Tuesday, March 31, 2009

S C I E N C E of Early Childhood Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Development

Jack Drescher, M.D., Richard Isay, M.D., and Sidney H. Phillips, M.D., give a fuller description of the impact of antigay social norms on the early childhood psychological development of boys who grow up gay from developmental narratives.

The previously accepted theory about homosexuality was that it was considered a developmental failure. This failure was described as due to a boy growing up in an environment where the father is distant or non-existent and with a mother who is binding. However, from developmental narratives of gay adult men reveals a different explanation for the same observable family interactive behaviors that describes homosexuality as a developmental failure.

Jack Drescher, M.D. (click here to view video clip) is clear about the fact that the exact cause of homosexuality, as to the precise contributing factors of nature and nurture is still unknown. However, from these developmental narratives they clearly indicate that these childhood feelings associated with being gay, began very early in a child’s life and that are not “… easily amenable to change.”

These findings give significant cause for concern for how we treat particularly very young children regarding sexual orientation and how children are so often mistreated, at times severely, mostly unintentionally, but always through ignorance.

From a composite of these development narratives about boys who grows up to be gay, they remember feeling “different” at 4 and 5 years of age. “Different” here does not mean “gay” their feelings are related to how they felt at the time, because of how their interactions were received and treated by the adults, in their lives.

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Groundbreaking Research on Family Rejection of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adolescents Establishes Predictive Link to Negative Health Outcomes. Paper Authored by Dr. Caitlin Ryan of San Francisco State University's "Family Acceptance Project" to be published in the journal, the American Academy of Pediatrics

The Family Acceptance Projectis a community research, intervention and education initiative to study the impact of family acceptance and rejection on the health, mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Results will be used to help families provide support for LGBT youth, to develop appropriate interventions, programs and policies, and to train providers to improve the quality of services and care they receive. The project is funded by The California Endowment, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and individual donors.

Although there is an increasing amount of information about the risks and challenges facing LGB youth (with very little information about transgender youth), we know little about their strengths and resiliency, including the strengths of families in supporting their children's health and well-being. Even though the family is the primary support for children and youth, and family involvement helps reduce adolescent risk, there have been no previous studies of how families affect their LGBT children’s risk and resiliency. Prior to this study, little information was available to show how families respond to an adolescent's coming out and how family and caregiver reactions affect adolescent health, mental health and development for LGBT young people. Photo 

Attention to family reactions is critical since increasingly, youth are coming out at younger ages which significantly increases risk for victimization and abuse in family, school and community settings, and provides opportunities for helping to support and strengthen families. Victimization has long-term consequences for health and development, and impacts families as well as the targeted individuals. Early intervention can help families and caregivers build on strengths and use evidence-based materials to understand the impact of acceptance and rejection on their child’s well-being.

The Family Acceptance Project is coordinated by Caitlin Ryan at the César E. Chávez Institute at San Francisco State University, and was developed by Caitlin Ryan and Rafael Dìaz in 2002. It includes the first major study of the families of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

The project is designed to: 1) study parents’, families' and caregivers’ reactions and adjustment to an adolescent's coming out and LGBT identity; 2) develop training and assessment materials for health, mental health, and school-based providers, child welfare, juvenile justice, family service workers and community service providers on working with LGBT youth and families; 3) develop resources to strengthen families to support LGBT children and adolescents; and 4) develop a new model of family-related care to improve health and mental health outcomes for LGBT adolescents. Findings will be used to inform policy and practice and to change the way that systems of care address the needs of LGBT adolescents.
by Cathy Renna
"The new body of research we are generating will help develop resources, tools and interventions to strengthen families, prevent homelessness, reduce the proportion of youth in foster care and significantly improve the lives of LGBT young people and their families."

Editor's Note: Early intervention and acceptance makes a critical difference in helping to maintain many LGBT adolescents in their homes and reduce their risk for mental and health problems. Viji Sundaram is health editor at New America Media.

SAN FRANCISCO--Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth whose families have rejected them because of their sexual orientation are at far greater risk for mental and physical health problems than those who come from families who have accepted them, according to a recent study. Read more New America Media

Further Reading

By La Monica Everett-Haynes

Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality – American Psychological Association
Intersex -- American Psychological Association
Sexual Orientation & Youth -- American Psychological Association
Transgender -- American Psychological Association
Sexual Conversion Therapies, Jack Drescher MD

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AUSCHWITZ - CHRISTMAS 2008 Part I -A flashback far more severe than in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN December 26, 2008 - I have been so saddened by Pope Benedict XVI's cruel words to LGBTQ people around the world, to their parents, families and friends, most ESPECIALLY TO CHILDREN...

And when I heard what Pope Benedict XVI said about homosexuals and transgendered human beings at Christmas 2008, I felt that same trauma all over again. Because in some way, somehow, he was conveying in a non-verbal manner the horror of the Holocaust, in what appears to be a traumatized, trance-like, accepted social norm from that period of time dictating that some people just don’t count, aren’t important, and can be easily disposed of. And if you rock the boat, you could be next to be disposed of. Read more

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(A video clip, click on the title)
January 26, 2009

Discussing all things related to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) health and development: from the biology of sexual orientation to talking to your family about sexuality to the pros and cons of the Internet in our romantic lives.

Brian Mustanski, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He received his doctorate in Psychology from Indiana University, where he trained extensively at the Kinsey Institute. He has been the recipient of multiple federal and foundation research and training awards, including being named a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar. Dr. Mustanski's research focuses on understanding the development of sexual orientation and eliminated health disparities faced by LGBT people. In 2005, he co-authored the first genome scan of male sexual orientation, which received international attention. The majority of his current research focuses on the health and development of LGBT youth. Dr. Mustanski is currently conducting one of the first longitudinal studies of LGBT adolescents in order to more fully understand the development of sexual orientation and identify factors that promote resilience. In addition, he conducts applied research on HIV prevention among young men who have sex with men (MSM). He is the PI of an NIMH-funded study to develop and test an online HIV prevention program for young MSM. Dr. Mustanski is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with a focus on the treatment of sexual and relationship problems. The above can be found on Psychology Today

A partial list of Medical or Mental Health professional associations formal statements on homosexuality:

Read more
Pope Benedict XVI Statements on Homosexuals

“Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well considered and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit.” Erik Erikson

Kids Are Being Hurt!!!

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