Diamond and the APA

Dr. Lisa Diamond
Sex researcher Dr. Lisa Diamond's TEDx talk in Salt Lake City - September, 2018 - is very well received.
via YouTube
Dr. Don Boys is an anti-LGBT Christian blabberer who doesn't have a real doctorate. That makes him a pretentious anti-LGBT Christian blabberer. Boys is a dim bulb who is not worth my time. However, he provides an opportunity to correct some widely believed misrepresentations from the Christian right echo chamber. Included below are actual quotes and links.

In one of his moronic diatribes on Monday Don Boys asks why Mayor Pete isn't asked obnoxious questions about his sexuality. Boys doesn't really ask anything. His intellectual horsepower limits him to posing rhetorical questions. Boys' incurious constituency knows all of the answers.

Getting to about the middle of this painfully long-winded tirade is this:
Since a preponderance of evidence clearly proves that the homosexual lifestyle is deadly, shouldn’t all people of goodwill seek to help them out of it? And homosexuals can be helped since there are no biological causes. The American Psychiatric Association admitted as recently as August of 2015, “to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology [cause] for homosexuality.”
Tedious as it is to re-key, a sexual orientation is not a lifestyle. It is a characterization used by low-intellect bigots like Boys to suggest choice and to assign a stereotype to gay people. All with “Christian Love™” of course. I suppose that incurious people lacking in critical thinking skills eat this stuff up. As for the “preponderance of evidence” I have no clue what this schmuck is talking about. If he is referring to HIV then he should visit sub-Saharan Africa where it is a heterosexual virus. Being gay is not unhealthy. Bigotry is unhealthy for gay people.

With respect to “causes;” a sexual orientation that Boys does not approve of is not a disease. There are certainly genetic contributors to sexual orientation. Boys' APA quote probably comes from Peter Sprigg at Family Research Council. It cannot be found at APA's website and Boys does not identify a source. Moreover, if the quote is accurate, the absence of specificity does not connote the absence of evidence. Those are two different constructs.

It's not wise to introduce the APA into anti-gay polemics. In 2015 the APA submitted an amicus brief in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges. Therein:
Scientific evidence strongly supports the conclusion that homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality; that gay men and lesbians form stable, committed relationships that are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential respects …
For decades, the consensus of mainstream mental health professionals and researchers has been that homosexuality and bisexuality are normal expressions of human sexuality; that they pose no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life; and that gay and lesbian people function well in the full array of social institutions and interpersonal relationships.
I could go on at great length. You can read it in full.

Boys is promoting conversion therapy. In another document, the APA has this to say about that crackpottery:
The American Psychiatric Association does not believe that same-sex orientation should or needs to be changed, and efforts to do so represent a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated and by undermining self-esteem when sexual orientation fails to change. No credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation; nor, from a mental health perspective does sexual orientation need to be changed.
Boys goes on to misrepresent Dr. Lisa Diamond's research:
Dr. Lisa Diamond, a top researcher of the American Psychological Association tells LGBTQ activists at the close of her lecture, “I feel as a community, the queers have to stop saying, ‘Please help us. We’re born this way, and we can’t change’ as an argument for legal standing…and that argument is going to bite us in the a**, because now we know that there’s enough data out there, that the other side is aware of as much as we are aware of it.” That’s from a lesbian!
I cannot find a reliable source for that quote and Boys provides neither a date nor link. However, Dr. Diamond did a TEDx Talk in September, 2018 where she advises against using the “born this way” argument. It is not for the reasons that Boys is trying to suggest. Some quotes from the transcript:
…the first problem with the born that way argument [is] that it's not scientifically accurate. Now sexual orientation does often express itself very early and very consistently but lots of times it doesn't and it breaks my heart when I hear people express distrust of LGBT individuals who came out late in life for example after a heterosexual marriage. People will say things like how could they not have known all this time? Are they sure that they're really gay?
…the second problem about the born that way argument that it's not legally necessary. One of the reasons we keep using this argument is to invoke the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution which prohibits discriminating against individuals on the basis of their having certain traits. … [A]lthough we keep shouting we're born this way the courts have been saying we don't care.
[D]o you see how that [born that way] argument just goes along with the notion that being LGBT is a fault that it's inherently sad and tragic? It's like it's like we have this terrible disease and we need to be pitied instead of punished. Thankfully times have changed and if there's one thing that LGBT individuals want now it is certainly not pity. What we want; what we deserve is dignity, autonomy, self-determination and that is our strongest argument for equality.
I suspect that Boys' mischaracterization is not intentional. He lacks curiosity and is merely repeating other anti-gay religious blowhards. Boys goes on to display the full panoply of his bigotry and ignorance:
Practicing homosexuals, because of many factors in the home, environment, associates, media, etc., made a choice to enter the dark world of perversion. Pete Buttigieg is no exception and having made that choice and the choice to offer himself as a candidate for president, he needs to inform us how his abnormal lifestyle may affect our nation if he is elected.
When I got good at being gay I stopped “practicing.” Most people with an IQ north of room temperature accept the fact that sexual orientation is not a choice. Going back to the APA's amicus brief; “sexual orientation ranges along a continuum from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual…” As they said, the entire range represents normal variants of human sexuality. The APA goes on to make it clear that sexual orientation is involuntary.

To counter the prevailing consensus, Boys might say that having gay sex is a choice and he would be correct. Most normal human beings, however, are unwilling to be celibate in order to conform to a literal interpretation of Bronze Age scrolls that the vast majority of Christians and Jews do not accept as the literal word of God.

As I said, Boys is not worth my time but I wanted to get some accurate Lisa Diamond quotes from a YouTube video into the Google machine. At the same time I can reference material from the APA that is not dependent upon Christian right sources where it is presented out or context and then misinterpreted.

Note: YouTube transcripts lack capitalization and punctuation. Moreover, they are subject to the speaker's pronunciation. I have made a few minor guesses. In no way have these edits altered the meaning or intent of Dr. Diamond's speech.

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