Friday, October 24, 2008

Early Childhood Psychological Development, Growing up Gay

A key point to understand is the complexity regarding the research data on gender and fluidity of gender. It helps to understand the following from a perspective of a continuum related to sexual orientation and gender identity. The following description of early childhood psychological development growing up gay is not meant to be the definitive statement for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and  Transgender people. There may be substantial similarities among the larger population; however, this is an area that needs to be researched more fully. 

Unidentified Implicit Form
 of Emotional Child Abuse

The following explanation is based on my studies, course work at the University of Michigan, Madonna University, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute (MPI), gender studies at the American Psychological Association (APA) conventions, and my own personal individual psychotherapy session observations and the combined works of Richard Isay, M.D., Jack Drescher, M.D., Sidney Phillips, M.D., Harry Stack Sullivan, M.D., with Henry Krystal, M.D.
Richard Isay, Psychoanalyst, Professor of Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical School, found in his clinical studies that children as young as 4 and 5 years of age, who grow up to be gay, know that they are different. It is only years later, in retrospect, can they identify what “different” meant and understand that it had to do with their early childhood uninhibited expression of love being expressed through their sexual orientation and core gender identity. Such anti-gay norms influence the social environment of a child, fostering developmental disruptions in the expression of their sexual orientation and the formation of secure human attachments. This has resonating effects throughout their lifetime. It severely harms, in early childhood, the core part of a human being that hopes and believes that his/her needs for love are valid and permissible, which pushes the child into the direction of a depressive state of hopelessness for life. (Jack Drescher, M.D. and Henry Krystal, M.D.) I have labeled this as abuse, an unidentified implicit form of emotional child abuse.

This unidentified implicit form of emotional child abuse does not end with early childhood years but continues on into the adult years of a person life. However, the harm is exacerbated by not only anti-gay societal norms but also by religious anti-gay norms, which are not based on any scientific evidence or biblical scholarly interpretations related to homosexuality. These religious anti-gay norms have for decades led people to believe that homosexuality can be changed to heterosexual and that being a homosexual was a matter of personal choice, classifying homosexuality as some kind of “intrinsic disorder.” This term “intrinsic disorder” is not defined. It does not agree with any medical or mental health professional associations formal statements on homosexuality, such as,

American Psychiatric Association
American Psychiatric Association, AGLP
Attempts To Change Sexual Orientation
APSAA, American Psychoanalytic Association
American Psychological AssociationAmerican Counseling Association
American Medical Association
American Academy of Pediatrics
AFFIRM: Psychologists Affirming their
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Family
Bibliography for Facts About Sexual Orientation
Facts About Homosexuality and Mental Health
Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA)
Gender Identity Research and Education Society
Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction
National Association of School Psychologists
National Association of Social Workers
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States

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